What are the chances you’d ever meet someone like that? he wondered. Someone you could love forever, someone who would forever love you back? And what did you do when that person was born half a world away? The math seemed impossible” – Eleanor & Park, Rainbow Rowell
Initial Thoughts: A few years ago, Eleanor & Park was featured everywhere. Everywhere I turned, people were raving about this book. Unfortunately, my to-read list is so long (over 1500 books long), it took me a few years to finally read Eleanor & Park. Finally, a few years after the hype has died down, I decided to jump into reading this book.
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” – Goodreads
About the Book
Title: Eleanor & Park
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Series: N/A (I wish)
Year Published: 2013
Genres & Subjects: Young adult fiction, fiction, romance, high school, contemporary
This book wasn’t at all what I was expecting. I was expecting an unrealistic story about two teenagers who were just “meant to be” with a bit of drama on the side. I was expecting something along the same vein as The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks. Instead, to my great surprise, Eleanor & Park is more than a love story. Its plot is so simple and seemingly overdone, but its depth is so poignant and so very real. Honestly, I feel as if the characters are real people.
I found myself taking multiple trips down memory lane to when I was an awkward teenager (now I’m just an awkward young adult). I could definitely relate to the moments when both Eleanor and Park would overthink their relationship. Rainbow Rowell has captured the overly self-conscious brain of the typical teenager perfectly. For instance, at the beginning of the story, Eleanor finds herself on an overly crowded bus. As soon as she tries to sit in the first empty seat she sees, she is suddenly told that the seat is taken. I found myself thinking wait… so, it wasn’t just my high school who did that!? There were so many little things that I could relate to. Things that I hadn’t even really thought about until they were pointed out in the book.
I really liked how the book shifted from Eleanor’s perspective to Park’s perspective. I have read that some people found that it made the story a bit jumbled, I found that it gave the story a lot of depth. I liked how both Eleanor and Park would see the world in a different way. Park automatically remarked Eleanor’s bizarre style od clothing. Meanwhile, Eleanor wouldn’t even mention the oddness of her clothing. By having both sides of the story, I was able to develop a crystal-clear picture of Eleanor and Park.
Even though Eleanor and Park are the focus of the book. It’s called Eleanor & Park after all. I really liked Park’s parents. It is rare to see parents in young adult fiction with such well-developed three-dimensional personalities. Most of the parents in young adult fiction are just like the adults in Charlie Brown. I wanted to say, “finally, there are parents in young adult fiction who aren’t just completely oblivious, or dead!”
Of course, it goes without saying that the ending frustrated me a little. Anyone who has read the story will know exactly what I am talking about. Don’t worry, I will no spoil the ending if you haven’t read the book. I liked how the characters had grown up a lot by the end of the story. As far as endings go, this one didn’t feel very rushed. It was tasteful, yet frustrating. I wish there could be a sequel. Maybe someday…
I would recommend this book to those who like young adult romantic fiction. I also would recommend this book to young adults who are past the high school stage and want to look back on their time in high school.
Final Rating: B+
Until Next Time,