Book Review

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Publication Date: February 26th, 2013

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary

Format: Hardcover

Pages: 328 pages

Source: Borrowed from a friend.

Buy It: Amazon

Rating: 5 sm

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 absolutely loved this novel! There were so many wonderful aspects to it. Possibly my favorite thing about this book was the fact that it had realistic parental roles, not only involved but also a main plot point in the story. One thing I think that gets overlooked a lot in young adult contemporary novels is parents. Parents are people who actively influence our lives as teens, and sadly it’s rare to see them be such a huge part of a young adult novel. So every time I read a novel in which the parents are huge roles in the book, I get extremely excited; and Rainbow Rowell certainly did not disappoint me with both Eleanor and Park’s parents. This story gives you two very different views of how parents can affect your life. Eleanor’s mom and step dad aren’t very good parents, and they are definitely not supportive people. And Park’s parents, while they may not understand all of his decisions or they may have a hard time with them at first; they ultimately support and love their son.

Each character in this book was so different from the next; and they all added something to the story. There wasn’t a single character that I thought didn’t need to be there and I loved all of them. I loved Eleanor. I know that some people might be put off with how she thought of herself, but it to me it was so very realistic. I loved Park. He had his moments where he was an ass. But he owned up to them, he felt guilty for it, and he tried his best to grow from those experiences. Another thing that I thought was incredibly realistic. I also really loved his eyeliner.

This novel was so heartwarming and heartbreaking all at the same time. The ending took me by complete surprise and I love it when endings do that! (I mean, come on, who doesn’t?)  When Eleanor goes to bed and everything clicks into place everything gets a lot more tense. You’re worried about Eleanor and Park and what’s going to happen. Although the ending was rather sad, it made sense and was realistic.

Overall, I really, really loved this book and would definitely recommend it to anyone who likes contemporary. Especially if you like stories with characters who are a little bit different; and if you like contemporary that is heavier than most.

Image and Synopsis Credit

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2 thoughts on “Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

  1. Calling the novel heartwarming and heartbreaking is so spot on! The relationship between Eleanor and Park, and the way it changes the way they think about themselves is so amazing to read. Eleanor’s family life and the constant stress she is under is perfectly described, but definitely heartbreaking. Great review!

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