Written by Rainbow Rowell
Published by St. Martin's Griffin, 2013
2015-2016 Nominee - Young Adult
One extraordinary love.
Eleanor... Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough... Eleanor.
Park... He knows she'll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There's a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises... Park.
Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.
Excerpt from Eleanor & Park (pages 57-58):
Best of all, she had Park's songs in her head--and in her chest, somehow.
There was something about the music on that tape. It felt different. Like, it set her lungs and her stomach on edge. There was something exciting about it, and something nervous. It made Eleanor feel like everything, like the world wasn't what she'd thought it was. And that was a good thing. That was the greatest thing.
When she got on the bus that morning, she immediately lifted her head to find Park. He was looking up, too, like he was waiting for her. She couldn't help it, she grinned. Just for a second.
As soon as she sat down, Eleanor slunk low in the seat, so the back-of-the-bus ruffians wouldn't be able to see from the top of her head how happy she felt.
She could feel Park sitting next to her, even though he was at least six inches away.
She handed him the comics, then tugged nervously at the green ribbon around her wrist. She couldn't think of anything to say. She started to worry that maybe she wouldn't say anything, that she wouldn't even thank him. . . .
Park's hands were perfectly still in his lap. And perfectly perfect. Honey colored with clean, pink fingernails. Everything about him was strong and slender. Every time he moved, he had a reason.
They were almost to school when he broke the silence. “Did you listen?”
She nodded, letting her eyes climb as high as his shoulders.
“Did you like it?” he asked.
She rolled her eyes. “Oh my God. It was . . . just, like--” She spread out all her fingers. “--so awesome.”
“Are you being sarcastic? I can't tell.”
She looked up at his face, even though she knew how that was going to feel, like someone was hooking her insides out through her chest. “No. It was awesome. I didn't want to stop listening. That one song--is it 'Love Will Tear Us Apart'?”
“Yeah, Joy Division.”
“Oh my God, that's the best beginning to a song ever.”
He imitated the guitar and the drums.
“Yeah, yeah, yeah.” she said. “I just wanted to listen to those three seconds over and over.”
“You could have.” His eyes were smiling, his mouth only sort of.
Used with permission of the publisher, St. Martin's Griffin