REVIEWS — Eleanor and Park

Welcome to Celebrity Extra's latest feature: our Reviews page. Here I'll review books, TV shows, feature films, and anything else that catches my fancy.
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“Eleanor and Park” by Rainbow Rowell tells the story of a school year (1986-87) in the life of the titular characters. The reader gets a bird’s-eye view (or should I say bus-eye view) of their first encounter, their getting to know one another to their falling in love. Don’t worry: It’s not a teen-angsty, cutesy book. Rowell delves deep into the characters of both Eleanor and Park, so much so that they practically jump out of the page and sit next to you to read the book along with you (like Eleanor and Park do on their bus ride to school sharing a “Watchmen” comic).

Rowell perfectly captures the tentative awkwardness that one feels as a teenager who isn’t quite used to her body, her hormones and the opposite sex. The electricity of that first touch from someone you have feelings for — hoping upon hope that he feels the same way too — to one’s insecurity with one’s body, to the topsy-turvy butterfly stomach of your first kiss, Rowell expertly plumbs those adolescent depths.

Of course, it’s not all unicorns and butterflies in this world — Eleanor has to deal with some major issues in her home life, as well as being the target of bullies at school. And Park’s issues stem from not feeling fully accepted by his macho father, or the town in general, since he doesn’t fit the All-American Boy standard.

I also have to mention the main characters’ (and Rowell’s) great taste in music. This book’s soundtrack will have you rushing to your iTunes account to buy some of these songs that you had only on cassette or vinyl and really want to hear again.

Rowell’s sophomore effort (her first novel is the superb “Attachments”) is a dandy, and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a wonderful story to lose yourself in.


                                                                                                                     

Michelle Young's impressive debut novel, Dragonstone, hits all the notes that a fantasy/romance novel should: strong women, gorgeous men, lovely scenery and life-altering adventure. However, this ain't your mother's romance novel. With Dragonstone, Ms. Young has created her own niche in the fantasy genre, imagining a world where "magic rules the land, dragons roam the skies, and everyone has their secrets."

The reader is transported to the world of Latharia, where Lady Katerina must fulfill the prophecy of defeating the Black magic that is threatening to overtake her land. Because her magic was "awakened" by an act of violence, her Dragonstone, which holds all of her magic power, turns Black. Not wanting to use her magic because of evilness that controls the Black Dragonstone, she rids herself of her Dragonstone, determined to rely on powers that she can control and develop herself.

Read the rest of the review here.