Over the next few weeks, we will be revealing the remaining titles that will become the summer reading options for the summer of 2015. Students will select one title from a list of around five novels per grade (In the subject line of the post, “Freshmen” means that the book will be read by incoming freshmen, not existing ones, etc.).
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Eleanor is the chubby new girl with big, red hair. Unsure of herself and alone, Eleanor embarks on yet another first day at a new school. Targeted by bullies from the beginning based on her appearance, including a penchant for wearing men’s clothes, Eleanor just wants to disappear. Not only is school difficult, her home life doesn’t give her much solace either. Eleanor lives with her mother, four younger siblings and an unpredictable stepfather who becomes more sinister over the course of the story.
Park is the quiet, shy half-Korean student at Eleanor’s new school in Omaha, Nebraska. Feeling like an outsider most of his life, he is drawn to Eleanor when her first sees her, if only because he knows the bullies will eat her alive. Coming from a more stable home than Eleanor, Park still has to endure the constant reminder that he is not the sports loving athlete that his brother is.
On the first day of school, Eleanor steps on the bus and Park senses immediately that she will attract the attention of bullies. Apprehensive at first, as to not draw attention to himself, Park eventually offers Eleanor a seat next to him. Thus begins the friendship of an unlikely pair that blossoms into love through a shared interest in comic books and 80s music.