Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Publication Date: February 1st 2013


“Nothing before you counts,” he said. “And I can’t even imagine an after.”

Eleanor is the new girl at school, and nothing about her is right. She has the wrong clothes, the wrong body, and the wrong hair. Park isn’t exactly one of the cool kids, but if he keeps his head down he fits in. At first the two of them meeting each other seems like nothing but an inconvenience, but it soon becomes much much more.

This book is a victim of over-hyping. The writing is fantastic, as per usual with Rainbow Rowell. The back and forth narration was interesting, but Eleanor’s were definitely the stronger portions. The story mocks Romeo & Juliet but to be honest there isn’t much difference. Their love feels very shallow, steamy, but shallow. The romance lacks so much development. It isn’t love, it’s infatuation. The most interesting part of the book was Eleanor’s struggles with her terrible home life.

Which brings us to Eleanor. She wasn’t a bad character per say but she was very abrasive. Which is understandable because her home life is terrible and she has quite a few issues with confidence and her body. The problem isn’t that Eleanor is who she is, it’s that Park somehow makes everything better. The whole book is this over-inflation of love. That Park makes her whole life better essentially, and saves her. He almost never gets put off by her nasty attitude, he’s essentially a Prince Charming Puppy. Desperate for any bit of affection from Eleanor and instead of being charming it ends up making him look pathetic.

Also despite taking place in 1986, Eleanor’s best friends (who are black) and Park (who is half Korean) have almost no issues. Aside from slightly offensive writing the characters almost never face any discrimination at school. In fact almost anything negative, even Eleanor’s terrible abusive living situation are dealt with very lightly. Puppy love fixes everything.


Read this if you’re a fan of: All the Bright Places


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