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Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor & Park

by Rainbow Rowell

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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2,9322901,961 (4.23)242
Recently added byprivate library, mattcompton, olschool, davidgn, _________jt_________, angiemoore814, mindyd
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» See also 242 mentions

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Showing 1-5 of 287 (next | show all)
I'm still amazed that I finished this book. Generally teen romances make me gag, but this book got such high ratings that I felt I needed to set aside my prejudices and get it done. Overall, I can say that this isn't a terrible book. The writing isn't spectacular, but most teens aren't looking for deep meaning. They just want to read books that reflect the challenges they face. It's easy for me to forget this when I rate teen books, but honestly, I've read enough teen books to know that there are some fantastic writers out there and I just won't give a book 4 or 5 stars unless the writing deserves it.

Eleanor and Park is a story about kids on the other side of the tracks. Park, whose mom is Korean and dad is Irish American, is on the fringe of the cool crowd and he's constantly choosing his moves carefully so he doesn't fall from grace. Eleanor is a slightly overweight new girl, with flaming red, frizzy hair who is targeted by the school bullies. She is everything Park should avoid, but for reasons he can't explain, he's drawn to her, and there begins a friendship and romance that teens crave in contemporary fiction. Add to the plot Eleanor's seriously messed up home life and you've created a teen smorgasbord of reading fun.

So why didn't I abandon the book? The beginning was a little slow, and Rowell never did convince me that these two would end up together against so many odds. Eleanor just had too much going against her for Park to risk his reputation. But...set that aside and just view them as two teens in love and I can say it's pretty darn close to the way teens fall head over heels in relationships. At least that's the way it was in the 80s, which is the decade in which the book is set. By the way, I have no idea why Rowell set the book in the 80s. It seems to me like that would reduce the appeal to teens since they would have no understanding of most of the references. I found the author's constant mentioning of 80s TV shows really annoying.

It's probably good to mention that there is considerable profanity (f-bombs), but no risqué sex scenes which I was fully expecting. In fact, I think the book does a really good job of advocating against teen sex. Although I wish some of these popular teen authors would tone it down a bit, I understand their argument that they are simply writing it like it is. I remember those days, and yes, there were bullies and f-bombs. How little things change.
( )
  valorrmac | Aug 19, 2015 |
Basically one long meet cute between two high schoolers in the 1980s. I recognized the characters all too well, and they quickly endeared themselves to me. Their realism and depth was impressive - no cardboard high school stereotypes here. Eleanor is not easy to love, but the reader sees her as Park sees her, and we are convinced. The ending left me a little cold, but not everything in life can be tidy. Recommended if you'd like a sweet story about teenage love. ( )
  melydia | Aug 18, 2015 |
I knew from the start of this book (ably chosen for me by my partner) that it would break my heart: when I got to the end I was in the predicted flood of tears I had anticipated. Music, reading, comics and being an outsider - how could I fail to be deeply moved? ( )
  RullsenbergLisa | Aug 5, 2015 |
Hmm this book wasn't for me. I'm not sure if I have a problem with Rainbow Rowell, or if it was simply the book itself, but her books don't seem to be cutting it for me. I just found this book a little too problematic for me.
Examples of a few of the lines that just rubbed me the wrong way

"she’s kind of big… but the impala is a spacious automobile"

"... she would have called 9-1-1 at the very, very, very, least. But now that seemed like something a child would do, or a fool."

I am not a skinny girl. There is such a lack of representation about "fat" girls in books that I was a little excited to see a fat main character. However, why is it that the fat girl in a book always has to be tormented. There can't be a storyline where a fat girl is left alone? Where it's not all about her weight? Apparently not...

The second one is really why I felt the need to stop reading the book. I do understand that domestic violence and abuse is extremely difficult to deal with and stop and often times very difficult to get out of, but I don't think saying it is foolish to call the police when your step dad is abusing your mom is a good thing. I don't think that's a message you want to be spreading into the world.

This is something I've encountered with this authors books in the past; and that is me not liking the messages being spread to the people who read them.

I don't think I was meant to enjoy Rowell's books unfortunately. ( )
  thatgirlbookworm | Aug 5, 2015 |
I can see why this is popular. It hits a lot of key YA topics -- bullying, fitting in, abuse, coming of age -- complemented with better than average writing and a cool nerdy aspect that is popular these days. I liked the voice of Eleanor and how her story was slowly revealed. However, I don't think this book really transcended YA tropes the way that other readers seem to. The plot twists are cliche and the comic book element seemed thrown in for nerd cache rather than being an organic part of characterization. I thought Park's voice was not compelling and the chapters in his voice didn't do a good job of connecting with Eleanor or connecting with me as a reader. I'd heard such good things that I was disappointed in this book. But I'd consider reading others by this author. ( )
  sparemethecensor | Jul 31, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 287 (next | show all)
I have never seen anything quite like “Eleanor & Park.” Rainbow Rowell’s first novel for young adults is a beautiful, haunting love story — but I have seen those. It’s set in 1986, and God knows I’ve seen that. There’s bullying, sibling rivalry, salvation through music and comics, a monstrous stepparent — and I know, we’ve seen all this stuff. But you’ve never seen “Eleanor & Park.” Its observational precision and richness make for very special reading.
added by melmore | editNew York Times, John Green (Mar 8, 2013)

» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Rainbow Rowellprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gorovoy, AnnaDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Grlic, OlgaCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Russell, HarrietCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Forest, Jade, Haven, and Jerry - and everyone else in the back of the truck
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He'd stopped trying to bring her back.
He loved how much they loved each other. It was the thing he thought about when he woke up scared in the middle of the night. Not that they loved him -- they were his parents, they had to love him. That they loved each other. They didn't have to do that.
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"Set over the course of one school year in 1986, this 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"--

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