Eleanor & Park
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.

Eleanor & Park Details

TitleEleanor & Park
Author
FormatHardcover
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseFeb 26th, 2013
PublisherSt. Martin's Press
ISBN1250012570
ISBN-139781250012579
Number of pages328 pages
Rating
GenreYoung Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Fiction

Eleanor & Park Review

  • Steph Sinclair
    March 1, 2013
    Should I break out in song and dance to "Baa, Baa, Black Sheep?" One lonely star. I'm just as surprised as you are, considering I just KNEW going into Eleanor & Park that I would love it, love it, love it. What reason would I have to believe otherwise? Almost all of my friends loved this book and have sworn fealty to the Goddess of Feels and Might, Rainbow Rowell. And I get it because she is a pretty awesome person and I think she is totally lovely. So trust me when I say I REALLY wanted to Should I break out in song and dance to "Baa, Baa, Black Sheep?" One lonely star. I'm just as surprised as you are, considering I just KNEW going into Eleanor & Park that I would love it, love it, love it. What reason would I have to believe otherwise? Almost all of my friends loved this book and have sworn fealty to the Goddess of Feels and Might, Rainbow Rowell. And I get it because she is a pretty awesome person and I think she is totally lovely. So trust me when I say I REALLY wanted to love this book. In fact, I am blindsided that I didn't, saddened that I can't join the Eleanor & Park Kool Kidz Fan Club and disappointed at such a disjointed reading experience.Random Reasons Why I Didn't Like This Book:1. The Romance My main issue stems from the romance between Eleanor and Park. I just... didn't get it. Though, that's not for lack of trying because I had many arguments with Adult Me and Teen Me in my brain. Teen Me remembers the infatuation of meeting someone exciting and experiencing all those special moments for the first time. However, with Eleanor and Park, it was entirely unrealistic and unbelievable.Park went from "God! Just sit the fuck down, Eleanor!" to "God, she has incredibly soft hands." Eleanor went from "That stupid Asian kid" to "He's so pretty. I love his hair! I want to eat his face!"The next thing I know, Park is telling Eleanor that he's in love with her, how he can't imagine being without her, that she's IT for him. Then Eleanor is telling him she doesn't breathe when she's away from him. Adult Me was not on board because the romance moved entirely too swiftly for my feelings to catch up with the events that were taking place. No, I take that back. "Swiftly" would indicated that there was some sort of actual pacing involved, but that was absent. One day they disliked each other and the next they were holding hands and proclaiming their love. I remember listening to that part while I was out on a morning run, and I had to stop and rewind because I legitimately thought I missed an entire chapter. But then I realized that I hadn't and I argued with myself. Adult Me: *twitch*Teen Me: Yeah, but remember when you thought you were in love with that guy and how you were going to marry him?Adult Me: Yes...Teen Me: So obviously they're not going to be together forever and ever and gallop into the sunset, but you can't discount those feelings. Adult Me: *gumbles* I KNOW THAT. But I also never wanted to eat a guy's face...Teen Me: Please don't tell me I grow up without a heart. Adult Me: ...2. The Historical BackgroundEleanor & Park takes place in Omaha, 1986, where there's racial tension. Park is half white and half Korean. He spends most of his time trying not to be noticed by other kids at school and struggling with his own insecurities over his mixed heritage. Yet, oddly, throughout the entire novel, Park doesn't encounter any racism. Apart from a few brief monologuing sessions about his classmates thinking he was Chinese, Eleanor's off-hand "stupid Asian kid" remarks and Park's own dislike for, in his opinion, looking too feminine, there wasn't anything that felt accurate. Park's character had so much more potential that was not utilized. I was hoping for something more from his development regarding how he viewed himself and his mother. Perhaps a certain level of acceptance or resolve would have been appropriate. There were also two black girls who befriend Eleanor, but even they don't seem to face any racism in this predominately white neighborhood. It was like Rowell deliberately tip-toed around them and instead threw in a reference to the community being offended by a black boy getting a white girl pregnant. Strangely, the only one who seemed to get picked on was Eleanor. I do think it's awesome that this novel had diversity, something that is sorely missing in YA, but I wasn't buying what Rowell was selling. At the same time, Rowell never let you forget that this book was set in the 80s since Eleanor & Park is overloaded with pop culture references on almost every other page. (I admit to chuckling to the 867-5309 reference.) Still, we also never forgot Park was Asian with Eleanor constantly referencing it in her narration to the point that I started feeling uncomfortable. 3. The Narration I wasn't a huge fan of the back and forth narrative and found that it annoyed me more than anything. This is where I wonder if my rating is more an indication of how I felt about the audio vs. the actual story. I disliked both of the narrator's voices. The parts of Eleanor's dialogue that was "snarky" wasn't portrayed with the right kind of emotion. Park's narration was slightly better, but the narrator, Sunil Malhotra, bored me to tears with his monotone reading and unbelievable voice for Eleanor. 4. The StoryI'll be honest and admit that it's possible that I didn't "get" this book. It may have just gone way over my head. Why? Rowell tried to cram a lot of story and situations into one little book and it didn't work for me. Before going into Eleanor & Park I was told that the ending was heartbreaking, but I didn't feel that at all. Rowell relies on Eleanor's grim family life to spark sympathies from readers and I can see how this works and why it's marketed to John Green fans. However, the ending relies on your connection to their romance to feel the heartbreak. The problem with that was, by the end, I wanted to know what became of Eleanor's mom and siblings, but the focus was instead on her feelings for Park and letting him go. Eleanor spent a good amount of the story in this terrible environment, feeling these feelings and when I genuinely wanted to know her feelings about everything, all I get is a freaking post card and the book ends. Since the romance was doing absolutely nothing for me, I needed for the plot to come in and rescue this book. It did not. I'm not saying this was a terrible book. Not by a long shot. It's clear that this story has touched a lot of people and I wouldn't go as far to not recommend it, but I also think this is a bit overhyped. I went in with really high expectations, thinking I was going to be blown into next week by the awesome. Instead, I'm walking away with feelings brewing a special pot of "meh." Even still, I'm holding out hope for Fangirl...More reviews and other fantastical things at Cuddlebuggery Book Blog.
    more
  • Katrina Passick Lumsden
    October 18, 2013
    If you've experienced that first love - that heart-wringing, soul-squeezing, crush-the-air-out-of-your-lungs-whenever-you're-apart first love - this book will bitch slap your feels all to hell. I love it. I love its warmth and its vibrancy, its heartache and its pain, its humor, its meanness, the ugliness, the beauty, the crying, the laughter, the sarcasm. I love Eleanor and I love Park, and I love that there's still a tiny chance for them...and for everyone whose first love was torn away. Ev If you've experienced that first love - that heart-wringing, soul-squeezing, crush-the-air-out-of-your-lungs-whenever-you're-apart first love - this book will bitch slap your feels all to hell. I love it. I love its warmth and its vibrancy, its heartache and its pain, its humor, its meanness, the ugliness, the beauty, the crying, the laughter, the sarcasm. I love Eleanor and I love Park, and I love that there's still a tiny chance for them...and for everyone whose first love was torn away. Even if you never see that person again, they change you in ways that no one else will ever understand. They will always, always hold that little piece of your heart that no one else will ever be able to touch. I love you, Rainbow Rowell, for giving me this. Thank you.
    more
  • Jesse (JesseTheReader)
    March 15, 2013
    HOLY BATMAN THAT ENDING. I'M A MESS. THAT HURT, BUT IT DIDN'T AT THE SAME TIME. WHAT IS THIS FEELING EVEN? NYEAAHHH.
  • Cinda
    May 30, 2013
    I've often said that nobody should write for teens who doesn't remember what it was like to be one. Rainbow Rowell remembers, and has captured it beautifully in this book.
