Book Review: The Bowery Slugger by Leopold Borstinski

About the Book:

A turn-of-the-century Jewish boy punches his way into the gangs of New York.

When Alex Cohen arrives in 1915 America, he seizes the land of opportunity with both hands and grabs it by the throat. But success breeds distrust and Alex must choose between controlling his gang and keeping his friend alive. What would you do if the person you trusted most is setting you up to die at your enemies’ hands?

The first book in the Alex Cohen series is a violent historical novel, which rips through the early years of the Jewish New York mob. Leopold Borstinski’s gripping crime noir beats at the chest of every reader with a bloody fist.

About the Author:

Leopold Borstinski is an independent author whose past careers have included financial journalism, business management of financial software companies, consulting and product sales and marketing, as well as teaching.

There is nothing he likes better so he does as much nothing as he possibly can. He has travelled extensively in Europe and the US and has visited Asia on several occasions. Leopold holds a Philosophy degree and tries not to drop it too often.

He lives near London and is married with one wife, one child and no pets.

Social Media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/borstinski

Facebook: www.facebook.com/LeoBorstinski

Website: http://www.leopoldborstinski.com/

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/l/B071ZZXZMR?_encoding=UTF8&redirectedFromKindleDbs=true&ref=dbs_p_ebk_r00_abau_000000&rfkd=1&shoppingPortalEnabled=true

Purchase Links:

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Bowery-Slugger-Alex-Cohen-Book-ebook/dp/B07X7HC4L2/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1572945986&sr=8-1

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Bowery-Slugger-Alex-Cohen-Book-ebook/dp/B07X7HC4L2/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=the+bowery+slugger&qid=1572946119&sr=8-1

Google Books: https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=7L2vDwAAQBAJ&rdid=book-7L2vDwAAQBAJ&rdot=1&source=gbs_vpt_read&pcampaignid=books_booksearch_viewport

NOOK: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-bowery-slugger-leopold-borstinski/1133282419

My Thoughts:

The Bowery Slugger follows the life of Alex as he steps off a boat and onto American soil. This is a well-written story set during the onset of World War I, bringing the reader to a small part of the world and it’s inhabitants. Alex, in his teenage years, is smart and ruthless, grabbing opportunities and finding his way forward. We are introduced to the Jewish New York mob and how it is run. We meet some very interesting people who add different views and dimensions to this story.

The story is fast paced and at some points is quite graphic and gruesome. However, the author handles the plot quite well and the reader is pulled in the midst of family drama, power struggles, trust and status. The characters are well crafted and fit into the historical setting of this first book. The period and setting is so well described that it is easy for us as the readers to imagine it all in our minds.

Though slow at the beginning, the story picks up speed and pushes forward to an interesting climax. There is indeed some romance brought into the mix, but it takes a back seat most of the time. This story arc shows the reader a contrast in character thinking and brings into focus the skills of the main protagonist. As Alex starts to consider a move from his profession for the sake of love, he starts to wonder at his skill set and whether he is cut out for a world away from crime and the mob.

The plot is elaborately crafted and the reader takes a journey through the hierarchy of people and how the system works. There is a weird sense of justice about the job Alex holds inspite of the violence. there is a sense of honor.

The Bowery Slugger, an apt title for Alex in my opinion, is well worth a read!

Book Review: A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

About the Book:

A Curse So Dark and Lonely

 New York Times bestseller!

Has everything you’d want in a retelling of a classic fairy tale.” – Jodi Picoult, New York Times bestselling author of A Spark of Light and Small Great Things

“Absolutely spellbinding.” – Stephanie Garber, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Caraval and Legendary

In a lush, contemporary fantasy retelling of Beauty and the Beast, Brigid Kemmerer gives readers another compulsively readable romance perfect for fans of Marissa Meyer.

Fall in love, break the curse.

It once seemed so easy to Prince Rhen, the heir to Emberfall. Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year over and over, he knew he could be saved if a girl fell for him. But that was before he learned that at the end of each autumn, he would turn into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. That was before he destroyed his castle, his family, and every last shred of hope.

Nothing has ever been easy for Harper. With her father long gone, her mother dying, and her brother barely holding their family together while constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, she learned to be tough enough to survive. But when she tries to save someone else on the streets of Washington, DC, she’s instead somehow sucked into Rhen’s cursed world.

Break the curse, save the kingdom.

