As teens, we are constantly exposed to cliché love stories about “quirky” girls who couldn’t possibly like themselves until the average blonde boy saved them. They have absolutely nothing in common and don’t particularly seem to care about each other outside of school and the local mall/movie theater. Sounds like your average middle school relationship, right?

Well, this can get tiring quite soon (or immediately). So I was looking for a cute story that wasn’t fan-fiction on Tumblr when this book was recommended to me, and it was really a great find. I happened to finish it in approximately 4 hours. This book is set in 1986, which is honestly something I’d never seen before. The time period added a dimension to the book, like it could be the story of how your parents met.

Eleanor and Park meet on the school bus when Eleanor doesn’t have anywhere to sit, and Park begrudgingly offers her a seat next to him. (Begrudgingly meaning swearing at her and yelling to just sit down. I know, absolutely adorable.) They continue on like any other teen would in this situation: awkwardly staring at anything but each other.

But after a while, they begin an almost-wordless infatuation with Watchmen comic books and The Smiths on Park’s walkman (so basically an iPod). This slowly transitions into an infatuation for each other, and they start learning more and more about the other’s life. This makes you recognize that everyone has problems- real problems. Teenagers are definitely not immune to everything, as I’m sure you know.

This book is a great story about first love, and the fact that amazing as it may be, it never really lasts. It’s getting to know yourself as a person and understanding how to love someone else: putting their needs above your wants. But sometimes, all you want- and need- is them.

Maja (Teen Reviewer)
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