Book Review: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

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This book contains potentially triggering content and/or content that may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.

Eleanor & Park

by Rainbow Rowell

Publication: St. Martin's Griffin on February 26th 2013
Genres: Coming of Age, Historical Fiction, Romance, Young Adult
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Better World BooksGoodreads
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.

[dropcap]I[/dropcap] stayed up until the wee hours of the morning with Eleanor & Park, and I don’t miss the lost sleep one bit. This book was worth it.

It was incredibly easy to fall in love with the characters. Both Eleanor and Park were so different, but completely charming and likable. I loved Park’s family, too, and Eleanor’s friends, DeNice and Beebi. The characters were incredibly well thought-out; I loved the little details and that each character had their own distinct “voice”.

While the romance aspect of the book was wonderful, what I liked even more was the fact that it wasn’t easy. I appreciated Eleanor’s hesitance and the difficulties she had in opening up to Park. What she went through in life would have colored the way she viewed things and reacted to things, and (while it often made me sad for Park) I was glad that the author chose not to take the love-conquers-all cop-out.

There’s something so simultaneously brash and tender about this book. I’ve heard friends sing Rainbow Rowell’s praises for a while now, and after reading Eleanor & Park, I get it. She writes with emotion and a sense of raw reality that’s incredibly refreshing. This may have been my first experience reading one of her books, but I can safely say it won’t be the last.


  • Reply Asti September 11, 2014 at 3:07 PM

    I must say, I love your review breakdown (with the percentages). I’m not sure how I never noticed it before! I know I followed your blog before your hiatus (I’m so glad you’re back <3) but I guess my love of discussions meant I only ever paid attention to your non-review posts. Whoops!

    Anyways, I'm so glad to hear you loved this book so much! I've had in on my bookshelf for quite some time, but haven't picked it up to read. Instead, I chose to buddy-read Landline as my first Rainbow Rowell book, and unfortunately I don't think that was the best choice for me. I did get the emotion and realness (for the most part) that you mention with this one, but just never really felt attached to the story or characters. Hopefully when I get around to reading this one, I'll enjoy it as much as you did :)
    Asti recently posted…Bookish Friends: Josephine, Sandra, and LillianMy Profile

    • Samantha Claire
      Reply Samantha Claire September 11, 2014 at 3:18 PM

      Thank you SO much, Asti! <3

      I hadn't seen this kind of review system done before, but I really wanted a visual way to break down my thoughts on books, and star ratings weren't really cutting it.

      I've actually heard that a lot about Landline. It's on my list of books to check out, but I'm holding off until after I read Fangirl.

      PS: I know I'm late on this (again, hiatus), and I am loving Oh, the Books! :)

  • Reply Lisa September 15, 2014 at 12:05 AM

    I really enjoyed this one as well, simply because it was different from any other “romance” books that I’ve been reading lately. While I was a little upset at Eleanor for always putting herself down, especially in front of Park, I still really enjoyed both characters! Glad to see that you rated this one so highly! Awesome review!


    • Samantha Claire
      Reply Samantha Claire September 15, 2014 at 10:59 AM

      I agree, Lisa. Romance books aren’t usually my thing, but I loved Eleanor & Park.

      Thanks for stopping by! :)

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