Just like no two snowflakes are the same, no two love stories are exactly alike, and Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell is like no other.

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow RowellWhen Eleanor first walks down the aisle of the school bus in 1980s Omaha, Nebraska, red hair flaming around her, all eyes are on her. But she is not portrayed as pretty or fashionable or even nice-looking. When she squeezes her chubby self into the only empty seat beside a boy named Park, everyone snickers.  Park isn’t exactly ordinary either. He’s the only half-Asian kid in the area, has a deep appreciation music, and likes to wear eyeliner. After many bus rides in awkward silence, Park gets up the courage to share his music and comic books with Eleanor. Both of them forget about the stares of the world around them. The two fall for each other, and they begin to spend time outside of the school bus.

And like snowflakes, a lot of good love stories never last long, melting away when the season changes. Park makes Eleanor feel safe and accepted; being with him is the only way to escape her poverty-stricken, abusive household.  But Eleanor knows that their story cannot possibly continue.  Her entire family lives in fear of her stepfather, Richie, an abusive alcoholic who makes life hell for the family, Eleanor’s mother especially. Eleanor knows it won’t be long before Richie finds out about Park. But when her family situation hits rock-bottom, what she doesn’t anticipate is the heartrending journey that follows that will convey how powerful and poignant Eleanor and Park’s love is.

In the New York Times review of Eleanor and Park , John Green says “Eleanor & Park reminded me not just what it’s like to be young and in love with a girl, but also what it’s like to be young and in love with a book.”  I agree with this statement, by one of my favorite authors, and in my opinion, one of the most intelligent. From the beginning, Eleanor and Park’s tender love captured my heart and made me fall in love with the book. Throughout, Rainbow Rowell’s clever writing made me laugh and cry as I pictured the world in which they lived. So if you appreciate a good love story, Eleanor and Park should be at the top of your list.