Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

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.

AUTHOR: Rainbow Rowell

PUBLISHER: Penguin Books

YEAR PUBLISHED: 2013

NUMBER OF PAGES: 328

RATING:   4 out 5

SYNOPSIS (from Goodreads)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.


Eleanor and Park is my first of Rainbow Rowell’s. I’ve read Fangirl, Landline, and Attachments (though I never got to the finish of that) and this is my favorite. Rainbow Rowell’s writing, for me, was either a miss or hit and E&P is, I’m glad, one of the latter. Personally, plunging into her storyland wasn’t as easy an adventure as Jenny Han’s or Cassandra Clare’s. Sometimes, she writes way too extensively about a person’s thoughts, that it can get a little dreary. Good thing, none of that happened to me in reading this book.

Eleanor and Park was told in two perspectives. I don’t mind reading from multiple outlooks because eccentric stances can sometimes be too ordinary and annoying. I’m glad RR seems to be a master of this technique. I tend to take sides between the couple but since I sat behind the thoughts of these two, I loved one just as much as the other.

Rainbow Rowell doesn’t glamour her characters with the Prince Charming looks and I like that about her. Every face has the right for limelight on novels, right?  I love everything about it – two misfit teenagers, non-stereotypical gender attributes, true love set in reality, smart use of metaphors, and a lot more! Eleanor was a big girl which was in contrast to Park’s skinny frame. It seems befitting leaving just the exact amount of space to hold hands and read Watchmen while on the bus. The characters weren’t difficult to love especially Eleanor, whom fate was the most unkind with. What with all the bullying at school, the scanty financial resources, and her horrible stepdad, it surely did tug in the heartstrings. On the other hand, I liked Park as he progressed from an I-dont-give-a-damn kind of bus mate to the romantic sort. There’s something attractive about mysterious and strong guys who slowly melts their armors of apathy when Cupid strikes.

I got drawn to the story from page 1 all throughout which wasn’t a laborious task. The novel was set in the 1980’s which I like since I have a fetish for anything vintage. Their love story was cute though it seemed rather fast-paced – from complete strangers to reading buddies. I was still savoring that part when, in a blink, they were already holding hands! Talk about getting an impulsive quest to the second base, hah! But, heedful or impetuous, I don’t want to judge their youthful hearts who commanded even if it involved committing two mortal sins against each others’ hands – lust and gluttony. Funny how Park wanted to rape her hands while Eleanor wanted to devour his. Theirs was a tale filled with youthfulness and maturity, sacrifice and gift, and deep love.

Warning: May contain spoiler. Near ending, I gasped literally not expecting the turnout of events. I had to run through it over and over to make sure I read right. I wanted to fly all the way to Nebraska from where I sat, holding my breath, to make sure they get the ending they deserve. Nonetheless, as hurtful as it was, I smiled knowing they still have endless possibilities. It was a devastating conclusion but what’s love without a little tragedy anyway?



GOOD NEWS: Eleanor and Park would soon be hitting the cinema soon and I’m all getting giddy over it! Check it out here. Dreamworks better not mess that up! I’m rooting for Ki Hong Lee who played Minho in The Maze Runner film to play Park. I would love it to be Steven Yeun aka Glenn from The Walking Dead but he’s a little old for a YA character probably. As for Eleanor, I’m thinking of Fat Amy from Pitch Perfect with red curls from Pitch Perfect but she would no longer pass as a high schoolers so I have no contender as of now.

E&P

Who do you think should be casted?

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9 comments

  1. Loved your review! Eleanor & Park really is a beautiful story. I heard that it was going to be a movie, and I’m a little anxious/impatient about it! Damn, your casting ideas are on point!! I would totally see Ki Hong Lee as Park, I would love him to play this character ! 🙂

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    • Thank you! It’s the best Rainbow Rowell book for me.. so far (I’m crossing my fingers for Carry On!!). Yeah, I hope Dreamworks won’t screw the movie! To be honest, I know no other Korean who can speak English other than Ki Hong Lee so he’s my choice lol. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I didn’t know there’ll be a movie adaption, soon! I love E&P, and like you, I reread the last pages to check if I misunderstood it… haha. But unfortunately, yeah, thing happen..I think that’s what Rainbow Rowell is trying to share, the sweet and painful memories of your first love.. 😥

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    • There is! I’m really excited and at the same time friggin nervous at who they’ll cast on it! That ending tho! I was quite hoping there’ll be a sequel or something but then I realized it might ruin the setting 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m afraid if they make a sequel, it will still be heartbreaking. Just like what happens with Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli. When he wrote the sequel, Love, Stargirl… So I’ll just be happy with the ending and let myself imagine what will happen after that. Lol.

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