  • Emily May
    October 15, 2012
    “I don't like you, Park," she said, sounding for a second like she actually meant it. "I..." - her voice nearly disappeared - "think I live for you."He closed his eyes and pressed his head back into his pillow."I don't think I even breathe when we're not together," she whispered. Three stars is not a wholly negative rating but I have to admit that I'm disappointed with this one. Eleanor & Park has enjoyable parts, but the only real difference I can see between this and Pushing the Limits i “I don't like you, Park," she said, sounding for a second like she actually meant it. "I..." - her voice nearly disappeared - "think I live for you."He closed his eyes and pressed his head back into his pillow."I don't think I even breathe when we're not together," she whispered. Three stars is not a wholly negative rating but I have to admit that I'm disappointed with this one. Eleanor & Park has enjoyable parts, but the only real difference I can see between this and Pushing the Limits is that the characters in the latter are meant to be hot. Which could have been interesting because I've always preferred reading about the so-called freaks, losers and ugly people, but these two books follow the same generic pattern of teen love stories with a whole ton of behind-the-scenes angsty issues. Though this one was less entertaining.It's 1986. Eleanor is the new girl and she is not only genetically made to look like a victim but she does herself no favours by pairing her looks with a bizarre fashion sense. Having nowhere to sit on the school bus, she takes a seat next to the clearly reluctant Park. Park is half-Korean in an extremely white school, but he is given enough respect by the popular kids to help him get by. His home life, unlike Eleanor's, is pretty much perfect apart from a bit of badgering by his dad. Slowly over time, these two individuals develop a relationship that is formed around stuff like reading comics together and exchanging mix tapes. And other nerdy things like Star Wars and Shakespeare - which I could easily relate to. I think one of the major problems I had with this book is that I failed to get a sense of the attraction between them. Their relationship to me seemed more suited to friendship than love. The progression from reluctant bus partners to friendship was natural in the story, but I then felt that the jump from that to romantic and/or sexual feelings was too fast and unbelievable.Not only that, but where I felt the start of their relationship avoided the usual cliches and did something a bit different (like the way their relationship begins without them speaking to one another), I felt that once they were "together", it quickly dissolved into the usual sweet nothings and thoughts like "I'll die if I never see him again" after knowing each other for a few weeks. This isn't instalove, but it's silliness. Or perhaps I really am just a cold-hearted, unromantic person. And I also didn't like the way chubby Eleanor receives self-validation through Park: “He made her feel like more than the sum of her parts.” I did like the well-rounded feel of both characters, though. The author gave them many different levels, making them experience a range of emotions in a realistic way. I also thought the darker element of this novel were mostly handled well. Eleanor's home life is revealed gradually in a frightening way. But it does just make it easier to compare this book to Pushing the Limits. And I don't like it when serious issues like domestic violence are used to fuel the love angst and create a Romeo and Juliet kind of forbidden love scenario. It just leaves a bad taste in my mouth.Eleanor & Park will be great (hopefully) for fans of quirky, nerdy romance stories with an underlying dark angsty side, and for those who love nerdy references. If you don't usually like young adult romance and were eying this up as possibly being the book to change all that... you'll probably be disappointed. It has good parts, but it's not that different from anything else out there.Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube | Store
    more
  • Duchess Nicole
    July 2, 2013
    READ THIS QUOTE, MY ROMANTIC HEARTED FOOLS...READ IT AND LET YOUR HEART GO PITTER PAT...`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~ ““I don't like you, Park," she said, sounding for a second like she actually meant it. "I..." - her voice nearly disappeared - "think I live for you."He closed his eyes and pressed his head back into his pillow."I don't think I even breathe when we're not together," she whispered. "Which means, when I see you on Monday morning, it's been like sixty hours since READ THIS QUOTE, MY ROMANTIC HEARTED FOOLS...READ IT AND LET YOUR HEART GO PITTER PAT...`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~ ““I don't like you, Park," she said, sounding for a second like she actually meant it. "I..." - her voice nearly disappeared - "think I live for you."He closed his eyes and pressed his head back into his pillow."I don't think I even breathe when we're not together," she whispered. "Which means, when I see you on Monday morning, it's been like sixty hours since I've taken a breath. That's probably why I'm so crabby, and why I snap at you. All I do when we're apart is think about you, and all I do when we're together is panic. Because every second feels so important. And because I'm so out of control, I can't help myself. I'm not even mine anymore, I'm yours, and what if you decide that you don't want me? How could you want me like I want you?"He was quiet. He wanted everything she'd just said to be the last thing he heard. He wanted to fall asleep with 'I want you' in his ears.” `*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~The setting? 1986...I was five years old, but I do remember random tidbits of the eighties...memories mostly accompanied by a cringe. But not here. This story was perfection. I think I liked it even better than Fangirl, simply because it was more dramatic and poignant. Eleanor and Park (the people) stole my breath.The initial story starts out with Eleanor, the new girl in school, getting on the bus for the first time and having no place to sit. Everyone is staring, no one helps her out, including Park. Finally, Park caves in and scoots over so that she can sit down, but he does it grudgingly, almost angry with the stupid redheaded girl in the frumpy man clothes who made such a spectacle of herself. Over the next weeks, these two go from pointedly ignoring each other to a reluctant yet silent cameraderie, bonding on the bus over Park's comic books and eventually music. Once their silence is broken, the floodgates sort of open, and they become fascinated with one another.The dual point of view here quite literally MADE THIS STORY. Being in Park's head as well as Eleanor's was paramount to my enjoyment. Park has a romantic soul, made evident by the way he thinks of his Eleanor, the way he goes from train wreck curiosity to utter fascination and adoration with the awkward girl with so many secrets...he stole my heart.`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~ “Eleanor was right. She never looked nice. She looked like art, and art wasn't supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something.” `*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~These characters are unique...so new and fresh, the word has been reinvented. Eleanor comes from a broken home...quite literally, her home is broken. Her parents, both not so great to begin with, are divorced. Her mom remarried a man who loves to drink and loves to bully...and bully he does, but he does so much more. Eleanor's back story is one to make me feel like the world's best mom quite simply because I could never allow what happened to her to happen to my daughters. And yeah...her mom ALLOWS this bastard to treat Eleanor like trash, allows her daughter to be left alone and scared, without the support and love that a parent owes their children. Park, on the other hand, has a wonderful home life. His Dad met his Mom in Korea, married her and brought her home. They still kiss and hold each other like they haven't seen each other in months. They are simply adorable, and no matter how Park rolls his eyes, the reader can tell that his parent's love for each other gives Park a wonderful sense of security that he absolutely takes for granted...as kids really should be able to.It takes awhile for Park to realize what kind of life Eleanor is leading.`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~ “ “My girlfriend is sad and quiet and keeps me up all night worrying about her.” ” `*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~It seemed to me that this high school love story is one of the few that I can actually see continuing on through the years and becoming. The bond between Eleanor and Park is already so deep, so strong. Nothing will keep them apart. They are young but they are realistic. They are also made for each other, and though Eleanor seems to be more skeptical, I know that deep down, she wants this to be a forever kind of thing than any other wish in the world, aside from her tragic circumstances, against all of the odds, she just wants Park. `*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~ “Nothing was dirty. With Park.Nothing could be shameful.Because Park was the sun, and that was the only way Eleanor could think to explain it.” `*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~`*~This goes down as one of my favorite books of 2013, and Park goes onto my favorite heroes shelf. Because he is the best kind of hero...the one who saves his girl against all odds, who fights against the world because of his devotion. I loved this story with all my heart. It was just beautiful. Recommended read for everyone.
    more
  • Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
    November 17, 2013
    I fully admit that I'm a sucky book reviewer. This book for me was so personal that this review is just for me. Eleanor is just that girl. The weird one that people pick on. Who knows exactly why? She doesn't stand up for herself, she doesn't fight back. I was that girl. This is me my 10th grade year. If this book had been around then I would have completely worn the pages out. As it is I feel like highlighting and just re-reading the thing until it falls apart.Talking about Romeo and Juliet Ele I fully admit that I'm a sucky book reviewer. This book for me was so personal that this review is just for me. Eleanor is just that girl. The weird one that people pick on. Who knows exactly why? She doesn't stand up for herself, she doesn't fight back. I was that girl. This is me my 10th grade year. If this book had been around then I would have completely worn the pages out. As it is I feel like highlighting and just re-reading the thing until it falls apart.Talking about Romeo and Juliet Eleanor's comments were "It was 'Oh my God, he's so cute' at first site. It's Shakespeare making fun of love."Exactly.I hated PE class. That was the worst time of my school life. Not because I didn't want to participate..that's just when the mean girls/boys were the worst. "I'm going to tell Mrs. Burt that my mom doesn't want me to do anything that might rupture my hymen. For religious reasons." I can't tell you how many notes I forged in my mom's name and how creative I was in those reasons.Park's thoughts on Eleanor at one time. "He couldn't figure out why it upset her so much. Sometimes, it seemed like she was trying to hide everything that was pretty about her. Like she wanted to look ugly."Believe me..you do get to that point. You don't really understand why. Your mind just completely gets to the point where if everyone else thinks badly about you, so do you.I never had my Park. I did have friends. But I can remember when the teasing started that I could see the embarrassment on their faces too. You hate to see that but it happens. I don't think worse of them now. It just happened. I ended up leaving home at age 15. I went out on my own and met new people and guess what? I wasn't judged like I had been in middle and high school. I realized it was just that group of people. I can be included in groups of people and liked for who I am. My daughter faced some bullying last year at school. Not because of what she looked like or wore. (she is beautiful) She was picked on because she stood up to the bullies that were picking on a friend of hers. So I did learn something from my teen years. I raised someone who just won't stand for it.And now me? I'm the queen bitch of you piss me off and I'll tear your arm off and beat you with it. (well in words anyways). Remember guys and girls. What doesn't kill you makes you strong as hell.
