Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor & Park

*SPOILERS ARE MARKED*

 

Description (from Goodreads):

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.

Title: Eleanor and Park

Author: Rainbow Rowell

Page Count: 328

Series: Stand Alone

How I got This Book: Gift (Barnes and Nobles Collector’s Edition)

Other Rainbow Rowell book reviews:

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My review:

Oh my gosh. What can I even say about this book? That is was amazing? That it was heart wrenching? That it was really, really good? None of those things are enough. This book was so much more than I expected it to be. I can hardly put it into words. But, considering that I am a book blogger, I think that I should try to put it into words.

So first off, I am going to do a non-spoiler-y mini-review and then in a few paragraphs/sentences, there will be a warning for Spoilers and from that point on will be my spoiler review. But if you’ve read one of my reviews before, you probably already know the ropes.

Alright. Wow. This book. This. Book. So overall I really liked this book. There was a little bit of something for everybody. There was romance, there was drama (ranging from abusive homes to bully’s), there was heartbreak, and there was a friendship that blossomed into something more.

Going into this book, I knew that it was going to be sad. I had just heard that around, not to mention that every blurb and review inside of the book jacket basically says (more or less) “You are going to cry.” or “This book will shatter your heart, read at your own risk.”. But I thought it was going to be more light-hearted than it really was. I thought the humor would be more funny than grim. I thought that it would be a solid, sweet contemporary with a sad ending. But I wasn’t expecting the layer of gray, depressing haze coating every word of this book. I’m not saying that it didn’t make me happy at times while I was reading, just that the whole thing was…heavier than I imagined it would be, but it actually really works with this story.

So, I did not like a single person in Eleanor’s family except for Eleanor. I kind of liked Park’s parents at first, and they grew on me as the book went on. I loved the dynamics that slowly just established themselves between Eleanor and Park and how it all unfolded as they both rose above their insecurities and fears.

The ending, however, I had issues with. I can’t go into too much detail about it because to do so would mean to spew spoilers all over the place. But I can tell you vaguely that if you are okay with amazing books having meh endings, then pick this up! I have a friend who really doesn’t like it when books end stupidly, and boy am I with her on that. So if you feel that way too, this may not be the book for you, but I would still recommend giving it a try because you may think that the ending is great!

Overall this book was great! My advise is to give it a go. The way the book was formatted, with three page chapters and short sentences, made me keep reading. This book is the first that has kept me hooked enough to finish it since the end of August. So, I give rainbow Rowell brownie points for that. And that also means that if you are in a reading slump or aren’t really feeling the loooong books, this would be one of the first books I recommend, even though it does read a little heavier, it reads very quick. This book kept me up late into the night flipping page after page because I just couldn’t get enough of it. my eyes were binge-eating this book.

The setting and everything of this book was a lot different than I envisioned it when I first read the summary on goodreads, but, again, this book just makes things work that normally I wouldn’t have liked. So there were a lot of unexpected but good surprises.

Alright, so that is going to be it for the non-spoiler review! There’s not much I can say about this book without spoiling it. If you haven’t read this book yet, what are some things that you are looking forward to when you do read this book? What are your excitements and expectations? leave a comment at the bottom of this post, scrolling innocently past the spoiler section of this review. I would love to hear your thoughts pre-Eleanor and Park! Bye! Come back when you read the book!

*WARNING. SPOILERS AHEAD. ALL OF THE FEELS WILL BE FELT AND IF YOU HAVE NOT READ ELEANOR AND PARK YET YOU WILL BE SPOILED. TURN BACK NOW OR FACE YOUR SHAME WHEN YOU DECIDE YOU DO WANT TO READ THIS BOOK AND REALIZE YOU HAVE BEEN SPOILED.BYE*

Okay, so now everyone here has read the book, yeah? Good. *pause*

*Group cry*

Anyways, let’s just get this started before I start crying again. So the characters. I found all of the characters a little hard to connect to at first. Eleanor is so naturally closed off, with good reason, that it took awhile for even me as a reader to see her true colors. But when her true self started to break free off the page, she was really vibrant. From her first page I was already feeling sad for her, because you could tell that she was hurting, but it wasn’t until she got woken up by the yelling one night when i truly realized that her life was…awful. The whole time I was just wishing that she would build up the courage to tell park or the counselor or someone about Richie, so that was a little frustrating.

