Books Like Eleanor and Park
Romance fans will know that the best love stories are typically those where completely opposite characters are attracted to each other. While these types of relationships inevitably have a lot of friction, it also allows the couples to thrive by compensating for each other's weaknesses with their unique strengths. The 2013 young adult novel, Eleanor & Park, is a unique take on this trope as it features red haired 16-year old girl named Eleanor and a half-Korean, 16-year old boy named Park. At first glance these two couldn't be more different, but they meet each other thanks to a chance encounter on a school bus. Gradually the two discover that despite their difference, they do share a lot of common interests and eventually fall in love even though the odds are against them. Eleanor and Park is more than just a romance, as it explores a couple of very difficult themes, such as domestic abuse, bullying, body image and child abuse. If you are a fan of the book and have been searching for something similar to read, then check out the following books like Eleanor and Park.
by Jennifer Niven
The 2015 young adult novel, All the Bright Places, was written by Jennifer Niven and shares a lot of themes with Eleanor and Park. It is the tale of two teenagers who connect with each other under unlikely circumstances and go on to forge a strong bond. Violet Markey is a popular cheerleader at school, while Theodore Finch is called a freak by other students due to his obsession with death. However, Finch is very surprised to find that while her life might seem perfect, Violet is dealing with her own demons after the death of her sister. All the Bright Places is a great book if you are looking for something that will tug at your heartstrings, but readers looking for a perfect happy ending will not find it here.
by Una LaMarche
Like No Other is another book that is often compared to Eleanor and Park due to its romance between two very different teens. On the one hand, there is Devorah, who has always adhered to her strict Hasidic upbringing. Jaxon, on the other hand, is a West Indian boy who loves to have fun, but has never been comfortable around the opposite sex. Despite living their entire lives on opposite sides of the same street in Brooklyn, the two of them have never managed to cross paths. This all changes when they are stranded together in a hospital elevator after a hurricane strikes. Even afterwards the two are drawn to each other, but this is made challenging by the fact that a relationship between them would be strictly forbidden due to cultural taboos. It's not often that we see books that explore the complications that arise from a romance between characters who are not only from different races, but also different cultures and religions, which makes Like No Other a compelling novel.
by Laura Buzo
If you are looking for a relateable romance that is as adorable as it is awkward, then Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo will scratch that itch. It is a romance that is set in the grocery store where a 15 year old girl named Amelia starts working at the checkout. Unfortunately for Amelia, the person who she develops a romantic interest in is a 21 year old university student named Chris, who doesn't see her in the same light at all. Since the two work together they quickly become friends and Amelia begins to have hope that her crush might eventually lead somewhere. There is also a lot more to this book than just romance, which makes it something that readers can relate to whether they have ever been in the same situation as Amelia or even Chris.
by Jandy Nelson
The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson was written before Eleanor and Park, but it shares a lot of similar themes. In this book, it is a high school girl named Lennie Walker, who finds herself becoming romantically involved with someone. However, the relationship is rather complicated because he is the former fiancée of her sister who passed away suddenly. While she is still trying to deal with this situation, Lennie meets a newcomer to town, a handsome boy named Joe Fontaine. She quickly falls in love with Joe, but is unable to give up her secretive relationship, which obviously causes a lot of turmoil in her life. The Sky is Everywhere is a dramatic and compelling book that showcases just how messy love can be and how people often deal with grief in different ways.
by Christina Moracho
Althea and Oliver by Christina Moracho is an opposites attract book where the two characters couldn't be more opposite. Althea Carter is the hot-headed artist who isn't adverse to using her fists to solve conflict, while Oliver McKinley prefers the role of peacemaker and leans more towards science than art. However, despite their difference, the two of them have been best friends since they were only six years old. It is Althea who begins to see Oliver in a more romantic light as their junior year of high school draws to a close, but things take a turn for the worse when Oliver discovers he has a medical disorder. The complicated relationship dynamics in Althea and Oliver will appeal to fans of Eleanor and Park as the book features the same kind of insightful characters dealing with difficult situations.