Eleanor & Park (Review)

Eleanor & Park 
By Rainbow Rowell
328 pages | February 26th 2013 | St. Martin's Press

Two misfits.
One extraordinary love.

Eleanor... Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough...Eleanor.

Park... He knows she'll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There's a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises...Park.

Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.

I'm a little torn back and forth on this book. While there are things that I loved about it, there were also some things I found hard to stomach. I love when books breech hard topics, but in most cases, I read to escape reality. I know how crappy real life can be and that's why I like to pick up my books, to escape.

My main issue was Eleanor's family dynamic. It's not that I didn't understand that circumstances like hers come around, sure I get it, but the way it played out in the book confused me. Her mother had sounded like a beautiful, strong woman and wonderful devoted mother in the flashbacks and suddenly was this frightened, submissive woman who was leaving her children in an absolutely terrible situation.

I found it hard to believe. Why would she leave her stable, beautiful home for Ritchie to live in a shack. I found it hard to believe that such a devoted mother would allow a practically strange man throw her first born child out fo the house for standing up for her family.

Nothing about him sounded appealing and I find it hard to believe that the woman Eleanor described from the past, would find herself so desperate she would overlook everything horrible about him. Maybe I'm just overestimating humanity on this one. Since her whole family situation is a major dynamic of the book I found myself turning this confusion over and over again in my mind as the story played on.

Things I liked. The way Eleanor and Park fall in love. It's not instant, in fact, they don't even like each other at first. It's gradual and subtle and well, just downright adorable.  The way their relationship grows and develops is far more realistic than most teen books we pick up off the shelf these days.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves teen romance, and real life stories.

Rainbow Rowell writes books. Sometimes she writes about adults (ATTACHMENTS and LANDLINE). Sometimes she writes about teenagers (ELEANOR & PARK and FANGIRL). But she always writes about people who talk a lot. And people who feel like they're screwing up. And people who fall in love.

When she's not writing, Rainbow is reading comic books, planning Disney World trips and arguing about things that don't really matter in the big scheme of things.

She lives in Nebraska with her husband and two sons.

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