Title: Eleanor & Park [Goodreads][Amazon]
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Release Date: February 26, 2013
In My Opinion: Worth a try!
One Line: It’s a different and sweet take on first love and how it can change your life.
About the Book: Bono met his wife in high school, Park says.
So did Jerry Lee Lewis, Eleanor answers.
I’m not kidding, he says.
You should be, she says, we’re 16.
What about Romeo and Juliet?
Shallow, confused, then dead.
I love you, Park says.
Wherefore art thou, Eleanor answers.
I’m not kidding, he says.
You should be.
Set over the course of one school year in 1986, this is the story of two star-crossed misfits—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love—and just how hard it pulled you under.
Eleanor & Park is one of those books that you think will be a light and fun read about first loves, and it is partly that, but it’s also about families, courage, strength, and fighting for what you feel strongly for. I really enjoyed Rainbow’s writing style, even though it’s very different from what I usually read. I love how she took these two misfits, made them fall in love, and experience something real in their lives that changed them forever. I was kind of sad with the ending though and wished there was more, but it was symbolic, I guess, which is probably what the author was going for.
I adored Eleanor & Park’s relationship. It was a bit weird sometimes, I have to say that, but then again, what young, teenage relationship isn’t weird, to a point? There definitely isn’t a lot of talking between these two at the beginning, but as their walls come down and they find common interests, their relationship grows and develops into something so pure and beautiful, you can’t help but fall for them as a couple. I loved how they shared a love for music and comics, it was so sweet. Yes, things seem rushed and sometimes I kind of felt like there wasn’t much to their relationship, but that’s usually how young, first love is.
Eleanor did bug me a few times, with her anger issues and the fact that she wasn’t really there for her siblings, but I understood where she was coming from. Still, I definitely would’ve liked to see her be there more for her siblings. Park, on the other hand, was a great character and such a sweetheart. He had his faults and wasn’t always the most sensitive guy around, but for his age and circumstance, he was just right for Eleanor.
If you love contemporary novels with a different spin on them, then you’ll definitely want to give this one a chance. The feelings I got while reading this are reminiscent to when I read Perks of Being a Wallflower. Eleanor & Park is a poignant, genuine take on young love, life, and family that will easily capture your heart.