Review: Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell.

Eleanor is the new girl. With her unpredictable life at home, bright, curly red hair, weird 11692864_10155641257650018_340293667_nstyle in fashion, she couldn’t stand out more if she was trying.

Park sits at the back of the bus. Always listening to music and reading comics, Park thinks he’s succeeded in turning himself invisible. But Eleanor can see him.

Over stacks of comic books and a pile of mix tapes, Eleanor and Park slowly start falling for each other. It’s first love for both of them. The kind when you feel as if you have nothing and everything to lose.

This is the third Rainbow Rowell book I’ve read. Also, her first young adult novel for me. I really liked Landline but Attachments, not so much.

I liked Eleanor and Park though. The story is set in 1986 which I kind of kept forgetting while I was reading the book, even with the mix tapes and boom boxes. I was just sucked into their story and the year didn’t matter so much.

Eleanor’s home and family are a mess. She lives with her mum, stepfather, brothers and sister. None of them are happy but are too scared to admit it. Her stepfather is an alcoholic and an ass. There’s a reason Eleanor dresses the way she does. My heart went out to her. I wanted to reach into the book and pull her out of that house. Knock some sense into her mother at the same time.

Park’s family is the complete opposite of Eleanor’s. But even though his parents still love each other and their kids, Park feels like he doesn’t fit in there or at school. His mother was annoying at times, at the start, but as she got to know Eleanor I liked her more. His dad seemed hard on him about some things but when it mattered the most, he was there for Park.

The writing on Eleanor’s text books and who was doing it was a complete surprise for me. Although I did find him creepy at times I didn’t pick the two together. Even though the notes were disgusting, they seemed even more so coming from him.

The ending was disappointing. It happened to fast. I would’ve liked to know what happened with Eleanor and her aunt and uncle. What happened to her mother and siblings. But only vague things were mentioned. I didn’t get the ending I wanted. I mean, they were seventeen. But after reading the note from Rainbow Rowell at the back of the book, I think I did get what I wanted. Or I’m going to believe that I did anyway.

I think this is my favourite Rainbow Rowell book so far. I still have Fangirl to read though.

I really liked the relationship between Eleanor and Park. I liked how it wasn’t love at first sight. Or anything at first sight really. Their relationship grew slowly over time. I liked how awkward they were with each other, because that’s how first love is. They are both really different, with different views of the world, but they work together. They bring out the best in each other. I wish everyone’s first love could be like theirs.

Have you read Eleanor and Park? Which is your favourite Rainbow Rowell book? Let me know in the comments.

– Aimee.

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