What is up my booknerd-friends? I have a special guest post for you today. Have you been to a little blog known as Graphic Novelty2? If you haven’t, you should and you will. Operated by two individual comic enthusiasts, it is one of the best places to go for sincere graphic novel reviews, from two unique perspectives.
This is extra special for me, because Nancy was the very first follower of the Green Onion Blog. That’s right, she’s hipster about it and was there before it was cool. And, she has been around every step of the way. I am proud to call her a friend. So, when she offered to support me through NaNoWriMo with a special review, it meant a lot to me.
Thank you, Nancy. The Green Onion garden is all yours…
Hello, I’m Nancy, co-writer of the blog Graphic Novelty 2 (squared!). My blogging partner and I write almost exclusively about graphic novels and geek life, but as I read many other genres of books, I was happy to get the chance to review another type of book, to help out my friend the Green Onion by writing a guest blog while he concentrates on NaNoWriMo.
I will be reviewing one of my favorite books of all time, Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell, and it also ties in with the timely #AntiBullyReads 2016 readathon that runs from November 14-20th. This Readathon is created and run by Sarah Churchill with the aim to start discussions about bullying and our bid to stand up for those who need it and never be a bystander. Check out this Goodreads page for more info: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/147983-anti-bullying-week-readathon
Eleanor & Park is set in Omaha, Nebraska in 1986 and relates the experiences of two sixteen year olds falling in love for the first time over the course of a school year. Eleanor is the new girl in school, who comes from a troubled home and, with her unique style and larger physique, has a hard time fitting in. Park, a half-Korean teen, takes pity on her on the bus ride home and lets her sit next to him, offering her passive protection from the bullies. A slow friendship begins, with them bonding over comics and music, before a romantic relationship begins to blossom. The feelings they develop for one another are overwhelming at times, as often happens during first love. These two teens, who seem out of sync with others around them, fit together making a stronger whole than parts. There are roadblocks in the relationship, notably when Eleanor’s unstable family life deteriorates dangerously when her step father’s abuse escalates. Park and his supportive parents step in to help, even when the solution means the probable end to Eleanor and Park’s relationship.
Duel narratives convey Eleanor’s and Park’s thoughts and experiences, with alternating viewpoints of the same scene. We also get to see inside the teen’s household’s- showing contrasting home environments, with the adult’s lives accurately depicted too (which can be rare in a YA novel). This story is achingly real, with Rainbow Rowell capturing the emotions and conversations of both teens with precision. Many authors try to emulate how teens act and speak, without truly capturing the essence and reality of their lives, but Rowell really gets it right. Her characters all seem fully fleshed, unique and fresh. That the bittersweet story ends with a bit of a cliff hanger leaves you wanting more: more Eleanor, more Park, and definitely more Rainbow.
If you get the chance, listen to the story on audio as the two voice actors portraying Eleanor and Park were tremendously good. I was completely sucked into the story and would yell at some of the characters as I drove, because they seemed so real to me and I wanted them to know what I thought of them.
A reason why this story resonated so much for me was several parallels that ran throughout the story- especially concerning the unhappy home life, the thrill of first love, and the shared passion for comic books. That I am happily married to my high school sweetheart is the final parallel I wish for Eleanor and Park. We all know what we want the last three words to be…