Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

The Synopsis:

Two misfits.
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.

Review:

Emotions are all over the place in this beautiful, heartbreaking story. We laugh, cry, cheer and shake our heads in reaction to the way these words are penned.

Eleanor & Park is an absolutely breathtaking story that highlights one extreme to another. The statement of opposites attracting is evident in our two main characters as they strike up an unlikely relationship. I cannot begin to describe how much I fell in love with Eleanor and Park and their story. It’s told, often in one sentence snippets, with such a powerful passion that its hard to put down.

It is not a “dirty” book, however not clean either. The cursing is incredibly high, with pretty much every word you can think of (multiple times), and the sexual references/comments are also very present. There are no “sex scenes”, though a couple that come very close with many details of feelings and observations that are the result of  the many passionate and detailed kisses. Abuse, drinking, smoking, drugs, and some suicidal thoughts are also mentioned but on a much lesser scale than the previously mentioned.

Eleanor & Park have a story that will undoubtedly be remembered, and it would have received a full five stars from me based on that alone, however I am deducting one star because of the negative content. Therefore the final rating is 4 out of 5 stars. I recommend it for readers 16+.

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Coffee Confessions: Choosing to Express Like Espresso -A Guest Post by Author Caroline George

Writers tend to be different. Maybe our abnormality is accredited to the excessive amounts of time we spend with our own thoughts. Maybe we see and understand more than non-writers. Maybe our creativity has fried our brains.

I was and am different.

As a determined, overly imaginative teenager, I decided to spend my seventeenth birthday with my mom at Counter Culture Coffee in Atlanta, Georgia. There were two things I wanted for my birthday—a handmade vintage sundress and barista lessons. If the requests don’t convey my weirdness, let me preface by saying I had already published two books and launched my author career by the time I first used a tamp and steam wand. Different described every aspect of my life.

The first thing I learned about working an espresso machine:

Coffee is an art form.

Baristas at Counter Culture are required to complete various courses and training before receiving certification. These classes teach basic espresso machine usage, the chemistry of milk, and much more. All of this information is needed when working in authentic coffeehouses.

How does coffee relate to creative writing?

Writing requires the same amount of knowledge, practice, and skill as pouring the perfect latte. Professional baristas must be so familiar with the coffee-making process, they know when milk reaches the desired temperature, when the espresso is pulled to its prime consistency. Professional writers must also be so well-versed with their craft, they’re able to develop plots and characters with ease, build concise and effective sentences.

I tasted my first espresso shot at barista training—I was required to take multiple shots of espresso pulled at different draw times. My body was buzzed on caffeine as I made lattes, attempted a tulip and art design with steamed milk. The drinks were proof—I was not knowledgeable, practiced, nor skilled.

There are three writing tips I learned from Counter Culture classes.

Knowledge: Acquiring know-how takes effort.

Writing is a constant education, same as working as a barista. To be successful as a writer and author, one must do research, learn about the publishing industry and current market.

Practice: Knowledge is useless without implementation.

Like knowing how to pull an espresso doesn’t mean a barista can work an espresso machine, someone who knows how to write isn’t always a good writer. Once knowledge is gained, it needs to be applied and practiced.

Skill: Time determines talent.

Although some people are gifted with natural writing ability, the best writers gain their skills from utilization and diligence.

We have to make lattes with disfigured latte art before we can pour intricate floral designs. We have to be willing to write not-so-great stories before we can build masterpieces.

I left Counter Culture over-caffeinated, covered in grinds, and more appreciative of baristas. The experience was so inspiring, I made my main character in The Vestige (coming June 30 from Evernight Teen Publishing) a barista—shameless self-plug.

Overall, as writers, we need to express like espresso.

We need to be knowledgeable, practiced, and skilled.

 

About Caroline:

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Caroline George, author of THE PRIME WAY TRILOGY and THE VESTIGE, resides in Nashville where she spends the majority of her time in hipster coffeehouses, sipping lavender mochas and undertaking over-the-top projects. She is a two-time Georgia Author of the Year nominee, speaker, blogger and writer for teen magazine PURSUE. Caroline studies publishing and public relations at Belmont University and works as a publicist for local artists.

Instagram @authorcarolinegeorge

Facebook/AuthorCarolineGeorge

Twitter @CarolineGeorge_

Website: authorcarolinegeorge.com

 

About The Vestige:

Choose to see the unseen . . .

Julie Stryker has spent her life in the scenic streets of Charleston, South Carolina, bicycling to the local college, working at a coffeehouse, watching her family fall apart and back together. She has plans, dreams—all of which seem out of reach. Then she meets a handsome stranger at work, and she believes her life is on the brink of a much needed change. But after a tragic accident, Julie is whisked away from the only home she’s ever known and confronted with a life-altering secret: The end of the world has already occurred and a portion of humankind has been kept oblivious.

Tossed into a hidden world of deception, Julie must confront the truth within herself and reveal the government’s layers before the end of the world becomes a permanent reality.

1st Layer: What you can see.

2nd Layer: What you know is real.

3rd Layer: What you can neither see nor know is real.