Saturday, January 26, 2013

Review: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell


Bono met his wife in high school, Park says.
So did Jerry Lee Lewis, Eleanor answers.
I’m not kidding, he says.
You should be, she says, we’re 16.
What about Romeo and Juliet?
Shallow, confused, then dead.
I love you, Park says.
Wherefore art thou, Eleanor answers.
I’m not kidding, he says.
You should be.
Set over the course of one school year in 1986, this is the story of two star-crossed misfits—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love—and just how hard it pulled you under.


Love stories featuring off-beat characters seem like a formula for success.

In Eleanor & Park, misfits Eleanor and Park slowly become friends then boyfriend and girlfriend. Things aren't so simple, though, as there are obstacles at every turn.

During the first half or so of this book, my rating was at 4 stars. The setting and timeline was easy for me to imagine as I was a kid in the early '90s and I remember things like cassette tapes and Walkmans. The love story's pace was also nice as Eleanor and Park actually got to know each other before falling in love. I liked pretty much all the characters as they were flawed and very believable. They're not physically perfect and that's part of what makes them so relate-able.

By the last 100 pages, though, my rating dropped to 3 stars. The reason is because Eleanor's constant negativity and the way she always said she wasn't pretty even though Park has said she is. It just got on my nerves. I mean, you don't have to believe it. Just take the compliment! Say "thank you" and stop overanalyzing it! Of course, this is probably just a way to show how Eleanor's family life is affecting her self-esteem, but still, it made me dislike her a lot. It's a good thing I liked the other characters, especially Park's family.

It also got a little bit melodramatic near the last part when Eleanor and Park had been together for awhile. It's not exactly as over-the-top as Twilight, but it came close.

Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin's Griffin for the e-ARC. Publication date of Eleanor & Park is on February 26, 2013.


  1. There's no insta-love here.
  2. The characters are interesting and imperfect.
  3. It will make you nostalgic for the '90s.


  1. Eleanor's lack of self-confidence can wear a little thin.

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.

  1. You grew up in the '90s.
  2. You enjoy stories with quirky lead characters.
  3. You're looking for a YA love story.




Note: This post contains Amazon and Book Depository affiliate links.


  1. Thanks for posting this. Since my dauther's name is Eleanor, I need to read this! I'm including this post on my World Wednesday Round Up.

    1. You're welcome, Ms. Yingling. :)


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