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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Review: Eleanor and Park

Author: Rainbow Rowell
Release Date: Februrary 26, 2013
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Pages: 320
Source: Library
Summary:   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 Favorite Lines:
“I just want to break that song into piece and love them all to death.”

“Eleanor was right. She never looked nice. She looked like art, and art wasn't supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something.”

“Holding Eleanor's hand was like holding a butterfly. Or a heartbeat. Like holding something complete, and completely alive.”

“I miss you, Eleanor. I want to be with you all the time. You’re the smartest girl I’ve ever met, and the funniest, and everything you do surprises me. And I wish I could say that those are the reasons I like you, because that would make me sound like a really evolved human being …‘But I think it’s got as much to do with your hair being red and your hands being soft … and the fact that you smell like homemade birthday cake”     
Why I Loved It:  I know I have more to read for April ARCS, but I couldn't put off Eleanor and Park anymore.  It was screaming at me from my library pile.  It was begging me to read it.  I just had to comply.

Eleanor and Park may be one of the sweetest books I've ever read.  It made hand-holding one of the most intimate actions.  I want someone to hold my hand the way Park holds Eleanor's.  It was beautiful. There was so much innocence, so much sincerity in their steps towards first love.  Falling in love for the first time is one of the most wonderful things in the world.  It also can be the most heart breaking.

In the midst of such a sweet story, there was a honest misery to be found.  The life that Eleanor lives is thankfully foreign to me.  Her home is broken, unstable, and could and does erupt at a moment's notice.  Her stepdad is a class-A creep, and I could not even deem him with the title "man".  He feels the need to take away joy and maintain his control, with force if necessary.  Her family has just about no money.  I mean Eleanor doesn't even own a toothbrush.  That part of Eleanor is a desolate one.  Throw in the "mean girls" at school, and you have a good picture of what Eleanor faces.

Park has a home life full of love and has never had to worry about food or clothes or money.  His one concern is the fact that he doesn't line up with his former-military dad's idea of what he should be like.  He fails on many accounts of his dad's ideals.  Still, the one thing his dad and himself agrees with is that Eleanor is worth the time.  Park is sincere and eager with the innocence of youth.  He loves music and comic books.  Over time, he begins to bring Eleanor the things he loves, sharing them with her.  He even goes as far to provide batteries for her walkman when he figures out that for some reason, she doesn't have access to them.  Park though learns to see Eleanor for who she is, and the way he treats her most of the time was full of honor and true "knight in shining armor" style.  Another serious plus is that Eleanor and Park talk a great deal of the time in terms of comics and music.  The nerd in me sincerely enjoyed that aspect.

Ms. Rowell's writing style is clean, full of flawless wit and capturing emotions we all feel in a beautiful writing.  I experienced so many of the emotions with Eleanor and Park.  I was incredibly impressed with the style I found in those pages.  The book captures what it means to fall in love for the first time, all the awkwardness and beauty in the moments of all the "firsts" and the joys they bring.  

High Points:  Amazing writing style that reminds me of the Great John Green.  Lovable characters.  Sweet romance that is full of the first joys and the heart breaking moments only love can bring.  Ms. Rowell brings in reality without making the reader want to go shoot themselves.  That's always a plus. 

Low Points:  Well I just have one.  Park tends to lean more on that first love POV where Eleanor is his life.  He stops hanging out with friends and is totally consumed by Eleanor.  That's just not the kind of message I want to share with the youth of today.  It's not healthy.  

Who Should Read It:  For me, this is one of the great contemporaries to be found among the YA lit.  I think fans of John Green will really appreciate the book.
Need a Second Opinions?


  1. LOL It happens to me a lot too that books from my TBR pile are just calling me to read them!!
    I've read so many great reviews of this book. I really have to read it. I am so glad you enjoyed it (:

    Sapir @ Diary of a Wimpy Teen Girl


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