Title: Eleanor & Park
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Publication Date: February 26th 2012
Length: 325 pages (Hardcover)
Synopsis from Goodreads:
“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 sixteen.”
“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, ELEANOR AND PARK 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.
I don’t even know where to start. I can’t, I’m speechless. Oh, wait. Now I know, how about; this book was absolutely FANTASTIC!
You want to know why? That’s a reasonable demand, I guess. :)
First of all, look at that cover. It’s not colourful, it doesn’t stand out and it doesn’t scream for attention. It’s perfect. It represents this book in the best way possible, and I don’t even know why. I just look at the cover and feel: this is Eleanor & Park. It’s so sweet, and anonymous, but at the same time, you can tell there’s something going on, like they’re keeping a secret. Do you know what I mean? Maybe you don’t, but anyway, that’s the way this cover makes me feel.
Eleanor & Park takes place in 1986, and is told from the PoV of a girl named Eleanor, and a boy named Park. The book tells the story of how they meet, how they slowly and silently form a friendship, and how it all leads to something so much more. As a reader, you get to see how they overcome obstacle, after obstacle, both caused by other people, and themselves, but most of all, you get to fall in love along with them.
I absolutely loved the plot, the writing style, and the characters of this book. The story just pulled me in to another world, a world full of mix-tapes, walkmans, and no mobile phones. This setting was completely different in so many ways, but still the same in so many others, and I found it all absolutely enchanting.
The relationship between Eleanor and Park was so so sweet. It’s the kind that creeps up on you slowly, and during the first weeks, they don’t even speak to one another. You would think that’d be boring, but hell no! The timing and the pace were perfect.
“Park felt like he should say something to her. He always felt like he should say something to her, even if it was just ‘hello’ or ‘excuse me.’ But he’d gone too long without saying anything since the first time he’d cursed at her, and now it was all just irrevocably weird.”
Since you get to experience the story from both of their PoVs, you also get to see how differently they see themselves and each other, especially if you compare their first impressions to how they feel later on. This book teaches the reader that not everything is as it seems, and that you shouldn’t judge people based on your first impression of them. Beneath the facade, there might a completely different person hiding. A person that might be exactly what you need.
Eleanor & Park also brought up a lot of thoughts about courage, being yourself and what it means. It’s okay to be different, and why should we follow the rules if they don’t make us feel good? Why should we care about gender-roles, or what other people think is right? Wearing make-up doesn’t make boy any less than a boy, and not wearing it doesn’t make a girl any less than a girl..
While this book was adorable and made my stomach flutter, it was also heartbreaking. Eleanor went through some serious shit, and sometimes I just wanted to cry and hug her. I wanted to kill her ass of a step-father and I wanted to shake some reason into her mother. I wanted to make some sense of something completely insane. The fact that there exists such violent and horrible people makes me angry at the world, and I wish it would just stop. Please stop.
Every single one of the characters in this book had so much depth, and not one felt unnecessary or unimportant. It’s not very often that happens, but when it does, it makes me so unbelievably happy! To see them all grow and discover things about themselves was amazing!
I could seriously go on about this book forever, and I can’t find anything I didn’t like about it. The pace, the plot, the characters…all perfect!
I’m so in love with this book!
If this review haven’t convinced you, I need you to listen very carefully as I say this: READ THIS BOOK
Some Favourite Quotes:
“Best of all, she had Park’s songs in her head – and in her chest, somehow. There was something about the music on that tape. It felt different. Like, it set her lungs and her stomach on edge. There was something exciting about it, and something nervous. It made Eleanor feel like everything, like the world, wasn’t what she’d thought it was. And that was a good thing. That was the greatest thing.”
“‘I’m bringing you The Dark Knight Returns,’ he said. ‘What’s that?’ ‘Only the least boring Batman story ever.’ ‘The least boring Batman story ever, huh? Does Batman raise both eyebrows?'”
“They agreed about everything important and argued about everything else.”
“Maybe I’m some sort of perverted cartoon-sexual.”
“She had five tapes from him now – which meant, if her batteries lasted, she had four hundred and fifty minutes to spend with Park in her head, holding his hand.”
“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.”