Book Review: Eleanor & Park

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Rating: 4


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.


To me, Eleanor & Park is an uncut diamond: it is raw, real, and beautiful, but not quite what I want when I go shopping for a ring (not that I am).

The beauty of the story definitely centers around the writing. Rainbow Rowell’s minimalistic style is absolutely spellbinding. The way that she takes a common phrase, tears it apart, and puts it back together in a new- and better- way makes me wonder why I haven’t been saying it that way in the first place. It’s simple, and lovely, and seemingly effortless. It makes reading the book a magical experience, even though it’s realistic fiction.

You’re the kind of person I wanna be with when I want to be alone.

The characters (and when I say that, I mostly mean the namesakes of the book) are truthful and unidealized. They were different, and extremely flawed; the nice part was that they acknowledged and accepted that. I love how Eleanor refuses to even attempt to fit in. She is unafraid to cry in front of others, and for the most part unashamed of her weight and her features. And speaking of, I love that both Eleanor and Park not only act different from normal kids, they look different from everyone in their small, redneck town. Eleanor is heavy set, and wears strange clothes, and Park is small and Asian. It’s just so refreshing.

The other characters also felt very loved. Even if I didn’t love them. I loved Park’s family, and I hated Eleanor’s parents, and I felt so much pity for her siblings. My heart was being pulled a million different directions.

He kept making her feel like it was safe to smile.

The main thing I didn’t like about this book was the ending. Despite the other life-like aspects of the book, the ending felt forced. It really grated on my nerves.

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