I had heard quite a lot of good things about this book and the reputation of the author, Rainbow Rowell, and I saw this on display in the library and thought I would borrow it and see what it was like. Although I did enjoy this book to an extent, I think the hype made me have higher expectations of it…
Below is my review, plus a sneaky peak at the front cover and description and places to buy:
About The Book
‘Eleanor & Park’ by Rainbow Rowell
Eleanor is the new girl in town, and with her chaotic family life, her mismatched clothes and unruly red hair, she couldn’t stick out more if she tried.
Park is the boy at the back of the bus. Black T-shirts, headphones, head in a book – he thinks he’s made himself invisible. But not to Eleanor… never to Eleanor.
Slowly, steadily, through late-night conversations and an ever-growing stack of mix tapes, Eleanor and Park fall for each other. They fall in love the way you do the first time, when you’re young, and you feel as if you have nothing and everything to lose.
Eleanor and Park is a YA novel set in the past, which is something I automatically found different, as most current YA novels are set in the present. Apart from that, this a typical American high school setting, telling a boy meets girl love story. The plot line was fairly predictable, as right at the beginning the reader is told that the couple eventually break up, but we are puzzled as to why, but as the story unfolds, I found it became quite obvious. Because of this, the ending was not very climactic. Despite this, the plot was fast paced and logical, with a very sweet storyline that spread across 20 or so chapters.
The character development was fairly good, although not the best I have seen in young adult novels. Eleanor and Park were the most developed characters, although I found the representation of the feminine figures in both of their lives (being their mums) quite interesting, as it was almost reflected in their children. I felt like the character’s situations could have been very real, which therefore made the characters seem more life like than they would have been if the storyline was very abstract.
My favourite part of the book was close to the end when Park went against his family (kind of) to help Eleanor and drive her across the country, which was very nicely written, as it was the part I found really communicated their love for one another, especially Park’s caring instincts for Eleanor. The scenes on the bus I also found were very well written, as there is little speech between them, and could sometimes be tense, but the emotions of both Eleanor and Park were communicated very effectively. I’m not sure whether I was expecting to cry or laugh, but I did neither o those things, in fact, apart from some scenes that made me say ‘awww’ (such as the bus scenes) and others that made me cringe, I felt like I was quite detached from the emotion in the other parts of the book, possibly due to the lack of emotion from other characters.
I would recommend this book to young adults to read, as it is quite a cute little love story, it was maybe just not what I was expecting. Fans of John Green’s ‘The Fault In Our Stars’ will find the love story quite intriguing and possibly similar to that of Hazel and Augustus, although who’s to compare couples across YA novels!
My Rating: 3.5 Muffins out of 5
Where To Buy
If you like the sound of the book, here is where you can buy the book (including, but not limited to):
Cover photo and description taken from Goodreads (view book profile here)