Book Review: Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell


I’ve come to realize action books are not my forte. While I love a good battle, they just don’t appeal to me as much as they do for some people. Divergent and Hunger Games are excellent series, but I prefer books that make you think. Not that action books aren’t stimulating. Tris and Katniss make life altering decisions throughout the novel and their choices could raise a few debates.

But I enjoy books that take place inside the mind. There may not be a whole lot going on, but the matters are always thought provoking. My favorite books are not dystopians with wars and killing. My favorite novels make me sink into a depression afterwards. I want to feel empty and drained when I’m done. I want to be the characters and connect with the characters and feel the ending as they would feel it. I want a plot that I could see myself in, or that I wish I was in. Books you can’t help but ponder on in the middle of the night. I think Eleanor and Park is a perfect example of one of these books.

Basically, it’s an odd red-headed girl and an average Asian boy falling in love during their sophomore year in high school.

I don’t read romance books often, but when I do, I’m completely smitten with the characters. I’m smiling like an idiot as I read, and I just end up falling in love with their love story. I’m a sucker for a cute story.

Eleanor and Park is high on the list of cutest stories. Two different people beat the odds and tumble head first into a strong young love. These teens are absolutely adorable. Their awkward and tentative steps toward a real relationship will make even the reader blush. Rowell created characters and a situation that everyone could relate to and feel the embarrassment in their attempts at a relationship.

Rowell didn’t make anything perfect and fuzzy nor did she make an absurdly unfortunate plot. She wrote a real story. The characters have insecurities and family problems and the usual trouble of finding their true selves. And trust me, both Eleanor and Park are wonderful.

The reader sympathizes with Eleanor and her family issues. Rowell doesn’t make her life seem outrageously terrible; she shows a situation that has happened, is happening, or will happen to children everywhere. Eleanor lives with her mom and cruel step-father with three little siblings. There is never enough money or clothes or food to go around, and Eleanor absolutely loathes her step-father. To make matters worse, school isn’t much better. Kids can be mean. Very mean.

Park has an average life with an Asian beauty guru as his mother and a hefty veteran as his father. He’s always felt out of place with his rude friends and overachieving younger brother. He defies the rest of the school and welcomes Eleanor into his life, and their relationship begins.

This is just a heartwarming novel. It breaks the readers’ hearts to leave the characters at the end of the story. Eleanor and Park is one of the books that make you stop. Stop and think about the characters and their love and their future. It’s a beautiful story and a beautiful first love.

4 Stars