Review: Eleanor & Park

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

15745753Title: Eleanor and Park
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Publication Date: February 26, 2013
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Two misfits.
One extraordinary love.

Eleanor... Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough...Eleanor.

Park... He knows she'll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There's a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises...Park.

Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.


I’ve heard and read a ton of rave reviews about Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park, but it wasn’t until recently that I was able to get a hold of a copy of it (as a birthday gift from a friend - thanks, Steph!). The novel revolves around Eleanor, the new kid - a ‘big’ girl with curly red hair who just doesn’t fit in, and Park, the quiet Asian (half-Korean) who loves music and comic books. Their first encounter on the school bus is hardly friendly, but as the days go by, they learn more about each other, and find that they surprisingly share interest for many of the same things. And so their story begins.

AMAZING. This book talks about something that seems so simple, but the way it was written, the way the characters’ feelings were portrayed, the way the story played out… it was just so freakin’ awesome. I love the fact that Eleanor and Park just connect with each other. Eleanor has a ton of problems with her family - her dad left them, her stepdad is abusive, and she can’t even have a good, honest relationship with her mom. She’s so brave to withstand Richie’s (her stepdad) abuse, but I feel sad that she has such a hard time at home and is only bullied more at school. Fortunately, she finds somewhat of an escape when she’s with Park. She’s usually insecure about how she looks, but I love how those things - her hair, her size - are what makes Park like her even more.

Park, on the other hand, is tired of hearing his dad telling him to man up, because he’s doesn’t care about that stuff. There’s even a point where he starts wearing eyeliner to school, and that makes me look up to him even more, because he’s just so comfortable in his own skin. He takes it upon himself to protect Eleanor in whatever way he can, and that’s nice. He may sometimes say the wrong things, but it’s clear that he always has good intentions.

Eleanor and Park demonstrate what pure, true love is all about. They are two people who remain selfless and strong for each other amidst everything. Eleanor knows how disastrous a relationship can end up being - her messed up family is a constant reminder of that. But when it comes to Park, she doesn’t care. They make each other happy and all tingly with something as simple as holding hands, and I think that’s super sweet and cute. They do their best to not let difficult situations tear them apart, and I admire the kind of maturity they already have at just sixteen years of age.

Now, normally I wouldn’t have liked the ending, but something about this one actually made me smile and fall in love with the book even more. There were some areas left unresolved, like what happened with Eleanor’s family, but I guess that’s okay, because the rest of the story was pretty damn good.

Rowell’s Eleanor & Park is a beautiful novel about the kind of love that makes you fight for it despite knowing that the odds are stacked against you, the kind of love that gives you hope and happiness just thinking about it. If you haven’t already read it, I recommend that you do so as soon as possible! Chances are, you won’t regret it! ;)


Real rating: 4.5


Anonymous said...

Ahhh, I have to read this now! I read a bit at the store & had to leave it, because I had too many books already. I will for sure go back for this on my next book haul! thanks!

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