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.
I am so conflicted over this book!! I listened to it on audio, which is maybe weird for this genre, but oh well! This was also my first Rainbow Rowell read! I don’t really know how to feel about it, I can tell you how I felt immediately after reading it which was 100% pissed! However, now after some reflection/research I might have liked it a little more than I thought.
The story focuses on the perspective of Eleanor and Park as they first meet and encounter one another’s very differing lifestyles. Park lives an easy going life surrounded by parents who love him and friends who value his opinion. Eleanor lives in a poor house with her mother, many siblings and abusive stepdad. Everyone at school makes fun of her and she keeps to herself as much as possible. So when Park seems to pay particularly close attention to Eleanor, she is most certainly not ready for it, and before she knows it, her feelings grow from fascinated friendship to first love affection.
I felt so sad for Eleanor throughout the book! She had such spirit, yet she was constantly suppressed by the people around her! Her relationship with Park was adorable, I absolutely loved their interactions! And let me just say, that Rowell has quite the powerful narration up her sleeve with some epic lines that had me stopping to contemplate my role in the universe!
I wanted so badly for there to be a happy ending!! I was kind of disappointed…the ending was not quite unhappy but not quite happy either! It was super ambiguous which KILLED ME!! I needed to see things work out in a natural order, but I guess I need to give Rowell props in being very realistic with the way things ended, which was in a way that was best for everyone, even if that was not necessarily best for the reader.
Eleanor & Park was definitely not what I expected, but I’m glad I read it. Give it a go if you’re looking for a sweet yet heart wrenching romance. Buy it on Amazon here!