    more
  • Lola Reviewer
    May 25, 2016
    I should have read Eleanor & Park during winter, when it’s freezing outside.Because it completely warmed my heart, and it’s so hot already, I thought my heart would burst into flames inside my chest.Believe me or not, but I always thought I was immune to the usual young adult romanticism in books. You know: hand holding, shy smiles and flushed cheeks. I didn’t think I would ever feel actual butterflies reading a YA contemporary romance book.But I did. And it took me by such surprise that at I should have read Eleanor & Park during winter, when it’s freezing outside.Because it completely warmed my heart, and it’s so hot already, I thought my heart would burst into flames inside my chest.Believe me or not, but I always thought I was immune to the usual young adult romanticism in books. You know: hand holding, shy smiles and flushed cheeks. I didn’t think I would ever feel actual butterflies reading a YA contemporary romance book.But I did. And it took me by such surprise that at first I didn’t even know what it was. What? Can a book really have this kind of effect on a human being?Well, I have my answer now.Eleanor & Park… It’s like they’re the main reason why the word ''love'' exists. They symbolize true love. It’s not dirty, or sickening, or lustful or manipulative. It’s like two angels fell in love and you can see a halo above their heads and all you can think is ''God, I wish them forever. If they can last, then maybe there is hope for the rest of us,'' and then you can’t help but cry.I wanted to lock the characters some place safe where they could be together, forever protected from the looming danger in the world.Oh god, I can’t believe it took me this long to read Eleanor & Park.Blog | Youtube | Twitter | Instagram | Google+ | Bloglovin’
    more
  • Natalie
    July 24, 2016
    “She never felt like she belonged anywhere, except for when she was lying on her bed, pretending to be somewhere else.”I randomly decided to read Eleanor and Park again because I have no chill.Also, I recently picked up Fangirl (for the tenth time), so that definitely had a weighing hand in whether I should reread more of Rainbow Rowell's stories. But I don't have any regrets for rereading this wondrous book. This review contains *spoilers*.Eleanor is the new girl in town, and with her chaotic f “She never felt like she belonged anywhere, except for when she was lying on her bed, pretending to be somewhere else.”I randomly decided to read Eleanor and Park again because I have no chill.Also, I recently picked up Fangirl (for the tenth time), so that definitely had a weighing hand in whether I should reread more of Rainbow Rowell's stories. But I don't have any regrets for rereading this wondrous book. This review contains *spoilers*.Eleanor is the new girl in town, and with her chaotic family, her mismatched clothes and unruly red hair, she couldn't stick out more is she tried.Park is the boy at the back of the bus. Black T-shirts, headphones, head in a book — he thinks he's made himself invisible. But not to Eleanor... never to Eleanor.It's really been a while since I last visited Eleanor and Park's story, I even forgot some things here and there. And I always, always forget Eleanor's backstory with Richie, which then makes my heart tighten all anew when I reread it.But let's start at the beginning: Eleanor and Park sitting next to each other on the bus, not talking, not staring. Until one day...“They still didn’t talk on the bus, but it had become a less confrontational silence. Almost friendly. (But not quite.)Park would have to talk to her today – to tell her that he didn’t have anything to give her. He’d overslept, then forgotten to grab the stack of comics he’d set out for her the night before. He hadn’t even had time to eat breakfast or brush his teeth, which made him self-conscious, knowing he was going to be sitting so close to her.”‘So,’ he said, before he knew what to say next, ‘you like the Smiths?’ He was careful not to blow his morning breath on her.She looked up, surprised. Maybe confused. He pointed at her book, where she’d written ‘How Soon Is Now?’ in tall green letters.”Ahh, I forgot how much I loved these characters, they're so precious to my heart. Their interactions were so timid (in the best way).Also, can I just mention their first ever meeting because I'm on cloud nine:“Before he’d even decided to do it, Park scooted toward the window.‘Sit down,’ he said. It came out angrily. The girl turned to him, like she couldn’t tell whether he was another jerk or what. ‘Jesus-fuck,’ Park said softly, nodding to the space next to him, ‘just sit down.’The girl sat down. She didn’t say anything – thank God, she didn’t thank him – and she left six inches of space on the seat between them.Park turned toward the Plexiglas window and waited for a world of suck to hit the fan.”I love the "Jesus-fuck," it's gold.Slowly, steadily, through late-night conversations and an ever-growing stack of mix tapes, Eleanor and Park fall for each other.‘You can borrow it,’ he said quietly. ‘Listen to the rest of the tape.’‘I don’t want to break it,’ she said.‘You’re not going to break it.’‘I don’t want to use up the batteries.’‘I don’t care about the batteries.’She looked up at him then, in the eye, maybe for the first time ever. Her hair looked even crazier than it had this morning – more frizzy than curly, like she was working on a big red afro. But her eyes were dead serious, cold sober. Any cliché you’ve ever heard used to describe Clint Eastwood, those were Eleanor’s eyes.‘Really,’ she said. ‘You don’t care.’‘They’re just batteries,’ he said.She emptied the batteries and the tape from Park’s Walkman, handed it back to him, then got off the bus without looking back.God, she was weird.”God, I love those weirdos. And their first conversation on the phone always gets to me:‘You can ask me why,’ he said again.‘Yeah?’ She sniffed.‘Yeah.’‘Okay.’ She looked down at the turntable, at her own reflection in the tinted acrylic lid. She looked like a fat-faced ghost. She closed her eyes.‘Why do you even like me?”Eleanor's question punctured me right in the heart. It reminded me of this scene in My Mad Fat Diary (which is set 10 years after Eleanor and Park), where Rae asks Finn something similar. (Season two was my favorite.)And not only were the romantic aspects of this book described wonderfully, but the familial relationships astonished me.I just find it remarkable how Rainbow Rowell can write both incredibly supportive fathers (Fangirl) and incredibly not supportive fathers (Eleanor & Park). I just... How does one make both work so well???I'll never forgot Richie's awfulness. I mean, what kind of next-level creep writes such horrendous things on someone's books? He's a bastard. A demon. I hate him.(Rebecca Bunch knows what's up.)So when Eleanor formed a close bond with Park’s family, I truly thanked the stars. I mean, it took Park kicking Steve in the head for Eleanor and the family to really connect, but all was good.'I know that your stepdad isn’t an easy man to be around,’ Park’s dad said finally, stepping toward her. ‘And I’m just saying, you know, that if it’s easier to be over here, then you should just be here. That would make Mindy and I feel a lot better, okay?’‘Okay,’ she said.‘So this is the last time I’m going to ask you to stay for dinner.’Eleanor smiled, and he smiled back, and for a second he looked a lot more like Park than Tom Selleck.”I loved seeing her happy.And speaking of happy... I completely adored Eleanor and Park's first kiss (maybe a little too much).Source'I’ve never done this before,’ she said.‘S’okay,’ he said.‘It’s not, it’s going to be terrible.’He shook his head. ‘It’s not.’She shook her head a little more. Just a little. ‘You’re going to regret this,’ she said.That made him laugh, so he had to wait a second before he kissed her.It wasn’t terrible. Eleanor’s lips were soft and warm, and he could feel her pulse in her cheek. It was good that she was so nervous – because it forced him not to be. It steadied him to feel her trembling.He pulled away before he wanted to. He hadn’t done this enough to know how to breathe.When he pulled away, her eyes were mostly closed. His grandparents had a light on, on their front porch, and Eleanor’s face caught every bit of it. She looked like she should be married to the man in the moon.”“He pulled her closer and kissed the top her head. He tried to find her ear under all that hair.‘Come here,’ he said, ‘I want to show you something.’She laughed. He lifted her chin.The second time was even less terrible.”These guys...I really loved them getting together...but I didn't like it when they said stuff like:‘I don’t want to think about an after.’‘That’s what I’m saying, maybe there won’t be one.’‘Of course there will.’ She put her hands on his chest, so that she could push him away if she had to. ‘I mean … God, of course there will. It’s not like we’re going to get married, Park.’‘Not now.’‘Stop.’ She tried to roll her eyes, but it hurt.‘I’m not proposing,’ he said. ‘I’m just saying … I love you. And I can’t imagine stopping …’She shook her head. ‘But you’re twelve.’‘I’m sixteen …’ he said. ‘Bono was fifteen when he met his wife, and Robert Smith was fourteen …’Ha! That’s what I kept thinking, “but you’re like twelve…” Seriously though, why are you in such a rush???But a lot went down afterwards that not only broke my heart, it broke all the surrounding area too.The whole escaping and running away in the middle of the night kept me on the edge till the last page. Rereading those passages made me feel so worried and worn out by the end."Somewhere in the house her mother was crying like she was never going to stop."I'm... just extremely grateful Eleanor managed to escape without running into Richie the Bastard, but I'm still so worried about her future. And I kept thinking, 'what about the little kids?? What's going to happen to them??'“Fuck. Just … fuck.She should go back for Maisie.She should go back for all of them – she should find a way to fit them in her pockets – but she should definitely go back for Maisie. Maisie would run away with Eleanor. She wouldn’t think twice …”“If Eleanor were the hero of some book, like The Boxcar Children or something, she’d try. If she were Dicey Tillerman, she’d find a way.She’d be brave and noble, and she’d find a way.But she wasn’t. Eleanor wasn’t any of those things. She was just trying to get through the night.”That last sentence is still breaking my heart.So I was extremely grateful when we got some closure on the kids:“When he got sick of his bedroom, when there was nothing left in his life that smelled like vanilla – Park walked by Eleanor’s house.Sometimes the truck was there, sometimes it wasn’t, sometimes the Rottweiler was asleep on the porch. But the broken toys were gone, and there were never any strawberry-blond kids playing in the yard.”But damn, that ending never fails to hurt me right at my core.'Mail call,’ his dad said, almost gently. Park put his hand to his heart.Eleanor hadn’t written him a letter.It was a postcard. ‘Greetings from the Land of 10,000 Lakes,’ it said on the front. Park turned it over and recognized her scratchy handwriting. It filled his head with song lyrics.He sat up. He smiled. Something heavy and winged took off from his chest.Eleanor hadn’t written him a letter, it was a postcard.Just three words long.”Okay, so I've had years to think about what my guess is for the three words, and I keep coming back to: 'I miss you.'It's very casual, no strings, no obligations.What's your guess for the three words?*Note: I'm an Amazon Affiliate. If you're interested in buying Eleanor & Park , just click on the image below to go through my link. I'll make a small commission!* This review and more can be found on my blog.
    more
  • Kat O'Keeffe
    April 10, 2013
    AMAZING BOOK! Heartwarming and heartbreaking all at the same time! I wasn't expecting to care so much about these characters and their relationship but I was completely caught up in this story. It's told in 3rd-person past tense, which I sometimes have trouble connecting with, but not so in this case! I feel like I really know both Eleanor and Park, and I love them both separately but I especially love them together. It seemed like their relationship shouldn't work, but it does, so well. I was g AMAZING BOOK! Heartwarming and heartbreaking all at the same time! I wasn't expecting to care so much about these characters and their relationship but I was completely caught up in this story. It's told in 3rd-person past tense, which I sometimes have trouble connecting with, but not so in this case! I feel like I really know both Eleanor and Park, and I love them both separately but I especially love them together. It seemed like their relationship shouldn't work, but it does, so well. I was grinning like an idiot while reading because I was just so giddy over their blooming romance. I could feel how much they cared for each other like it was oozing off the page.Overall, I loved this book--the characters, the romance, the writing and just the way everything unfolded so beautifully and felt so real. One of the best contemporary novels I've read in a while! DEFINITELY RECOMMENDED!
