December's Book Pick is the fabulous YA novel, ELEANOR & PARK, by Rainbow Rowell.
ELEANOR & PARK is a delightfully complex and realistic portrayal of first love. When Eleanor appears on the school bus, Park initially wonders why she didn't "get what a mess she was." She wears weird clothes on her big, awkward, brightly-redheaded self. But Park is a nice guy, so he moves over to let her sit down. It's not long before finds himself inexplicably drawn to Eleanor, and she to him, even though they are worlds apart.
Park, like any normal teen, has parents and a brother that annoy him, but there is never any question of how much this family cares for each other. Eleanor, on the other hand, lives with her mother and four siblings and her mother's abusive boyfriend in a house so tiny there is absolutely no privacy at all. As Eleanor and Park explore each other and their growing feelings for each other, we also get a picture of how their worlds affect who they are and what they bring to the relationship.