Eleanor & Park - Rainbow Rowell
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Eleanor is the new girl in town, and with her chaotic family life, her mismatched clothes and unruly red hair, she couldn't stick out more if she tried.
Park is the boy at the back of the bus. Black T-shirts, headphones, head in a book - he thinks he's made himself invisible. But not to Eleanor... never to Eleanor.
Slowly, steadily, through late-night conversations and an ever-growing stack of mix tapes, Eleanor and Park fall for each other. They fall in love the way you do the first time, when you're young, and you feel as if you have nothing and everything to lose. (Description from Goodreads)
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This was a mix of super cute, adorable moments and painful heart break. Eleanor & Park's slow friendship and quick jump into love had me addicted from the start. I loved it.
There seems to be this growing theme in YA novels to place an importance on relationships in the past. Whether it's a storyline literally set in the past, or just characters obsessing about style, clothes, or music from an iconic era. There's something so powerfully about being set in a period where no-one is permanently attached to their phones or chatting online. Every look, every word, every action is more important. I loved how Rainbow Rowell captured this. She made you feel like no line could be overlooked. I loved it.
I also loved how neither Park nor Eleanor fit a mould. There was nothing about them that made you think they could be any old character in a YA contemporary. They weren't perfect, but they just worked we'll.
It was hard not to feel sorry for Eleanor. Described as being bigger than your average teen, she struggles with her body image the entire book, often wondering how Park could possibly find anything about her worth liking and you kind of can't blame her for doubting herself because she grew up in a horrible home situation. Sometimes I feel like this trouble family life theme is an attempt to bring extra drama to a book, but not this time. This time, all I wanted was for Eleanor to have something worth loving in her life.
Thankfully, she had Park. Park was and interesting love interest. Obsessed with music and comic books, he has a relatively happy family life and is well respected at school; although hardly Mr. Popular. He did judge Eleanor at first sight, but he fell for her almost as quickly and tried so hard to show her that people can love you, regardless of growing up in different lives.
I'll admit, there was a lot of love and kisses being thrown around; I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop, wondering when the dramatic twist would pop up and change everything. It did happen, and it wasn't quite what I was expecting. The ending seemed a little rushed for my liking, and while I feel like it was wrapped up; there was still a lot left unsaid, that leaves me questioning the future for Park and Eleanor - but in a good way.
I really enjoyed this book and can't wait to read more of Rainbow Rowell's stories.
(Also posted on Goodreads)