Review: Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

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Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
Published February 26, 2013
Genres: Fiction, Young Adult, Contemporary
Buy this book from Amazon

I listened to this audiobook on my iPhone 6 through the Scribd app and read it as an ebook on my Kindle Paperwhite.

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“You saved my life, she tried to tell him.  Not forever, not for good.  Probably just temporarily.  But you saved my life, and now I’m yours. The me that’s me right now is yours.  Always.”  pg. 310

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Park, the half-Asian sophomore in a predominately white neighborhood, crosses paths with Eleanor–the new girl with vibrant red hair and an even louder wardrobe–and unexpectedly gets strapped into the tumultuous ride of an epic first love.

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As of April 8, 2015, DreamWorks has optioned the book and Rainbow Rowell has written the first draft of a screenplay.  (Source)

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This was one of those books that I was really hesitant to read and yet I owned every possible version of–ebook, hardcover, audio on Scribd.  My 15-year-old cousin suggested I read it.  My older sister said she hated it.  Everyone on Instagram loved it.  So I knew, eventually, I had to read it.  As a Young Adult genre-lover and book blogger, I had to at least give it a shot and have an opinion on it.

(Why was I so hesitant to read it?  I read Fangirl and I didn’t like it.  At all.)

So two days ago, after I finished Rae Carson’s Fire and Thorns trilogy, I opened up my Kindle and read the first chapter.  I went to the gym and decided to listen to it on Scribd during cardio and leg day.  And after 15%, I was definitely interested.  More than interested even.

Because Park was just so darn cute.  And so was Eleanor.  So freakin cute.  That part with the hand holding in the bus?!  So cute.  I found myself cheesin’ really hard because it brought me back to a time when I was in a school bus holding hands with a boy I liked.  And Rainbow Rowell captured it so well.  The confusion, the giddiness, the butterflies.

Characters that fall in love gradually, none of that love at first sight bs, really pull at my heartstrings and Eleanor and Park did that perfectly.  The fact that it all began with reading and music.  Ahh, when I was younger, that was exactly how I fantasized falling in love.

So if it’s not obvious, a big reason why I liked the book was because it was nostalgic.  (Even though the book was set in 1986 and I wasn’t born yet, but whatever.)  It reminded me of a time before text messages and Instagram and iPhones.  It seemed so simple.  And awkward.  Because it was awkward to get to know someone face to face, which is something we don’t really have to do anymore.  Eleanor and Park had to get to know each other the old fashioned way and that made it even sweeter.  Their first phone conversation?  Ahhh, I could not stop myself from grinning.

Aside from their love story though, there were more than a few times when I went HUH?  Some events just didn’t make sense.  There were plot holes.  A character did something out of character.  The big reveal was undermined by the logistics and technicalities.  How, logistically, could that even happen?  I know I’m not making much sense but I can’t really say more without spoiling anything.  So to get my full rant WITH SPOILERS, click here.

Back to what I can say: I didn’t like the ending but not because of what happened but because of the author’s pacing.  It felt rushed and with a book that was gradually paced for about 90% of the time, the abrupt ending felt out of place, almost as if Rainbow Rowell didn’t know how to end it.

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3stars
3 OUT OF 5 STARS
If I had to rate their love story, it would be a 4.  But overall, the issues I had were too substantial to overlook or dismiss.

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Wondering why Rainbow Rowell made her main character half-Korean?  Here’s her answer.

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