Review: ‘Eleanor & Park’ by Rainbow Rowell

I never intended to read this book, but since I’ve been reading a bunch of contemporary teen books lately this just seemed like the logical progression. The August OwlCrate also paid tribute to Eleanor & Park, so I thought I should give it a chance while I was on the hunt for a new audiobook to listen to on the bus.

Synopsis: New girl, Eleanor, is forced to sit next to Park on the school bus each day which doesn’t suit either of them until they discover a mutual love of comic books and music. As they tackle the ups and downs of highschool life, their lives outside of the school halls are where the real drama is happening.

I’m loving these multiple narrator audiobooks that have two different readers. It’s so much easier to listen to a book like this than to try to puzzle through the text. I hate it when I get confused about who is narrating and have to go back to the beginning of a chapters just to see if the author wrote their name somewhere.

β€œEleanor 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.”

Random Thoughts While Reading:

  • So far Eleanor has a really shitty life and Park complains a lot about inconsequential things.
  • I’m trying to imagine the outfits that Eleanor wears but they are all so absurd that I can’t figure out how any girl could be this totally oblivious.
  • Coworker walking in on me while I’m getting weepy because Park just said he loves Eleanor… well that was embarrassing.
  • Rainbow Rowell and I are now in a secret club together because she referenced Dicey’s Song in this totally offhand way that I doubt anyone else caught.

I was really confused by Eleanor’s wardrobe choices for the longest time in this book because it felt like she was a caricature of a poor kid. I’ve worked with families who have similar issues to Eleanor’s, and yet none of those kids were ever so random with their clothing. They didn’t pin ribbons to their jeans to hide holes… they just had holes in their jeans. Drawing attention to their clothes was the exact opposite of what they wanted to do.

I was really glad the book ended on a happier note, but I do wonder what happened afterwards, especially to the rest of Eleanor’s family. Her mom obviously wasn’t great at making life choices, and there were a lot of problems in that house still. For all of Eleanor’s worry about her siblings, everything wrapped up way too fast for me to feel any sort of closure to their story. But I guess that’s the way these contemporary YA novels end now… totally unfinished.

LC rating: 4-stars (wonderful story but the ending felt rushed)


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