Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell | Book Review

“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.”

― Rainbow Rowell, Eleanor & Park


Plot in a Nutshell:

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.
-Courtesy of Goodreads
Thoughts in General:
This is by far the sweetest and most sincere Young Adult (YA) romance I have ever read. Like seriously after reading this book a swell of emotions ballooned inside of me and just popped (mind you I didn’t cry but the feelings I had were swirling nonstop). The story is so simple but the way Rainbow Rowell executed it is so emotionally packed and could transcend a lot of people. The main characters were well rounded enough that you would actually care about them until you turn the last page.
Thoughts in Details (Might Contain Spoilers):
Characters
Eleanor is the shy yet determined kind of protagonist that you would cheer on. She is introduced as the new girl that becomes a social outcast that everybody suddenly picks on for being too different. Her wild red hair and crazy outfits really makes her stand out amongst her peers and the way she is isolated really hits you hard (I think everyone goes through an experience like this but on different levels). If being bullied was hard enough, Eleanor’s home life is a complete wreck.  Dealing with her emotionally unpredictable douche of a stepfather named Richie, Eleanor tries her best to stay away from his radar while her mother is helpless in the situation. Her siblings, who were once on her side were beginning to shift alliances. When I was reading her bits about her home life (BTW it is written in a Third Person Point Of View-shifting through Eleanor’s POV to Park’s) I felt anger bubbling up inside of me which I give major points to the author. The only thing that was good in her life was Park.
Park starts off as a loner kind of protagonist. He minded his own business and would rather listen to cool music than to hear his peers talk about nonsensical things. He could be classified as an emo-rocker. His home life embodies the loving yet quirky American family we see in television and movies. His Korean mom is so funny and very nurturing while his American dad is authoritative but could tell a joke or two. His parents were both totally in love and you could see that he was brought up well. Park and his dad weren’t very close. His dad sometimes acts really tough on him and that struck a chord with me.  
Setting
I wasn’t born in the 80s and I hardly know anything about the era except for its outrageous fashion and lifestyle. It is a period with references to cassette tapes, music groups and other pop culture tidbit of that decade but the novel does present the era in a way that doesn’t feel like a historical fiction.
 Story
Rainbow Rowell created a novel that is really adorable yet you could take it seriously. The conflicts the characters have feels so realistic that it stirs something in you, making you root for them. This isn’t your love-at-first-sight kind of romance. Park wasn’t really into Eleanor at first but the way they developed their feelings with each other feels so authentic that you couldn’t help but smile. The tenderness of their love was so heart-warming without feeling gimmicky. I wasn’t into romances that weren’t a romantic comedy but this book totally opened my eyes in the possibility that love stories could be just that without anything added to it.
Rating:
I give it a…

Two thumbs up! I highly recommend you guys to pick up this book right now!
Are you all excited to read this book? If you have read it, what are your thoughts? Have you felt the kind of love that Eleanor & Park had? What were your favorite scenes in the book? Share your thoughts and comment below.
Happy Reading,

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