    more
  • karen
    April 17, 2015
    years after everyone else, i have finally read this book. and now i'm all caught up on the zeitgeist! phew. and damn, now i understand why rainbow rowell is so beloved. i mean, i read Fangirl and thought it was excellent, but this one, while it is not as good as Fangirl, does a couple of things so freaking well that it gave me all the swoons and the swirls. rainbow rowell has this ability to tap into the teenage experience that is a little spooky. and while john green gets all the credit for bei years after everyone else, i have finally read this book. and now i'm all caught up on the zeitgeist! phew. and damn, now i understand why rainbow rowell is so beloved. i mean, i read Fangirl and thought it was excellent, but this one, while it is not as good as Fangirl, does a couple of things so freaking well that it gave me all the swoons and the swirls. rainbow rowell has this ability to tap into the teenage experience that is a little spooky. and while john green gets all the credit for being the author that writes the contemporary YA novels sophisticated enough to convert stubborn adult readers into YA fans, i think this book is more faithful to the realities of teenlife than his. green's characters are winning and funny and smart and articulate, and they have appeal coming out their ears, but they're a little idealized - too knowing, too confident, too much like miniaturized adults. rowell remembers the rough edges, the uncertainty, and her characters are a puddle of messy contradictions and still-developing personalities. and this, to me, makes them even more appealing because they channel all sorts of messy nostalgia for my dumb teen self.the best thing about this book is not even the love story because love-schmove. but goddamn, the way she writes about falling in love with music is astonishing. all the making of heartfelt mix tapes for other people, the way certain lyrics can stop your heart, the doodling of band names and songs - not the ones you love, but the ones you want to love - that drive to investigate the bands you encounter through chance and want to remember to check out as part of some teenage rite of passage - that was a perfect scene. this book did for me what The Perks of Being a Wallflower apparently does for other people. it slices off a moment in time and pop culture that is so essential and precious and you can just feel the pulse of musical revelation. and i don't want to be one of these old fogies that says to the kids, "your music is overproduced and soulless. in MY day…" but it's true. there is no joy purer than a teenager discovering the smiths. the other amazing, perfect thing, and it's such a small moment, but when - (view spoiler)[ tina finds eleanor running through the streets while richie is out prowling for her in his car, and assesses the situation so quickly and accurately, it's just a perfect moment of teenage solidarity. such an acknowledgment of "we are not friends, but i understand what you're up against and i have your back." it's a perfect encapsulation of that whole "us against them" attitude that pervades teen movies from the 80's - the legacy of john hughes. the moment tina whispers "car," killed me. I WAS KILLED! such a small thing to kill me, but it did. i could see that scene so vividly, and while to most people it was probably just a throwaway moment in between the meat of the story, for me it was the entire book. (hide spoiler)]i mean, it's not a perfect novel. there's a lot crammed into here, and it can get to feeling a little claustrophobic with all the competing "problem" narratives and underdeveloped secondary characters. there are a lot of unexplored storylines and opportunities to develop situations that weren't and a narrower focus might have made this more powerful overall. but even though it can feel a little overstuffed, it doesn't detract from the novel. the most complimentary thing i can say about a book is that it is honest. not necessarily realistic or authentic, but honest. and i guess we gotta talk about the romance parts. since that's kind of the whole point of the book, as little interest as i usually have in YA romance novels. for all my eye-rolling over teen romance, this book captures all the feels and the consuming nature of young love and its hollow devouring obsession. and it's handled in a smart way. after eleanor pooh-poohs romeo and juliet as …two rich kids who've always gotten every little thing they want and dismisses the play as shakespeare "making fun of love," the less-cynical park hesitantly pinpoints the appeal of romeo and juliet:"…because people want to remember what it's like to be young? And in love?"and that's probably why this book, and other YA romances, are popular with older readers. because while no one (hopefully) ever claims that romeo and juliet's (spoiler alert) five-day infatuation/suicide pact brings back memories of their own teenage love lives, this book sorta does. perfect example: eleanor and park's "first contact" moment when he realizes that any sort of romantic dalliance before this was unsatisfying and meaningless playacting and that the missing element of excitement in the experimentation wasn't a lack in himself, but a lack of emotional attraction and now he "gets" it.Or maybe, he thought now, he just didn't recognize all those other girls. The way a computer drive will spit out a disk if it doesn't recognize the formatting.When he touched Eleanor's hand, he recognized her. He knew. i mean, an adorably nerdy way to phrase it, but definitely relatable. i think the writing of eleanor was much stronger than the writing of park. the whole "outsider" romance thing was a little uneven to me. i understand what sets her apart - she's "big" and constantly comparing herself to the adult beauty of her mother, she comes from a damaged home, she dresses like a hobo clown, she's socially awkward, etc, but as for park, he's what - half asian? and that's a problem? i mean, it's mentioned that his dad thinks he's a pussy and that people don't think asian guys are hot, but he's reasonably popular and athletic and girls like him and he seems cool as shit. so his half of the "outsider" dynamic seems forced. but it might just be me not relating to the perceived stigma against asian guys - one of my first crushes was on data from the goonies because - adorable:and maybe in omaha in the 80's, people didn't think asian dudes were hot, but i don't think park would have much trouble getting a girl on racial grounds today, right?(i might be the only one with a crush on b.d. wong, but whatever.)and once you start adding the eyeliner?? yeah, i am all aboard the park train. and for that matter, i don't think redheads with big boobs are frowned upon much, either. it gets better, kids. it really does. but until it does, go listen to the smiths.
    more
  • Etnik
    September 27, 2014
    You can find the full review and more about this book on my blog!____________________________________________ “Eleanor was right. She never looked nice.She looked like art, and art wasn't supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something.” ____________________________________________ 5 PERFECT STARS! You can find the full review and more about this book on my blog!I never read contemporary books.I have read like 4 maybe till now and didn't really like them.Anyway I decided to You can find the full review and more about this book on my blog!____________________________________________ “Eleanor was right. She never looked nice.She looked like art, and art wasn't supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something.” ____________________________________________ 5 PERFECT STARS! You can find the full review and more about this book on my blog!I never read contemporary books.I have read like 4 maybe till now and didn't really like them.Anyway I decided to give this book a try,because if you haven't notice,this book is greatly rated here on Goodreads.And believe me,the hype is real.This was so worth the time,for a hundred reasons.____________________________________________ “Holding Eleanor's hand was like holding a butterfly. Or a heartbeat. Like holding something complete, and completely alive.” ____________________________________________Halfway through the book,I realized that Park is me,beside the Asian and the eyeliner,he is completely me.My favorite bands are Joy Division and The Smiths,and also I dig comics so much.So it was like reading about my life,more like my wannabe life.____________________________________________ “I want everyone to meet you. You're my favorite person of all time.” ____________________________________________I liked this book,and not because of the romance,I never like the books based on their romance.Because it was peaceful and wild and sad and beautiful and the same time.And it made me want to read more,made me search for a sequel,made me think a lot after I finished,made me happy,like entirely happy.____________________________________________ “What are the chances you’d ever meet someone like that? he wondered. Someone you could love forever, someone who would forever love you back? And what did you do when that person was born half a world away? The math seemed impossible.” ____________________________________________I didn't like the ending,I loved it.It was predictable at some points,at least for me,but still so freaking beautiful.And am I the only one who wants a sequel,of what will happen with them after the end? I think it would be awesome,like the best surprise we could get.So Rainbow,write one:)____________________________________________ “I just want to break that song into pieces and love them all to death.” ____________________________________________I highly recommend this book to you,even if you don't like books,read it:)
    more
  • Ariel
    November 26, 2013
    I have so many thoughts and ideas and things I want to discuss, and I can't possible put them all here, but here are some of my main thinkings:1) PARENTS: Parent's are such an integral part of teenage life - they are the reason you can do things, the reason you can't do things, the reason you have money, etc. This book had parents that were just as important, interesting, and developed as the main characters and I so appreciated that. I especially enjoyed Park's parents: they were so complex and I have so many thoughts and ideas and things I want to discuss, and I can't possible put them all here, but here are some of my main thinkings:1) PARENTS: Parent's are such an integral part of teenage life - they are the reason you can do things, the reason you can't do things, the reason you have money, etc. This book had parents that were just as important, interesting, and developed as the main characters and I so appreciated that. I especially enjoyed Park's parents: they were so complex and confused about their son, but ultimately so supportive.2) ODDBALLS: I love that basically every character in this book was weird and quirky and individual. I could imagine so many imperfections in everybody, they felt so real. 3) PARK: Guys, I love Park. He had a handful of not-so-honourable moments, but he owned up to them, he felt bad about them, and he tried his best to overcome them. He was so glorious. So very very glorious. #TeamPark4) EYELINER: I loved the eyeliner. So much. Park owned it, he embraced it, and it caused trouble in his house but it was worth it. And later on we see him using it more smudge-ingly, and just brilliant.5) THAT ENDING: Woah. Woahhh. When Eleanor went to her bed and everything clicked into place.. from that moment on we were in such a dangerous and nervous place. I felt genuine fear and concern for everyone. It was intense! The ACTUAL ending was kind of cliff-hangery.. I think the ending makes perfect sense, it's very realistic, but that doesn't mean I don't want a sequel ;)
    more
  • Laura
    February 5, 2013
