Eleanor & Park - YA Review by Ellen P

Reader: Ellen P
Age: 16
Title: Eleanor & Park
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Pub Date: 02/26/13
Galley: No
Top 25: Yes
Convince us to read the book: I waited a long time after reading this book to write my review, and I'm still not really sure how to describe what made this book so special. It was incredible and stood out to me among the many other things I have read so far this year. It is perfectly paced, revealing just enough of the painful story to make you wonder why things are the way they are, and then when you find out, it punches you straight in the gut. You root for Eleanor and Park, two of the most interesting and lovable characters I've come across in a long time. Their relationship is beautiful and adorable and good, but their classmates and their families aren't. This is not just a cute romance novel - the main characters have real problems that they face, including abuse and bullying, but all aspects of the book are well written and realistic. The inclusion of some great 80's pop culture references, including Watchmen and The Smith's, is very well done. The story is simple while the writing is excellent and multi-layered, making this a really satisfying read.
Memorable or Forgettable: This book was memorable to me because I felt very connected with Eleanor and Park. The book is written from both of their perspectives, which can be jarring but isn't here. Instead, I felt like I was almost in their heads with them. I cared very deeply about them and their relationship, and I hoped that they would end happily. I won't tell you if they do, though!
Cover:  I really liked this cover and it was why I first picked up this book. I thought the colors, drawing, and old fashioned typeface reflected the nostalgic air of the story. However, it doesn't reflect the darker parts of the book, and some readers may be surprised.
Age Range: 16 through 18 and up
Quality: 5Q Hard to imagine a better book
Popularity: 5P Everyone wants to read it
Additional CommentsIf you needed another reason to pick this up (seriously, read it), this is what John Green says about it:  "Eleanor & Park reminded me not just what it’s like to be young and in love with a girl, but also what it’s like to be young and in love with a book.”
Annotation: Eleanor and Park, two high school misfits, find first friendship then love in each other. Although it isn't easy, and they are told it won't last, they decide to try to make their relationship work.

tags:  romance / abuse / bullying / BFYA nominee / ya lit

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