Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor & Park

Fan art images courtesy of the very talented illustrator, Simini Blocker. ;)

From goodreads: Set over the course of one school year in 1986, ELEANOR AND PARK is the story of two star-crossed misfits – smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love – and just how hard it pulled you under.


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

Why haven’t I read this book sooner and why haven’t I heard more about this author?!?! I love when I stumble upon a book that moves me and leaves me thinking about it for days. *sigh* I seriously fell in love with this book, its innocence and the storytelling is brilliant and moving; I couldn’t get enough of Eleanor and Park.   I’m not sure if it was all the comic book references that captivated me or if it was the fact I went back in time to 1986 but what’s the point of trying to figure out what captivated me when the bottom line is… I LOVED IT!!!

“Nothing was dirty. With Park. Nothing could be shameful. Because Park was the sun, and that was the only way Eleanor could think to explain it.”

Eleanor has crazy red hair (her wardrobe will make you cringe) and Park is half-Korean who sometimes likes to wear eye liner but yet they make complete sense.  Park seemed somewhat lost when he met the troubled Eleanor but an unlikely friendship slowly forms between them over comic books and mixed tapes. High school is a complete and total jungle but when you have someone in your life that loves you for you and believes in you, anything is possible.  These characters felt incredibly genuine at every turn and all I wanted to do was reach through the book and hug them.

“Maybe Park had paralyzed her with his ninja magic, his Vulcan handhold, and now he was going to eat her. That would be awesome.”

This is a slow-building story, it moves with such fluidity that you will feel every blessed detail of Eleanor and Park’s relationship.  Hand holding has taken on a new meaning for me and every dang time that Eleanor and Park held hands it took my breath away.   Normally I don’t like alternating POV every other chapter as I find it jarring but in this case it made sense, it worked and it wasn’t distracting in the least bit.

“The first time he’d held her hand, it felt so good that it crowded out all the bad things. It felt better than anything had ever hurt.”

To tell you what this story is about is to rob you of the experience and I refuse to do that, the blurb alone will give you an idea.  What you need to know:

  • It’s about falling in love for the first time.
  • Be prepared to relive all the awkwardness and cruelty of high school.
  • There is angst and your heart will hurt.
  • Eleanor is a very complex character, more so than Park but you will love them both equally.
  • Rainbow Park has captured the essence of what it’s like to be a teenager, she made me remember and I love her for it.

“I want everyone to meet you. You’re my favorite person of all time.”

Don’t wait a moment longer to read this story, it’s worth every penny and you can thank me later!!! ;)




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