“Eleanor & Park” is a YA novel about two misfits who fall in love, a novel I’ve been wanting to read for a long time. I had no doubt I’d love this book and I was certainly not disappointed.
* * All reviews are spoiler-free unless otherwise stated.
To be honest, I don’t really know where to start. This book had me reeling with emotion 99% of the time, laughing uncontrollably, holding back tears and rethinking my own opinions. It was a thrilling rollercoaster from start to finish and I am so, so glad I was able to make time to read it (though how I managed to do so, I’m not sure).
I had already read “Fangirl” and started reading “Landline” (and I met Rainbow Rowell holy shit; maybe I’ll tell y’all about it one day), so I knew even before picking the book up that I was going to fall in love with it. I became even more excited to read it when I read the blurb:
…Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough… Eleanor.
…He knows she’ll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There’s a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises… Park.
Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds – smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.
When I finally got around to reading it, I really liked how it started out, how it wasn’t quite so typical. Contrary to most books (and, let’s be real, fanfics) I’ve read, they usually start with the two leads instantly falling for each other or just automatically liking the other. I was pleasantly surprised in finding that Eleanor & Park was not that type of book. (Does that count as a spoiler? I hope not.)
I enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed reading “Fangirl” (which is to say, a lot). I was never bored and always wanted to stay up “a little longer” so I could keep reading. Between classes, I would read it if I could and even during class, though I wasn’t really supposed to. I couldn’t get enough of this book, and while I’m happy to have finally read the story in its entirety, I’m also super upset that it’s over. (Thank God for fan fiction though, am I right?)
The ending made me really emotional. I literally squirmed where I was sitting when I read it (which wasn’t very comfortable, as I was seated on the ground). I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs because of how excited it made me. However, with the way it just ended there, it left me with so many questions. I want to know what happens after. I want to know what happens to each of the characters. I know it leaves a lot to the imagination, but I would rather have answers. So the ending made me think, “Okay, but what happens?“
Just like in “Fangirl”, Rainbow Rowell’s humor and beautiful writing kept me entranced throughout the book. I couldn’t put the book down for a second without wishing I was still reading it. And as it came to a close, I wanted to prolong it as much as possible. I wasn’t ready to finish it.
There might have been a few things I didn’t like, such as something I would’ve punctuated differently or worded differently, but those hardly mattered. They simply paled in comparison to all the amazing parts of this book, all the parts that had me an emotional wreck. God, I was just overwhelmed with feels throughout reading “Eleanor & Park”.
Recommend? Yes, yes, yes!
Soundtrack: “Unsteady” by X Ambassadors, because it came on shuffle while I was reading and I got so, so emotional. It was just really fitting for the scene and though it doesn’t fit the whole book, it was perfect for that part of the book.