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on 12 April 2014
I have wanted to read this book for ages and when the price finally dropped low enough I nabbed it, and it did not disappoint! I love the gradual connection between Eleanor and Park and Rowell shows how crushes and eventually love can blossom. It breaks my heart that we didn't hear Eleanor say IT until the very end of the book and only then it's implied, but the whole open ending with hope, and the mystery of what Richie got up to, to be so dire, had me reading this book at all hours of the night. It's a great book, from both character's perspective with a twist right near the end! Gripping!
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on 19 August 2015
Sadly, I started this book when I was going through a tough time in my own personal mindset, and therefore the book was often abandoned and forgotten about. However, I eventually finished it and I am so glad that I did, as the books overall plot linked in some ways, with what I was going through.

Eleanor and Park is a love story written about a boy called Park and a girl called Eleanor. Eleanor is the new girl in school and after being treated terribly by her classmates and the kid she sits next to on the bus, she begins to give up on humanity. Park has been at the school for years, but he finds himself often distancing himself from his friends because they share no common interests, and he too is giving up on humanity. Although their introduction is pretty brief and blunt, the two become close...suddenly! And before they know it, they're all that each other things about. Eleanor comes from a broken home, where her new step-dad has disgusting thoughts and hits her mother. Park comes from what Eleanor would call a 'perfect home' however, he hates how his dad and mum treat him, and he seems to have formed into something that they'd accept and he cannot be himself anymore. The two inevitably fall in love and they begin to think that they're going to get their happy ending, however - life sucks...and it does terrible things. I guess, some people are meant to meet, but some people aren't meant to stick together.

I adore Rainbow Rowell's style of writing. I was obsessed with Fangirl and how she portrayed the anxious and nervous Cath, and I adored how she portrayed her characters here. Rainbow has successfully created two contrasting characters who want nothing more then each other. Eleanor is weak, vulnerable but she plays that 'I'm tough' aspect whilst Park is a tough one, who seems to be breaking on the inside. The two feed off each others emotions and the inevitable of them falling in love with each other, was almost disturbing for them at some points.

The way that the book was told in both of the characters perspective of things, was good. It didn't repeat events either! It just told them from a whole new angle, allowing you to grasp and swallow the characters emotions, seeing the contrast of how the two begin to feel. Also, by having the two characters tell their story and intwine it into one, made the story a lot more relatable. Normally, I don't really relate to male characters purely because I am a female. There are obvious exceptions of this, where male characters are represented so wonderfully that I feel connected to them and what they're going through. However, by seeing the balance and how the change of events was effected both characters, it made the story more relatable for me as a reader.

To be completely truthful, I had no idea what I was going to think of the plot. When I first bought the book, I thought that maybe it'd just be another love story with a tragic ending, or a happy ending. Those are a little bit too soppy for me sometimes. But I am glad I took the plunge with Eleanor and Park and decided to read it, because the plot blew me away. If you're concerned and think this is going to be just another hopeless teenage romance, you're wrong. Yes, they fall in love, but their love is honestly like no other love. I'm not even sure if for certain those two ended up being boyfriend and girlfriend. Also, the cliffhanger at the end, makes you constantly read over everything they went through together, and question how it ends completely.

An added bonus of this book is how Eleanor and Park's love was connected through music. Music is something I am so passionate and strong about, and I am so pleased to see that authors do focus on the art of music and how it can make someone believe so much and fall so fast. When words fail, music speaks. And this book shows how two people can be bound together, not by fate but how peace can be made through harmony.

The plot twists were great, the writing style was great. I truly loved everything about this book.
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on 31 July 2015
I purchased this book having read no reviews and I had no clue what to expect, my instinct was telling me that it was going to be a typical cliché love story- boy meets girl, they fall in love, they live happily ever after. However this could not be further from the truth, this book blew me away, it made me feel emotions that no other book has made me feel before. Being written from the perspective of both Park and Eleanor, at times I felt like I was a character in the book, going through what Eleanor and Park were going through and feeling exactly what they feel.

Eleanor and Park couldn't be more different, in their upbringing, their parents and they way they portray themselves to others, however the one thing that brings them together ultimately is music and I love the way Rowell uses music in this novel to connect the characters, it shows you how important music can be and how often, words can fail you but music can speak for you and express your true feelings.

The way Eleanor is described in this novel it out of the ordinary, in my head I saw this petite, fragile, red-headed beautiful and unique girl, and although these things stand true, Rowell describes her and being fairly chubby, messy haired, wears no makeup and doesn't dress particularly attractively girl, though it was difficult for me to see that image in my head. However that description is more effective as Park likes how different she is and it is refreshing as a reader to finally see a girl being portrayed as different and not giving in to stereotypes. It made me feel proud to be who I am and I think that would be the same for anyone who reads this book, Eleanor will fill you with confidence and the strength that she has.

