Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
a YA contemporary standalone novel
published on February 26, 2013 by St. Martin’s Griffin
romance | contemporary
Eleanor is the new girl in town, and with her chaotic family life, her mismatched clothes and unruly red hair, she couldn’t stick out more if she tried.
Park is the boy at the back of the bus. Black T-shirts, headphones, head in a book – he thinks he’s made himself invisible. But not to Eleanor… never to Eleanor.
Slowly, steadily, through late-night conversations and an ever-growing stack of mix tapes, Eleanor and Park fall for each other. They fall in love the way you do the first time, when you’re young, and you feel as if you have nothing and everything to lose.
The idea/general plot of the book was great and very interesting. Heroines in young adult novels are almost always stereotypically good-looking, but the Eleanor is, well, not. Despite this being a good point about Eleanor’s character, she got a bit annoying as the book went on. Her “recounting” started coming out as whiny, for me. She would go on, and on, and on about the things happening to her, but she did not make any moves to change them or make them better!
In the beginning of the story, though, she was likable, especially when she went through the difficult experiences she’s had to go through, showing that she was tough.
Park is a much better main character compared to Eleanor. I like Park. He was the kind of boy who was sweet enough to help his mother do things without being embarrassed. He was a realistic character: not very swoon-worthy, but kind and caring.
I hated the romance. I flat-out hated it. It was too fast-paced! You could hardly feel the development between the two characters! Park went from “Jesus fuck, sit down” to “I need you” in a span of weeks. Eleanor went from “stupid Asian kid” to “I want to have his babies and give him both my kidneys” and “I want to eat his face” in no time. It was disgusting, really. I was disturbed, to a point.
I really liked Rainbow Rowell’s writing style, though, because no matter how bad the story is, you wouldn’t get bored reading the book. She has a serious way with words and I admire that about her.
Even though I hated most of the novel with a burning passion, I just loved the ending. It was sort of an open ending, but it was an ending that will keep you guessing for, well, forever.
Aimee’s thoughts on Eleanor & Park: I thought the novel was generally entertaining. I did feel a lot of feels, definitely–mostly sadness. I could not fathom how Dyan liked that ending. I cried for ages. Also, have you guys seen this article (I doubt you haven’t)? I really admire Rainbow for how she dealt with the problem. She’s a nice lady, really.