Book Review: Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

Non Spoilers!

Super cute book. Rainbow Rowell is so amazing and I love her writing and if you’re looking for a beautiful story that is teen romance but also really gets deep into some issues then read this. I don’t want to spoil it so go read it and come back!

Spoilers Ahead!!

I love Rainbow Rowell. Her writing style is just so amazing. The first book of hers I ever read was Fangirl and I loved how cute it was but at the same time there were some serious issues in that book being discussed. It’s the same in Eleanor and Park. Poor Eleanor is in a bad situation with an abusive step father who has already thrown her out of the house once. Her mother is too afraid of him to do anything. Her real dad is pretty much non existent in her life and she has 4 other siblings to look after. They don’t have enough money to go around to the point that we know she doesn’t even have a toothbrush and a lot of the story focuses on Eleanor overcoming some personal shame in not wanting to let Park in to much because she doesn’t want his pity or want him to know what kind of a place she comes from. And then also some self conscious body image issues. I like how the author never really makes clear how big Eleanor is. She thinks she’s fat, but then what teenage girl doesn’t, where as Park only ever thinks of her as curvy, or full or “heart shaped”. I just appreciated that we have a protagonist who isn’t stick thin since usually they’re self conscious about how petite and thin they are in a lot of books.

Then we have Park who Eleanor sees as coming from this cookie cutter family where everything is perfect. But Park has his own issues. He’s different because he’s Asian and he thinks that makes him unattractive. He also has some issues with his dad and never really being good enough for him. And then Park wants to fly under the social radar so he’s embarrassed by Eleanor at first and has to learn how to overcome those social pressures in high school.

The book was so adorable and I loved the split POVs, especially when it went back and forth really quickly so you could see how they interpret the exact same scene in completely different ways. Some of my favorite parts where when he starts holding his comics lowers and holding the page open longer so she can read it on the bus. Then of course the fight when it seems like he’s going to let it go but then Steve says 1 more thing and he round house kicks him in the face.

One thing I actually really liked at the end was the redemption of Tina. The entire book we thought Tina was this jillian and while she was definitely a bully and a jerk, the second she realized what a serious situation Eleanor was in with her stepdad, something she could clearly relate to, she stepped up and helped. I also could not believe the revelation at the end that the entire book it had been Richie writing those awful things on her books, because of course the entire time I was with Eleanor thinking it was Tina.

Watching their entire relationship blossom and progress was just so great. I read this book cover to cover in 3 days because it was so captivating. It was frustrating at times because they would fight and because you read both POVs you could see where the miscommunication was and just wanted them to fix it. I love the way we get to see the relationship with Park’s family progress to. Where his dad becomes more accepting of Park and never says anything about the eyeliner at the end, and how as soon as he hears Eleanor’s situation he lets Park go. I also love how his mother was so disapproving but then she recognized Eleanor’s situation and could relate and really warmed up to her and came into Park’s room with the christmas present. And she was so cute when she sort of forced them out on a date with a “here take my money and go and leave me here” moment.

The end though. So heartbreaking. I’m glad there was no actual confrontation with Richie. But I just wish that we had gotten 1 more chapter after with a little bit more. I wanted to know that they make it. Obviously the 3 words she sent Park were probably “I love you” since she never said it the entire book, but I would’ve loved and epilogue or 1 more chapter or anything. It was a beautiful but sort of bittersweet ending. We all knew it was coming because of how the book starts but it still hurt.

Over all definitely 5 stars and I absolutely plan on reading more Rainbow Rowell most likely starting with Attachments next.


18 thoughts on “Book Review: Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

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