A prince? A monster? A curse? Harper doesn’t know where she is or what to believe. But as she spends time with Rhen in this enchanted land, she begins to understand what’s at stake. And as Rhen realizes Harper is not just another girl to charm, his hope comes flooding back. But powerful forces are standing against Emberfall . . . and it will take more than a broken curse to save Harper, Rhen, and his people from utter ruin.

My thoughts:

It is very easy to tell someone that the only way to break a curse is to fall in love. However, what people do not tell and this is the main catch, is that it is not so easy to fall in love.

This is the problem that Prince Rhen of Emberfall is facing. Having made one mistake in his youth, he is cursed to relive the eighteenth year of his life again and again and again. What was his mistake you may wonder? He courted an enchantress and cast her away. Spurned due to this and seeking revenge, she curses him. The curse can only be lifted when he finds true love.

Doesn’t this sound like a typical fairy tale but with the roles reversed? The prince has to find his princess. However, nothing is as easy as this explanation and this is not just any fairytale. In this new age re-telling of the Beauty and the Beast, the author brings to us a new age spin on things. Once the curse begins, the prince has the duration of the autumn season to find his true love. If that doesn’t happen, he turns into a monster and becomes quite dangerous.

The author brings to us a tale of sorrow and grief that is hidden behind the walls of the castle and unknown to the people of the kingdom. The only story that the people know is that their king seems to have abandoned them. The Prince’s guard is the only other person around and the only one granted with the ability to move from this time/place to the present day Earth and bring back girls for the Prince to court.

During one such situation, we are introduced to Harper. Harper witnesses a kind of kidnapping and tried to stop it. It is in this situation that she is brought back to Rhen’s world. The author then brings to us a wonderful tale of friendship, loyalty and eventually love. The characters are well developed and you cannot help but fall in love with them and their story. If I continue to write more, I will only gush about the story and reveal all the plot twists. To avoid that I will stop here and conclude.

A very well thought out book, this is a must read for all! I cannot wait for Book 2 and I am sure most of you will feel the same.

Book Review: The Truth About Gretchen by Alretha Thomas

About the Book:

Gretchen Holloway, in her final year of graduate school, is in the throes of auditioning actors for her thesis film, inspired by a murdered young football star who has haunted her dreams for two years. Gretchen believes making the movie will be cathartic. But instead of freeing her, embarking upon the film production unleashes a sequence of events that lead Gretchen to conclude that she’s the reincarnation of the young man.

Regina Wilson has always wanted to be an actress. When her agent gets her an audition for a role in Gretchen’s film, which eerily mirrors one of the worst events of her life—the unsolved murder of her older brother, Robert—she’s hard-pressed to go through with it. Upon fleeing, she leaves behind a keepsake that features Robert’s photo. Gretchen sees the picture and recognizes Robert from her dreams. She tracks down Regina, and after being rebuffed and called crazy, Gretchen’s unexplainable knowledge of events in Robert’s life eventually convinces Regina that Gretchen is Robert reincarnated.

The two decide to have his case reopened, but their significant others are dead set against it, and the police, who believe that Robert’s death was gang-related, are less than cooperative. However, Gretchen is desperate to get justice for her former self, and Regina wants justice for her brother. The women piece together the final week of Robert’s life. And the deeper they delve into his past; one shocking revelation follows another, leaving them wondering who they can trust and if they’ll live long enough to find Robert’s killer and bring him to justice.

Amazon link.
Social media links for the Author:

My Thoughts:

Note: I was provided with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

This book brings to the reader the concept of re-birth or re-incarnation. The plot is intriguing whereby the protagonist has dreams of someone who was murdered. Initially, she is not aware that it is about a real person and she embarks on a journey to turn these dreams into a film.

The story follows Gretchen as her path crosses with Regina, Robert’s sister. At first resistant to the whole concept, Regina starts to believe that Gretchen might be able to uncover and solve the mystery behind her brother’s death. The story is well thought out, but at times it seems a little stretched. At times it was even difficult to connect to the main protagonist, but it becomes easier as we progress through the book. Her strong sense of justice and the need to help prevail.

Overall this book is a decent read depending on the tastes of the reader!

Book Review: The Circle Taken by Sage Sask

Note: I would like to thank NetGalley for the review copy.

About the Book:

Abandoned at eleven with no memory of her family, Alexia yearns to learn her true identity. Under the new government’s regime, sixteen-year-olds are evaluated for their desire to harm others. Throughout the test, Alexia struggles to conceal her secret. Failing in her mission, Alexia is taken and must fight to prove herself to her captors.

