Title: Eleanor & Park
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Genre: Young Adult. Realistic Fiction. Romance.
Publication Date: April 12th 2012
Set over the course of one school year in 1986, ELEANOR AND PARK 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.
Eleanor & Park has been seriously hyped up for the last couple of months by booktubers, book bloggers and just readers in general. Usually I tend to stray away from those kinds of books unless it’s something I’d wanted to read before the hype. This was an exception, before the hype I’d never heard of Eleanor & Park or Rainbow Rowell but afterwards, I saw this book and Rainbow Rowell everywhere on the internet (but never in bookshops!!). Eventually, I gave up waiting for it to appear in a bookshop and put it on hold at the library- I was sixth in line and so I totally didn’t expect to get this book until next year but then suddenly it was in my hands. And oh my god.
I read this book in two seatings- one seating for the first half of the book and then the second half the next morning. I wasn’t sure how I’d like the book despite all the hype about it, and for the first few pages I actually didn’t like it. I felt really uncomfortable with how embarrassing Eleanor seemed to be and how judgemental Park was. I felt like this for a little while until things started to get better. I think I actually connected to Park more than I did to Eleanor, which is strange for me because usually I find it quite hard to connect to male characters. Eleanor was a bit too ‘out there’ for me at times; I’m a bit quieter and more reserved like Park. I mean, I liked Eleanor but I just didn’t have all that much in common with her.
I adored their romance more than anything. I liked how it was sort of awkward and unplanned and a bit strange and difficult at times. Particularly, compared to the romance in some books where the characters seem to just fall in love so quickly. I felt that it was probably one of the most realistic views on first love that I’ve read. I admit that the story is not at all what I expected- I think I expected something really light and fluffy but I was pleasantly surprised that the story had substance- it was about more than just romance. Those are my favourite kind of books- where friends and family and fitting in are just as important as love. I liked how it was set in the 80’s too- I’m a 90’s baby but there were still things that I could pick up on through movies or other books or through things my parents have talked about/listened to. I think it’s not usually a time period that I personally read in, but I actually really enjoyed because it was different to what I grew up with but it wasn’t too different. The only thing for me that stopped it from being 5/5 was the ending. I think I was expecting something else- I expected it to be said but it wasn’t what I’d hoped for. I just wanted a little bit more to it.
But of course, I still loved this book so very much. I’m really not a fan of split point of views in books, but I actually liked how this was done. I liked how sometimes they’d be thinking pretty much the exact same thing but neither of them would know or how sometimes they could be thinking the completely opposite thing. It was really awesome how that was written. If you’ve yet to read Eleanor & Park, I would definitely suggest that you pick it up. It is, honestly, incredibly lovely.