Book Review: Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

2My Rating: 5 stars

Date Read: July 17, 2014

Source: Purchased ebook

Publication Date: February 26, 2013

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Genres: Young adult, romance, contemporary

Summary (taken from Goodreads): 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-oldsโ€”smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.

Review: I was unsure about this book while reading the first few pages – and honestly, that’s so difficult to believe now, because I loved it.

Eleanor and Park are so wonderful together. Even during the parts where they were just friends, they were so cute.

They were also realistic. Park cared too much about what people thought of him, and this didn’t change. It didn’t disappear because he liked Eleanor and suddenly didn’t care about what anyone might think of him. I feel like that was really important, that the characters kept flaws through the story. They didn’t need to lose them to be great characters and people.

Even more important was Richie’s character. For the first parts of the book, there were no real signs as to why Eleanor was afraid of him. Sure, he kicked her out – but that was all we knew. The rest came on slowly, building up later in the book. I think it’s so important to show that not all abuse is obvious or plain to see. The fact that his neglect was such a key part of the abuse really stood out to me as well – it wasn’t all physical, like most abuse in books seems to be.

I hated and loved the ending, in the way that I always hate open endings – but it was realistic and just as great as the rest of the story. Still, imagining what those three words could be is going to kill me!


14 thoughts on “Book Review: Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

  1. Yea, I kind of agree with comfortguru in thinking that the words were probably, “I love you”. I mean, honestly, with everything that he did for her, how could she not love him?… Or at least, that’s how I feel about it.

    • I think it depends on her taste, and maybe age. Fangirl focuses on college-aged characters, while Eleanor and Park’s characters are sixteen. Fangirl is also way more lighthearted.
      Either way Rowell’s a great author, so she’d probably love whichever you decide on!

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  3. I saw you reviewed this book so I decided to comment since I’ve also reviewed the book – and loved it. ๐Ÿ™‚ You bring up a good point about the characters still keeping their flaws to the very end. They don’t suddenly change them over a love interest. That’s something I didn’t notice when I was reading. They were adorable as friends, I loved them.

    The ending killed me, I knew something was going to separate them because that’s just how these things go. As well as in the beginning we see Park talking about how Eleanor’s gone now.

    As for the three words, I initially thought it was “I love you”, but now I’m positive they were “I miss you”. Especially since when asked about the three words, Rowell said that she didn’t see Eleanor writing “I love you”. Then again she said she didn’t even know what Eleanor wrote herself, so that’s interesting.

    • I am also thinking “I miss you” was possible. On one hand I really wanted it to be “I love you,” but after giving it thought I kind of think she’d be taking the easy way out then by not saying it in person. So now in my made-up ending, she writes “I miss you,” then tells him she loves him later, when they meet up for their happily-ever-after. LOL

      • Lol. I also have it in my mind that in the “epilogue”, they meet up a bit later, maybe a year or two, and have their happily ever after! It’s nice being a dreamer. Lol. I think “I love you” and “I miss you” are both good ideas, but I’m going to have to like the latter better because the whole “I miss you” was kind of a big thing in the book.

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