This book left me feeling grateful for what I have, the way that Eleanor takes such care of the comics and music player that Park gives her to shows just how sheltered she is. Music is something we have access to everyday, however she hadn't listened to it before she met Park, yet even in having the music player, the first thing she was worried about was running out the battery.

I was left quite disheartened and disappointed after reading the end of this novel. I couldn't quite believe that two people who are so perfect for each other and who are so in love find no way to be together. I so hoped that everything would work out for them but that wasn't the case. I can see how the ending is effective in showing us that not everything works out the way you want it to and individually, the characters are better off, though I would love to know what happens in the future.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone, it will take you on an emotional journey with the characters and leave you thinking about your own life and the things you have.
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on 3 July 2015
This is a quick and easy read, but I found it difficult to get through, and was easily distracted from it. I liked this book. I didn’t love it, which is a bit disappointing because everyone seems to love it. I can see why, but it just didn’t appeal to me on that level. It didn’t capture me the way Fangirl did, and that might be because of the age of the characters. I couldn’t really relate to it because at that time in my life I didn’t have this burning desire, this stereotypically all-consuming young love that Eleanor and Park have for each other. It’s charming, but to me it seems unrealistic, simply because that stuff wasn’t important to me at the tender (and painful) age of sixteen.

I understand that to other teenagers relationships and sex (and everything in between) are rather prominent, and that may be why they love this book – or perhaps they didn’t experience it either and want to, or wish they had. Don’t get me wrong, Eleanor & Park isn’t just about a relationship, it’s not just about sex (or the things in between). And I suppose that fact feeds into the things I did appreciate about this speedy read.

It addresses domestic violence, albeit in a singular and simplistic way. The effects of domestic abuse, both physical and emotional, are shown on the children and it highlights (just one side of) what a ‘broken family’ can be, and the often unwritten consequences (at least within contemporary literature) of poverty on a young person. I also really did like the dynamic of Park’s family – the identity questions that Park’s dual heritage brings about in him as a teenage boy, and how his parents’ different upbringings informed his character, their’s, and their interactions. It was also quite nice to experience this story of teenage love in a decade in which I wasn’t around. I found it easy to picture this all rolling out on a big screen like a John Hughes movie.

Overall, Eleanor & Park is a pleasant enough novel, but I found it lacking in too many ways for me to ever imagine wanting to read it again. While there were plenty of interesting plot points I felt as though nothing really happened and Rainbow Rowell didn’t utilise the story’s potential to make it feel like something was really happening, or that any of it really mattered, because to me, as an adult (sort of) I know that what Eleanor was obsessing about the whole time is less pressing than she makes it out to be. After a while, it got a bit tiring. You know, the whole ‘touching’ thing, the ‘his lips’ thing, the ‘he’s so cute’ thing. Maybe because at seventeen, I remember life being about a lot more than a cute boy touching my waist and thinking my quirks were cool (to be honest, they weren’t, they were just… quirks). I do intend to read Rainbow’s Landline and Attachments. They’re supposed to be about adults right? Maybe I’ll like them, because I’m totally an adult now… I think.
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on 11 May 2015
Young Adult isn't my preferred genre but I won this signed copy in a Twitter competition so thought I'd give it a go; albeit a tad sceptical that I'd enjoy it. Well I got a third way through the book in one sitting; partly because it's very easy to get on with and secondly because I got completely wrapped up in their story - more so Eleanor's! :)

Told in turn by Eleanor and Park we get to see how each of them interprets the conversations that they have, how they both see each other and how their relationship blossoms. Can you remember what it feels like to like somebody and then realise that bloody hell that might actually like you back? This is really quite sweet but it's not quite straightforward.

“Eleanor was right. She never looked nice. She looked like art, and art wasn't supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something.”

There were a lot more deeper social issues at hand here other than just first love. I felt desperately sorry for Eleanor for like 95% of this book and was constantly hoping that she'd just catch a break!

Overall, it really surprised me that I enjoyed this book so much given I'm not really its target audience and I really enjoyed the '80s references; the cassette tapes, the Walkman and taping etc took me back to my childhood. Just goes to show you that you should be more open to new things and to finish - I actually prefer this cover; I think it sums them up perfectly.

Eleanor & Park
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on 22 April 2015
I picked up Eleanor and Park mainly because John Green had sung its praises, which of course led to the internet grabbing hold of it and joining in on the chorus. Needless to say, I went in with high expectations.

Eleanor and Park is one of the best books I have ever read.

