Friday, January 3, 2014

Review: Eleanor & Park - Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor & Park
Rainbow Rowell
Series: N/A
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Realistic Fiction
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Word Rating: Wonderfully Heartwarming
On Goodreads

It seems to me that Rainbow Rowell, bored of her every day life, decided "I'm going to write some books and they will become instantly loved, and I will do it all before my morning coffee gets cold." Because I feel like one day I was browsing the internet and her name popped up alongside the title of her book Fangirl and then again next to Eleanor & Park and then all of a sudden it kept cropping up everywhere and everyone wanted to read these books by this author and she seemed to just gain a following overnight.

And rightly so, because this book has been such a refreshing read. My first semester at college got me pretty busy so the books I read were books that were part of a series or books by authors I'd already read and liked, and generally "safe" books. And then I stumbled across this title and figured "why not?" And it was one of my best decisions because boy did this book deliver.

The book takes place in 1986 and alternates between the perspectives of reserved Park and weird, new-girl Eleanor. They meet on the bus and at first, Park is reluctant to speak to her but slowly they grow to be come friends and then that friendship grows and we see a beautiful first love. They find solace in each other and their quirks and they find in one another not only someone to love, but a best friend.

I loved the story and how it progressed and how reluctance turned into love. I also really liked the narration. Eleanor is snarky and funny, and really stubborn, which I appreciate a lot for many reasons. Park is kindof angry and cynical, which I also loved. I liked the distinction between the way the two of them think and the subtleties in shifting their writing style.

There were just so many things the characters thought and said that I also really loved and that made the book such a good read for me. For example, at one point, Park says
"Sometimes, it seemed like she was trying to hide everything that was pretty about her."
That statement, simple as it is, just struck me, because even though it revealed a bit of her nature, it also invited the audience to ask more questions about who Eleanor is and why she does the things she does.

The whole book felt like I had been enveloped in this dreamy fog and that the book universe was the only universe. It had an enchanting effect on me and I just wanted to keep reading. The ending struck me hard and shot at me right in my feeling area. All of my feeling areas. I'm so glad I read this book and it was definitely a great book to end my year with.
- Noor

Where did you meet your first love?
Let us know in the comments!

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