Tag Archives: Eleanor & Park

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 // GoodreadsDate 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.



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.


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.



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

The Selective Collective Features: ELEANOR & PARK by Rainbow Rowell

The Selective Collective reads ELEANOR & PARK by RAINBOW ROWELL

I am SO GLAD that we got to read ELEANOR & PARK for one of our February books for The Selective Collective! I’m a huge music person so whenever I read books with a strong music focus, I feel like it adds an extra layer to the book and an additional way to connect with it. Additionally, I love that ELEANOR & PARK took place in 1986 because it also added some nostalgia (not like I was even born in 1986, but you get what I mean) for some great and possibly forgotten songs until I read about them again. That, and it rekindled my love for The Smiths.

SO! For the people who were also not born yet as well as those who want to reminisce about the songs from their past, I wanted to put together a playlist of the songs/bands that were featured/mentioned in the book. Some were talked about in detail and others only appeared on one of Park’s band T-shirts. (Oh, I do miss the days of wearing band T-shirts in high school…)

Let’s back track a second before we jump in because I know not all of you know much about the book! Here’s what we’re diving into:

Eleanor & ParkPublishing Info: February 26th 2013 by St. Martin’s Press Source: ARC copy provided by St. Martin’s Press for review and use for the Selective Collective promotions

Book Synopsis: “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. (Summary as listed on Goodreads.com)


As I was reading, I kept noticing all of this great music I had totally forgotten about and quite a few bands that I recognized, but didn’t know many of their songs. I know some people can listen to music while they read and others can’t, but I feel like some of these songs have such a “listenable” quality (okay, I know that doesn’t make sense, but just go with me here) that they should totally play on loop as you’re reading this book (*cough*The Smiths*cough*). Others are not quite background music (talkin’ about the punk rock here), but really help you get to know Park a little bit better, and maybe even help you appreciate some 80s punk rock even if it isn’t your style.

1. How Soon Is Now? by The Smiths

“How Soon Is Now?” is actually mentioned a few times in the book. Many people probably don’t recognize the title, but I think you’ll recognize the song once you start to listen to it! I didn’t even know this was The Smiths for the longest time because it’s got such a unique style. I love that it’s featured in ELEANOR & PARK because I can totally see this fitting perfectly into the story!

2. Bad by U2

I’m actually not a huge U2 fan, but in the context of ELEANOR & PARK, I absolutely love “Bad”. Gosh. I mean, just putting it into the context of the book just makes it so much more emotional and picturing these two characters listening to “Bad” together just kind of makes my heart melt.

3. Love Will Tear Us Apart by Joy Division

I KNEW this song was out there! I had a total confusion mash-up in my brain because (I’m embarrassed to admit) that the first version I heard of this song was a cover by Fall Out Boy (Right? Ugh.) and every time I thought of Joy Division, I kept thinking of the song “Let’s Dance to Joy Division” by The Wombats, so YouTubeing this song was a bit of an adventure in itself! I definitely prefer the original to the cover (Thank God) and it has some classic 80s keyboards in there to really bring you back in time!

4. Punk Rock Girl by The Dead Milkmen

I had actually never heard of the song or the band before the mention (of the band) in the book. Curiosity got the best of me and I had to look up a song by The Dead Milkmen and surprisingly…… I actually liked it quite a bit!

5. Alison by Elvis Costello

“Alison” is a bit more of a ballad and a little less punk and do you want to know where I first heard this song? It’s kind of embarrassing as well….. In the movie Get Over It (2001) with Ben Foster, Kirsten Dunst and SISQO. (Ugh. For real) It’s kind of a terrible movie (and an embarrassingly terrible nod to Shakespeare), but that’s not what we’re talking about (please help me get off this topic). Anyway, that what was where I first heard it and thank GOD the real song is better than a love-sick Ben Foster screaming it at the top of his lungs.

There are a bunch more songs on the playlist that were mentioned in the book by bands like The Smithereens, Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers, Joe Jackson, and The Dead Kennedys as well as all of the ones you’ve listened to above. If you want to check out the full playlist, I set it up on 8tracks.com so you can take a listen (maybe even while you read the book). Here’s your link: Eleanor & Park playlist

So that’s the playlist and I absolutely love how Rainbow Rowell combined music and literature in a fantastic relationship in ELEANOR & PARK. I hope you enjoyed the music and that it helps you connect to a book on a whole different level! If you didn’t care of the music, I beg you to PLEASE pick up the book regardless because you guys, it’s freaking phenomenal. It was such an amazing experience to read this book and I think it’s going to knock your socks off!

And thank you again to St. Martin’s for sending us copies and to Rainbow Rowell for being an amazing author! She’s been so great with helping us with extra tidbits for these Selective Collective posts and it’s been so much fun! And thanks again for re-turning me on to The Smiths (and I’m sorry, but I just had to stick this gif in there… another thing that the book reminded me of <3).

And please don’t forget to check out the features from the other ladies in The Selective Collective! We each have a post to feature a different side of ELEANOR & PARK so please go visit their take on the book as well!

Tee @ YA Crush  Review: Eleanor & Park
Candice @ The Grown-Up YA  Round Table: The SC discusses Eleanor & Park
Diana & Sandie @ Teen Lit Rocks  Author Interview with Rainbow Rowell & Giveaway
Daphne & Kristina @ Gone Pecan  Casting Call: Eleanor & Park