Desperate to escape, Alexia embarks on a dangerous quest for the truth of her past. In the resulting battle between life and death, Alexia learns that sacrifice and the gift she fought to keep hidden may be her only chance for survival.

A secret unearthed, a shocking betrayal, and a moment when lives hang in the balance leaves Alexia with only one choice. Will the decision determine her destiny or end her life?

My Thoughts:

The Circle is an interesting YA Dystopian read. A major part of the plot reminded me of The Hunger Games, but the story here is well-written and the characters were easy to understand. The story is quite fast paced and if the reader does not pay attention, it is easy to miss something important.

Alexia, the protagonist, has no memory of who she is or about her family for more than 5 years. She lives at an orphanage and learns to just keep her head down and move forward. When her secret is discovered, she is sent to a secret place. Here she has to fight to prove herself, to train, all the while trying to figure out who she really is. As she navigates this world and discovers it’s secrets, we are introduced to a group of people with a very specific way of thinking.

The characters are well crafted and interesting, most in their teenage years. All of them seek to befriend Alexia for different reasons, but in the end they stand together as one group. This journey is wonderful to read about. As fast-paced as the story is, a lot happens in this book and it ends at a twist leaving the reader yearning for more. I enjoyed reading this book and am looking forward to the next book, mainly to discover what happens to Alexia. The questions of how she deals with the truth behind her identity and the consequences of her decisions will hopefully be answered in the next book! This book is worth a read for fans of dystopian YA fiction.

Book Review: Three Women by Lisa Taddeo

About the Book:

Three Women

‘A book that blazes, glitters and cuts to the heart of who we are. I’m not sure that a book can do much more’ SUNDAY TIMES

‘The kind of bold, timely, once-in-a-generation book that every house should have a copy of, and probably will before too long’ NEW STATESMAN

‘Extraordinary’ JOJO MOYES 

‘I will probably re-read it every year of my life’ CAITLIN MORAN


All Lina wanted was to be desired. How did she end up in a marriage with two children and a husband who wouldn’t touch her?

All Maggie wanted was to be understood. How did she end up in a relationship with her teacher and then in court, a hated pariah in her small town?

All Sloane wanted was to be admired. How did she end up a sexual object of men, including her husband, who liked to watch her have sex with other men and women?

Three Women is a record of unmet needs, unspoken thoughts, disappointments, hopes and unrelenting obsessions.

‘A masterpiece’ ELIZABETH GILBERT

‘Addictive’ DOLLY ALDERTON

‘Riveting, assured and scorchingly original’ DAVE EGGERS

‘Indescribably magnificent’ MARIAN KEYES

‘Astounding’ JESSIE BURTON

My Thoughts:

Three women chronicles the lives of three protagonists, their dreams, hopes and the consequences of decisions they make. We see how the women deal with it. The book is confusing since each of the women’s story is told in chapters, but they are not continuous. We keep alternating among the three and sometimes this may cause the reader to lose track of what they read previously if the book is not read in one sitting.

However, knowing that some of the stories are based on true events doesn’t make a lot of sense since the author has only picked three stories to portray. The women come across as needy and submissive to the men in their lives. Sometimes it feels as though they cannot think for themselves or stand up for themselves. In addition, the book focuses more on chronicling the events than really analyzing them or the people.

I lost focus some way through the book, but I continued reading to see where it would go. Ultimately the events are just sad and you feel sorry for the women, but there is not much of a take away from the book.

Book Review: The Hocus Pocus Magic Shop by Abigail Drake

Note: I was provided with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

About the Book:

The Hocus Pocus Magic Shop

When chemist Grace O’Leary finds a book of magic spells hidden in her Aunt Lucy’s run-down magic shop, the scientist in her itches to try them out. She mixes up a batch of love potions as a joke, and has to face the consequences when they actually seem to work.

Her dream of becoming a professor is in peril, and time is running out to finish research for her dissertation. She can’t handle any more distractions, but the magic shop is on the verge of closing, her aunt has become forgetful and confused, and a handsome reporter named Dario Fontana keeps sniffing around for a story. The last thing she needs is for him to find out about the love potions and expose her as fraud, but she begins to trust him, and the sizzling chemistry between them is soon too powerful to deny.

With her personal and professional life in chaos, and her budding relationship with Dario in jeopardy, Grace is faced with a difficult choice. Fixing what is broken means going against every logical bone in her body. Can Grace learn to silence her scientific brain long enough to accept the truth about magic…and also about herself?

