Book Review – Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

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Title: Eleanor & Park
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre: YA Contemporary

Rainbow Rowell seems to be one of those YA authors that “everyone should read”. So, I figured it was about time I picked up one of her books and read it!

I picked up Eleanor & Park on a whim this month, as it was not in my planned November reading list, but I am so thankful I did. It was just what I needed right now. The characters are offbeat misfits; the story is both heartwarming and heart-achingly tender.

Eleanor and Park. Eleanor, Eleanor…I loved her, flaws and all, although the majority of her flaws were due to her horrendous family members, not her. I have seen Eleanor’s behavior before, in a friend or two, and Rainbow Rowell really nailed what it can be like living in an abusive home. My heart bled for her and her siblings so many times. It was devastating to read about her lack of basic necessities – like food and clothing – and the creative ways she learned to compensate. Particularly her self-created fashion style, born out of necessity, totally owning it. Eleanor was a teen in pure survival mode, building a wall of protection around herself and not letting anyone in through the gate…until Park comes along.

Park. PARK. I wish I had a Park back when I was in high school. What a sweet guy. He’s kind and sweet and just awesome. His family was wonderful, too.

The two of them together were so adorable. And I love how they slowly , awkwardly connected, over comic books! I think I do a happy dance every time characters bond over books.

Shakespeare. Rainbow Rowell incorporated Shakespeare into the story, and it really, truly worked! I love when Shakespeare references work. Rowell uses Romeo & Juliet to help frame the storyline – you find out in the very beginning that the story doesn’t necessarily have a “happily ever after” ending for the two young-and-in-love teens, and it is further amplified by the Shakespeare references early on.

The Ending. I won’t say what happened, but feel free to discuss in the comments, which I am making a SPOILER zone! Did you like the ending? I definitely liked the way it ended. For the most part.

Rating: 4/5 stars.

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7 thoughts on “Book Review – Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

  1. Great review! Park sounds like such an awesome male lead… Nothing like the jerks that seem to make up 80% of YA nowadays. Not that they’re not cool to have once in a while too but I feel like they’re all authors write nowadays. And it can get too much.

    But anyway, I enjoyed your analysis and I’ve been curious to read this for a while now so maybe I’ll finally read it. Keep up the good work 🙂

  2. I seem to be in the very minority of YA readers who did not love Eleanor and Park. I do agree on Eleanor’s faults thought, her flaws made the story more believable. The ending, in my opinion, was one of the best things about the novel. I don’t usually like loose ends but I thought it worked well with Eleanor and Park. Great review!

  3. Wonderful review. I have never read anything by Rainbow but I have heard about this and Fan girl.I will definitely check out Elanor soon. Sounds like a wonderful read with great characters.

  4. Pingback: Sunday Salon & a November Wrap-Up | 4thhouseontheleft

  5. Pingback: Top Ten Tuesday: Authors New to Me in 2016 | 4thhouseontheleft

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