Before I start reviewing this, I would just like to say that nothing I write will be able to communicate just how much I fell in love with this book. I was sent this by @ZMacIver, who is brilliant and has-evidently- an amazing taste in books. Thank you so much Zoe!!
Set over the course of one school year in 1986, ELEANOR AND PARK 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. -From Goodreads
There is so much I would like to say about this book and so many lines that I could read and re-read because they are so beautiful, but there is one in particular that I loved and I'm not even sure why.
'Park had the sort of face you painted because you didn't want history to forget it.'
Eleanor is the weird new kid with bright red and curly hair and a life which she'd rather not lead or even talk about. Park is into his music and not standing out- something that Eleanor can't really help. They shouldn't get along but they do, and it isn't until they get to know eachother more and more that you realise that yes, they should get along.
Firstly, Rainbow Rowell is an awesome human being for a.) creating Eleanor b.) creating Park and c.) putting them in a book together. Eleanor reminded me of myself in her mannerisms (plus hair, but that doesn't really matter) with her being so shy and we both have the same habit of looking at our hands when nervous. She might not be real, but this made me feel better! I liked the way that when her and Park got closer, she wasn't suddenly comfortable around him- it took time, a long time- for her to gradually become more talkative and less introvert. This is how I imagine it's like in real life for people who are shy. This for me, was so important because in every book, and I mean every book, a day or two after the characters fall in love, they are no longer shy. That used to bother me until I found Eleanor and Park, and then I was just like PRAISE THE LORD!!!!!!!!!
Also, there's something behind each character- like a little back story, which I love. You hear lots of little stories about Park's parents and what Eleanor's mum used to be like. This makes the book strong, because although the story isn't about them, the smaller characters have their own lives and, therefore, stories too, just as the people in the background of our lives do too. For some reason, I loved Park's family and the way his mum speaks and their life in general. It was true to life and comforting, compared to Eleanor's which was also sadly true to life, but more unsettling.
Of course, there are some sad plot lines in this book, as Eleanor's family life is far from ideal and also isn't really welcomed with open arms into her new school. Her family are very poor too and all of these issues are dealt with in a way that you can imagine a teenager would want to deal with them. They aren't ignored, but aren't talked about more than they have to be- but when they are it was, for me, never uncomfortable to read, just very sad.
What I liked best about Eleanor and Park, however, is Eleanor and Park. Clever, thoughtful, funny, different. These characters are amazing in the most literal form of the word. If they were real people, I would want to spend all of my time with Eleanor and Park. The things they think about and talk about are interesting and unusual and their music taste is too. I liked how every detail about them was explained and how we got to see each character even better because of the split third person narrative. Thank you, Rainbow Rowell, for your story.
You can buy this book here.