Eleanor and Park: A Book Review


Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

Summary: 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 16.
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, this 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.

{kindly taken from Amazon}

My Thoughts: By the of February, I had heard so many people rave about Eleanor and Park, that I thought I might as well read it! :) All in all, I’m really happy I checked this one out. It was a refreshing, young love story, and holds so much emotion. I think fans of Gayle Forman’s books will really enjoy it, but anyone in the mood for an engaging novel will like it.

Eleanor has it rough. Her stepfather, Richie, despises her, and he’s not fit to be a dad. {seriously, he is CRUEL} Her mom will do nothing to help, and it seems even her younger siblings are warming up to Richie. Park, on the other hand, has it going good. His parents are pretty supportive and there’s not too much drama going on in his life. I think this contrast was what really made the connection between Eleanor and Park so authentic. There’s no way I could have imagined them meeting one another, much less, liking one another, but against all odds, it did. I really liked how Rainbow Rowell went so far from the norm with her two main characters. Eleanor, with her crazy red hair and chubby body, is not something I encounter in young adult stories very often; it’s the same situation with Park, who is half-Korean and more into punk rock than sports. Despite their flaws, I really liked these two protagonists.

Going in to reading the book, I knew I was in for a love story, but I wasn’t expecting it to have a handful of powerful messages intertwined into the plot too. They’re dealing with family issues, teenage drama, and their first time navigating the world by themselves. Rowell wrote with such passion and emotion that these messages really got through. The book never seemed to “drag,” although I think some parts weren’t entirely needed. The constant repeat of Eleanor visiting Park after school, for example, could have been condensed. There were a few stereotypes thrown in there, which I wasn’t entirely pleased with. This is a story of two misfits finding each other, so why throw in all those stereotypes? I was a bit worried that the time period {the 80’s} might date it too much, but beside some cultural references, it should last.

Overall, Eleanor and Park was a beautiful story. I think depending on your preferences, you might enjoy this more or less than the next person, but you can’t argue that this was really well-written. I’m looking forward to Fangirl in the fall!

By the way, that cover totally makes my favorites list. Stunning design! :)

Pros: Well-developed and relatable characters.

Cons: The storyline felt a bit too repetitive, and I was disappointed to see so many stereotypes used to describe the secondary characters.

Heads Up: Language, language, and more language! There is some romance, as well.

Overall: I give it 4 stars {****} and I recommend it for ages 14 and up.

Have a delightful rest of your day!

12 thoughts on “Eleanor and Park: A Book Review

  1. I liked how Eleanor and Park weren’t your typical YA characters too. I have issues with the Asian depictions of this book but I liked it overall. I’m glad you did too!


  2. I’m sad that the secondary characters are stereotypical, because I usually love the secondary characters in books, but I do love how you said that the leads are well-developed and relatable! They sound really great! :) Fabulous review!

    Alice @ Alice in Readerland


  3. […] Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell // Isn’t the artwork on this cover amazing?! The simple design with the artistic use of color and line really made this one a winner for me. I would love to have the book casually resting somewhere on my bookshelf :) {review can be found here.} […]


  4. I have been meaning to read Rainbow works for such a long time and I still didn’t! Anyway, I liked to hear that you liked this one, like you said depending to person to person this book had divergent opinions, that let me a little insecure. Great review :)


  5. […] [2] Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell • Over the past three years, many young adult novels have become bestsellers for teens and YA-loving adults. Whether it’s due to the author’s reputation and emotional story {The Fault in Our Stars, anyone?!}, an adaptation hitting the big screen {that would be If I Stay, by the always amazing Gayle Forman}, or because it is just so good, like Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor and Park, you can hardly go wrong with these popular reads. I loved – and still do! – Rowell’s novel, and I urge you to read it if you haven’t already. […]


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