Book Review: Eleanor and Park – Rainbow Rowell

Author: Rainbow Rowell
Publisher: St Martin’s Press
Series: Stand Alone
Published: February 2013
Rating: 4.5/5

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.

Although contemporary/romance aren’t my favourite genre of book, whenever I begin reading one, I find it difficult to put it down and they always tend too keep my up at night. I started reading this book around 8pm and finished it at 3:30am the next morning. Even a little more than that as it keep me awake some more just thinking about it and wondering, like i’m sure everyone else did, what those ‘three little words’ were.This is the first book by Rainbow Rowell I have read, despite have ‘Fangirl’ for at least over half a year. I think I may read it very soon, as it enjoyed ‘Eleanor and Park’ a considerable amount.

The book begins with a snippet of one of the very end chapters, which drew me in almost immediately as I was extremely curious as to what was going to happen to lead up to it, as you can probably expect! As the book is set in the year 1986, it was mostly based around music, such as The Smiths and The Beatles etc. along with comic books and your average 80’s teenager. It was like stepping back in time. The main thing that made me enjoy this book, was the constant switch between perspective of Park and Eleanor, as it allowed me to gain a better relationship with both of them separately and was never left wondering what the other was thinking. It was also quite enjoyable seeing how they both reacted in the same situations and what they thought of each other. It was very enticing.

Eleanor, is a wonderful and someone I can definitely relate to, I think that’s why I like her some much as some aspects of her I see in myself. She is a very colourful, flamboyant person on the outside but on the inside a complete different person. Living with her mum, sister, 3 brothers and terrible step-dad Richie – who had only recently let her back in the house after kicking her out at year ago – makes Eleanor’s life very difficult, and you can’t help but sympathize with her and hope she comes out better off in the end.
Park, on the other hand, is a quiet 16-year-old who always has his music playing and his head in a comic book, trying to drown out the rest of the world and remain invisible. He has a very loving family, although his dad can be a little pushy and harsh on him at times, but he knows he still loves him.

From their first meeting, both of their lives change for the better, although at first they both thought either one of them was a little strange and didn’t speak for some time. Their relationship began through kindness, mix tapes and comic books. The perfect romance! But in the end, they changed each other for the better and both of their lives got considerably better, for some time.
Eleanor’s step dad was an aggressive drunk and a woman beater. He had always hated Eleanor and she had always hated him back worse. He made her life a complete living hell. Why did her mother not leave him I hear you ask. I don’t really have a full idea but I think it was for security and a home for her children and as she said ‘he is my husband’. Despite all this, the horrible things they both went through such as bullying from stupid girls and pressurizing fathers, Eleanor and Parks love for each other always stayed strong until the very end, which is one of the main things I loved about this book.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and it has taught me quite a few useful life lessons. I would definitely rec commend this book who is a sucker for a good love story or likes to be taken on a rollarcoaster of different emotions. It’s such and easy and lovely read, that i’m sure anyone will enjoy. I am 100% going to be reading more of Rainbow Rowell’s books after this, as I’m sure she has created many more amazing characters just like Eleanor and Park.


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