About the Author:

Award-winning author Abigail Drake has spent her life traveling the world and collecting stories wherever she visited. She majored in Japanese and Economics in college, and is a book hoarder, a coffee drinker, a linguistics geek, and an eternal optimist. She writes women’s fiction and young adult fiction with smart, sassy, funny heroines, and she also enjoys blogging about the adventures of her mischievous Labrador retriever, Capone.

Abigail is the winner of the prestigious 2017 Prism Award for her book Traveller, and the International Digital Award for her young adult novel, Tiger Lily. In addition, she was named a finalist in the Golden Pen, the Golden Leaf, the Dante Rossetti Book Award, and the Cygnus Award for Science Fiction and Speculative Fiction. Learn more about http://abigaildrake.com

My Thoughts:

The Hocus Pocus Magic Shop introduces us to chemist Grace O’Leary who is working on her PhD thesis. When she is framed for helping a student to cheat, she is stripped of her TA privileges and shunned by many of her peers. Looking for a break and a change of scenery, she volunteers to visit her Aunt Lucy who had a mild accident and to provide her support.

The reader is introduced to a variety of characters, but they are brought in quite abruptly. There is not a lot of background information provided about them which leads us to wonder how they are connected to the main character.  Much of Grace’s situation is a cliche, she meets a handsome young man who lives in her Aunt’s town, she is struggling to deal with the pressure of completing her thesis and finally, there is the mystery of who caused her aunt’s accident.

The events that occur seem sudden and disconnected. There are times when the reader will wonder how certain characters are even tied in or have information. It took me a while to get into the book and to really piece together the story.

However, as the story progresses, it becomes easier to understand the plot even though the characters were not very easy to relate to for me. There is magic, mystery and romance all mixed together rather haphazardly. But, this book proves to be a rather light and simple read if one does not try to focus too much on the plot. The friends that Grace makes and the support she receives in the end make it worthwhile to read about.

Book Review: The Legacy of the Heirs by A. V. V. Reddi

It is with great pleasure and pride that I write this post today.

I would like to introduce you all to The Legacy of the Heirs, Book 1 in a series written by my good friend A. V. V. Reddi. This is his first published work.

Read on to know more about the book and my thoughts about it.

About the Book:

Paperback: 348 pages

Publisher: Notion Press; 1 edition (13 July 2019)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1645465934

ISBN-13: 978-1645465935

 

John Rolland, the head of an erstwhile crime family, discovers a plot to murder him. The person he turns to for help is his grandson Viktor. With each member of the family having their own agendas and alliances, Viktor embraces the legacy of his family and begins work on protecting his inheritance and the ones he loves. As Viktor goes deeper into this world, he discovers that more people are involved than he first expected and that more drastic steps needed to be taken for him to survive.

The book can be found here: Notion Press, Amazon, Flipkart

About the Author:

A. V. V. Reddi, an entrepreneur and heir to a legacy, brings his passion for writing forward with his first novel at the age of 27. It can be said that the apple does not fall far from the tree, as Reddi is the great-grandson of the famous film producer B. Nagi Reddi, who helped shape the foundations of Indian cinema.

A businessman and startup founder by day and an author by night, Reddi is fun, charismatic and intelligent, as is evidenced by his writing style and narrative. Having experience in various walks of life right from the world of politics to the world of industry, thanks to his legacy, Reddi brings to life compelling characters with strong motives and bold personalities.

Reddi now runs a successful educational startup and works in his family business while dedicating his spare time to creative writing both in the form of fiction and poetry.

My Thoughts:

Note: This is my honest and unbiased opinion of the book.

The Legacy of the Heirs is built up on a strong plot filled with intrigue, mystery and a whole lot of family drama. At first it might seem as though the story is confusing, but upon persisting, the reader is in for a treat.

On the surface, the family seems to work fine together, but if you go and peak beneath, there are so many shades to each character. Everyone has secrets to hide and their own confidantes within the family circle. The story focuses mainly on Viktor, the grandson of John Rolland, and his aim to protect his family no matter the cost. We are introduced to his close knit circle of friends who are ready to do anything for him.

These characters are brought in one by one and are well thought out. We are given glimpses into who they are and how they fit into Viktor’s life. Apart from the friends, comes the entire Rolland family: the children, their spouses and the grand children. The reader is dropped right in the middle of a murder plot and then something along the lines of revenge.

Reddi weaves an intricate web of love, lies and deceit to ensure that the reader remains hooked. He has also managed to handle a large number of characters with ease. As a reader, we can understand each person’s significance and their role in this elaborate plot. The story is well written and seamlessly flows from one situation to the next.

