Book Review–Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell



This is the 35th book from my 114 in 2014 Reading Challenge.


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Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Published April 12th, 2012 by St. Martin’s Press


Two misfits.
One extraordinary love.

Eleanor… Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough…Eleanor.

Park… He knows she’ll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There’s a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises…Park.

Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.




This was a hard one to put down once I got to a certain point. At first, I wasn’t sure I was going to like this because Park comes off as somewhat of a jerk in the beginning. But after a while he started to grow on me. Especially when he began acting more kindly toward Eleanor.

I adored the love story. I’ve read some reviews in which people complain about insta-love, but it didn’t feel like that at all to me. Maybe because it took some time for their relationship to start. Things did get seriously quickly once they were together, but I did similar things in the beginning stages of my relationships so it just made me feel more nostalgic than anything.

I was able to connect with Eleanor pretty well. I’m all too familiar with bullying, self-image problems, and having to deal with a terrible step-parent. Her family situation is pretty bad, though, and made me want to hug her.

Park had his own problems, but I guess I couldn’t relate as well to his. I didn’t care much for his dad until the end, when he did a really cool thing. I adored Park’s mom. I think she might be my favorite side character. She cracked me up and I loved how she seemed to run things in her family.

I liked that this was set in the 80s. I’m not too familiar with that time period as I was born during the middle of it, but the setting seemed to fit, especially with the mix tapes. The writing style was super easy to get into. I liked the dual POVs. I’m not sure the story would have worked as well any other way.

This is far from a perfect book, but the few flaws it had weren’t enough to diminish my love for the story. The only thing that really bothered me was toward the end when Park is taking Eleanor somewhere important and she’s so tired that she falls asleep. And he gets annoyed with her for it. I know people are far from perfect, but that part really bothered me.

The only thing that could have really made this story better would be for it to be longer–it seemed to go by much faster than I wanted it to. I’d realistically give this 4.5 stars though I do consider it a new favorite and something I would like to re-read again one day.








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