December 13, 2012

Eleanor & Park - Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor & Park Rainbow Rowell book cover Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: March 5, 2013
Source/Format: Netgalley (Thanks!) || e-galley
[I received this book from the publisher. This in no way affects the thoughts expressed in my review.]

Eleanor and Park live in two entirely different worlds. But a chance meeting on a bus changes everything, pulling them both into a world where first love might just be worth fighting for.

I can’t quite put my finger on what it is about Eleanor & Park that I loved so much, though I will certainly try to for the sake of this review. It’s certainly got something to do with the constant references to music (yay!) and comics (double yay!) that are liberally sprinkled throughout the novel. It’s also got something to do with the uniqueness that characterizes both Eleanor and Park. But, most of all, it is the brevity and succinctness which the author employs in her storytelling that really had me enjoying this story about Eleanor, Park and their relationship.

Eleanor and Park are typical high school kids, but at the same time, they are not so typical. Eleanor has a difficult home life, and struggles to make the most out of everything that comes her way. She’s got a stubborn spirit, and a clever mind, both of which allow her to avoid confrontations with her stepfather and to rise above everything the girls at school do to bully her. Park, on the other hand, is a boy who pretty much has access to everything that he could ever want. He works hard in school, has an insatiable love for music and comics and is also trying very hard to be who his dad wants him to be.

The juxtaposition between these two characters and their individual realities is stark. And it is driven home time and again throughout many incidents in the novel, which sort of lends a whole prince and pauper vibe to their story.

When these two meet one fateful day on the bus, they had no idea that their lives were going to change. But gradually, through a shared fascination for comics and a mutual love of music, the two of them start forming a friendship. This friendship begins tentatively enough, but eventually morphs into something that’s a little bit more than friendship – something that looks a whole lot like love.

There is truly nothing I do not love about how their relationship developed. It’s sort of like a watching a polaroid photo developing – it begins with a streak of one color, and then suddenly, before you know it, a fully formed picture appears right in front of your eyes.

Eleanor & Park’s relationship started out tentatively, slowly, and the reader gets the sense that their relationship is so strange (to us and to them) because they come from entirely different worlds. Once they circumvent this difference between them, they fall into place almost as if they belong together. While their relationship is decidedly not perfect, being fraught with doubts and fears and uncertainty, it is real. It is authentic, and it certainly reminds me of what it really felt like when I first fell in love.

It is this beautiful authenticity that made me fall completely in love with Eleanor & Park. Set against a stark backdrop of more serious issues, their love story was utterly believable and very, very sweet. I was rooting for them to stay together, to be together, and to overcome it all – and I believe, should you read this book, you will feel the same way.


  1. I wan't to read this one so badly! I only heard of it a few months ago but I love the sound of it. LOVE. It sounds sweet and unique and so very real, plus I've read some really great, positive reviews from bloggers I trust so that makes me think I'll love it all the more. ♥ Amazing review, Alexa!

  2. Like what said Rebecca I'm loving the sound of this book! Plus the cover is way too cute! Great review!

  3. Wonderful review. I am so dying to read this one. The relationship kind of makes me think of Hazel and Gus from The Fault in Our Stars. I also really like that it references music; books that do that always interest me right away. :)


  4. I love books with lots of references to music and that's one of my favorite covers I've seen in a long time! Thanks for the recommendation!

  5. I'm really glad you liked Eleanor & Park. I received a copy from NetGalley too and will be reading it soon.
    Little Book Star

  6. THIS is my next read so now I'm even more excited :-D

  7. I need to read this book already! It looks so so good. And I love your polaroid reference! Great review :)

  8. Wasn't this book awesome???? I just loved it and I loved the realness of their relationship. I think it was also great because it was a relationship without all of the electronics that we have today. Everything about this book was amazing....

  9. ' It’s sort of like a watching a polaroid photo developing – it begins with a streak of one color, and then suddenly, before you know it, a fully formed picture appears right in front of your eyes. ' I like the way you described that. Seriously between you and Ginger I'm pretty sure I'm going to read this book like next week. <3

  10. I waited until I wrote my blog post before I came back and read this and I LOVE what you have to say, particularly the part about the polaroid picture! I found that I just had the hardest time accurately describing exactly how much I loved this book because it was written so well, this relationship and their differences, etc. I loved how they really were blind to everything else when they were together. There was Eleanor, there was Park, and there was Eleanor and Park together. This one will stick with me for such a long time and I absolutely want to read Rowell's previous book and her next one as well. AND I want to toss this book to EVERYONE. Great review.

  11. Just go read this book. Seriously. Do it now. I am still heartbroken that it is over. I still want more. I feel like I need to go re-read it right now just to get a little more time with these characters. Seriously go read this book. It is sweet and sincere and beautiful and just amazing. Go. Read it. Now.
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