Hello my reader friends :) I am sorry that the Book of the Week post is a day later than it normally is. I had a lot to post yesterday about the TMI premiere and the Mall Tour stop and the actual review of the movie and it was just too much for one day to add the Book of the Week post along with it. I’m not THAT mean haha.
But I’m happy to share this review with you. I’m still trying to post as many book and movie reviews as possible. I’m a little behind on everything because of how busy I was but I’m doing a lot better now. Check out this week’s Book of the Week!
Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
young adult, contemporary, coming of age
Part of a Series?
No. This is standalone novel.
You May Like if You Liked:
The Fault in Our Stars and An Abundance of Katherine’s by John Green, Just One Day by Gayle Forman, Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson
This book bounces back and forth between the point of views of Park and Eleanor and their journey of falling in love. It takes place in the 1980s, and it really is a story of first loves in high school. Park is a Korean kid, kind of on the fringes of popularity, involved with his comic books. Eleanor is the new girl in town, living with her mom, her siblings and her abusive stepfather on the “wrong side of the tracks.” They first meet on the bus on the way to school with Eleanor, who sticks out like a sore thumb, has no place to sit and Park breaks all the rules and lets her sit next to him. Soon, Eleanor is reading Park’s comics over his shoulder and before long, he’s lending them to her and they spend lots of time discussing them. They are soon in love but its not that easy; they live two different lives and love in high school is never easy. I’m doing a terrible job of explaining it but this super brief description off of GoodReads explains it well:
Set over the course of one school year in 1986, this is the story of two star-crossed misfits—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love—and just how hard it pulled you under.
I don’t want to ruin the book in any way for anyone. This is a seriously terrific book that I read super fast and really truly enjoyed. However, without ruining anything…sometimes Eleanor’s attitude really annoyed me. She is a very insecure character, and obviously that is a huge part of her friendship and relationship with Park but at some points, I just couldn’t understand it anymore.
Rainbow Rowell is an absolutely terrific writer. I hadn’t even heard of her until someone told me about her book Fangirl, which is coming out September 10th. I read the synopsis of the book and was like, is this the story of my life? I mean, the title is Fangirl! So I got really excited for that, and added it to my “to-read” list. Then I noticed her other book, Eleanor and Park and I suddenly noticed the amount of notice that it was getting. I immediately wanted to read it, and reserved it at the library as quickly as possible.
You know how sometimes you pick a book after you see it everywhere and people everywhere keep building it up and you’re so nervous to try because you’re kind of a book snob and what if you don’t like it as much as everyone else does? Well, that’s exactly how I felt with Eleanor and Park and its exactly how I should NOT have felt. This book was absolutely brilliant. I was able to speed through it in a day or two. I was really impressed with Eleanor’s ability to tell a story between two points of view. I think that’s a huge trend lately and sometimes it is not done very well but in this book, it just works SO well. You can see the beliefs and doubts and confidences and insecurities of each character in every situation. Its beautiful.
I love the dynamic of Eleanor and Park, and how their relationship is really reflective of your first high school relationship. it has that awkwardness but that absolutely intensity as well. That first relationship you have is always so intense in both good and bad ways, and that is definitely captured in the novel. I think the fact that both Park and Eleanor believe in their relationship and love so wholeheartedly but also have these intense doubts as well is SO real and raw and it is really the heart of the novel. Its those doubts that always get us in trouble with the novel.
I think there’s a lot of importance in the family relationships and dynamics that are in the novel as well. Rainbow really puts two very different families together in this novel and does it so well. Park really has this picture perfect family sort of lifestyle but when you delve a little deeper, its not always perfect. He is loved and cared for, but his decisions aren’t always welcomed. Then you have Eleanor and her submissive mother, her very abusive stepfather and her siblings that she loves and cares for so much and who she can’t save. These are beautifully written examples of family and it really shows how family affects you and your personality and how it can affect the relationships you have.
All in all, its a very addicting and amazing book. It has such real emotions and creates a believable story. Anyone who has loved at all, and has loved at a young age, will recognize themselves somewhere in this story.
4 out of 5 Stars
Recommended or Not?
Definitely. It is one of the best books that I’ve read this year, and that is saying a lot because I’ve read…120 books so far this year. Its very reminiscent of a John Green, Morgan Matson or Gayle Forman novel but Rainbow Rowell has her own voice and creates a book that will remain on shelves for years.
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Thank you for reading this week’s edition of the Book of the Week! I hope you enjoyed it and are able to pick up a copy of it soon to enjoy!
Don’t forget to check out previous Book of the Week posts here.
Happy Reading everyone!