Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Review: Eleanor & Park

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Release Date: February 26, 2013

Eleanor is the new girl in town, and with her chaotic family life, her mismatched clothes and unruly red hair, she couldn't stick out more if she tried.

Park is the boy at the back of the bus. Black T-shirts, headphones, head in a book - he thinks he's made himself invisible. But not to Eleanor... never to Eleanor.

Slowly, steadily, through late-night conversations and an ever-growing stack of mix tapes, Eleanor and Park fall for each other. They fall in love the way you do the first time, when you're young, and you feel as if you have nothing and everything to lose.

Taken from Goodreads

Start: 3/14/2014 | End: 3/16/2014 | Pages: 328 | Rating: 4.5 Stars

My Thoughts:

I'm definitely going through Rowell's books fast. I only have one more left to read, and that's Landline, which I'm super excited to read. I love how Rowell's books each focus on completely different time periods. Eleanor & Park took place in 1986, if I'm not mistaken, while Attachments took place at the start of the new millenium. Then Fangirl is the present time, I think, and Landline....I'm not sure about that one. It's not out yet, but its summary points to time travel.

The novel begins with Eleanor and Park's meeting on the bus. Eleanor, who recently moved back in with her mother, stepdad, and siblings, is the new girl at school. She struggles to find a seat on the school bus, since everyone has their own "assigned" seat already, and ends up sitting with Park, much to his dismay. Due to her wacky clothing style, and that she's new, she is picked on the most. On the bus, her and Park don't talk at all.

The story follows the pair as they struggle to overcome their feelings of awkwardness, and it basically takes up one third of the book. For example, Park ends up bringing comics on the bus to read, and he notices Eleanor reading along with him over his shoulder. Being nice, he turns the page slowly, making sure she finishes reading before he moves on. Eleanor, although appreciates the fact he waits for her, doesn't want Park to pity her either. But neither of them speak to each other when this happens.  

What I really liked Eleanor & Park, was how incredibly normal and real it felt. Whenever I go to read books, I try to escape reality, not read about it. That's why I stick to reading fantasy or science fiction, rather than romance and literature. Eleanor & Park wasn't like that. It was like Rowell time traveled back to the late 1980's, picked out a couple, and told us their story. Some exceptions with this is Park's eyeliner, and how it resulted in no bullying. I was not born in this time period, so I can't say for sure what would have happened or not, but I think Rowell just added to in to add to the story. I can say that she did a really good job with connecting the past to the present. Even though I've never heard songs by The Smith, I definitely heard of them. Also I know about the X-Men, Watchmen, and the other comics they were discussing. So I wasn't out of the loop at all.

But with all love stories, they have to end somehow. I won't spoil the ending, but all I can say is that I was extremely upset with how it ended. Why? Because it ended like it would in real life, without closure or a true happy ending. I have to agree though that that's what makes this book so special, but still, I'm upset.

Overall, I would definitely recommend this book to anyone a fan of Rainbow Rowell's over novels, or a fan of YA in general. As always, Rowell's writing and dialogue is amazing, and you should definitely put this and Fangirl on your TBR list :)


  1. Till this day, I have not read anything Rainbow Rowell yet. I know I know, I really need to change that and I AM going to :P Contemporary romance is not usually my cup of tea but Rowell's books are raved by so many others that I just have to see it myself. Hopefully I will like them as much as you do. Nice review, Val!

    1. tsk tsk! Just kidding. The only contemporary romance books I pick up is anything by John Green, and not Rainbow Rowell. Actually I try to avoid romance in general, but like you said, Rowell's books are just so amazing that I don't care. I will read any book she publishes.

  2. Aww I am glad you loved this one much more than me! That's always good to see in my eyes. A book that should be loved but isn't by me. ^O^ I do love the reality aspect to it and how very real it was written but in a way I just couldn't feel for Eleanor and Park. I just was like ehhh okay toward the whole stories, though I thought I would love it. Maybe Fangirl will be better?

    1. I definitely think Fangirl would be better for you (and it was for me). Eleanor & Park is pretty slow, and it also takes place in 1986 when I wasn't really born yet. Sure there's stuff our generation can relate to, but not that much. Fangirl on the other hand is much more relatable.

      Fangirl > Eleanor & Park > Attachments (meh)

  3. I kind of liked the unhappy ending, just because it's SO uncommon to read in other books (everyone loves a happy ending!). This book made me cry and cry and cry!

    1. Yeah the unhappy ending is definitely be uncommon in other books and also would definitely happen in real life. It also shows how Eleanor copes with leaving Park.


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