Rainbow Rowell captures the intensity of first love between an unlikely pair in Eleanor & Park, but it isn't all rose petals and dreaminess. It comes with self conscious and awkward feelings, doubt, fear, and despair.
Eleanor is the new girl at school after having spent the last year in foster care. She is self conscious about her weight and appearance, and is received with cruel taunts from her peers. Park's first impression is that she is a weird girl who dresses funny, but he soon admires her for her quirkiness as a romance builds bus ride by bus ride.
The story is sweet, sad, foul mouthed and authentic to how it feels to be a misfit in love. Although I do wonder if today's teens would recognize references to Ozzy Osbourne and commercials that aired before they were born.