cover image Eleanor & Park

Eleanor & Park

Rainbow Rowell, read by Rebecca Lowman and Sunil Malhotra. Listening Library, unabridged, seven CDs, 9 hrs., $50 ISBN 978-0-385-36826-1

Eleanor is the new girl, big, red-haired, dressed with a defiantly grungy lack of style, and a perfect target for ridicule and harassment in half-Korean sophomore Park’s Omaha, Neb., high school. Park doesn’t even want the weirdo sitting by him on the bus. But no one else will share a seat with Eleanor, so he—a misfit himself—reluctantly offers. Each day that passes gives them a chance to learn more about each other—the books they like, the music they share. They start to rely on each other to get through difficult times with their families and classmates. And eventually what they have becomes love. Narrators Rebecca Lowman and Sunil Malhotra turn in superb performances in their portrayal of Eleanor and Park. Despite her age, there is nothing sweet or childlike about Eleanor, and Lowman refrains from portraying her that way. Lowman’s voice and tone believably capture the too-mature-too-soon strength of a girl living a hard life. Malhotra has a rich, smooth delivery, and perfectly renders Park as he fluctuates between confidence and insecurity. Listeners of all ages will be able to enjoy this audio edition. Ages 13–up. A St. Martin’s Griffin hardcover. (Feb.)