Sunday, March 24, 2013

Review: Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor & Park

It's 1986 and two star-crossed teens are 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.

 A cross between the iconic '80s movie Sixteen Candles and the classic coming-of-age novel Looking for Alaska, Eleanor & Park is a brilliantly written young adult novel.

Goodreads / The Book Depository

Genre: Contemporary, romance
Pages: 325
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
How I Got It: Library

First Line: "He'd stopped trying to bring her back."

Favorite Quote: "It was the nicest thing she could imagine. It made her want to have his babies and give him both kidneys."


On my own, this isn't a book that I would see and immediately think, "Oh My God, I have to read that!" But then, I need a little encouragement with most contemporary books, at least these days. Eleanor and Park looked cute enough, but then I started seeing all these raving reviews, and THEN I read something about John Green saying it was good, so of course I had to pick it up. It didn't take me long to figure out what all the fuss was about. There's something about this book that makes you feel like you have to keep going until the end - and then, when you get there, you wish it hadn't come quite so soon. 

I loved, loved, loved the main characters, who are, of course, Eleanor and Park. I loved seeing their relationship slowly develop from awkward seatmates on the bus, to sort-of friends, to being in love. Park is an easy character to like, just because he's funny and sweet. I connected more with Eleanor because of her sarcasm and such; I, too, am fond of sarcasm, and have red hair. Just her overall attitude reminded me so much of myself. And it wasn't just the two of them; I really liked Park's parents. 

I will be the first to admit that I didn't really get all the references spread throughout the story, but the ones I did get were awesome. And even though this novel does tackle a lot of serious issues, it had me laughing throughout. 

The only reason I'm taking off half a star is the ending. I realize that some authors like to leave it really open-ended, with just a hint that things are going to go in the right direction. But I'm kind of a spell-it-out type of person. I wish there had at least been an epilogue set a few weeks into the future, at the very least. I guess I'll have to content myself with imaginings about how the rest of Eleanor and Park's lives will play out. 

4.5 stars

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