It tells the story of Eleanor and Park (duh) and their young love in the 80’s. Eleanor comes from a broken home, and is immediately picked on as the new girl at school. Park is a half Korean misfit, who loved comics and punk music and wants to keep his head down. They fall together after she sits next to him on the bus, and the rest, as they say, is history. The plot may sound cheesy, but it’s nothing but. There are niggling little points through the story, which build up to a startling conclusion.

Eleanor and Park is really about the characters. They spoke with authentic voices and they had their own individual quirks. You could really distinct between Eleanor and Park, and see and feel their attraction and love for each other. Everyone can relate to at least one thing in one of the characters. Whether if its Eleanor’s self-consciousness, or Park’s feeling like he doesn’t fit in, Eleanor and Park touches so many topics, that it will never stop being relevant. But what I love the most about it is it is about love. It is not a story about body-image or ethnicity or broken homes, it’s about love. And it never loses sight of that.

One thing that really pleased me about this book was that it tackled a subject that I have been dying to see more in Young Adult literature: ethnicity and racism. Park is one of the first half Koreans I have seen in YA (probably the only one) and I am so glad Rowell has dealt with the issues surrounding second generation immigrants and the confusion of fitting in (you may notice that I am of Indian ethnicity).

Most importantly, Eleanor and Park made me feel. It took me on a journey with them, inside their heads, and I felt a part of the story. It was painful, it was ecstatic, it was everything being a teenager in love is like. I’m not the biggest pure romance fan, I find a lot of books in the genre to be very generic and clichéd, but I was on the edge of my mental seat, waiting for the twist and turn to come.

I could write a whole essay on why I love Eleanor and Park, but I’m going to leave it here. This book affected me right after the last page was turned, and I suggest you go out and get it.

Rating (can’t you guess?): 10/10
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on 27 March 2015
Eleanor and Park are both outcasts in their own ways. Eleanor is the new girl in school. Chubby and awkward with bright red hair and bizarre clothes, she is the target of bullies - on her very first day, she gets the Forrest Gump 'You can't sit here' treatment on the school bus. On top of this, she has an abusive home life and evil sex-pest stepfather to contend with. Park's home life is happy enough - his parents both love him and love each other - but he struggles with being half-Korean in a school that he describes as 'seriously white' and liking obscure music and comics that no one else seems to get.

I went into this book thinking it would just be a love story, but it’s so much more than that. It also deals with subjects like bullying and acceptance and abuse with a lot of sensitivity.

Eleanor and Park as a love story itself didn't set my heart pounding, but it was very sweet nevertheless and also kind of slow-moving (this is a good thing - instalove is a bugbear of mine). They seemed to know that first love rarely lasts but they give it a shot anyway. I liked them as a couple - they were very sweet - but I felt they were strong enough characters to keep the story interesting even without the romantic element.

And can I just say: Rainbow Rowell's writing *sighs*. Seriously, how many authors come up with a paragraph like this:

Eleanor was right. She never looked nice. She looked like art, and art wasn't supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something.

And how about this:

Holding Eleanor's hand was like holding a butterfly. Or a heartbeat. Like holding something complete, and completely alive.

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on 13 March 2015
It's the mid 1980s in Omaha, Nebraska.
From the moment 16 year old Eleanor steps on the school bus for the first time, she stands out like a sore thumb. With uncontrollable curly red hair, overweight, covered in freckles and wearing men's clothes her mother's picked up from the charity shop, she's a prime target for ridicule.
The quiet, half Korean, Park, who manages to stay below the radar of any bullying because he has a certain 'cool' factor, pretty much likes to keep himself to himself, but when everybody on the bus refuses to make room for Eleanor to sit down, he finds himself scooting up to the window seat and in a loud whisper, demands her to sit down on the spare seat next to him. From here on, both their lives are changed forever.
Eleanor is pretty much attracted to Park from the moment she sits next to him on the bus but doesn't even entertain the idea that he would ever have similar feelings towards her.
Unsure why, he finds himself reserving the spare seat for Eleanor on the bus continuously, both neither speaking to each other. Initially he thinks she's weird, but when he catches her surreptitiously reading his comic books alongside him on the bus journey to and from school, his feelings towards her change...
Unfortunately for Eleanor due to being new to the area and largely due to her looks she is teased and bullied by her peers. She also has family problems. Her alcoholic stepdad has an unstable temper and forces Eleanor's mum, younger sister and two brothers to live cheek by jowl, and causes them all to be walking on eggshells.
As the story develops, Park sees beyond the androgynous clothing and is drawn to her strength of character and very gradually a poignant romance begins to blossom. However there is one person that's determined to throw a spanner in the works...

The story is essentially about two teenage misfits (both misfits in very different ways) that are drawn to each other by the great dissimilarity between themselves. Neither of them have met a person like it in their lives and become enraptured, and in Park's case, fascinated with one another. This slowly turns into love.

