Book Review: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor & ParkWhat’s it about?

Eleanor is the new girl in town, and she’s never felt more alone. All mismatched clothes, mad red hair and chaotic home life, she couldn’t stick out more if she tried.

Then she takes the seat on the bus next to Park. Quiet, careful and – in Eleanor’s eyes – impossibly cool, Park’s worked out that flying under the radar is the best way to get by.

Slowly, steadily, through late-night conversations and an ever-growing stack of mix tapes, Eleanor and Park fall in love. They fall in love the way you do the first time, when you’re 16, and you have nothing and everything to lose.

Set over the course of one school year in 1986, Eleanor & Park is funny, sad, shocking and true – an exquisite nostalgia trip for anyone who has never forgotten their first love.

My thoughts

Young Adult isn’t my preferred genre but I won this signed copy in a Twitter competition so thought I’d give it a go; albeit a tad sceptical that I’d enjoy it. Well I got a third way through the book in one sitting; partly because it’s very easy to get on with and secondly because I got completely wrapped up in their story – more so Eleanor’s! 🙂

Told in turn by Eleanor and Park we get to see how each of them interprets the conversations that they have, how they both see each other and how their relationship blossoms. Can you remember what it feels like to like somebody and then realise that bloody hell that might actually like you back? This is really quite sweet but it’s not quite straightforward.

“Eleanor was right. She never looked nice. She looked like art, and art wasn’t supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something.”

There were a lot more deeper social issues at hand here other than just first love. I felt desperately sorry for Eleanor for like 95% of this book and was constantly hoping that she’d just catch a break!

Overall, it really surprised me that I enjoyed this book so much given I’m not really its target audience and I really enjoyed the ’80s references; the cassette tapes, the Walkman and taping etc took me back to my childhood. Just goes to show you that you should be more open to new things and to finish – I actually prefer this cover; I think it sums them up perfectly.

Eleanor & Park

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1 Comment

  1. 9th May 2015 / 10:16 am

    I haven’t read any of Rainbow Rowell’s books yet, and I say yet because I truely intend to read some. I have heard fab things about her writing. Your review is excellent, I wouldn’t have been so inspired to read by just the blurb, but your review makes it sound something a bit more than just your average love story. Thanks for a great recommendation.

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