Title: Eleanor & Park
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Date(s) read: February 25 – 26, 2013
Genre: YA Contemporary
Source: Publisher (ARC)
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.
Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for providing me with a copy of this book for review!
When I first accepted this book for review, I’ll admit that one of the only reasons I was really interested in reading it was because of the recommendation from author John Green. Since I love John’s writing, I’ll pretty much try anything he wants me to read! (Well, this request came in a Goodreads chat — not from John personally to me. THAT would be awesome.)
Really, when I started reading this, I assumed it was just going to be some kind of contemporary romance — two kids meet and fall in love. You know, the typical thing. But this book turned out to be so much more. There were quite a few issues in the story that I felt my heart breaking at times and at other times it was soaring. There was a great blend of hard times with the more lovelier times of Eleanor and Park getting to know one another.
The characters were great in this story. I really felt for Eleanor and her family situation. At first, when I was thinking that there would be nothing really serious about this book, I had not really prepared myself for the seriousness that was about to take place. I could see why Eleanor would want to hide any intimate details from Park — honestly, the parts that focused on the domestic issues really bothered me, so it was kind of nice to have that balance of friendship and romance. It was also nice how different Eleanor and Park were from one another, from their personalities to their home life.
I did really love the throwbacks to the 80’s, like comic books and cassette tapes. There weren’t a lot of these things that I could find while reading, but the odd one that popped up that I could identify with was a nice thing. I also really loved the references to music that were made throughout.
The writing style also appealed to me, with the story being told in alternate point of views between Eleanor and Park. I kind of liked how the story started off with them each having a chapter, and then slowly they’d start to share chapters — sometimes numerous times. It just made sense, with them both being so different and living in such drastic situations, for the story to be told this way.
The only thing that really bugged me with this book was the love itself. For kids so young, it seemed like their love happened a little too immediately and was ALL-CONSUMING right from the start. I liked it when they had a friendship going, but it got serious very fast — and I’m not talking about physically serious, but emotionally serious.
I do think that I would read more by Rainbow Rowell — this was a good introduction book for me! While it may not have been as moving to me as it has been to others, I really enjoyed it, and even teared up in a spot or two. I do love stories that are just about two kids falling in love, but it was kind of nice to switch it up and have something a little more serious.