This is the description on the inside cover of Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. I loved reading this book. It is designated a Young Adult (YA) book, and the writing is concise and uncomplicated. But Eleanor’s and Park’s emotions and actions are universal as they try to find their niche in a confusing, sometimes inhospitable world.
When I look through my library of favorite books – the 5-star books I read again and again; the books I lug with me every time we move; the books I never lend because I can’t bear to lose them – I find many that could be succinctly described as “Two Misfits. One Extraordinary Love.”
Not all are about romantic love. Love between a parent and a child, two siblings or two unlikely companions can be just as palpable and endearing as a romance.
Defining a “misfit” presumes we have an accepted definition for “normal”. That’s a discussion for another day. The characters in these books affect me because of their circumstantial or social struggles.
Sometimes the misfits dominate the plot; sometimes the extraordinary love is what lies at the heart of the story.
Here, in no particular order, are my favorite “Two Misfits. One Extraordinary Love” books:
- God-Shaped Hole by Tiffanie DeBartolo
- How to Kill a Rock Star by Tiffanie DeBartolo
- The Flawless Skin of Ugly People by Doug Crandell
- Love Is a Mix Tape by Rob Sheffield
- Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
- I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb
- Loving Frank by Nancy Horan
- The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
Next in my stack of to-read books that might end up in this category:
- The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Am I missing any “must have” books in this section of my library?