Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
General Age I Would Recommend It To: 16+
Genre: Contemporary, YA, Romance
When I was a kid I got caught more than once reading under the covers late at night. As I got older and I no longer had a bed time and other things filled my life, I stopped reading so late into the night. I would just read in the afternoons or evenings, the practical times. This weekend though, I felt a kid again as I lay under my covers, the lights off, the house asleep, using my flashlight app off of my phone, telling myself just one more page. I couldn’t help myself, Eleanor & Park was just that good.
Summary: It’s the 1980’s and Eleanor Douglas can’t find a seat on the school bus. Park Sheridan is just trying to keep his head down, listening to music to drown out the rowdy kids in the back. When he sees Eleanor, big, red haired, weird clothes, standing there looking for a seat, he feels embarrassed for her. Park whispers at her to sit down in the seat next to him, but he says it quite angrily. Eleanor sits down, but doesn’t say a word to him. Over the next few weeks, they sit in awkward silence. Slowly that silence turns to reading comic books,which turns into talking about music,which turns into to becoming inseparable, something neither of them expected. Eleanor’s home is a wreck. Her parents divorced, her father barely talks to them and her mother married an abusive man. They live in rundown house with a bathroom that doesn’t have a door and all four kids share a bedroom. Park’s home, which is quite nice, becomes a haven for Eleanor, Park becomes a haven for Eleanor, a place where she feels safe and happy and a person she feels safe and happy with with. Eleanor is unlike anyone Park has ever met and with her, he sees life in a completely different way. Both experience what can only be true love, and true love only happens once.
“All I do when we’re apart is think about you, and all I do when we’re together is panic. Because every second feels so important. And because I’m so out of control, I can’t help myself. I’m not even mine anymore, I’m yours, and what if you decide that you don’t want me? How could you want me like I want you?”
He was quiet. He wanted everything she’d just said to be the last thing he heard. He wanted to fall asleep with ‘I want you’ in his ears.”
― Rainbow Rowell,
Like I said previously, I could not put this book down! When I read it, had a pretty busy weekend, but read in spare moment, when I was eating dinner or as I said earlier, late into the night while I should of been sleeping. I am continually impressed by the quality of Rainbow Rowell’s writing.The story was not action filled or suspenseful, but I couldn’t stop myself from turning the pages to see what happened next. Unlike in Fangirl I didn’t find myself relating to anything that happened in the story, I have a happy home and have never fallen in love, and yet I felt every emotion. The book captured the ideal of a that’s love alive but a little desperate, a love between two people who don’t fit with anyone else but each other, it absolutely tugged at my heartstrings. The book is deals with some heavy issues, domestic abuse, drugs, and bullying but I never felt like it was too angsty. The “two troubled teens fall in love” storyline is very common in YA novels and yet, this book was completely unique and didn’t follow the dry, overused “teen love” storyline. It was deep, it was tender, it made tear up
a little a lot. It was a truly beautiful book!
“I want to be the last person who ever kisses you, too…. That sounds bad, like a death threat or something. What I’m trying to say is, you’re it. This is it for me.”
– Park Sheridan, Rainbow Rowell
Content Advisory: There is pretty heavy content like I said earlier. Abuse, mentions of drugs and alcohol and lots of crude language is in this book, as well as some pretty heavy kissing scenes. It’s not in your face bad, but if you are bothered by any of those things its just something to keep in mind.
You will like this book if:
- You want a book that you can’t put down.
- You like stories that tug at your heart
- You like stories about young love and outsiders
You probably won’t like this book if:
- You don’t like angst
- You don’t want to read about teen love
- You want a happy story
Have you read Eleanor & Park? If so, what did you think??
Do you like teenage love stories??