Eleanor & Park – Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor & Park – Rainbow RowellTitle: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Publishing Info: February 26, 2013 by Macmillan, St. Martin's Press
Source: Received from the publisher for review purposes
Genres: Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: February 6, 2013
Related Posts: Eleanor & Park Playlist, Fangirl, Landline, Attachments, Kindred Spirits

"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 sixteen."
"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, ELEANOR AND PARK 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.

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Simply put: I loved ELEANOR & PARK and I totally didn’t see it coming. I was definitely enjoying the book the whole time – Don’t get me wrong there – but I did not expect to fall in love with it. Based on everything I had seen, I was expecting ELEANOR & PARK to be a cute, upbeat love story with a strong musical connection. Obviously the music tie-in was still there, but E&P is definitely a lot deeper than I originally thought.

Eleanor has a troubled home life. Her mom and dad are separated and after her step-dad Richie kicked her out last year, our story begins with Eleanor returning home to live in a cramped house with her mother and 4 siblings. Park has a great family in his parents, brother, and grandparents who live next-door, but he still doesn’t quite fit in. He’s one step away from being the focus of the bully’s attention at school with his soft, Korean features and obvious different tastes in music (punk) and reading (comics).

The best part about ELEANOR & PARK is how naturally the two incredibly different characters fell together and fit so perfectly. It all started one day on the bus and from there, Rainbow Rowell takes the reader on an extremely moving journey to bring the characters together and really form a strong bond between the two. Yes, there were times when I was frustrated with the characters, but that’s just a natural progression of a story and well… high school.

What really pulled me in was Eleanor’s story line and how truly difficult her home life was. She was an outcast in her own home, never allowed to act naturally and sometimes I found myself questioning, what even is acting naturally for Eleanor? Her step-dad is an absolute terror, her mom does nothing about it, and Eleanor has to try to keep an eye on the little kids while still trying to hold all the pieces of her life together. My heart just went out to her!! And I felt slightly murderous towards her step-father.

I admit that I wasn’t entirely sold on the book until the very end. I won’t spoil anything, but there came a certain point in the book where the whole story took an enormous shift and I had such a strong array of emotions that simply overwhelmed me. While the book is a bit heartbreaking overall due to Eleanor’s situation, it’s also heartwarming to see these two characters learn how to love each other, never before feeling capable of it.

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Eleanor: God, my heart just broke for Eleanor over and over and over again in this book. I can’t possibly imagine what it would be like to be in her situation. She was simply stuck and I can’t even say trying to make the best of it — She was simply trying to survive. It was just shocking to hear her story and see her come out on the other side. I almost feel like she was a real person and I was honored to meet her! Everything about her felt so real and not at all like any old character in a book.
Park: Gosh, Park was like an angel in this story. He became Eleanor’s guardian angel, in a way. I loved watching his thought process and seeing his feelings develop for Eleanor because they were a surprise to him too! He’s definitely not perfect and we do see a lot of flaws in Park, but he made for such a great character as well.

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BUY IT!

Goshhhh, this book was just SO good. It was so wonderful and one I will recommend to ANYONE.

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE ELEANOR & PARK

     The Sea of Tranquility      Blaze

22 thoughts on “Eleanor & Park – Rainbow Rowell

  1. Amy @ bookgoonie

    This one is now on my wish list & I think is a must for my school library. It is hard to say that I think it will be delightful, considering how hard Eleanor’s life is. But it sounds like something I will walk away from loving.

  2. daphne

    great review! i like how you descriped Park being different…i couldn’t quite find the right words to show that he, too, had issues. and Eleanor…i like that you pointed out that there’s a difference between making the most of a bad situation and just surviving. Eleanor’s issues really make your heart break and I’m tearing up just thinking about her. and i do love the way it ended.

