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Book: Eleanor and Park
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Publisher: Orion
ISBN: 9781409120544
Rating: A

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.

So I read this quite a while ago now and I guess I've been sitting on the review because I'm not quite sure what to say. I'd say 85% loved it whilst 15% didn't and I think that's really down to the ending. I mean don't get me wrong, I'm all up for dramatic or non-expectant endings but I still like to have this clear up a few things with this. Needless to say, if there is a sequel, then I have no problems with the ending because it will be explained but with no certainty for a companion novel, I have to say the ending didn't do it for me.

However the novel in itself is beautiful. This is the type of book I never read. Ever. Something I just don't do, not because I don't like them but because it's not me. I've never enjoyed these book and Rowell has changed that, exposing me to a whole new world of YA contempt fiction. Anyway, the reason I gave in and got this was from the endless reel of reviewers ranting about how good this was, and they were right it was extremely good. The novel is beautiful and touching and sometimes it's just want you need to pull your head out of the sand. What I mean by that is that with general YA a fiction it focuses a lot on stuff that wont/can't happen and people that have amazingly good looks and perfection and I love how this really grounded me back into the real world and really played on the aspects of growing up in real life and how everyone's not good looking and popular and perfect and it can be really hard. I can't say I've experience any of the hardships in this novel but I feel like a lot of people can relate to this and it was great how as well as insecurities and appearance were covered in this is played on things that will bring back memories to anyone older, like the idea of falling in love for the first time.

The story itself really surprised me. The moment Rowell started the idea of being on the bus in every chapter I thought it would be painfully boring but I couldn't have been wrong. Rowell has taken something as simple as riding the bus everyday and made it both interesting and the beginning of a love story that you can't help but be drawn into. The story itself covers so so much. Teen appearance, bullying, new schools, falling in love, discriminations, reputation, abuse, divorce, immigration. It's one of those books anyone can read, love and relate and that's what makes it really special.
The story is a love story between chubby ginger eleanor and kinda-popular korean, park, and well that's enough info for to figure the story beyond them falling in love.

The writing was nice. It was pleasant enough and had this bluntness to it. which I surprisingly liked. Really, this book was full of surprises. It flowed well and the chapter left the right amount of info between each one to figured either what had happened or to leave wanting to know what would happen. I liked the split POV as well, giving insight to both characters and I can't I particularly preferred a singled point of view as I feel like the writing for them both was perfect and Rowell has slotted into the teen mindsets with no issues whatsoever.

The characters themselves play a massive role in grounding the novel int he fact that they all have differences and are not the standard perfect YA couple. In fact I found myself not quite at ease with Park which just made him all the more human to me because in what world do you like everyone? The characters all had insight to their history and home life's as well as the facades they put on for the world and it was just another aspect for people to relate to. I guess the main thing that struck me about these characters is about how human and real they were compared to other YA novels and that just really made me love them, because I really could imagine them being my friends.

Overall it was a gorgeous novel. It will evoke so much emotion and it so relatable in so many ways. You will find yourself truly falling in love with this novel.


  1. What a refreshing change from the cardboard characters and story lines that usually inhabit a teen romance. This book is funny and sad and I just fell in love with Eleanor & Park.


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