Review: Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

eleanor and parkEleanor and Park
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Age Group: Teen
Source: Library
Good Reads  |  Amazon
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Summary from GoodReads:

Bono met his wife in high school, Park says.
So did Jerry Lee Lewis, Eleanor answers.
I’m not kidding, he says.
You should be, she says, we’re 16.
What about Romeo and Juliet?
Shallow, confused, then dead.

I love you, Park says.
Wherefore art thou, Eleanor answers.
I’m not kidding, he says.
You should be.

Set over the course of one school year in 1986, this is the story of two star-crossed misfits—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love—and just how hard it pulled you under.

My Thoughts

Do you guys ever hear about a book that everyone is raving about?  This book is getting amazing reviews, both professional and personal.  Everything you hear about this book tells you it is something special.  But, for whatever reason, you are hesitant to read it.  You think that this book must surely be everything wonderful that people are saying, but you can’t help but think it just might not be your type of book.  But you decide to give the book a try because of all the positive things being said about it, not expecting to like it.

Well, Eleanor and Park was that book for me.  I was sure that it was as amazing as everyone said, but I just wasn’t sure it was for me.  You guys, I am hear to say that I was SO INCREDIBLY WRONG!  Eleanor and Park is such an amazing book.  Even if you think Eleanor and Park isn’t for you, you need to give it a try regardless.  Because, chances are, you will fall as much in love with these two teens as I did.

The focus of this book, is, of course, Eleanor and Park.  Eleanor has not had a sunny life.  She’s living with her mother, her four siblings, and her stepfather.  Her stepfather is pretty much an awful human being, and Eleanor tries to avoid his attention at all costs.  Oh, and to top it all off, Eleanor’s family is poor.  I mean, not-being-able-to-buy-toothbrushes-poor.  April from Good Books and Good Wine (her review) wonderfully explains how poor Eleanor’s family is.  Eleanor is heavier than the other girls in school.  It’s definitely something she’s insecure about, and her thoughts about herself are heartbreaking.  But I can totally and completely understand her insecurities.  Which girl hasn’t felt like that at some point.

And then there is Park.  Wonderful, sweet Park.  He’s not someone you would immediately swoon over, but what a mistake.  Because he is such a wonderful boy.  He’s not picked on at school, but he also isn’t exactly in with the in-crowd.  Park has some issues with his father, but for the most part Park’s life is pretty good.  It was amazing to see Park’s perceptions of Eleanor change as he got to know her.  It was beautiful, and I really hope that is true of everyone.  The more gets to know and care about Eleanor, the more he thinks she’s beautiful.

Reading how these two end up falling for each other is so freaking amazing.  I can’t even.  It’s slow, and realistic, and absolutely beautiful.  There are so many passages I flagged to go back to, and that isn’t something I normally do, ever!  Can I just say that I will never, ever think of handholding the same again!  I mean, wow!  It was almost more intimate than a kissing scene.  If you’ve read it, I am sure you agree.

I did think the mad rush at the end was a little too quick, especially after the slow build throughout the rest of the book.  But that is really the only thing I could wish improved, and really, it’s a small thing.  Everything about this book was breathtaking.  I couldn’t put it down, but I never wanted it to end.  You all need to run out and read Eleanor and Park!

About Quinn

I'm a twenty-something children's librarian at a public library in Central New York. I've long left my teen years behind me, but I love to read YA and children's books. I have two adorable dogs. Ginger is a mix between a poodle and havanese, and Daphne is Bichon Frise. Other things I love: Favorite Movie: Singing in the Rain Favorite Book: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen Favorite TV Show: Monk
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6 Responses to Review: Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

  1. I want to read this one now..I hadn’t considered it but after this review you have convinced me!

  2. Livvy @Nerdy Book Reviews says:

    I am totally on the bandwagon to wanting to read this book and have nearly bought it countless times in the past few weeks, but I’ve resisted. I definitely think I should give into temptation with your review. Fabulous review! 🙂

  3. ailsacf says:

    I’ve been seeing lots of adverts for this, I guess I’ll have to check it out sometime. 🙂

  4. Rachel says:

    I posted my review for E&P today too! I’m really happy that the was the book for you. I had the same reservations about it before reading it, and unfortunately I didn’t end up loving it like everyone else. I couldn’t relate to the story at all, so I was a bit bored. BUT I can see why everyone loves it and I would recommend it to almost anyone. Like you said, the slow build of their relationship was absolutely beautiful. I could stop saying “AWWWW” throughout because it was they’re so cute.

  5. I’m like you, Quinn, and have read fabulous reviews of this book. But I still haven’t read it. I’m glad you loved it – I’ll have to pick it up sooner than later! 🙂

  6. Candice says:

    Oh, this one… I cannot describe how much I love this book! I think what I love best about this one is that the story itself isn’t anything new or even that memorable. When you describe it to someone, it just sounds like an everyday, run of the mill story. But there’s so much more to it, the way Rainbow Rowell weaves these two characters together, showing you things that leave you breathless… so wonderful! It’s nearly hard to put into words!

    Anyway, enough swooning over this book! Wonderful review and I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

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