    This review originally appeared on Clear Eyes, Full Shelves.*Reviewer's Note (added 2/5/2016)*Please be aware that I have turned off all notifications for this review and do not check or respond to comments. It's not that I don't like y'all; it's just that I'd rather spend my time talking about books that I actually, ya know, like.I have thought about Eleanor & Park everyday since I read it two months ago.That’s not a compliment.In some respects, my attitude is perhaps not terribly fair beca This review originally appeared on Clear Eyes, Full Shelves.*Reviewer's Note (added 2/5/2016)*Please be aware that I have turned off all notifications for this review and do not check or respond to comments. It's not that I don't like y'all; it's just that I'd rather spend my time talking about books that I actually, ya know, like.I have thought about Eleanor & Park everyday since I read it two months ago.That’s not a compliment.In some respects, my attitude is perhaps not terribly fair because a particular aspect of Eleanor and Park elicited a visceral reaction from me that is personal to me, a reaction that a lot of people would not have or understand.But as I’ve thought about the novel over the past two months, mulling over the possibility that I was perhaps being too sensitive, that the possibility of my being too sensitive was unfairly impacting my view of the rest of the book, and the book as a whole, my final analysis has always been the same: I don’t believe this book.I don’t believe the historical context.I don’t believe the characters.I don’t believe the romance.Let’s start with the first issue, the historical context.Eleanor and Park is framed as a historical novel, taking place in Omaha, Nebraska, the author Rainbow Rowell’s hometown, in 1986. Our titular 16-year-old characters meet on the school bus when Park grudgingly allows new kid Eleanor to share his seat. Park is half-Korean, his parents having met and married in South Korea, where his father was stationed as a member of the army. Hmmmmm. Okay, so they met around 1968? 1969? I have to assume it was no later than 1969 since as a sixteen year old in 1986, Park would have to have been born in 1970. So...during the height of the Vietnam War, when a draft was in place to send as many young men as possible into the fray, Park’s father, an able-bodied member of the U.S. military was...stationed at an army base in Korea. Possible, I suppose, but still a bit ludicrous to me.Ok, so then his parents get married and move to his father’s hometown of Omaha, Nebraska where Park is raised and, according to Park, the good people of Omaha,“...couldn’t call him a freak or a [anti-Asian slur] or a [homosexual slur], because—well, first, because his dad was a giant and a veteran and from the neighborhood.”Let me get this straight. Park’s interracial family faces minimal racial prejudice in the midwestern United States, an area known for lacking in diversity, during the 1970s and 1980s. Park’s Korean mother and Caucasian father married and lived happily with their biracial children, facing little racism in Omaha, Nebraska starting in 1970, less than 30 years after United States citizens of Japanese descent were forced into internment camps during World War II, less than twenty years after the Korean War took 36,516 American lives, only seven years after interracial marriage was legalized in the state of Nebraska, only three years after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down all other anti-miscegenation laws throughout the country via their Loving v. Virginia decision, only two years after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. and the height of the Civil Rights Movement, and smack-dab in the middle of the controversial Vietnam war, which made villains out of members of the military who served in it upon their stateside returns and caused a swell of anti-Asian sentiment throughout the country.I call bullshit.Furthermore, while a version of racism does appear in the novel in the form of bad kung-fu jokes and “You are Asian therefore you must be Chinese” assumptions, it seems deliberately placed within the historical framework. As Rainbow Rowell stated in a Publisher’s Weekly interview,“The neighborhood Eleanor and Park live in is the neighborhood I grew up in. And at that time, it was white and racist.”Therefore, the author was attempting to portray racism as it was, as if that racism is limited to that time frame. Unfortunately, as I discussed at length during our first podcast, that 1986 version of racism is alive and well in 2013, and I seriously resent the placement of it in a historical novel as if it no longer exists today. So, while Eleanor and Park was conveniently accurate as far as pop culture, cutely peppered with nostalgia-inducing references of many 80s bands and comic books, I found the historical context extremely shallow and unconvincing. In addition to being devoid of so many of the broader, deeper societal issues of the time, the context also wrongly and paradoxically relegated issues that still gnaw at the framework of our current society to history.Moving on the the characters: I never deeply connected to either of them, despite having much in common with both of the main characters.While the third person past tense POV that switched from Eleanor and Park’s perspectives throughout the novel made sense for the story, it also seemed to create a barrier that did not allow me to experience what the characters were going through or how they felt with immediacy or intensity. Considering how much I could relate both of the characters, the disconnect struck me as especially odd.I know what it’s like to be relentlessly bullied in school for weeks, months on end. I know what it’s like to have to walk on eggshells in what is supposed to be the safety of home, and I understand the undercurrent of fear that results from knowing that walking on said eggshells doesn’t guarantee safety from someone else’s volatile temper. I know what it’s like to have ridiculous racial stereotypes thrown in my face on a regular basis. And yet, when I encountered these situations in Eleanor and Park, I felt nothing more than a mild discomfort as I felt my own memories merely tickle at the edge of my awareness, rather than force their way to the forefront and mirror whatever provocations Eleanor or Park happened to be enduring at that point of the book. Moreover, while Eleanor and Park are on the surface atypical YA characters, I still found their life circumstances portrayed in a way that did not allow me to take them seriously.For instance, at the beginning of the book, Eleanor has just moved back in with her family after having been kicked out by her stepfather and spending a year at a friend’s house. During that time, her family moved to a different house, in which the bathroom has no door and she has to share a tiny bedroom with her four younger siblings. Her stepfather is an abusive alcoholic, her biological father is a deadbeat who doesn’t pay his child support, thereby making her mom stereotyped abuse victim 101. Catie from the Readventurer aptly noted in our podcast comments that she appreciated the novelty of a poor, struggling caucasian character in Eleanor.While it’s true that the poor, struggling characters in YA books tend to be boys and/or minorities, Eleanor’s troubles in the book, by having bullying AND abuse AND alcoholism AND poverty all crammed in there, struck me as caricatures, rather than authentic struggles. I know it may be hard to believe, but sometimes not all of these issues happen simultaneously in real life. Sometimes parents are assholes without the fuel of alcohol. Sometimes they’re abusers without the frustration of poverty. Sometimes they’re poor AND *gasp* good, hardworking people! Additionally, as I also spoke about at length during our first podcast, I found Park’s character, which had so much potential for nuance, to be flat as a freshly zambonied ice rink. First of all, I do not understand how he could not be somewhat aware of the issues surrounding Eleanor’s crapfest of a home life. I get teenage self-absorption and all, but the obviousness of the situation combined with his obliviousness made him look like a moron. Furthermore, rather than have him deal with the intangible struggle of being caught in between two very different cultures and value systems between his Korean-born mother and American surroundings, the author instead has Park spend his time whinging about his insecurities over his Korean appearance. He is ashamed of his mother’s accent. He blames his short height on his Korean genes. He fears his white dad looks at him as effeminate because he looks more Korean than his younger brother Josh. He is jealous of his brother because Josh barely looks Korean at all. As a Korean-American, I found this simplistic attitude that portrays being a minority solely as a negative solely based on racial appearance shallow, offensive and frustrating because this type of poor depiction has been going on for my whole life, repeatedly, in every cultural medium. I suppose it would be easy to assume that every minority in the US wishes they could just snap their fingers and be white, but the reality is far more complicated. Rainbow Rowell had a huge opportunity to explore these intricacies via Park’s character, and Park’s mom, for that matter, but clearly did not do her research, and therefore did not deliver.Ultimately, I found could not buy into what is supposed the be the focal point of the book, which is the romance (more like romance?) between Eleanor and Park.I did find the framework of the romantic development, in which the Eleanor and Park slowly connect on the school bus via the sharing of mixtapes and comic books, novel and charming. But, the 180 degree contrast of Eleanor’s home life to Park’s financially stable, loving home life felt like a forced, exaggerated version of Pretty in Pink, which as a movie is charming but never struck me as realistic. And because I never felt like the book delved into either character in a deep manner, which limited the character development, which limited the relationship development, I was unable to believe in the all-consuming teenage love that Rainbow Rowell tried to portray.However, even though I found myself incredibly let down by Eleanor and Park, due in large part to the lack of proper research and context into cultural and historical issues that I find quite important, especially for what is termed a historical novel, I still harbor optimism for any of Rainbow Rowell’s future works.As a huge fan of Rowell’s previously published book, Attachments, which utterly charmed me with its portrayal of vivid connections between characters who don’t interact in person as well as convinced me of the 1990s setting, I look forward to being delighted by her writing once again because I am convinced that it will happen. FNL Character Rating: J.D. McCoy: Cute on the surface, initially promising, but ultimately a huge disappointment that I’d love to forget but can’t because he was so darned infuriating.
    more
  • Christy
    March 21, 2013
    5 stars! “You’re my favorite person of all time.” Eleanor & Park… this has been sitting on my kindle for a year. HOW has this been just sitting on my kindle for a year??? First off, I’m going to say if you have this book, don’t let it just sit on your kindle. Read it, listen to it, whatever. Just make sure you don’t overlook this one. It’s a book that deserves to be read. These are some of the most special characters and Rainbow Rowell writes some of the best YA ever. So read the book. E 5 stars! “You’re my favorite person of all time.” 
Eleanor & Park… this has been sitting on my kindle for a year. HOW has this been just sitting on my kindle for a year??? First off, I’m going to say if you have this book, don’t let it just sit on your kindle. Read it, listen to it, whatever. Just make sure you don’t overlook this one. It’s a book that deserves to be read. These are some of the most special characters and Rainbow Rowell writes some of the best YA ever. So read the book. Eleanor is a young girl who’s had a rough life. Not only at home, but school. She’s a little awkward, has red hair, clothes that don’t flatter her, and people at school call her ‘Big Red’. But things at school aren’t near as bad as things at her home. Eleanor’s story broke my heart. But then, something changes for her. She sits on the bus next to a boy named Park. And her life is forever different. Park is one of the greatest and most lovable heroes I’ve ever read about. This sixteen year old boy sees past all the awkward that is Eleanor. He sees the real her. They develop a friendship based on music, comics, and a mutual respect for one another. That friendship is what Eleanor lives for. And as time passes, Park too. Their friendship turns into so much more. Nothing was dirty. With Park. Nothing could be shameful. Because Park was the sun, and that was the only way Eleanor could think to explain it. I loved the dual pov in this story. Getting in both Eleanor and Parks head was a real treat. For as serious as some of the subject matter was, my heart was so happy listening to this. These two characters were both nothing short of amazing. And Park’s family was pretty fantastic too. I just loved them both so much. Together, their relationship was so special and beautiful. I listened to this on audio and I loved the narration. I actually didn’t get much reading done at all this week because every time I went to read a book, I stopped and pushed play on my audible app. I was more interested in the world of Eleanor & Park than anything else I was reading. The ending… at first I wasn’t happy with that ending. In fact, I almost deducted some points because of it (but lets be real, I can’t possibly give this book less than 5 stars- who am I kidding). The more I think about it, the more I think of the possibilities and I guess I’ll just have to be happy with the way things were left and use my imagination.Eleanor & Park is an epic story of friendship, love, loyalty and acceptance. It’s emotional, beautiful, heart warming and even heart breaking at times but its’ a book that needs to be experienced. It really is a profound tale of two teens who have to deal with so much more than the average kids. You need to meet these characters and hear their story. A new book on my favorites list- thanks Jen (yet again), for the fantastic rec! “Nothing before you counts. And I can’t even imagine an after.”
