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?!

Review: Fangirl


  • Author: Rainbow Rowell
  • ISBN: 9781250030955
  • Genre: Contemporary YA

The above ISBN is for the hardcover, but I listened to the audiobook edition that I purchased.

If Fangirl hadn’t been a book club pick, I probably would never have read it.  I rarely ever read fiction that isn’t Science Fiction or Fantasy, especially if it’s Contemporary YA.  However, I decided to give it the same chance I give every book I pick up for whatever reason, and I’m glad I did.

The main character, Cath, reminds me very much of my younger self.  Sometimes that was a bit depressing and made it difficult to continue.  I felt horrible for her.  By the end of the book, the story was more cathartic than anything else, and I was a bit surprised when it ended.  It wasn’t so much that the ending itself was unexpected, but that I didn’t realize the story was over.  Part of that was due to my misreading my audible app and thinking there were more chapters than there were.  The feeling was similar to when you believe you have at least fifty or so pages left of a book, and then you discover it’s really only ten because the rest is a discussion guide.  The other reason was that I thought there was more to tell, and I wanted to know what that “more” was.  I got the funny feeling that Rainbow Rowell did that deliberately so that the reader might decide to write the rest of Cath’s story for themselves.

All in all, the only minor thing that I didn’t like about Fangirl was the lengthy readings of Cath’s fan fiction.  I think they could have been considerably shorter and still got the point across that Cath was really writing about and trying to process certain events from her life.  However, you don’t have to be a lover of fan fiction to enjoy this book.  I’ve never been into fan fiction, and I loved it.

#COYER Scavenger Hunt #75: Step outside your comfort zone and read a book in a genre you have read less than five times this year. (I haven’t read any Non-Fantasy Contemporary YA books this year.)