Title: Eleanor & Park
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin – an imprint of MacMillan
Publication Date: This edition: June 2014 (originally published April 12, 2012)
Genres: Young Adult – Contemporary
Format: Purchased Hardcover Collector’s Edition
I recently read “Eleanor & Park” by Rainbow Rowell, and I really enjoyed it.
This would be classified as a teen fiction novel, and it fits the category quite nicely. It’s about two teenagers who end up falling in love over the course of one school year and is told from both Eleanor’s and Park’s points of view.
There’s a lot more to the characters than first meets the eye, especially for Eleanor. When we are first introduced to her in the book, she is wearing weird clothes, has giant red hair, and is on the pudgy side. Of course she’s made fun of from day one, but that’s not all that’s tragic with her: her home life is a wreck. She has a stepdad who hates her, a mom who is abused, and four younger siblings who are just trying to survive day to day life.
When we’re introduced to Park, he wears dark clothes, listening to rock/punk music, and reads comic books. You’d think he’d have the same kind of story, but really he has an average life, with two parents, one younger brother, and a nice house to live in.
As I read the book, I could definitely see and feel the chemistry between the two grow, and it was nice to see for a change that it wasn’t just love at first sight (or first lust) and it wasn’t a relationship at the last twenty pages. Their love grew over time and it grew more and more.
One of the few things I didn’t really like was how unconnected I felt toward Park. I felt a much deeper connection with Eleanor, but maybe that’s because we’re similar in some ways? I’m not sure; I’m still trying to pinpoint it.
I liked the way each chapter/section was separated by saying either “eleanor” or “park” before each section, and Rowell definitely utilized both characters and their personalities in each.
Overall, I thought it was well written, definitely realistic in terms of language (oh no, swears!), and was a great romantic story. It’s heartwarming, funny, serious, and heartbreaking.
I rate this book 4.5/5 stars, only because I couldn’t really connect with Park.
Accompanying video: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell Book Review
Have you read the book? Tell me what you think about it in the comments!