    more
  • Tiffany
    March 10, 2013
    I know I said I wasn't going to do a review, because I feel that my status updates are pretty telling enough, but...First, I just don't see Park's parents as a good example of a couple that "made it" against all odds, as John Green implies. There is NOTHING in this book about how or why they fell in love. As an Asian woman, I look at it through a more disbelieving lens. It sounds like a white man "saving" an Asian woman from her "poor," "lower-rung," "terrible" life. She is basically forced to a I know I said I wasn't going to do a review, because I feel that my status updates are pretty telling enough, but...First, I just don't see Park's parents as a good example of a couple that "made it" against all odds, as John Green implies. There is NOTHING in this book about how or why they fell in love. As an Asian woman, I look at it through a more disbelieving lens. It sounds like a white man "saving" an Asian woman from her "poor," "lower-rung," "terrible" life. She is basically forced to assimilate into this new culture (they live in OMAHA, for Chrissakes) and her children don't even know anything about her - not her background, her family, the life she left...! My God! There is, apparently, no attempt on the part of her white husband, either, to understand her culture or to preserve it at all. I get that I'm coming from a really skeptical position, but honestly, from what I (and many other Asian women) know about "interracial" couples, it is entirely with good reason. The whole thing reminds me of "creepy white guys with Asian fetishes." It's really unsettling.Additionally... abuse is a big part of this novel, but the way Rainbow Rowell addresses it strikes me as so odd. The book is literally a split between violence and emotional abuse, and this gushy overwhelming "love" between two fifteen-year-old kids. At one point, Park is actually HURT that Eleanor has fallen asleep on the car instead of talking to him, which I still find kind of gross and shocking. Like, dude. She's running away from her abusive rapist stepfather. She's got more to worry about than hurting your poor feelings.Overall, I just felt like there wasn't much going for this book. There was no true plot - the only things that really had an ongoing story line were (a) the emotionally abusive notes on Eleanor's textbooks, which weren't even truly addressed until the very last minute, and (b) Eleanor and Park's relationship, which didn't seem sincere to me. I mean, the two things that united them (comics and music) turned into throwaway items that became kind of irrelevant to their story, not even halfway through.Plus... I don't know, there was just so much casual racism in this book, and not in a really self-aware way. It made me really uncomfortable reading this, but I don't know what else to expect, given that the author is a white woman from Nebraska, trying to embed a culture - of which she is not even a part, as far as I know - into a complex story that wasn't even remotely fleshed out.
    more
  • caren
    February 18, 2013
    This book was everything I've been searching for since Anna and the French Kiss. It gave me that melty, clenchy feeling in my chest, the warm fuzzies in my stomach. I was basically a mess throughout the entire thing. These two characters had my emotions going up and down like someone was beating on them with one of those sledgehammers at a carnival, trying to get them to climb to the top of that lit up pole again and again. And every time I thought they couldn't go any higher, Park would do or s This book was everything I've been searching for since Anna and the French Kiss. It gave me that melty, clenchy feeling in my chest, the warm fuzzies in my stomach. I was basically a mess throughout the entire thing. These two characters had my emotions going up and down like someone was beating on them with one of those sledgehammers at a carnival, trying to get them to climb to the top of that lit up pole again and again. And every time I thought they couldn't go any higher, Park would do or say something else that sent me flying up, up, up...In this book, it's 1986 and Eleanor's life isn't easy. She's one of five children to a mother who's married to a grade-A jerkface, and a father who just doesn't seem to care at all. After being kicked out of her mom's house once, she's back home now, crammed into a tiny bedroom with her four siblings, and stuck using a bathroom that doesn't even have a door. Her family doesn't have a lot of money. She doesn't even have shampoo. But she's tough, because she's learned how to be. She doesn't really have any other choice.On her first day of school, it's Park who--somewhat grudgingly--shares his seat on the bus with her. Which is just the beginning of what becomes an incredible story of first love. After sitting on the bus together day after day, they bond over comic books and mix tapes and kicks to the face and even makeup. He says things like this to her:He set his forehead against hers. She didn’t know what to do with her eyes or her hands. “Nothing before you counts,” he said. “And I can’t even imagine an after.”AND THIS:“You can be Han Solo,” he said, kissing her throat. “And I’ll be Boba Fett. I’ll cross the sky for you.”GAH. I cannot with him. Can. Not. He's definitely top-five-book-boy material. I don't think I've ever flailed so hard over a simple hand holding scene, but damnit, I did. Again with the sledgehammers.Sadly, as Park and Eleanor learn the hard way, sometimes not all first loves are meant to be forever loves... or are they? ;)(view spoiler)[The end of this book left me in tears. Like, legit streaming down my face, stuttering, had to get up and leave the room so my husband wouldn't think I was crazy, tears. Any book that can do that usually goes straight to my favorites pile, but I'll admit, I knocked this one down a star because this ending--though it made sense--was...kind of unfulfilling. I wanted more! Just a little bit. I wanted her to CALL HIM. I wanted her to write him back! I just wanted more. Just a teensy, tiny, little bit. Open ended endings aren't my favorite, and though what I'm left with tells me I can picture a happy ending for these two kids...I still question whether or not it actually happened if the author doesn't tell me herself. I need it spelled out, okay? I don't like wondering! Basically, it was a bit of a disappointment after all my happy-swoony-puddly feelings from the beginning. BUT... I almost don't even mind because I loved the rest so much.(hide spoiler)]
    more
  • Lily C
    January 9, 2017
    Well that was sad.Full review here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qoMwH...
  • Maggie
    January 9, 2016
    ❝He made her feel like more than the sum of her parts.❞ Eleanor & Park was the very first Contemporary I ever read, and this book is probably the reason why I love contemporaries so much. Maybe because they're quirky and small, but also because of the detail the romance has in it. Of course, it's Contemporary Romance that is my favorite. Not caring about other reviews and not bothering to read them (sorry,) my little heart will always have a place for this. Rainbow Rowell definitely impress ❝He made her feel like more than the sum of her parts.❞ Eleanor & Park was the very first Contemporary I ever read, and this book is probably the reason why I love contemporaries so much. Maybe because they're quirky and small, but also because of the detail the romance has in it. Of course, it's Contemporary Romance that is my favorite. Not caring about other reviews and not bothering to read them (sorry,) my little heart will always have a place for this. Rainbow Rowell definitely impressed me with this one. A lot happened so fast but everything made sense, only leaving me shattered and heart-broken because of that ending. Eleanor is the most relatable character I have ever read about. She's described as fat, with very white skin and big, red and curly hair. I'm not white, I'm tan (I'm Hispanic in case you didn't know) and I don't have big, red, and curly hair but rather brown hair that turns blonde when it's been set in the sun for too long. And I wouldn't consider myself fat (I hate using that word btw, I always use over-sized or chubby) but I do consider me a little over-weight and quite chubby. Of course it's because I didn't take care of myself when I reached my maturity state, but maybe some day the size will change. Of course I'm not happy with myself and how I look, and neither was Eleanor. She wished to have a jacket because she knew her body's skin would be showing, and then there's me, always caring a sweater-jacket because I'm not confident in showing my muffin tops and I like covering everything. I'm not a fan of sitting down, feeling it. Even though I always wear men's shirts and I know my "fatness" doesn't show, I never believe it. I still don't. I always need a sweater or some kind of upper wear to cover it because I hate "showing it" and I hate feeling it. I hate how when I sit down, I can feel it roll up. I hate how I'm always pulling my shirt down but always stretching it a little just to make sure.Eleanor was insecure, and continued to be throughout the story. She had no friends and it took her some time to make 2 girl friends, but even with that, she was shy and knew talking to people would be a bad idea. Like me, when I first began high school, I had no friends and I knew nobody. A lot of my friends now knew each other from before because they came from the same school or met each other before somewhere. Me? I had to hang out with a girl I never really liked just because she first talked to me. But because of her, I met my best friend, so credits to her and I thank her because with my best friend now, I feel like I can actually tell her many things when I don't need to tell anyone else, let them know, or try to make it obvious. I feel like I can be myself around her because she can be fucking weird at times. We relate in many ways. In books, in being mean to people at times, in not caring about others, and in giving less of a shit about the drama happening at school when everyone else is lurking and adding their nose to people's business.The story follows a plot I don't think I will ever be able to experience. A plot I wish I did, but never surely will. I found it cute, and still do, how Eleanor and Park actually met. Yes Park was an asshole but I didn't blame him. She had to sit somewhere and nobody let her sit anywhere so he was nice and made space between them. Then, suddenly, they start talking, communicating and holding hands, only leading to falling in love with each other, caring about each other, and helping each other. It's funny though because Park already had friends and Eleanor didn't have any. It reminds me of a dream I had and have had a couple times, wishing it was true. ❝I miss you, Eleanor. I want to be with you all the time. You’re the smartest girl I’ve ever met, and the funniest, and everything you do surprises me. And I wish I could say that those are the reasons I like you, because that would make me sound like a really evolved human being …‘But I think it’s got as much to do with your hair being red and your hands being soft … and the fact that you smell like homemade birthday cake.❞ What is that a cheesy line for you? Oh that's cool. I actually like it a lot. I find it cute. It's special. I've never even been complimented by a guy so I can't really say I don't like it since I don't even know what it's like and what the feeling feels like to be told You're beautiful. or When I look at you, everything else fades. You're the only light in the room as everything else makes its way to the outside, letting me capture the most beautiful view. No really. I've never been told.PS: I just made the 2nd line up and I don't even know if it's already been made up by someone or used somewhere and I'm sorry it's cheesy and boring I'm not a writer or anything. I read and like literature and surprisingly I got an honor roll on that class this school year but even with that, I'm not a write. I can barely spell words at times. It's like everything gets mixed up. ❝My girlfriend is sad and quiet and keeps me up all night worrying about her.❞ I want someone like Park to love me. That is all.Eleanor & Park continues to be my all time favorite Contemporary novel. I just love it so much and even though it leaves me with a sad heart, I will always love it and I don't think re-reading it many many times over and over again will ever matter. I don't think I'll ever get tired of it. It's one of those stories, and there's not a lot like those. But maybe for contemporaries it's possible many times.First time read: Sometime in 2014Re-read: July 5, 2016
    more
  • Diane
    May 22, 2013
    I need to state right away that YA is not one of my favorite genres: I hated the Twilight books, I'm not a fan of paranormal romance and I've been avoiding the flood of YA dystopian novels. I want this to be clear because if you like YA, than my negative reaction maybe won't apply to you. You may love this book, as many others already have.I wanted to read this novel because it received several glowing reviews and it was being compared to John Green's The Fault in Our Stars, which I really liked I need to state right away that YA is not one of my favorite genres: I hated the Twilight books, I'm not a fan of paranormal romance and I've been avoiding the flood of YA dystopian novels. I want this to be clear because if you like YA, than my negative reaction maybe won't apply to you. You may love this book, as many others already have.I wanted to read this novel because it received several glowing reviews and it was being compared to John Green's The Fault in Our Stars, which I really liked. Eleanor & Park is set in a high school in Omaha in 1986. The titular characters are teenagers who meet on the school bus -- Eleanor dresses weird and is new at the school; Park is biracial and tries to keep his head down so he won't get picked on. The two bond over comic books and music and fall into puppy love. My main complaint is that Rowell tried putting 10 pounds of plot into a 5-pound bag. As if the outsiders-fall-in-love story wasn't enough, she gave Eleanor a hellish home life: her stepfather is abusive, neglectful and had previously kicked her out of the house for standing up to him. Meanwhile, Park, whose father is white and his mother is Korean, feels like a "pussy" compared to his ex-military dad, who yells at him a lot. Much of this family stuff didn't ring true to me and it felt so forced that I had to do a lot of skimming to survive the home scenes. Of course, I also had to skim a lot of the school scenes because the dialogue of the teens felt so contrived.And then there are all the retro pop culture references -- never for a page does Rowell let you forget that the story is set in 1986. OK, OK, we get it already.But what really made me want to heave this book across the room was the ping-pong writing style. Rowell wrote very short sections, bouncing back and forth and back and forth between Eleanor and Park's point of view. It is the perfect example of how limited the modern attention span is that writers think the only way a young person will read something is if it's in short posts.I think Eleanor & Park was trying to do too much and ended up being bad at all of it. There are so many other books that do all of these elements better. For young love, I really liked John Green's The Fault in Our Stars. For 1980s references that aren't overdone, I liked Carol Rifka Brunt's Tell the Wolves I'm Home. For dysfunctional family, try Jeannette Walls' The Glass Castle. As for me, this book may have scared me away from YA for awhile. I'm sticking with adult books, because I'm an adult who is getting grouchy about losing precious reading time on mediocre stories.