By the end of the book, the reader is left yearning for more!

 

Book Review: Gryphon Riders Trilogy by Derek Alan Siddoway

About the Books:

Windsworn (Gryphon Riders Trilogy #1)

Windsworn (Gryphon Riders Trilogy, #1)

An unlikely young hero. An incredible destiny.

Eva has never swung a sword. She’s never flown through the open sky on a gryphon or dreamed of being a hero. She’s content with a quiet life — two feet firmly on the ground, working in her foster-father’s forge. But that’s all about to change.

When Eva discovers a young thief hiding in her woodshed with a stolen gryphon egg, the shy, timid girl is forced to leave everything she’s ever known to become Windsworn — elite warriors who ride fierce gryphons into battle. As she struggles to learn the ways of the Windsworn, Eva finds herself caught in a plot to destroy the gryphon riders and plunge the kingdom into war, a plot that somehow involves her deceased parents.

In the face of growing danger, can Eva conquer her fears and unravel the secrets of her past in time to save the Windsworn?

Fans of Eragon, Harry Potter and the Dragonriders of Pern will love this fast-paced coming of age fantasy, set in a world of majestic gryphons and ancient magic.

Windswept (Gryphon Riders Trilogy #2)

Windswept by Derek Alan Siddoway

A long-forgotten champion. An ancient darkness.

Now a full-fledged gryphon rider, Eva’s come a long way from the timid girl she used to be.

After proving herself to the Windsworn, forging a bond with her gryphon, Fury, and discovering the truth about her parentage, Eva thought life would get easier. Instead, war is blossoming on the eastern frontier. And raiders on giant sabercats might only be a shadow of worse things to come.

If that weren’t enough, a captured enemy reveals a startling truth: Eva’s long-lost father is still alive.

Against direct orders, Eva and her friends desert the Windsworn, risking everything to bring her father home. Eva and Fury have come a long way in a short time, but beyond the mountains, danger lurks at every turn. Will Eva sacrifice everything she holds dear for a man she’s never met?

Don’t miss the rousing second installment in the Gryphon Riders Trilogy!

Windbreak (Gryphon Riders Trilogy #3)

Windbreak by Derek Alan Siddoway

From the fires of war, a queen must rise.

Against all odds, Eva and her friends are alive. And they’ve returned home with the only chance the Windsworn have of defeating the Smelterborn.

Hope, however, will prove to be short-lived and bittersweet.

An army of iron golems marches west and nothing can stop them. To survive the coming war, the gryphon riders must stand with old enemies against the ancient darkness. As the fighting begins, a small band makes their way east on a desperate quest: to destroy the source of the Smelterborn’s power once and for all. Chances are, none of them will make it out alive.

Eva and Fury will be tested like never before. Heroes will fall. Kingdoms will shatter. The price of victory has never been higher.

Will Eva succeed in driving back the darkness or will everything she loves be crushed beneath the iron fist of the Smelterborn?

Don’t miss the epic conclusion of the Gryphon Riders Trilogy!

My Thoughts:

This started off with a review request for book #1, but turned into a marathon reading session of the entire series!

Windsworn (Gryphon Riders Trilogy #1), introduces us to Eva, a young girl who chances upon a thief in possession of a Gryphon egg. This part of the story will remind the reader of the Eragon series ( if you are a fan ), but later on the story takes on it’s own identity and the reader is taken on a wonderful adventure of discovery and learning. The entire series follows Eva’s journey as she learns to be a Gryphon rider, gains the trust of her Gryphon and forges new friendships. Having earned the trust of some of her peers and teachers, Eva, embarks on a journey to save the world from those seeking to destroy the Windsworn.

The plot thickens in Windswept (Book #2), where Eva discovers the truth behind her parentage and the chance that her father might be alive. Throwing caution to the winds, she takes off on a journey with some friends against all orders to discover the truth. Finally, in Windbreak (Book #3), Eva and the Windsworn must stand against the Smelterborn and also unite with others whom they previously considered to be enemies. Having learnt the secret to destroying the golems, Eva must do what she can to end it all. What ensues is a thrilling war that will have the reader on the edge of their seats.

Throughout the series, we follows Eva on her journey of growth, self-discovery and the search for the truth. This coming of age series is filled with adventure and action. The war sequences are well written and the entire plot comes together very well throughout the three books. The author keeps the plot simple but ensures that the reader is hooked until the end of not just a book, but the entire series. The supporting characters are well crafted and add a lot of spice to the book.

