Friday, January 2, 2015

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell: review

Goodreads rating: 4.18
Hardcover, 328 pages
Published February 26th 2013 by St. Martin's Press
Source: Bought; signed by the author
Genre: young YA romance

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.

I wanted to like this more than I did, but the truth is that this book was a little young for me. There are plenty of stories out there documenting new, young love, and while the other books make the relationships mature faster than how it was for me (since I was just as shy and weird as these characters), it happened a little too slow for me. This one takes into account all the awkwardness and indecision, adding some other extenuating circumstances, especially with Eleanor, which is of course perfect and honest and something I appreciated. Maybe it's because the awkwardness fit in so well with how I was at their age, and it's a part of my life that I really don't want to remember. I can't deny, though, that Rowell really encompasses the utter awkwardness of being in high school, especially when both of them are extra awkward and completely nerdy.

I think another part of it is that I'm not and never have been attracted to Asian boys. I know, it seems like such a niche thing, but even when Cassandra Clare presented a hot Asian guy in her Infernal Devices series, and I was never once physically attracted to him. So I really struggled with why Eleanor felt attracted to him, besides his personality. I was also never fat or even husky at the age presented here, so it was hard for me to relate to Eleanor in that aspect as well. But I always felt like I was wearing the wrong clothes (though not for the reason she was; I was just wildly uncool), and apparently guys liked me but I had no idea, and to this day I have no idea why. It's hard to understand when you're that age (and especially when you might be unloved or misunderstood by your parents) why anyone would take that kind of interest in you. I really connected with Eleanor at the end, though, and I can't tell you why because I don't want to ruin the ending.

Despite all the disconnect I felt, I can't deny that this novel was poignant, and Rowell did a fantastic job in taking you back to when you were that age. Eleanor & Park teaches you that, even if the love isn't going to last, you should be with someone that loves you for who you are, and is attracted to you, not the idea of who you could be. It also teaches you to live in the moment, because every moment is precious. I would definitely recommend this book!


 Younger YA readers. I didn't enjoy this book as much because it felt a little too young for me. But this would definitely be a good transition novel for a young teen moving from middle grade to YA.

Looking For Alaska by John Green
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Paper Towns by John Green

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for your review. I've been meaning to read this one, but have never got around to it. I appreciated your honesty.

    Danica Page@Taking It One Page at a Time


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