Banned Book Favorites: Eleanor & Park

Here’s another banned book spotlight on one of my favorites, Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park.

Rowell’s book had been on my must-read list for a while before I actually got around to it this past summer. Everywhere I looked I kept seeing quotes, photos, reviews, and even John Green twitter shout-outs about Eleanor & Park. When I finally got around reading the book I understood what all the buzz was about.

Rowell’s novel is told through the dual narratives of misfit teenagers Eleanor and Park, set in 1986 Omaha, Nebraska. Eleanor is a full-figured sixteen-year-old girl with wild red hair, who dresses in an odd mash-up of men’s shirts, baggy sweaters and scarves. Park is a half-Korean sixteen-year-old boy who loves comics and 80s-rock.

The two characters find mutual ground and learn what it’s like to navigate high school as well as first love. But high school and first love aren’t always easy, and these two teens quickly become their own version of star-crosssed lovers.

The novel is heartbreaking, playing on what it’s like to be torn apart by love and societal pressures, and what it’s like to try to love someone who isn’t comfortable in their own skin. Bullying, familial issues, and personal insecurities all plague the teens’ relationship.

It’s a story that will remind you what it’s like to be young and in love.

Rowell’s novel has been challenged based on it’s use of profanity and treatment of sexuality.

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Check out some of my favorite Eleanor & Park quotes below:

“Eleanor was right. She never looked nice. She looked like art, and art wasn’t supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something.”

“Holding Eleanor’s hand was like holding a butterfly. Or a heartbeat. Like holding something complete, and completely alive.”

“I just can’t believe that life would give us to each other,’ he said, ‘and then take it back.’ ‘I can,’ she said. ‘Life’s a bastard.”

“He made her feel like more than the sum of her parts.”

Do you have a favorite banned book? Let me know in the comments.

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