Review:: Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor and Park

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-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. (via Goodreads)


I’ve been hearing about this book since it came out, but I never made the time to read it. When Goodreads’ Deal email came out and told me that the ebook of Eleanor and Park was $1.99 while I was waiting on phone calls at work…I just couldn’t resist. I’m a sucker for a good deal, especially when I know I’ve got time to waste ahead of me. I read this entirely on my phone over the course of like 5 hours.

I read Rainbow Rowell’s book Fangirl a few months ago and really enjoyed it. As always, her writing flowed really well and made me want to keep reading. Rowell writes teen romance really well.

Eleanor was difficult for me to read, though. She was just so angry and hurt all the time, that it made me almost not like her. Her situation was terrible, but she was mean to Park, which drove me crazy. I absolutely adored Park. He was so open and kindhearted and lovely that it broke my heart to see Eleanor go so hot and cold with him. The end of Eleanor and Park where she completely ignores everything he sends her really bothered me. However, the reality is that sometimes at 16 you fall in love with people who aren’t good for you, who don’t return phone calls or letters, and that’s okay. Sometimes you fall in love with people who are what you need at first, and then end up not being what you need.

I liked that Eleanor was fat, but that wasn’t the main point of attraction for Park. In fact, he didn’t care about her weight, which was great. There’s some severe domestic abuse in Eleanor and Park, which I really wish I’d known about beforehand. I also have heard a lot of complaints from people in the Asian community that Park’s representation was very stereotypical, which I can see being accurate. I’m sure someone more qualified to talk about that already has, though.

Eleanor and Park was published on February 26, 2013 by St. Martin’s Press. It was given a ton of awards, which you can see on the Goodreads page. I originally rated it 4 stars, but after thinking about it and really analyzing the issues in the novel, I pulled my rating down to 3 stars where I feel like it really belongs.

three stars

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