    more
  • Ryan
    July 9, 2016
    1.5/5 stars DNF at page 195 Apologies in advance to anyone who liked this book. This is simply my opinion. Looks like it's time for another unnecessarily long gif-filled rant review, folks. My friends, after this book: Me, after this book:Never have I ever been happier to check a book out from the library. Did I even read the same book as everyone else? I was expecting a swoon-worthy misfit love story. Did I get that? Nope. I got whiny characters and angst. A lot of angst. Seriously, a more app 1.5/5 stars DNF at page 195 Apologies in advance to anyone who liked this book. This is simply my opinion. Looks like it's time for another unnecessarily long gif-filled rant review, folks. My friends, after this book: Me, after this book:Never have I ever been happier to check a book out from the library. Did I even read the same book as everyone else? I was expecting a swoon-worthy misfit love story. Did I get that? Nope. I got whiny characters and angst. A lot of angst. Seriously, a more appropriate title for this book would be "Angst & Daddy Issues."I love Rainbow Rowell, I really do. Carry On and Fangirl are two of my favourite stand-alones - they made me laugh, flail, even tear up a little. Eleanor & Park just made me annoyed and confused. I didn't care about these characters - at all. And believe me, I care deeply about the well-being of fictional characters. But these characters....I didn't care about Eleanor, or Park, or their family, or the plot, or, more accurately, the lack of plot. All I could think was:Which is probably what everyone is going to think about my unpopular opinion, sorry.There was one scene that made me think I was falling for these characters, but after that, everything I thought was, "How many pages do I have left?" or "When are things going to start getting good?" That should've tipped me off right then and there that I was not going to enjoy this. You see, I typically give a book 100 pages before I decide if I like it or not. I gave Eleanor & Park roughly 200 pages before I decided I couldn't take much more of this. Dear, Eleanor:Eleanor annoyed me so much. So much. I hate characters who are indecisive and constantly contradict themselves in any way, shape, or form - and that was Eleanor in a nutshell. Look. I get it. She's had a rough life. The kids at school write horrible things on her notebooks. Her step-father is a dick. But that shouldn't be an excuse to constantly take your anger out on your boyfriend, who did nothing to you. You know that song by Katy Perry? The one where she says "you change your mind like a girl changes clothes?" Yeah, that song is basically Eleanor's anthem. To me, this book seemed a bit insta-lovey. Sure, they hated each other at first, but their relationship was so aggravating and rushed.Weirdly enough, one reason I didn't like the book was because it took place in the 80's. How stupid is that? It's a ridiculous reason to dislike a book. But it still bugged me, nonetheless. Will I ever come back to this book? Maybe. But as of right now:
    more
  • Kristen
    May 10, 2013
    Oh, man. This book made me feel ALL THE EMOTIONS! I ugly-cried at least five times while reading it. And, I can't lie, I didn't actually want to read it at all. It was one of those books I kept hearing buzz about, and words like "gritty" and "romance" and "abuse" and it just didn't sound like my kind of book at all. I also was a little annoyed that it was set in the 80's--what teen today is really interested in reading books about the 80's? But somehow it all came together for me. I loved Eleano Oh, man. This book made me feel ALL THE EMOTIONS! I ugly-cried at least five times while reading it. And, I can't lie, I didn't actually want to read it at all. It was one of those books I kept hearing buzz about, and words like "gritty" and "romance" and "abuse" and it just didn't sound like my kind of book at all. I also was a little annoyed that it was set in the 80's--what teen today is really interested in reading books about the 80's? But somehow it all came together for me. I loved Eleanor and Park--both as a couple and separately. And Park's family, and the way they dealt with Eleanor ... I'm going to cry again just thinking about it. And the ending--I was worried about that because that was the one slightly negative thing I kept hearing about the book, but the ending really worked for me.Here's the thing about this book for me--I had a pretty fortunate upbringing and it was obviously very different from Eleanor's. Yet, somehow, Rainbow Rowell made me feel what it would be like to be Eleanor. I identified with her so closely. And maybe that's partially because of the universality of Eleanor as a character--she's uncomfortable in her own skin, she can't understand why someone she likes as much as Park would like her, she doesn't feel deserving of love. Aren't these emotions all teenage girls feel at some point or another? I seriously wanted Rowell out of my teenage brain for a lot of this book--it could feel uncomfortably close to home.I don't know what else to say about this book. To me, it's deserving of all of the accolades, and I am definitely planning on reading whatever Rowell writes next. Edited to add: I decided to reread this book and listened to it on audio this time. The audio production is fabulous, and my review still stands. It's beautiful, and if possible I enjoyed it even more, and I still ugly cried at least 5 times (which is even worse when you're driving somewhere and have to go into work looking like someone who just cried her eyes out in the car. *sigh*). Something I noticed this time around: how real Eleanor is as a character. She's prickly and completely overly sensitive and so quick to believe the worst in people (even Park) and I think I loved her even more for it. She just felt so real. In an age where a lot of YA characters can feel like a Mary Sue character, it's so refreshing to have a character that isn't perfect all the time and doesn't have it all figured out. Like Park says, Eleanor is not "sweet" or "nice." No, she's complicated and not ever boring.
    more
  • Stephanie
    September 29, 2016
    5 glowing stars - touching, yet heartwrenching story of young love...I will admit that I have had Eleanor & Park sitting on my TBR pile for a LONG time.... a REALLY LONG time. One of those books that I wanted to read, but just wasn't sure was for me. I am so excited to have finally read it -- motivated as it was chosen as the BOTM for one of my groups. I chose the audio format and enjoyed the narration. Most chapters switched back and forth from Eleanor's POV to Park's. It worked really we 5 glowing stars - touching, yet heartwrenching story of young love...I will admit that I have had Eleanor & Park sitting on my TBR pile for a LONG time.... a REALLY LONG time. One of those books that I wanted to read, but just wasn't sure was for me. I am so excited to have finally read it -- motivated as it was chosen as the BOTM for one of my groups. I chose the audio format and enjoyed the narration. Most chapters switched back and forth from Eleanor's POV to Park's. It worked really well and was entertaining to listen to. I listen to audio on my commute to work and found myself hanging out in the parking lot to hear just a little bit more. Set in the 1980's in Omaha, Nebraska - Eleanor and Park are high school students. They meet on the bus and it takes them weeks to even talk to each other. In fact, they begin interacting by Park leaving Eleanor his comic books - that she was reading over his shoulder. Then, he makes her tapes of music that he likes -- and even provides her a Walkman to listen to them (since she doesn't have a boom box or tape player). Their relationship progresses -- and it is apparent that they care so much for each other.Park lives a normal middle class family life with regular challenges. On the other hand, Eleanor has recently returned home after being sent to live with a friend of her mother's for a year -- due to issues with her stepfather. She isn't allowed to do anything and her stepfather has serious drinking issues and becomes physically abusive to her mother. She has younger siblings who she shares a room with. The bathroom door doesn't close and Eleanor tries to take a bath after school before her creep of a stepfather comes home. To top it off, Eleanor faces challenges with the girl's "clique" at school. She's a bit overweight and certainly doesn't have the latest clothes.I felt so much for Eleanor. I wasn't that girl at school, but I know how hard it is to be any bit different at that age. I just wanted to give her a big hug. Park -- he may be my new book boyfriend. Perhaps too good to be true, but I really enjoyed him as a character. This book renewed my faith in humanity.... tell me that you can be indifferent to....“I want everyone to meet you. You're my favorite person of all time.”“You saved me life, she tried to tell him. Not forever, not for good. Probably just temporarily. But you saved my life, and now I'm yours. The me that's me right now is yours. Always.” There's many more.... but I'll stop there...I recommend this book to everyone who has either been in High School or in love (or both?) and has a heart. I never expected to love it so much!!! (or I wouldn't have waited so long!!)
    more
  • Brandi
    December 4, 2013
    I absolutely adored this book! I don't really know what else to say. It was such a wonderful experience. Eleanor and Park have become a part of me, I was completely wrapped up in their story. Their voices are so real and honest. I love them. Plain and Simple. My only compliant is that I wanted more. “I don’t like you, Park. Sometimes I think I live for you” Highly recommend this one!!
