Book Review: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

March 30, 2016

Book Review: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow RowellEleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Published by Orion on 1st February 2013
Source: Bought Physical Copy
Pages: 325
Eleanor is the new girl in town, and with her chaotic family life, her mismatched clothes and unruly red hair, she couldn't stick out more if she tried.

Park is the boy at the back of the bus. Black T-shirts, headphones, head in a book - he thinks he's made himself invisible. But not to Eleanor... never to Eleanor.

Slowly, steadily, through late-night conversations and an ever-growing stack of mix tapes, Eleanor and Park fall for each other. They fall in love the way you do the first time, when you're young, and you feel as if you have nothing and everything to lose.

Okay, it’s been a YEAR since I read this wonderful book, but I found this review sitting in my drafts folder and Eleanor & Park is too good to not talk about, so here’s my gushy review for this amazing book.

I’ve put off writing this review for a very long time. It’s been nearly 4 months since I read Eleanor & Park, yet I still get a painful feeling in my gut when I think about it. This book is quite simply phenomenal.

But what is there to say about Eleanor & Park that hasn’t already been said? If you haven’t been persuaded to read it now, then I doubt my review will convince you otherwise. But I will say that Eleanor & Park is the first book since Before I Fall to hit me with this much emotion. It’s the first book in a long while that left me desperately willing for a sequel, just so I know that the characters are okay. And it’s the first book in forever to have made such a huge impression on my person. It’s all too easy to let go of characters, but Eleanor and Park have stuck with me and refused to let me go.

And it’s not just Eleanor & Park that won’t leave me. I started off hating Park’s father, but came quite close to bursting into tears when he offered Eleanor solace from her stepfather. The same with Park’s mother, who quite openly disliked Eleanor, but ended up having a total change of heart and tried her best to treat Eleanor like the daughter she didn’t have. (Much to Eleanor’s horror!)

I’ve spoken about this before, but I genuinely didn’t realise how awful Eleanor’s home life was. I was so unprepared for that, and I think that feeling was what made me love Eleanor & Park all the more. It pushed me out of my comfort zone. It made me uncomfortable. But I still kept on reading. And this book tore my heart in two. I finished Eleanor & Park with 30 seconds to spare on my lunch break, and had to somehow compose myself enough to start my afternoon clinic. Didn’t work. I had to blame my puffy eyes on hayfever. I don’t think that worked either.

Eleanor & Park is a book that I love wholeheartedly. It’s been a long time since a book has connected with me like Eleanor & Park did, and I know it’s going to be a book I revisit over and over again. This book genuinely made me love Rainbow Rowell even more, which I honestly didn’t believe to be possible.