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March 08, 2013

Review: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor and Park

Title: Eleanor & Park
Author: Rainbow Rowell 
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Publication date: February 26, 2013
Genre(s): Young Adult (Contemporary)
Source: NetGalley
Format: Digital ARC
Pages: 320
Bono met his wife in high school, Park says.
So did Jerry Lee Lewis, Eleanor answers.
I’m not kidding, he says.
You should be, she says, we’re 16.
What about Romeo and Juliet?
Shallow, confused, then dead.

I love you, Park says.
Wherefore art thou, Eleanor answers.
I’m not kidding, he says.
You should be.

Set over the course of one school year in 1986, this is the story of two star-crossed misfits—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.
I have no words that will do this book justice. This book is perfect in every way, from the imperfect and fractured characters, the 1986 setting, the mixtapes, walkmans, and lack of mobiles, to the raw emotional journey it took us through Eleanor and Park; two teenagers who can't seem to find a place that they belong to, an identity they could proudly call their own, a "someone" they could turn to for help, for love, for friendship.. until they met each other. This book is so powerful. I read it in a couple of hours and I couldn't put it down. The two POVs, switching between Eleanor and Park, gave the readers more insight on what each side is feeling, thinking, and wishing. Something we don't usually witness. These characters were layered, had flaws, faults, and a history that would bring the readers emotional pain, allow them to connect with the characters, and root for them to get together, stay together, and be whoever they wanted and needed to be. 
Rainbow Rowell's gift in writing should not be overlooked. She was able to create such an eloquent novel from a simple setting, Eleanor and Park sitting in the bus on the same chair. That is how they met, that is when we see them together for over 100 pages.. they barely talk, they barely communicate, heck, Eleanor calls him "the stupid asian kid" while Park is just trying to pretend she doesn't exist. Eleanor isn't the stick thin girl, no she is not obese, but she still has baby fat and people make fun of her, for that and her outrageous sense of style and bright red hair. They call her "Big Red". However Eleanor ignores them, for the most part, and tries to not let them get to her. However after she and Park started talking, communicating, and getting to know each other, the bullying took a step back. Yes bullying was still a part of the novel, but me as a reader lived for the moments that Eleanor & Park met because I believed they were the most gratingly honest and through them you just couldn't help but fall in love with them. 
The story is more than a love story, it also includes an abusive relationship, Eleanor's mother and her step father; How I loathed him. I also did not have any happy thoughts towards Eleanor's mother. She has 4 small children, excluding Eleanor, and she still stays in that abusive relationship, stays with the man that kicked Eleanor out of the house for a full year. There is honestly so much family issues and all of them are so realistic which is why they all hit me hard, because many people suffer from being tied to such abusive relationships, and children being the helpless victims to that. I have to say though, I loved Park's family, he is half korean, and his dad loves his mom, so glaringly obvious that it really gives the readers a clear contrast between both families. I would have to say that every single young adult reader must pick this book. Whether they enjoy contemporary or not, this book is not one to miss. I am definitely going to be getting and cherishing a copy when it is out. Rowell, you officially made me a die hard fan. 
 

18 comments:

  1. I have this book!! :D Obviously I should really read this. Eleanor sounds like a heroine I'm really going to enjoy and Park sounds cute. Lovely review!

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  2. This is the first I have heard about this book. It sounds awesome and after reading your wonderful review, I will definitely be checking it out.

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  3. It was brilliantly arranged, wasn't it? The whole thing was layered with everything possible--and the eighties made it so much better. I enjoyed it a lot. So glad you enjoyed it! :)

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  4. This book will go on my all-time favorites list. I am so glad that it's getting such a good response because I want everyone to read it!! Great review :)

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  5. I keep meaning to get to this book, but have fallen behind. I have been seeing such awesome reviews for it and I am sure that I will love it. Great review!!

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  6. Aw, now that I've read your review I want to go and reread it. It's so so perfect <3
    And you gave it infinite 'staches. You rock!

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  7. The premises is so adorable and I love how Eleanor and Park tease each other. It's just one of the books that I know I'm going to love except for the abusive family part. I can't wait to buy this one. Great review Juhina!
    And you gave it infinity, I know what that means :)

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  8. I keep hearing about how good this book is and you're review makes it sound even better. I can't believe they don't talk hardly ever the first 100 pages. The 80s setting is making me curious, too. I can't wait to get my hands on it.

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  9. OOH! I'm glad that you loved this one so much! I've heard of this one a few times before, but the writing does sound absolutely gorgeous because I really do love vivid settings! And from the comments I'm seeing above, I DEFINITELY need to check this one out ASAP!

    Awesome review!

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  10. I completely overlooked this book before. I think because 1. I'm a cover snob and if there's no glitter or bright colors I might not stop to look at it and 2. It looks like Adult Fiction. Like Emily Giffin's novels. But anyways...after reading your review I really want to read this now. Going to go add it to good reads. I love that it's set in the 80's also. Great review!

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  11. Your infinity rating! I haven't seen that one for a while. Though I'm not surprised it's being awarded to Eleanor and Park as everyone seems to be loving this book. I had no interest in this before, but I definitely want to give it a try now. I like that the characters are a little different from the norm, and also that there's a 1980s setting! Great review, Juhina. :)

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  12. This book has blown up lately! I hadn't paid much attention to it, but everyone is loving it! I love how you described the contrast between Eleanor and Parks' families and how subtle their relationship begins. I'm definitely going to have to give this one a chance!

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  13. I also got this from NetGalley but I haven't come around to reading it. School, baaahhh. Anyway, I've been hearing nothing but raves and great reviews about this so I think I'll love it too. Now to get around to reading it...

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  14. Aw, great review :) This book does sound really awesome. I'm glad you enjoyed it :D Thank you for sharing. <3 the cover is really sweet ;p

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  15. Great review. This is the second really, really, really great review I've read about this book. I'm really going to have to get it -- soon.

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  16. AHHHHHHHHHHH I am so SO excited for this book! Literally I have not read a single negative review about Eleanor and Park which scares me because now I have some pretty high expectations of it, but hopefully it's going to blow me away. I've already ordered it online so now it's just a waiting game until it gets here!

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  17. I've been reading a lot of amazing things about this book, and I really want to get my hands on it! At the same time, I know it'll break my heart.

    Awesome review!

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  18. I just put this one on my wishlist. It sounds like it'll be a favorite of mine too!!! So cute :)

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