    more
  • Tabetha
    October 31, 2015
    I thought this was going to be a lighthearted contemporary by Rainbow Rowell...I never even glanced at the description, but I soon found there were deeper, sometimes darker subjects layered in with the sweetest, most passionate love story between sixteen year olds Eleanor and Park, who each felt they did not fit into the typical normal high school student mold. It is set in Omaha, Nebraska in 1986, and I really enjoyed the mid-80's references and details contained throughout the book...took me b I thought this was going to be a lighthearted contemporary by Rainbow Rowell...I never even glanced at the description, but I soon found there were deeper, sometimes darker subjects layered in with the sweetest, most passionate love story between sixteen year olds Eleanor and Park, who each felt they did not fit into the typical normal high school student mold. It is set in Omaha, Nebraska in 1986, and I really enjoyed the mid-80's references and details contained throughout the book...took me back to those high school days when I was a junior and life was a roller coaster of emotions.The deeper, darker subjects were definitely hard-hitting and powerful, and included issues about one's own body image, bullying, poverty, domestic violence (my stomach was clenched during those scenes as I was holding my breath), and vivid threats of abuse. The darkness is contrasted with this amazingly beautiful, passionate love story that is building between Eleanor and Park, despite the tragic events going on all around them. I think Rainbow Rowell could have written a simple Romeo and Juliet style of love story, but she dug deeper and created this complex, sometimes tragic, sometimes horror-filled, funny, and ultimately beautiful, story. I believe that a movie is in the works...!I will end with a quote, as Park is starting to realize that he is more interested in Eleanor than he first thought and wants to talk to her: "He was going to tell her that she did a good job on her poem.That would be a giant understatement, anyway. She was the only person in class who read her poem like it wasn't an assignment. She recited it like it was a living thing. Like something she was letting out. You couldn't look away from her as long as she was talking. (Even more than Park's usual not being able to look at her.)...Hey. Nice job. In English. That's what Park was going to say.Or maybe, I'm in your English class. That poem you read was cool. Or, You're in Mr. Stessman's class, right? Yeah, I thought so."
    more
  • Tatiana
    January 27, 2014
    I must be the only person in the world who finds this endlessly boring...
  • Lotte
    February 18, 2014
    Eleanor and Park are my literary OTP. Screw Romeo and Juliet. Or Anastasia and Christian Grey. Rainbow Rowell is able to make me feel way more about a scene with two characters holding hands, than any other author with an explicit sex scene ever could.
    more
  • Megan • Reading Books Like a Boss
    February 25, 2013
    If I could use one word to describe this story, it would be "adorable". Eleanor and Park fell in love on the bus listening to '80's music and reading comic books. Can it get any cuter than that? I submit that it cannot! Told in alternating points-of-view, this story will grab onto you and not let you go until the ending.Eleanor is the new girl in school. She describes herself as chubby and plain. After her mother's abusive husband kicked Eleanor, she moved in with some family friends. Now, a ye If I could use one word to describe this story, it would be "adorable". Eleanor and Park fell in love on the bus listening to '80's music and reading comic books. Can it get any cuter than that? I submit that it cannot! Told in alternating points-of-view, this story will grab onto you and not let you go until the ending.Eleanor is the new girl in school. She describes herself as chubby and plain. After her mother's abusive husband kicked Eleanor, she moved in with some family friends. Now, a year later, she's back living with her mother, step-father, and siblings in a new town and a rather cramped house. The first day of school she gets on the bus and every kid pulls a "you-can't-sit-here" (think Forrest Gump). The only seat available is the one next Park, and he is less than welcoming.Eleanor refers to Park as "the stupid Asian kid," which totally made me giggle. Unlike Eleanor, Park has a relatively normal family. The son of a Vietnam war veteran and Korean native, Park is a music junkie and a boss in tae kwondo. Most of the time, he keeps to himself. He doesn't want to like Eleanor, but it doesn't take him long to realize that fighting his feelings is a losing battle. "I want to be the last person who ever kisses you, too...That sounds bad, like a death threat or something. What I'm trying to say is, you're it. This is it for me." Their love story was slow-building, which is probably my favorite kind of love story (Ahem...The Experiment in Terror series and The Fault in Our Stars). Park lends Eleanor his headphones and Sony Walkman, and she is immediately drowning in the emotions the music evokes. The adorableness continues when he makes her mix tapes and brings comic books especially for her. It doesn't take long for their seat buddy status to change from acquaintances to friends to something more. Leading up to the "shouting-from-the-rooftops I love you" moment, Eleanor and Park share secret looks and stolen glances.Let me tell you, Eleanor & Park contains the hottest hand-holding scene of ALL TIME, hands down (pun intended).Park always tugged on Eleanor's scarf or nudged her with his shoulder, but he never actually touched her skin. The build-up to this was almost unbearable. Park "As soon as he touched her, he wondered how he'd gone so long without doing it. He rubbed his thumb through her palm and up her fingers, and was aware of her every breath.""When he touched, Eleanor's hand, he recognized her. He knew." Oh my Lawd!Eleanor: "Disintegrated.Like something had gone wrong beaming her onto the Starship Enterprise.If you've ever wondered what that feels like, it's a lot like melting-but more violent.Maybe Park had paralyzed her with his ninja magic, his Vulcan handhold, and now he was going to eat her.That would be awesome." Eleanor tries hard to hide her family life from Park, but he eventually finds out the horrible truth and is willing to do anything to help her get out. His protectiveness and caring nature is what I love most about him. He no longer cared what anyone at school said about her or what his family thought of her. He only wanted her. Just her. No matter what.At first, the alternating POV was a little jarring. It was different than other alternating POV in that it was a little choppy. However, once I adjusted to the writing style, I couldn't put it down. Rowell pulled my heart into this story and wrapped it around these characters. I was rooting for Park and Eleanor and, and I wanted to cause serious bodily harm to anyone that got in the way of their happily ever after.When I finished this book, all I could say was, "Awwwhhh." If you're looking for a relatively light read that's insanely cute sprinkled with Elvis Costello and Watchmen, then this is for you. Eleanor and Park has been compared to John Green's "The Fault in Our Stars," but don't worry, you will NOT bawl your eyes out reading this. You may, however, be sighing throughout the whole freaking book.*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.____________________________________________ Read this Review • My Website • Facebook • Twitter • Pinterest • Instagram • Subscribe by Email****************★★UPCOMING BOOK RELEASES★★****************
    more
  • Sarah (Starry Night Reader)
    September 3, 2015
    4.5 starsThis book first appeared on my radar when I read that a group of parents had tried to ban the book in a Minnesota high school district. If there's any sure way to get me interested in a book, create controversy over it...I started this book four or five times before I got into it, because I felt certain this was going to be a boring pleasant little high school romance and not much more. What could possibly be controversial about it?!Apparently, the controversy was over the amount of swe 4.5 starsThis book first appeared on my radar when I read that a group of parents had tried to ban the book in a Minnesota high school district. If there's any sure way to get me interested in a book, create controversy over it...I started this book four or five times before I got into it, because I felt certain this was going to be a boring pleasant little high school romance and not much more. What could possibly be controversial about it?!Apparently, the controversy was over the amount of swearing/foul language in the novel. I admit, there is a lot of swearing. I noticed it as I was reading, before I realized that this is what the controversy was over, and even thought to myself that this book is probably for a more mature young adult reader.But here's the thing...Eleanor's life is not rainbows and kittens. Her life sucks. She lives with an abusive stepfather and she's bullied at school. She's surrounded by mean and nasty people who say mean and nasty things. The foul language isn't just there for shock factor, I found it was necessary to highlight how truly disgusting and awful Eleanor's daily life is. An abusive stepfather is going to say words like "fuck" and "cunt," it's part of what makes him the monster that he is.Then Eleanor meets Park, a boy who begrudgingly lets her sit next to him on the bus basically because he feels sorry for her. And they fall in love. And in those moments with Park, Eleanor is able to escape the reality of family and school, to a place where it's safer, where there are no swear words, and where she's allowed to just be herself.There's not much I can say about this book that hasn't already been said. It's a very emotional read, and not just because of Eleanor's sad situation (although I did cry for her many times). The love between Eleanor and Park is so intense. I was completely inspired by the way they love each other so passionately and relentlessly despite the odds. I really feel like RR captured perfectly how it feels to fall in love and be in love: The way you're so enamored with every little detail of a person. They're so shy around each other, which is totally how I remember high school dating. Despite being a young high school romance, the feelings felt real and important. Eleanor's living situation (poverty, abuse) was powerfully portrayed. The smallest details were enough to send me over the edge; just little things you would never even think about broke my heart. Overall, an amazing and important book!!!
    more
  • Darth J
    March 3, 2015
    After reading Fangirl and liking it, I decided to pick up Eleanor and Park. I ordered a used copy and somehow ended up with an autographed first edition.I was reading this on the heels of another book set in the 80’s, After Last Call, so I was completely in the zone for that decade. While there are plenty of references to the times in this novel, I feel like the story is a bit timeless. There could be a connection to a certain set of star-crossed lovers made here, but I think it’s safe to say t After reading Fangirl and liking it, I decided to pick up Eleanor and Park. I ordered a used copy and somehow ended up with an autographed first edition.I was reading this on the heels of another book set in the 80’s, After Last Call, so I was completely in the zone for that decade. While there are plenty of references to the times in this novel, I feel like the story is a bit timeless. There could be a connection to a certain set of star-crossed lovers made here, but I think it’s safe to say that the drama in this story is much more realistic.Both Eleanor and Park have their own individual issues about accepting their self worth, whether it be comparing their looks to others’ or how their family sees them. Eleanor has her own set of problems beyond this, as she comes from an abusive and neglectful situation. Park is struggling with his own identity and masculinity. They both bond by being considered somewhat outsiders, brought together by comic books and music.The characters I actually loved the most were the comic relief: DeNice and Beebi. I want to know more about them than any of the other tertiary characters. They just had the sort of je ne sais quoi that made me want to learn more about them, and I was sad that they made so few appearances.I found the story here simple, yet visceral and bittersweet. It’s a situation that could have happened to anyone you know, and there were times when I was definitely feeling the anxiety of both characters. The drama here is not melodramatic, but realistic and somewhat gritty. It’s exactly the kind of example of good YA writing that other authors should take note of.
    more
Write a review