Formerly 'The Mile Long Bookshelf'

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

Title: Eleanor and Park
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Published by: Orion
Publication date: 28th February 2013
Pages: 336
Genres: Young Adult
Format: Paperback
Source: Gift.

Eleanor is the new girl in town, and with her chaotic family life, her mismatched clothes and unruly red hair, she couldn't stick out more if she tried.

Park is the boy at the back of the bus. Black T-shirts, headphones, head in a book - he thinks he's made himself invisible. But not to Eleanor...never to Eleanor.

Slow, steadily, through late-night conversations and an ever-growing stack of mix tapes, Eleanor and Park fall for each other. They fall in love the way you do the first time, when you're young, and you feel as if you have nothing and everything to lose.

Eleanor and Park is set in 1986 in Omaha. It all starts with Eleanor not being able to find a seat on the school bus...except for an empty one next to Park. For a few weeks, they exchange mix tapes and comics, but they never exchange any words. As their feelings for each other continue to grow, they fall in what can only be described as young love.

For a few months now I have been seeing reviews of this book and others by Rainbow Rowell. What intrigued me was that I have never seen a negative review of any of her books! When Fiona of Eventide Reads sent me her copy (thank you!!) I was eager to try this out for myself.

Eleanor is a very complex person. Her home life isn't exactly the best; her step-dad is abusive, she shares a tiny room with her four younger siblings and there is hardly ever any food in the house. On top of all of that, she gets bullied at school, she sees herself as fat and ugly and nothing ever seems to go her way. I think her dry wit was brilliant! I've been reading books with over the top humour lately, so it was refreshing to read something so subtle, yet fantastic. She doesn't even attempt to fit in - she constantly wears men's clothes, she doesn't bother with her hair and she just generally doesn't act like the stereotypical teenage girl. Rainbow Rowell (why wasn't I called Rainbow? Instead I'm stuck with the second colour of the rainbow-_-) did an excellent job of showing that you don't need to try and fit in. Just be yourself and the right people will like you.

I loved Park! Usually in books, the guy always does something that screws everything up, but Park seemed like a decent guy. The fact that he gave Eleanor - a girl he barely knew - his comics was really sweet and I liked that he took the time to create mix tapes for her. He was caring, generous and understanding - yay! Park is different from the usual love interests in YA, and that contributed to my list of 'Reasons Why I Love This Book'.

Usually I'm not a fan of books that are set in the past. However, a few days ago I read Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone which was set in the 1990s, and I realised I really don't mind them! In 'Eleanor and Park', I actually kept forgetting it wasn't set in the present day because it wasn't that different. That's a good thing, by the way!

There is a MASSIVE twist in this book and it startled me! It jumped out of nowhere. I won't go into too much detail but I'd just like to say that the author did a great job of even keeping the reader in the dark about what was going on!

The ending of the book frustrated me. How could it end like that? It doesn't even have a sequel. It really depressed me. My poor mum had to witness me go 'ARGHHHH' really loudly, throw the book across the room (I swear it was the first and last time, it's not damaged!) and then I picked it up and hugged it (shush, you.) Do you want to see my reaction for yourself? I live-tweeted's scary, be warned.

I'm really not a fan of cliffhangers, especially when there is no sequel. The book was brilliant up until that point, but the ending really annoyed me!

Overall, this was a truly enthralling read! It wasn't at all what I expected, but it was a pleasant surprise. It has somehow restored my faith in the human race and the story has been expertly crafted. Now I'm really excited to read Attachments and Rainbow's upcoming novel, Fangirl!


  1. I still haven't read this one! I really need to get on it. I loved Fangirl (review <a href=">here</a>) but I really want to read Eleanor and Park now! Although I am a little bit scared about the cliffhanger ending, I like endings!

  2. I don't think I've ever seen a negative review for any of Rainbow Rowell's books either! The only book of hers I've been able to find is Attachments, which I really enjoyed, but I am dying to read Eleanor and Park! It seems like her most popular book, so I don't know why I've never seen it in the library or in any bookshops. And I really want to read Fangirl as well! Lovely review, Amber :)

    1. Ooh I haven't actually heard of Attachments. Now I want to read that, too! Thanks Maya :)

  3. I'VE BEEN WANTING TO READ A RAINBOW ROWELL BOOK FOR SO LONG NOW! Everything about her books sounds perfect, and of course, I really want to see what all the hype is about. Oooh - how bad is this ending in terms of frustration? As one of my pet-peeves is when the book is not all wrapped up like a pretty-present under a Christmas tree.

    P.S. I love it when you include your tweets in your reviews!

  4. I'm reading this book this week! I finally decided I just needed to know what all the fuss was about. I'm also using it as my way to celebrate Banned Books Week because some parents are attempting to get it removed from a certain school district.

    1. Yay, good for you! I have no idea why it should get banned, it's not as bad as other books I've read.

  5. Ahh, the classic case of "I love you"-"I hate you"-human-book-interactions...I'm a frequent sufferer myself ;) haha. Really enjoyed this review as I'm considering reading E&P and am glad that I've been warned about the "MASSIVE twist" and "cliffhanger ending"...oooh, I'm excited already ;) haha. Thanks for the honest review!


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