Thursday, March 5, 2015

Book Review: Eleanor & Park

Title: Eleanor & Park
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Rating: 5

Synopsis (via Goodreads): Two misfits. One extraordinary love. Eleanor... 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. Park... 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. 

Review: "There's no such thing as handsome princes, she told herself. There's no such thing as happily ever after. She looked up at Park. Into his golden green eyes. You saved my life, she tried to tell him. Not forever, not for good. Probably just temporary. But you saved my life, and now I'm yours. The me that's me right now is yours. Always." 

This. I just. 

I can't. 

I fell in love with this book after reading the first sentence. And if you know me, I hate sappy romance novels. I make faces at cute couples at my school for crying out loud. There was just something about Eleanor & Park that made me smile. It could've been the humor (“Because being assaulted with maxi pads is a great way to win friends and influence people."); it could've been the stereotypes (Eleanor wasn't model thin and Park isn't caucasian); but one thing is for sure, I will be reading - and eagerly anticipating - more from Rainbow Rowell. 

Both Eleanor and Park have their own insecurities, but when they are together, they feel like they can be themselves. Maybe this is what made this book so beautiful. The two bond over music and reading comics on the school bus - definitely not your typical boy meets girl. In fact, Park thought she was weird when he first saw her. There was no "love at first sight" in sight! (Kudos to Rainbow for being realistic here). The insecurities continue throughout their story. First kiss? Awkward. Meeting the parents? Cringe worthy. Not-so-normal family life? Spot on. I've never read a contemporary young adult book before that actually came off as practical - as in, it could actually happen. 

I've heard a lot of great things about Fangirl, so I can't wait to get my hands on a copy. At the same time, I really don't want to return Eleanor & Park to the library... 

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