  3. Elizabeth @ Don't Take My Books Away

    I finished this one last night… great book, but really different from a lot of the YA romance I have read. Eleanor’s situation really upset me… seriously, so heartwrenching that even though this was a love story, I left it feeling much more heartbroken than anything. Mostly because no one should have to live like Eleanor or her mom and siblings and yet many, many people do. But on the side of love story, I think Rowell did a really good job at capturing the intensity, the neediness, and the addictiveness of first love. Nice review!

  4. Rachel

    Oh my gosh, I CANNOT WAIT to read this one. This sounds like one of those books that’s going to really affect me on a personal level, and while those are sometimes the most difficult to read, they’re also incredibly therapeutic. Also, I love that this is an emotional book because I need one of those right now. Great review, Brittany!

  5. Tee @ YA Crush

    Such a perfect review, Brittany. I’m so glad we got a chance to read this one because the description sounded cute, but I really had no idea how much I would adore this book. Loved it!

  6. Magan @ Rather Be Reading

    HIP HIP HOORAY! I’m so glad you loved Eleanor and Park as much as I did! THIS BOOK! So lovely, so wonderful! And like you said, it totally crept up on me. I wasn’t expecting to have this incredible, overwhelming love for it. 🙂

  7. Kelly

    See, the thing that makes me more interested in this vs other YA romances is that the characters actually sound somewhat COMPLEX. I can’t stand a YA book with flat characters (which I feel like I see a lot). Eleanor has more going on in her life than just Park.

  8. Stormy

    I’ve heard only good things about this book! I think one of the most appealing things is that(from what I’ve heard), their lives and other problems don’t stop just because of the romance between the two main characters. Sometimes I feel that happens in books, but it’s clear from the several reviews I’ve read that Eleanor & Park encompasses a lot of subject and has quite a bit of complexity. Looking forward to reading it!

  9. Ellie

    Everyone has been raving about this book! I wasn’t sure if I would like it (the blurb didn’t really grab me), but after hearing such great reviews, I know I’ll have to pick this one up.

  10. Lauren Ellice

    I have heard nothing but great things about this book. Some of my favorite authors have been recommending this one (John Green, Gayle Forman, Stephanie Perkins, etc. etc.) so that is definitely encouraging. Your review made me even more excited for it, although maybe a little apprehensive because it sounds like these characters are going to break my heart!!

  11. Bookworm Brandee

    This is a book I might have passed on because the cover is so “cutesie” but after reading your review, it’s on my “must have” list! 🙂 I love YA books that are deep and complex. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on Eleanor & Park and for the chance to win a copy! 🙂

  12. Hannah @ So Obsessed With

    I seriously have not read a single bad this about this book, and I’m so looking forward to reading it myself. I read and really enjoyed Rainbow’s first book, Attachments, and I have a feeling this one is just going to make me love her more!

  13. Ashley

    I listened to this when it came out and just fell in love with Rainbow Rowell. I’ve now read everything she’s written, and I’m anxiously awaiting Landline’s release. I can’t believe I don’t already own a physical copy of this!

    My heart broke over Eleanor’s situation and I agree that Park helped to make her world better, the part of E&P that got to me the most was Park’s parents. I’m an emotional reader anyway, but Park’s mom describing how she related to Eleanor’s situation because of her large family back in Korea made me sob. Park’s dad telling Eleanor that if she needed to be at their house, she could and then his reaction when Park was describing the actions at the end of the book also endeared Mr. Sheridan to me. Quite simply, Park has some of the best YA parents I’ve ever read. They were developed and dynamic, plus they were functional without being too perfect.

  14. Nurhen

    I have read Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl and I loved it. I am sure this one is just as elegantly and cutely written and your review makes me even more eager to dive into it!
    I would like to request it for your giveaway; and Happy Birthday!

  15. Lisa

    I’ve had this book on my TBR forever, and I can’t believe I still haven’t read it! It was fun going through your review list for your birthday giveaway, reading the different reviews, and deciding which book would be the most fun to read next! Thanks for hosting the giveaway! Happy Birthday!

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