Marta’s Book Review: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor & Park

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Type: Standalone

Publisher: Orion

Published: April 12th

Summary: When Eleanor first meets Park, she thinks he’s obnoxious. When Park first meets Eleanor, he thinks she’s weird. It is hate at first sight. But as they suffer each other’s company in silence on the bus rides from and to home every day, Eleanor and Park realise that first impressions can be deceiving.” 


I found out about this book long before it became cool to read. And even though I usually loose interest in what suddenly becomes everybody’s main dish, I admit I belong to the group of people who highly recommend it.

Following my dear Ana’s advice, I decided to give it a go. Eleanor and Park entered my life at a time the hopeless romantic in me wasn’t feeling all that well. I kept postponing its reading forever after Ana told me: “be ready to cry.” Then, I went on holidays with my best friend and kept seeing the greenish-lime cover on every bookshop we visited. Thank you, Fate.

It’s been three months since I made it a regular book at my bedside table. I have fallen in love with the awkward colour of the cover and (almost) every character in it but it took a long time before I could think about the contents without tears rolling down my face.

You know that book you just can’t forget and prevents you from moving on to read other books? This one is it for me – THAT book.

I cried enough tears to fill all oceans on this planet throughout all 325 pages. It had me absolutely hooked from the very first line. “He’d stopped trying to bring her back.” It will become a quote as important and famous as Rose’s in Titanic (“It’s been 84 years…”).

Rowell is blessed. I wish to be as gifted as she is with words. This book is a masterpiece and I couldn’t have asked for a better first reading intro to an author. I loved it so much I’m scared to read Fangirl just thinking about the feels I now know it will give me.

Eleanor is the coolest awkward teen I’ve met so far. She has a loud appearance, loves the best music and reads Park’s comics on the bus ride to school. She’s back to live with her mom and little brothers who are stupidly attached to the man who kicked her out just the year before. The kids from the bus are as excited as wolves with a new prey from the second she steps into the bus and Park suddenly forgets the good manners dear Grandma taught him but she still stands her ground. Good Eleanor tries her best to keep Mom happy, her siblings safe and stay out of her stepdad’s radar so as not to unleash his fury on her loved ones again. She does it all alone even when she finds the real Park. Can I ask for a round of applause, please?

And then we have Park who is not cool or ridiculously handsome or sought after by girls. He’s just a boy who wants to survive school without pissing anyone off by, let’s say, becoming friends with the weird red head who just arrived.

Their connection is so strange and sweet, as all new friendships should be, you won’t be able to forget them. Rowell writes with such a gracious awkwardness to her characters you can’t do anything but relate. Even the stepdad, whose role in the action takes the place of the contemporary villain, somehow manages to warm his way into your heart and make you want to understand what on earth shaped him to be who he is.

From beginning to end, the reader is taken through a rollercoaster of emotions regarding friendship, teen love and the different concepts of family. More than recollecting your own memories about your first love, Rowell asks you to embark on a journey to shape your personality, work on your values and learn how to stand your ground as you enter adulthood and trust those who are around you willing to help.

Some complain about the ending not being enough. I personally find it appropriate. This is a book about life and hope. We don’t know what the future ahead has planned for us neither what is happening at all times in the lives of who we pass by on the street everyday. All we have are our dreams.

5 chibis