Also, this is just a small thing, but her toothbrush. I can see why she would be embarrassed to ask for that, but COME ON ELEANOR. Basically me and Eleanor are complete opposites personality wise, so that made it hard for me to connect with her and back-up her decisions, but still I felt incredibly sad about her situation. No matter what, personality difference or not, nobody should be in her shoes.

And then we have park and his family. Park was a little more rebellious than I, maybe would have…liked. But I do think that he was my favorite character in the book. He was sarcastic and funny and once he stopped being a jerk to Eleanor he was…amazing. I loved the way that he treated Eleanor. The way that he looked past her baggy clothes and matted hair and treated her like a princess. And the fact that he just decided to start borrowing his comics to her one day was just, like, the cutest thing ever.

Park’s parents were not my favorites at all near the start of the book, but I really enjoyed them near the end of the book. They really started to take Eleanor in and under their wings. Also, I loved how Park’s dad pushed away his differences when Park needed to get Eleanor out of town and just gave Park his keys and some money. I just thought that was an amazing thing to do on his part.

I LOVED the relationship between Park and Eleanor. The way this mutual hate turned into mutual interest which turned into friendship and the romance. I loved that spiral effect and lack of insta-love. Their relationship maintained this sweet, interesting feel to it the whole time, too which I really liked.

And now for the part of the review that may get a little ugly. The ending. *mouth foams*. So I have nearly nothing but good things to say about the rest of the book. But the ending took the book from a 5 star read, to a 4 star read.

Now, just to be clear, I get that Eleanor had to get away and go to her uncle’s house, but I don’t think That Eleanor and Park had to lose touch. I realize that this book takes place before you can just text someone and they text right back. But when park wrote the letters, Eleanor could have least read them and replied. They could have called. Park could have used the money from his job for gas to go visit Eleanor. There were a million things that they could’ve done to stay together through that situation. And that’s what frustrated me most about the ending. It could have been solved so easily.

It was a forced tragedy. It didn’t have to end so sadly. and the ending, ending. The last paragraph of the book. What. even. was. that. *twitches forever* As my friend said: Imperial Affliction much?

Even though the sad ending was unnecessary, it was still sad. I may have started crying in Barnes and Nobles because I was reading it in public…#BookNerdProbs But it was just very unrealistic to me. The whole book is this build-up, grabbing every reader and giving them no choice but to root for these characters and then *poof*. The story’s over. The characters are separated. And if the love that Eleanor and Park felt for each other was as real as the entire book made it out to be, then I refuse to believe that they would give up so easily on it. I just…nope.

All in all I thought the book was great! I would read it again, even. But the ending really just, gahhh! Unfortunately, that was the last part of the book, so that is the most prominent part in my memory, but I really did love this book. I’m having a bit of a hard time creating words about it. Coherent words are not a thing right now because I loved this book so much. (but not the ending.)

Anyways, since you have, hopefully, read the book already if you are reading this, what were your favorite parts about this book? What was your least favorite part about this book? Favorite character? Tell me in the comments down below! But be sure to tag with *SPOILERS* so that none of the non-Eleanor and Park readers don’t get spoiled!

*END OF SPOILERS. YOU MAY COME BACK NOW NON ELEANOR AND PARK READERS. ALL OF THE SPOILERS ARE OUT OF MY SYSTEM NOW, SO WELCOME BACK ONE AND ALL. END OF SPOILERS*

 

Overall rating:

four-star-jpeg
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See YA!

-Jamie