Review Detail

4.4 15
Young Adult Fiction 1150
Overall rating
Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
What I Loved:

There's so much to love about this book. The world building is superb--as a girl who grew up in the 80's, I recognized myself and my music. Every detail, from the clothing to the hair styles to the sensory descriptions of the setting, painted a vivid picture so that each scene played out like a movie in my mind.

The characters are fully realized, complex, flawed, and interesting. Readers will connect with both Eleanor and Park and will cheer for them to find a happily ever after even when it seems impossible. Eleanor's home life and the trauma in her past make her feel like the more complex character at first, but Park has layers of his own, and Ms. Rowell does an excellent job of created two very realistic and accessible characters who have equal stakes in the story's outcome. The story is told from both perspectives, and this technique worked well for these characters.

The relationships in this book make it stand out because every single relationship is nuanced and complicated in some way, and that rings true for real life as well. There's no insta-love between Eleanor and Park. They begin the story disliking each other and slowly move toward understanding, appreciation, and eventually, love. Their romance requires them to stand up to peer pressure and to make hard choices when it comes to the risks they're willing to take. The angst, the swoony first-love emotions, the arguments, and the all-consuming focus are absolutely authentic for a first real love relationship, and readers will delight in the story of Eleanor and Park.

What Left Me Wanting More:

I would've liked an epilogue or a tiny bit more information at the ending (I can't say why without spoiling it for new readers), but at the same time, I understood the choices the author made, and those choices felt natural for her characters.

Final Verdict:

Eleanor and Park is a compelling story that is as much about courage and our capacity to heal as it is about the consuming highs and lows of first love.
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November 10, 2013
I have to say, I really wasn't a fan of the ending. It almost ruined the whole book for me. That being said, Eleanor kind of rubbed me wrong for a lot of the book, so I suppose it shouldn't be too much of a surprise that I didn't care for the ending.
Despite that, I did enjoy Eleanor & Park and would definitely recommend it.
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