It feels like everyone (the Horn Book included) is talking about Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park (St. Martin’s Griffin, February 2013) — and for good reason. I recently read it when it up was for starring in the May/June issue (it was a shoe-in), and mourned the fact that Rachel Smith and I hadn’t come across it in time for our article “What Makes a Good YA Love Story?” Well, consider it a late addition.
This book is endearing, humorous, believable, sexy, and heart-wrenching, and it embodies nearly all of the qualities we looked for: the characters are crisply realized and wonderfully quirky; their repartee is smart, genuine, and entertaining; their experiences and predicaments are relatable; the vividly alive setting helps us connect with the story; their love for each other develops at an expertly natural pace; and we as readers learn as much about love as Eleanor and Park do.
Ms. Rowell, thank you for underscoring everything Rachel and I learned about what makes a love story great.
Readers, let us know if you feel the same.