Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Review: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Title: Eleanor & Park
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publish Date: February 26, 2013
Source: Owned

What's the Story?:

From "Two misfits.
One extraordinary love.

... 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."

My Two Cents:

"Eleanor and Park" is a fantastic book that I wholeheartedly recommend to anyone who has been an awkward teenager. I had heard people raving and raving about this book and it took me much too long to get to. My TBR is always much too long and I never get to the books that I want to read very quickly. This book was certainly worth the wait though. Picture a John Hughes movie (oh yes, this takes place in the 1980s, which I absolutely loved) filled with a great storyline and truly memorable characters and this is exactly what you get with this book and it is wonderful, absolutely wonderful.

Oh, high school. At least for me, it was a time filled with a lot of fun and a ton of awkwardness. This book reminded me a lot of my first love in high school. Instead of bonding over comic books and moody 80s music, it was bonding over Incubus and Adam Sandler songs on the Debate Club bus (yes, I was a pretty cool teenager) for me. I think a lot of us will find common ground with Eleanor and Park. In high school, most of us haven't quite found the confidence that we find later on. Both of the main characters are going through that process in this book. They find a lot of confidence from each other, which is truly wonderful.

Now this book is not just a sweet love story; there is a lot more to this book than just that. Both Eleanor and Park's family life factor into this book. Eleanor comes from a truly horrendous family situation. Her stepfather is absolute scum that makes Eleanor feel really bad about herself. Her mother both defends her and is victimized by the stepfather but chooses to stay just because she believes their tenuous existence is better than what she would find elsewhere. Park has a pretty good family life but feels misunderstood by his parents who don't seem to be able to cope with the changes that he is starting to go through.

This book was well written. The author captures all of those little details that really made the characters feel real. This is the first book that I have read by Rainbow Rowell but I know it will not be the last!



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