I am grateful to have been given the chance to read and review these books and I do recommend them for fans of fantasy adventures. Do give this series a shot!

Book Review: The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

About the Book:

The Priory of the Orange Tree

A world divided. A queendom without an heir. An ancient enemy awakens.

The House of Berethnet has ruled Inys for a thousand years. Still unwed, Queen Sabran the Ninth must conceive a daughter to protect her realm from destruction – but assassins are getting closer to her door.

Ead Duryan is an outsider at court. Though she has risen to the position of lady-in-waiting, she is loyal to a hidden society of mages. Ead keeps a watchful eye on Sabran, secretly protecting her with forbidden magic.

Across the dark sea, Tané has trained to be a dragonrider since she was a child, but is forced to make a choice that could see her life unravel.

Meanwhile, the divided East and West refuse to parley, and forces of chaos are rising from their sleep.

My Thoughts:

I found this book while browsing through Instagram. There was a lot of posts about it and so much of praise. I knew that I had to read the book. It was the best decision I made.

Samantha Shannon weaves a world of fantasy, magic and dragons, that makes for a very compelling read. The story follows a great number of characters across various parts of the globe, mainly referred to based on the directions of North, South, East and West. Each direction has it’s own set of countries, rulers and stories. The author weaves them all together slowly, unraveling parts of the mystery and introducing us to many people.

As the story progresses, the reader has no choice but to keep going on. It is so well written, that the reader can imagine the scenes with ease. This helps to connect with the people and their surroundings. The story is filled with intrigue, mystery, love and magic. There is also some betrayal, a lot of hope, a strong sense of duty and bonds that grows among people from being united against a common enemy.

The story follows the lives of Ead, Sabran and Tané. Each have their own stories, their own secrets and a big role to play in this narrative. In addition, we have a lot of supporting characters who play pivotal roles in shaping the happenings in the story. The characters are strong and well crafted making it easy for the reader to connect with them and understand them. Each of the characters are tested when their faith comes into question, as well as when they are forced to take decisions that would change the course of their lives forever. This has been very beautifully depicted and the companionship between some of the characters is heart-warming.

I absolutely loved this book and the journey I took with the characters as they navigated their lives and finally moved towards the fight with an ancient enemy. I strongly recommend this book to all the readers out there! This is worth the read!

Book Review : Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

About the Book:

Eleanor & Park

Eleanor is the new girl in town, and she’s never felt more alone. All mismatched clothes, mad red hair and chaotic home life, she couldn’t stick out more if she tried. Then she takes the seat on the bus next to Park. Quiet, careful and, in Eleanor’s eyes, impossibly cool, Park’s worked out that flying under the radar is the best way to get by. Slowly, steadily, through late-night conversations and an ever-growing stack of mixed tapes, Eleanor and Park fall in love. They fall in love the way you do the first time, when you’re 16, and you have nothing and everything to lose .. Set over the course of one school year in 1986, Eleanor and Park is funny, sad, shocking and true – an exquisite nostalgia trip for anyone who has never forgotten their first love.

My Thoughts:

This is a story of friendship, life as a teenager and falling in love for the first time. Eleanor is shy and quiet, forced to deal with a crazy step-father and a mother who no longer tries to take the side of her children. She is also the eldest of four siblings and is constantly under scrutiny from the younger ones. We observe her as she navigates her way as the new girl in town and in school. Her life takes an interesting turn when she sits next to Park on the school bus.

The story then follows these two as they start to interact and discover their common interests while developing newer ones. This story is sweet and nostalgic, just like the author promises. It will remind you of the days of forging new friendships, making memories, sharing books and games. However towards the middle of the story, it gets a little slow mostly due to the repeated routines of our main characters. They only seem to be meeting each other everyday, enjoying silent conversations at school and spending time at Park’s home.

A part of the story that I truly enjoyed was when Park’s parents meet and start to accept Eleanor. They include her for dinner and his mother even tries to give her a makeover of sorts. Towards the end, Park’s father, who up until then seemed to dislike him to some extent, also pitches in to help the children, finally accepting that he is proud of who his son has become. It is indeed a story of self-discovery as well since the characters must break out of their comfort zones and find their way. They take decisions that will change their lives at that point and they love unconditionally and without holding back.

All in all, it is a decent read, rather slow, but if you plough through, you will end up with a smile on your face, possibly reminiscent of your own lives.