kristinwithani, January 2, 2015 (view all comments by kristinwithani)
I had heard so much about this book that I had to get my hands on it, just to see what all the talk was about. I'm glad I did because I'm hooked! Rowell is such a talented writer, all her books are now on my "to-read" list. While parts of this story are sad, the love and meaning behind the sadness shines through. I find myself rooting for Eleanor and Park. And the ending, it's such a mystery. A must read for anyone, not just YA.
The Lost Entwife, December 17, 2014 (view all comments by The Lost Entwife)
Have you ever put off reading a book because you know that there is no way it can be as perfect as it is, unread, in your head? That's been the case for me with Eleanor and Park. I've read Rowell before (Attachments) and I've purchased Fangirl, and I want to read it, but first I knew I needed to pick up E&P. So, as I sit here coming off of a brutal first semester of graduate school and many, many books read that have challenged me, I knew I needed to pick something up that would make me laugh, a bit. Make me cry, a bit. And, basically, remind me of what it's like to live life and be young, a bit.
I definitely got that with Eleanor and Park. This is what I loved the most about this book - although Eleanor does not fit the mold of most female YA protagonists, there's not a big deal made over that, really. Rowell is realistic. Eleanor, at one point, realizes she's not that "nice" girl that you bring home to your parents. She's Eleanor. And the best part of that realization is when Park affirms that's what he sees in her - that she's not something that is the same old same old, she's something different.
The same goes for Park. I loved seeing him break out and grow throughout the year (and man, 1986 - what a great year for a book to be set - I was 10 years old in 1986 and loved life). I loved seeing his family dynamics change, the love (and lust) his parents had for each other, the stereotypes they also had to break through and the growth they had. You know what else I loved? Having parents up front and center in a young adult book. And not just any parents, a wide variety of the sort - from absent fathers, to brutal step-fathers, to worn-down mothers, to functional marriages with their own problems and, hey, even grandparents. I loved seeing the mean guys actually step up and show humanity in instances, and seeing family step in to protect and care for one of their own.
Basically, Eleanor and Park reminded me of life. Messy, full of big moments and not-so-big moments, that can break your heart or fill it so full you don't even know how to breathe. I wish I had been given this book as a teenager (and that it had existed to be given to me). And I love, love, love Rowell for choosing Omaha to set it in - a place that was home to me in 1986. Now, I can't wait to crack open Fangirl.
Kayley, November 2, 2014 (view all comments by Kayley)
This book will instantly make you remember what it was like to fall in love for the first time and how terrified and excited you were the first time you held someone's hand. Eleanor and Park are both well developed characters with great taste in books and music. That being said there were some times I definitely wanted to throw up from how sugary sweet their romance was and other times I wanted to throttle them both for being so bad at communicating with one another, but thus that is what being a teenager was all about and I probably would have been so over it if I didn't read it in two days. My only real criticism is that they don't really show how or why Eleanor's mother would continue to stay with her abusive stepfather, it would be more realistic and have a bigger impact if they explained more about how impossible it is to get out of those situations.
JDB, October 23, 2014 (view all comments by JDB)
This book so perfectly captures that crazy teenage time of first touches. When you had no idea a person's hand on your neck could make you feel electric. So sweet and innocent, and yet...not. This book is a perfect depiction of that first love where you just KNEW it would last forever, and of course it didn't.
St. Martin's Griffin -
by Jen H.,
This is the perfect teen romance. Set in 1986, the characters bond over mixtapes, comic books, and feeling like outsiders. Both sad and hopeful, this is my favorite book of the year. I've been recommending it to all of my YA-reading friends.
by Jen H.
Last year, The Fault in Our Stars was my number one book for this list. So, when John Green gave a glowing blurb for Eleanor and Park, I decided to read it — and I'm glad I did. It's wonderful. Even better than The Fault in Our Stars. It's like a punch to the gut and the sweetest, softest kiss on the lips... and you're going to love every minute of it. Prepare to be all swoony inside.
by Linda C.,
Billie told me this book would break my heart, and still I went like a lamb to the slaughter. Eleanor and Park is bittersweet and lovely. It's like your favorite song and your first kiss mixed together. You will want to keep it forever in that special place in your heart.
by Linda C.
by The Dot,
This is the story of two young people scraping against the walls of life as they know it and pushing together to escape everybody's narrow definitions of what it means to be them, sometimes losing that strength, and sometimes discovering it in heartbreaking ways. It's a tactile story, an emotional story, and kind of the most bittersweet thing in the whole world. It also feels real as hell, which makes it all the more gripping. Immediately after finishing the last page of Eleanor and Park, I went back and reread the final chapter, spent some time drying my eyes, and then proceeded to tell as many people about it as possible.
by The Dot
"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"Half-Korean sophomore Park Sheridan is getting through high school by lying low, listening to the Smiths (it's 1986), reading Alan Moore's Watchmen comics, never raising his hand in class, and avoiding the kids he grew up with. Then new girl Eleanor gets on the bus. Tall, with bright red hair and a dress code all her own, she's an instant target. Too nice not to let her sit next to him, Park is alternately resentful and guilty for not being kinder to her. When he realizes she's reading his comics over his shoulder, a silent friendship is born. And slowly, tantalizingly, something more. Adult author Rowell (Attachments), making her YA debut, has a gift for showing what Eleanor and Park, who tell the story in alternating segments, like and admire about each other. Their love is believable and thrilling, but it isn't simple: Eleanor's family is broke, and her stepfather abuses her mother. When the situation turns dangerous, Rowell keeps things surprising, and the solution — imperfect but believable — maintains the novel's delicate balance of light and dark. Ages 13 – up. Agent: Christopher Schelling, Selectric Artists. (Mar.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
by Kirkus Reviews (starred review),
“Funny, hopeful, foulmouthed, sexy, and tear-jerking, this winning romance will captivate teen and adult readers alike.”
“Eleanor & Park is a breathless, achingly good read about love and outsiders.” Stephanie Perkins, New York Times bestselling author of Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door
by Booklist (starred review),
“The pure, fear-laced, yet steadily maturing relationship Eleanor and Park develop is urgent and breathtaking and, of course, heartbreaking, too.”
by Courtney Summers, author of This Is Not a Test and Cracked Up to Be,
“Sweet, gritty, and affecting...Rainbow Rowell has written an unforgettable story about two misfits in love. This debut will find its way into your heart and stay there.”
by Stewart Lewis, author of You Have Seven Messages,
“In her rare and surprising exploration of young misfit love, Rowell shows us the beauty in the broken.”
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