** Spoilers everywhere! **
Now that they're noticing each other as people, they're starting to notice each other as people with attractive elements. Eleanor is right about Cyclops being a boring X-Man.
I appreciated the way Rowell is continuing to show, not tell, e.g. Park emptying batteries from everything he can and asking for batteries for Christmas to make sure Eleanor can keep listening to his tapes.
I'm okay with feminist critiques of the X-Men in my teen romance novels.
This is the most exciting and emotionally complex hand holding I've read in a book.
I'm starting to think that one of the most valuable things about young adult literature is the opportunity to see other parenting styles, or maybe even a parenting style a reader has seen in person but might be able to understand better from a step back. In this chapter, Park talks more about always feeling like a failure around his dad. He can't learn any new skills when his dad is trying to teach him. And, as readers, we see why: Park's dad thinks he's being helpful, but he becomes frustrated to the point of pounding things with his fist when his son isn't doing something right. Of course he can't learn like that.
Hoping the obvious thing where Park does something that makes it look like he's interested in someone else, and Eleanor notices and feels crushed, but finally finds out Park really does like her after...doesn't happen.
I appreciate how Park is affected by considerations of his own social status going down from associating with Eleanor, and how he feels bad about worrying.
Before there was email to have close conversations that are easier to have with some distance, there were land line phones! This was a satisfying chapter because I don't enjoy lengthy suspense of people not telling each other how they feel out loud.
A major theme in this book is that kids either don't know when they're in an abusive and neglectful situation, or don't feel like they can say a single thing about it to outside authorities out of fear of making it worse. In this chapter, Eleanor's stepfather is driving kids around in his half-broken convertible, drunk, and no one is wearing seat-belts. But he's the "head of the household" so everything is about what he wants.