I Have Finally Read Eleanor & Park

Eleanor & Park is an enormously popular young adult novel about, well, Eleanor and Park. Two high schoolers who fall in love (*cue synchronized sigh*). Here’s the thing, I knew this was going to be a love story. I figured it’d be some light-hearted cutesy high school sweet thing that I’d read, feel good about it, smile, and move on. Um, no one warned me that there were actual real life issues in this book, too- OMG! While those were killer, at the end of the day, they helped to create a seriously wonderful story about two teenagers in love.

I Have Finally Read Eleanor & ParkEleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Published by St. Martin's Press on February 26th 2013
Genres: Contemporary Fiction
Narrator: Rebecca Lowman, Sunil Malhotra
Length: 8 hours, 56 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Buy on Amazon, Buy on Barnes & Noble, Buy from The Book Depository

Two misfits. One extraordinary love.
... 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-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.

1) young love, 2) family troubles, and 3) being too cool for school 

What I Love About Eleanor & Park

  1. Their love story is a bit more complicated than you expect it to be. It’s a bit more real, too. They’re not perfect people by any stretch of the imagination, and that, of course, makes it far more interesting.
  2. There are some very real issues that are dealt with in this book: 1) emotional abuse, 2) bullying, 3) body image issues, and probably so many more I didn’t even catch. These are very heavy at times, and certainly prevent this book from being “light hearted.”
  3. The narrative style. I enjoyed that the narrators switched between Eleanor and Park, and that we were privy to their inner-most thoughts. I loved hearing what Park thought about Eleanor. Eleanor’s narrative was a bit sad at times, but it was lovely seeing how her confidence around Park developed.
  4. The ending! These sort of endings are my bread and butter. It answers just enough questions to direct your mind  in the right direction, but left enough open so that your mind could still wander around a bit. Make sense? No? Well whatever. Seriously, the ending was just perfect for me.

Have you read Eleanor & Park? Did you love it? I’d be very eager to hear an opinion of discontent on this one. Also, what Rainbow Rowell book should I read next?

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  1. I’m so glad you liked this book! I really loved this story and the way Rainbow Rowell writes. This is definitely one of my favorite books by her. Great review I totally agree with what you’ve said about this book.


    1. Hahaha, that’s fair! There are certain books that I just don’t feel like I can review without spoiling my feelings for it 😀

  2. I had no idea what this was even about going into it like 2 years ago, but man, did it completely change my idea about the high school romance thing. It was such a powerful book, and it made me feel so many emotions…I was all over the place. It was also my very first Rainbow Rowell book, and I instantly fell in love with her writing style and her ability to truly create and develop a character. Eleanor & Park has definitely become a favorite book of mine. So glad to see you liked it, too!

    1. It is SO powerful! I need to read other Rainbow Rowell books – I’ve heard so many good things about so many of them!

    1. I think it’s definitely worth reading – if only because it’s such a huge book in the YA contemporary world (the real reason why I decided to read it in the first place)!

  3. I am not so sure Rainbow will be my cup of tea, I bought Fan girl thanks to bookstagram but I am not inclined to read it any time soon.
    That said I think this is the most beloved one and maybe deserves a chance…

    1. I think she’s one of those writers that writes an incredibly simple story and manages to put a lot of power and emotion behind it. I’ve only read E&P (which is obviously her most popular) and Kindred Spirits (a novella, but also quite good for being tiny), but it sounds like all of her novels are like that. You should give her a try one day (: – who knows? You may like it!