Rating: ☕☕☕☕ 1/2
Wow. This book gave me all kinds of feels. I actually felt every emotion from giddy butterflies to wanting to curl up in a blanket and cry. Honestly. I giggled like a schoolgirl and I ugly cried. And it was great. Although this story was extremely sad in many kinds of ways, it was also somewhat … hopeful. But sad. Mostly sad.
Despite the depressing aspects of the plot line I wanted to give it 4 teacups purely because of the huge range of emotions it spurred in me, the …. I don’t know… realness of the hardships that are portrayed in the novel. Many people were upset because of the swearing and the sexual or abusive aspects that were in the novel, but I think it was brilliantly done. And, of course, I loved the romance between the two title characters.
Eleanor & Park is set in 1986 and is about two misfit 16 year-olds who somehow manage to find love in the crazy, mixed-up, and often times soul crushing world that we know as the real one. I never like writing these summary parts because, let’s face it, I always skip them myself while reading reviews because I usually read reviews after I’ve read the book. And if you haven’t read it yet, the best kind of preview would be the back of the book I guess. Yeah…. so I guess the first sentence of this paragraph is an adequate enough summary for the purpose of this review.
I think I read this book in under 24 hours. I actually didn’t want to put it down, I just wanted to KEEP READING. I read late into the night and then, stupid me, finished it in public at school during a break between classes. I actually couldn’t concentrate for the rest of the day. I just felt SO much heartbreak and happiness all at once. I COULD NOT DEAL.
Even though I knew this was going to be a sad book from the onset, I couldn’t help but root for these two. Park is definitely one of my literary dream guys (the list seems to get bigger and bigger with every book I read) and Eleanor was pretty cool. She kind of annoyed me at some points, but I rarely find a female romantic lead that doesn’t. Anytime she was really rude to Park it kind of ticked me off because Park is good as gold. I also thought she overreacted when she found out that Park had dated Tina. I mean, come on, he was TWELVE. I think we can all agree that the relationship was not a serious one Eleanor! Other than that I absolutely loved her and my heart went out to her for all the crap she had to go through in her life and her horrible home situation. By the end my heart was absolutely breaking for her and all I wanted was for these two to have a happy ending. God knows they deserve it. And maybe they do get one? You’ll have to read and find out!!
There were so many aspects of this relationship that made me squeal like a school girl. It was just TOO cute. Examples? Well there was when Park made her a mixed tape so she could listen to the songs she had been wanting to hear, when they read comic books together on the bus, and some of the things they say to each other are just… out of this world. This is why I’m perpetually single. Boys and relationships in books have completely ruined any chances of me finding the impossibly perfect romance I have come to expect because of these books. Thank you Rainbow Rowell, Stephanie Perkins, Cassandra Clare and co.
One last thing to note about this book was… THE HAND HOLDING. This is probably the only book that made holding hands such a romantically charged activity. Never have I read a scene that was so beautifully described the power of holding someone’s hand and having them rub your palm with their thumb. It gave me shivers. Seriously never thought I would be left breathless because of a hand holding scene.
I definitely recommend this book if you’re in the mood for a contemporary teen love story that will make you swoon while simultaneously tugging at your heartstrings. Well…. snapping them would probably be a more accurate description. This is one YA novel that I would want everyone to read! I also highly recommend reading Rowell’s other novel Fangirl. I read this and absolutely LOVED it. You can read my review for Fangirl here.
To read more about Rainbow Rowell and her books visit her site here –> http://rainbowrowell.com/blog/
To read John Green’s review in the New York Times for Eleanor & Park click here –> http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/10/books/review/eleanor-park-by-rainbow-rowell.html?_r=0
For a more extended playlist made by Rainbow Rowell herself click here –> http://rainbowrowell.com/blog/2013/03/eleanor-park-all-the-playlists-all-the-music/
To find Eleanor & Park on Goodreads click here –> https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15745753-eleanor-park?ac=1