This book was recommended to me by someone off, describing it 'like The Fault In Our Stars but without the cancer'. Eleanor and Park are much more grounded and relatable characters than Hazel and Augusts from The Fault In Our Stars.

I found Eleanor and Park's relationship to be very convincing of people in that age bracket. I grew up in the 80s and remember making compilation cassette tapes for people I liked. The bands and songs mentioned, give an adult reader a nostalgic value to the novel. A YA is unlikely to have heard of them.

I found Eleanor & Park to be a pleasant and easy to read book. Short chapters. Ideal for a YA who's a fan of the romance genre.
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on 7 January 2015
This is a book that struck gold with me because of the mood I was in. Had I been in any other mood, I probably would've found many things lacking and frustrating about the storyline and some of the characters. However, I was in the mood for romance and love and heavy amounts of cheesiness and that's exactly what you get from reading Eleanor & Park.

I finished it relatively quickly and although I was deeply disappointed with the ending - which I won't ruin for anybody, except to say it was the most unemotionally evoking ending EVER, what the hell Rainbow?

The progression of Eleanor's relationship with Park was so smooth that you barely blink before you find them holding hands and talking sweet to each other. That scene where they first held hands, it made my heart absolutely melt in my chest! That must seriously be, the BEST holding hands scene that I've ever read! I mean, a gesture as simple and as sweet as holding someone's hand became one of my favourite romantic scenes and moments ever. It's definitely my favourite moment of this book for sure.

So some of things that I liked and disliked about the book. I loved Park's family, his mom and dad were so great in so many ways. Even though Park himself had several issues with his dad, I loved that at the end of the day, no matter what, his dad will always be on his side on more than one occasion. In contrast, I could not stand Eleanor's family. Yes, the WHOLE family, and not just her horrible stepdad. Her mom frustrated me in so many ways, and I could not respect her at all for choosing to live in this ridiculously insane conditions with this abusive man. Her sister Maisie was annoying, I sympathize with their situation but for God's sake, what an annoying sister. Even Eleanor herself at certain moments bothered me with her constant doubts and repeatedly questioning Park's every word and every move.

Like I said though, I was in the ideal mood to read this book. So all of that said, I found it incredibly enjoyable, except for the ending. I was utterly put down by how cold the ending was in comparison to all the major heat of the rest of the novel.

My sister suggested there may be a sequel. I sure hope so - if only to amend that ending.
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on 6 October 2014
3.5 really
I really enjoyed 'Fangirl' by Rowell so wanted to try something else by her. My colleague at work had read this one and quite enjoyed it so whilst I was waiting for the next book in the series I am currently reading I picked this up - it looked like a fairly quick and enjoyable read. Which was right - I started to read this in my lunch break and then finished it that evening, got really stuck into it and wanted to read more.

Eleanor is awkward, frizzy hair, bad dress sense, a bit odd - she just doesn't seem to fit in. At first glance you would probably look away and avoid eye contact, and that's exactly what the kids at her school do, well - unless they are teasing her or calling her names. Eleanor wishes she could be invisible sometimes - it's easier that way, but with bright red hair and the clothes she wears, that's basically impossible - she stands out like a sore thumb. And this book really makes you realise how wrong first impressions can be. Eleanor is a sweet girl, embarrassed, unsure of herself, but intelligent caring and actually quite adventurous. the more I learnt about Eleanor the more I felt for her, I just wanted to pull her into a hug and tell her it would be ok. She is very strong, and never complains about her situation which is a lot more than I could have done I'm sure.

Park starts off as a real cool guy, a bit of a jerk but yet you still get a feeling that he is a nice guy, something about the way he acts and talks really gives it away so when it turns out that it's true I was very pleased. I actually really like Park - he's not as confident as he tries to come across and to be honest he is a bit of a nerd, but then so am I. He's also very caring and considerate but still has his typical teenage boy sulky, rude moments.

I thought the two of them worked well together and I love how their relationship built up, small steps at a time. None of this 'insta-love' stuff that is so unrealistic. No, these two actually get to know each other a bit.

The story has good pace and a very good storyline - a lot of twists that I didn't expect. I read it quickly and wanted to know as much about the characters as possible. I was truly entranced.

However, the ending really let this book down for me. It doesn't really finish and leaves you questioning and is really just a bit up in the air. To me it felt rushed and unsure, like Rowell didn't know how to end it but had to meet a deadline so filled it out best she could. It was just too vague and unknown. I wanted some big epic finish or at least a 'happily ever after' or 'it didn't work out but they tried' etc, but it kind of all starts to happen at once and then the brakes are slammed on and it all ends. I truly wanted more.

But overall I did enjoy the book, and you should decide about the ending for yourself, it is more of a personal preference really, but I really don't like things left that way.

Good for a lazy day read that you can get lost in though.
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