Book Review: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

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Title: Eleanor & Park
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Published: 2013
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary

Synopsis: Eleanor… Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough…Eleanor. Park… He knows she’ll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There’s a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises…Park. Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try

My Rating: Red-StarRed-StarRed-StarRed-Star

This is the rather moving story of two young teens who find solace in the small cocoon of a school bus. Our story starts with Park, a mixed boy (Korean/Caucasian) who loves comics and pretty much stays to himself despite being fairly well-liked by his classmates, watching a new girl, Eleanor, on her first say at school. He begrudgingly allows her to sit next to him in a packed school bus when he can no longer handle the second-hand embarrassment at watching her struggle because of how different she is. This is the start of a lovely journey that beautifully depicts the treasure blossoming first love is.

I will admit, the reason I did not give it 5 stars is because I had a serious trouble connecting with the characters – however. That’s on me. This is a book written and meant to be enjoyed teens and I think Rainbow excels at it. She absolutely hits it out of the park. I think this book touches on some very real issues many teens probably face – from bullying, fat-shamming, verbal abuse, running away, low self-esteem to the wonder that is love.

I was so impressed by how age-appropriate it was written that I gave my copy to my friend’s teen daughter – she’s 13 and she messaged me today telling me how she thinks its her favorite book of all time and she wants to read it over and over. I believe that’s the best review any YA novel can have! 🙂


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