Review: Eleanor and Park

Eleanor and Park

  • Author: Rainbow Rowell
  • ISBN: 9781250012579

The above ISBN is for the hardcover edition, but I borrowed the audiobook from my university’s library.

I thought Fangirl was amazing.  However, Fangirl isn’t even in the same league as Eleanor and Park.  E&P is the kind of book I want to give a copy of to everyone I know, along with a mix CD of all my favorite 80’s music.  E&P is a piece of much-needed therapy for anyone who has survived an abusive situation.  I crushed so hard on this book and my new OTP that as soon as I was done, my book hangover was severe enough I immediately started to re-read it because nothing else could possibly compare.  Nothing.  How did this happen?

As my regular readers will know, I’m not a huge YA fan, though most of the few YA books I’ve read have been enjoyable.  I don’t have anything against YA, but I do feel it tends towards the same plot lines over and over again and is heavy on the romance.  Yes, Eleanor and Park is about teenage love.  No, that’s not even close to what it’s all about, though.  Eleanor isn’t your typical skinny, blonde girl who has some coming of age teen crisis while trying to juggle a relationship and friends and school and family.  Eleanor has the kind of problems that are much more severe, unsafe, and destructive to her person and her self-esteem.  Eleanor is also messy-haired, weird, and fat.  Eleanor is me, especially when I was a teenager.

I don’t just love this book because of Eleanor and her story, though.  There’s also all the music and comic book conversations between her and Park.  I also love how the story is constructed.  It’s told from both of their perspectives, back and forth, so you don’t just get to know one of them through the eyes of the other.  Also, I love how Rainbow Rowell includes their parents in the story beyond a casual, in the background sort of way.  She’s the only YA author I’ve read that does so.  There are so many other reasons why I love Eleanor and Park.  Just read the book, ok?!