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Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
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Eleanor & Park (edition 2013)

by Rainbow Rowell

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2,1622203,005 (4.26)193
Member:dianestm
Title:Eleanor & Park
Authors:Rainbow Rowell
Info:St. Martin's Griffin (2013), Hardcover, 320 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****1/2
Tags:2013, Fiction, Romance

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Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

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Showing 1-5 of 219 (next | show all)
Not quite yet finished with the novel, but what I have read so far has been great! The author does a great job in character progression with the two main characters, and even a few minor characters. Its a nicely paced novel, nothing happens too fast, and there are no slow parts either. Through 3/4 of the novel they've already shown a change as people, in terms of how they act, speak, appear, and think. This novel is really adorable and witty, absolutely amazing.
  TaylorBudnar | Oct 16, 2014 |
I adored this book. I picked it up at the library based on just the title, having heard it recommended as a fantastic read by someone on Reddit. I'm glad I didn't read any reviews or the synopsis before getting it, as it was a bit like unwrapping a present.

Eleanor is a misfit from a poor, dysfunctional family. Her stepfather is deplorable, and her mother is broken and weak. Park is the token Asian kid in this neighborhood of Omaha (half-Korean), and straddles between his popular friends and being himself. Thrown together on the bus, an odd friendship evolves into romance. Rowell did a great job of capturing first love and the awkwardness of high school / finding your place in the world. The dichotomy of Park's family (they were pretty fantastic, lucky boy) and Eleanor's awful home life (not only poor, but abusive and scary) was perfectly drawn for me. My heart ached for Eleanor, and for Park as he was introduced to a world that he never imagined from the safety of his home.

The ending wasn't what I expected, but still satisfying. To be honest, I'm a little emotionally wrecked by the last few chapters, and need a moment to collect myself. Definitely recommended--4 stars.
( )
  GovMarley | Oct 7, 2014 |
Eleanor and Park are unusual friends, bonding over comic books on the bus. Eleanor is a social liability for Park, but he falls in love with her anyway. She can't fit in she as is extremely poor, so poor she doesn't even have a toothbrush. She is a little overweight and has frizzy red hair; for these reasons and more she is tormented by her step-father (a drunkard) who should be institutionalized. Eventually, Elanor becomes close with Park's family, his mother is a hairdresser and loves to give Elanor tips and make-up samples. Soon she needs to run away and Park helps her. ( )
  knitwit2 | Sep 28, 2014 |
When new girl Eleanor shows up on the school bus one day, things start out very badly for her when nobody wants to make room for her to sit, even though there are still plenty of empty seats left. She's very overweight, has long wild curly, very red hair and is dressed really strangely, and though this is 1986 and new wave music and punk rock rule for some of the kids, her kind of weirdness just doesn't fly. Park happens to be a misfit of sorts too, being the only half-Korean in an otherwise all-white or black Omaha, Nebraska, though he's managed to fly under the radar with strategic friendships and alliances, and he's not sure he's willing to compromise that for the new girl, but he can't help himself from wanting to help Eleanor when he bluntly tells her to just sit next to him on that first day, and there she'll sit henceforth on their daily trips to school and back. He doesn't find Eleanor attractive exactly, but for some reason, he starts sharing his beloved comic books with her, like the [Watchmen] series, and then introducing her to some of his favourite music like The Smiths and The Cure and Alphaville and Elvis Costello (the list goes on and on as the book progresses).

Eleanor has never heard any of this music, so he makes her mixed tapes, but in her typical blunt way she refuses to take the first one, till he finally figures out that she has no way of listening to it. She's just as rude to him when he offers to to loan her his walkman till his kindness and insistence wear her down. They've soon got a friendship going, based on all the things Park likes, which prove to be a salvation for Eleanor. Her home life is a living hell. Her mother's taken up with a violent alcoholic called Richie who doesn't hesitate to hit on his wife on a whim and threaten Eleanor and her four younger siblings with unnamed injuries. They're so poor they don't have a phone in the house, in which the bathroom and the kitchen aren't even separated by a door. To add to her misery, Eleanor is being bullied at school, persecuted by one of the most popular girls, and then regularly finds disgusting pornographic inscriptions on her school manuals which she has no idea who could be putting there.

As friendship progresses to declared love with Park and he invites her into his home, Eleanor knows the respite she finds there with his parents, who slowly come to accept her despite her strange appearance and awkward ways can only be temporary, because her parents, and especially Richie, are bound to find out about this relationship, which over the months she's been passing off as time spent with a fictitious girlfriend, and she knows without a doubt there'll be a price to paywhen Richie finds out. Only things keep getting better and better with Parker, who fills her life with music and makes her feel things she never knew she had the capacity to feel before.

Many people here on LT raved about this book and I remained skeptical about whether I'd like it too, but it ended up being a big winner for me. I happen to be the same age as our two main protagonists, so was just as influenced by most of the music which is mentioned in the book (The Smiths is one of my all-time favourites!), and though thankfully I never had the kind of nightmarish home life Eleanor has, I could definitely identify with her feeling like the odd girl out and the bullied misfit at school. Rainbow Rowell writes sensitively and realistically about what it feels like to be a teenager and to experience love and complete bewilderment and fear, all this in a way that also makes for compelling reading. I'd rate this book as a 4.5, only according to my rating system, that systematically means I want to reread the book, and in this case, once will be an experience I will remember and don't necessarily feel a need to repeat. ( )
2 vote Smiler69 | Sep 27, 2014 |
It is 1986 and, in alternating voices, sixteen-year-old Eleanor and Park tell their stories of love, desperation, fear, heartache and hope. Eleanor sees herself as fat and ugly with curly, tangled red hair that sticks out everywhere. Her father doesn’t want her; her stepfather Richie hates her, while her mother is too beaten up by Richie and life to care anymore. (Read the rest of the review on my blog: http://shouldireaditornot.wordpress.com/2014/08/26/eleanor-park-rainbow-rowell/ ( )
  ShouldIReadIt | Sep 26, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 219 (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.
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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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