Book Title/Author: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Publisher/Year: St. Martin’s Press 2013
Genre: YA Realistic Fiction
Other Books From Author: Attachments
An AWESOME friend gifted it to me which is a testament to how much this book meant to her.
It’s 1986 and Eleanor & Park, two misfits and an unlikely pair, are thrust together in the seat of school bus on Eleanor’s first day at her new school. Eleanor, with her wild red hair and unusual clothing, makes Park feel uncomfortable and she seems to be everywhere these days. As a romance begins to bud, despite all odds, the two realize how hard it is to hold onto love and keep it safe in this sometimes cruel and unfair world.
I may as well just tell you this is one of my favorite books I’ve read this year though I feel like I’m the last one to experience this. It’s easy to let hype make a book not live up to all of the “OMG AMAZING’s” I’ve heard about it but I didn’t really know much about it at all…except that everyone was raving like crazy. Eleanor & Park is worthy of the praise and magnificently written in every way. I almost feel like I have nothing to say about it because it was like book perfection to me and how can even capture that in a review? You should just know, that if I were Oprah (pretty much my life long dream), I would be all “and one for YOU and one for YOU and copies for EVERYONE.”
Eleanor & Park was, without a doubt, one of the sweetest love stories I’ve had the pleasure of reading between two of the most charming, yet not always perfect, characters. There’s those love stories that are whirlwind romances or ones that develop really dramatically or ones that are super sexy. And then there’s Eleanor & Park. On the surface it strikes you as this very quietly budding romance but, like a duck swimming in water, underneath the surface my heart was beating furiously and frantically because of the charming and swoony nature of the romance and the unbelievably realistic tension Rainbow Rowell wrote as this love story developed. And by the end? I’m certain I couldn’t breathe. One of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read. God, my heart is beating a little bit faster thinking about this story as I write. I was completely invested in their story and very, very emotional by the end.
I loved a lot of things about this novel — the writing, the characters, the plot, the perfectly written dual narrative, the 80’s setting and pop culture, etc. But the thing I loved most? HOW their story developed until the very end. It was so REAL. Every new interaction and “next step” made me swoon and took me back to those younger years when every single moment of “falling in love” was disgustingly significant in the best way possible. A grazing of a hand to yours accidentally? OMG. TINGLING. The first phone conversation? MY HEART IS BEATING FASTER. Seeing that person waiting by your locker? CAN I EVEN MOVE STILL? The first kiss? BOOM DEAD. FOREVER AND EVER WILL I FEEL THEIR LIPS. Remember all those feels?? Well, Rainbow Rowell was magically able to capture my adolescence in a bottle and spill it onto the pages in a way where I was able to relive all that tension and moments where my heart almost jumped out of my chest. I felt what it was like to be young and falling in love and how all the external forces and your own darn head make that really, really hard sometimes.
Friends, I feel like I’m failing you in trying to explain how fantastic this book was for me. I don’t want to say too much but I don’t want to say too little so that you pass it up. I just want you to experience it. My next book feels like the sacrificial lamb because what could I read next that won’t pale in comparison?
Eleanor & Park was book perfection for me. I was smitten with the characters and felt like I was falling in love right with them as Rainbow Rowell wrote a beautiful budding romance that was perfectly plotted and made my heart beat faster in the quiet moments as well as the more emotionally gut punching moments. My heart soared high and broke hard for many reasons. It’s not just a love story but a testament to how beautiful and special love is in a sometimes cruel and unfair world that is seemingly hellbent on keeping you down for being different. This book is special, you guys.
Let’s Talk: Have you read this one?? Heard of it?? If you’ve read it, did you enjoy it?? Did every swoony moment make your heart explode with feels?? What about the end?? AHH.