Eleanor is overweight and dressed in Goodwill cast-offs – not the best stats to have as you start a new high school. She’d love to make it through high school without anyone noticing her, but that’s not going to happen. Park is an outsider – an Asian teen in Omaha, Nebraska who escapes the drama with comic books and mix tapes of all his favorite bands, including the Cure and The Smiths (yep, it’s set in the 80’s. Awesome, I know.). When Park unwillingly shares his seat on the school bus with Eleanor, the most unlikely friendship begins. Heart-wrenching, honest, kick-you-in-your-gut real, I had to put this book down a few times to recover. Yes, there is ultimately romance…but this isn’t a love story. Yes, there is a ton of four-letter words…but this is high school. Rowell’s first YA novel has accumulated awards galore, and I agree: it is the best book I read all year, hands-down.
Share with ages 14+.
Honorable Mentions for Best YA Book of 2013:
Openly Straight by Bill Konigsburg
The Infinite Moment of Us by Lauren Myracle
Winger by Andrew Smith
Orleans by Sherri L Smith