This was another one of those books that I heard whispers about on the internet and maybe that's why I got my hopes up, thinking that this would be a John Green-style YA book which leaves me weeping and wondering why I'm not one of the characters in the book because I'd really blend in with the 16-year olds. (Why are all main characters in YA books 16? It's the magic age, it seems.) When Eleanor sits next to Park on the school bus neither of them wants to acknowledge the other at first but what starts off as Eleanor sneakily reading Park's comics turns into a unique friendship and later into that type of first love which seems unbreakable. Unfortunately, the match is not as appreciated by the people around them and the couple are particularly worried about Eleanor's cruel stepfather finding out about Park.
So this is a YA story about young love and I do see the lovely qualities mentioned by everyone else. I feel like there is a nice progression from strangers to friends to boyfriend/girlfriend. The author, Rainbow Rowell, deserves an applause for not having a typical Barbie as her main female character. There are (unfortunately) few books where the main character is genuinely loved by someone and simultaneously described as "fat". So that's all good. However, the book is a little bit too simplistic for me. I get that there's a lot of love in the air but I feel like there's a limit to how many times a person's skin or freckles are allowed to be described. The character progression feels slightly uneven (don't get me started on Park's dad) and some of the relationships felt unoriginal. That said, I didn't dislike the book. Maybe it's just one of those pieces of YA fiction which is actually more suited for teenagers.