Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell | Book Review


Eleanor is the new girl in town, and she's never felt more alone. All mismatched clothes, mad red hair and chaotic home life, she couldn't stick out more if she tried. Then she takes the seat on the bus next to Park. Quiet, careful and - in Eleanor's eyes - impossibly cool, Park's worked out that flying under the radar is the best way to get by. Slowly, steadily, through late-night conversations and an ever-growing stack of mix tapes, Eleanor and Park fall in love. They fall in love the way you do the first time, when you're 16, and you have nothing and everything to lose. Set over the course of one school year in 1986, Eleanor & Park is funny, sad, shocking and true - an exquisite nostalgia trip for anyone who has never forgotten their first love.


Rainbow Rowell


St. Martin's Griffin

Release Date: 

April 12, 2012



Eleanor & Park is a novel that you’ll read and understand why people love it so much, even if it’s not your cup of tea. This book does examine some important issues like bullying, gender roles, domestic violence etc.

This isn’t a story about opposites attract, but rather the interesting development of a relationship between two very different characters that somehow complement each other. It’s not just a love story but a testament to how beautiful and special love is in a sometimes cruel and unfair world that is seemingly hellbent on keeping you down for being different. This tale is recommended as a light read for anyone hoping to relive or reminisce on the first love of their youth.

On the surface, this book is one part teenage romance and one part discussion of screwed up families. There were most definitively some difficult situations in this book. First love is one of those universal experiences; something we all go through at some point, meaning we can all relate to what the characters go through, and reflect upon our own experiences.

The writing is highly addictive so you will no doubt be drawn in. It is a difficult book to put down once started, and the sweet moments juxtaposed with the darker and more painful moments very much mirror the characters' budding relationship. The characters were so honest and I loved it so much.

The ending does get a bit ambiguous, and there are certainly answers I want that I don’t conclusively have, but it wouldn’t be realistic if everything was tied up with a bow. I know real life is never as neatly tied up as books are and sometimes things don't make sense but I would have liked more on these subjects to be able to completely fall in love with the book.


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