Zach, Poppy and Alice have been friends for ages, and have enjoyed creating imaginary worlds with action figures and dolls. One day, without consulting anyone, Zach's father throws away his toys, forcing Zach to claim to the girls that he is too old for toys, and his friendship with them. Despite this, when Poppy insists she is being haunted by a china doll (possessed by the spirit of a murdered girl), Zach joins the girls on a middle of the night journey to where the girl lived. I had some suspension of disbelief issues with their excursion, but found the story to be enjoyable nevertheless. The theme of this novel is very poignant and appropriate. Kids are expected to grow up too fast; I can already see it with my fifth grade daughter.
Eleanor is a new student, overweight with big red hair. Park, is a slim Asian student. They meet on the bus, when Eleanor sits with Park because she can't find a seat (are you picturing the bus scene from Forrest Gump?). Soon, a romance grows between the two, although they face several challenges, including their families. I love, love, LOVE Eleanor & Park. First of all, it is set in the 80s, and I love the little date specific details like the Walkman that they pass back and forth. Secondly, to quote my Goodreads review, "That's how you write a teen romance that does not make the reader want to throw up." The romance between Eleanor and Park is sweet, without being overly sappy. Finally, it shows teen girls that you can experience great romance even if you are not popular or a size 2. If you haven't read it yet, what are you waiting for? I know this will be a book I'll gladly revisit in the future. Do I need to tell you which book I'm rooting for in this battle?
Remember to visit http://blogs.slj.com/battleofthebooks/ tomorrow for the official results!