Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell | Book Review

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow RowellBook Title/Author: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
: St. Martin’s Press 2013
Genre: YA Realistic Fiction
Series: No
Other Books From Author: Attachments

Amazon| Goodreads | Twitter |

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.


Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell book review

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.


Top Ten Books For People Who Liked Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted at my other blog — The Broke and the Bookish

I decided to go with Top Books For People Who Like X Book! So I chose Anna and the French Kiss to fill the X because it’s one of my favorite contemporary YA books — a perfect amount of fun and angst with memorable characters and romance. I didn’t have a ton of time to elaborate so you’ll just have to read them for yourself! 🙂

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins | Take A  Bow by Elizabeth Eulberg | The Darlings Are Forever by Melissa Kantor | Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson | The Summer  I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han | Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard| Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson | Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty |The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith | The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau Banks by E. Lockhart

Any other recommendations for books like Anna and the French Kiss?? Because I love that book and would LOVE more! Did you enjoy any of these books? Disagree with any of my picks?

Review: Bunheads by Sophie Flack

Bunheads by Sophie FlackBook Title/Author: Bunheads by Sophie Flack
Publisher/Year: : Little Brown, 2011
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Fiction
Series: No.
Other Books From Author: None as of now. It’s her debut novel!

Amazon| Goodreads | Sophie Flack’s website

 While most of her peers are navigating their way through living on their own in college, 19 year old Hannah Ward has lived on her own in Manhattan for years to live her dream to make it into the ultra competitive Manhattan Ballet Company. Her peers go to classes and parties; Hannah enjoys hours of workouts, rehearsals, & performances which is all part of the strenuous life of a professional dancer just waiting to be noticed for a soloist position. It’s all part of her plan — every single blister, every diet, every sore muscle means she’s coming closer to making it and stepping out from the crowd of other dancers vying for the same parts. Her dedication to her dream never wavers until she meets Jacob — a musician and college student who introduces her to the possibilities of a life unbound from stringent schedules and very little free time outside the ballet and makes her start to question what’s important to her in her life or if she’s okay with giving up  “normal life” for a life trying to make it to the spotlight.

Bunheads was a thoroughly enjoyable novel that gives a darker (not Black Swan dark!), somewhat  grittier picture to the world of professional ballet — a world that,  from the audience, is nothing short of graceful, beautiful  & elegant. Sophie Flack succeeds in portraying the captivating beauty of the ballet while balancing it with the ugly and cutthroat reality that happen at that level of success. Eating disorders, backstabbing, excessive exercise & exhaustion is the norm. Sophie Flack writes this world all in a way that pulls you in to this unfamiliar lifestyle — at least for me — as the extent of my dance career was three years of tap class.You can tell that the author was in fact a professional ballet dancer as she lends her knowledge of the world of ballet that really seems quite realistic in her descriptions — from the technical aspect to the magical feeling and rush a dancer gets in being on stage and performing these movements so gracefully and in sync. I really felt like I was getting the inside scoop on life behind the curtain. Like an E! True Hollywood Story.

I was nervous at first, as I am with any fiction that delves into a “specialty”, that it will be too technical or that it will lose me because the author can’t make the lifestyle accessible to the average reader who hasn’t lived a life like that. Thankfully Bunheads was not overwrought with too much technical detail that it went over my head and never did I feel too distant from Hannah’s lifestyle that I didn’t connect with her. In fact, I really connected with Hannah in a way that I haven’t with another character. Her struggle to find balance in her life, figure out who she is and who she wants to be, her sacrifice for her dreams — they resonated with me and felt extremely real. I loved Jacob’s role in this but I loved that he didn’t instantly come into her life and help “save her”. It was HER figuring out what she wanted. SHE struggled to try to balance her dreams with wanting to be a normal girl with a normal life.  He just helped perpetuate that. It was a very sweet romance — one that I really enjoyed to watch develop — even when I wanted to body slam Hannah for ditching him. But it was SO realistic. No girl with dreams so high would immediately leave it all for a boy.

Bunheads by Sophie Flack truly was one of my favorite reads this year! It wasn’t a fast-paced nor an overly dramatic portrayal like you might see in a tv show or movie but the world of ballet portrayed in Bunheads was even more captivating, in my opinion, because it seemed REAL as opposed to a drama-rama, hair pulling, scandalous story . It was gritty and a tinge shocking (like from how the “hide” their breasts to how they make their shoes fit to their crazy schedules) but it was also subtle, beautiful and magical and you can feel why it is someone’s dream. You’ll root for Hannah and Jacob but even more you’ll root for Hannah as she struggles to figure out what she wants — a plight we all can sympathize with.  Bravo, Sophie Flack, bravo. I can’t get this book out of my mind.


PS. Also loved this book because it seemed to be a bit of an “older” YA!


Bunheads by Sophie Flack


Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez, Take A Bow by Elizabeth Eulberg, Audition by Stasia Ward Kehoe,


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