I feel like I am the last person in the entirety of the blog community who has read Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. But hey, I did read other books by her, this just wasn’t the first one.
It’s 1986 and two star-crossed teens are 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. A cross between the iconic ’80s movie Sixteen Candles and the classic coming-of-age novel Looking for Alaska, Eleanor & Park is a brilliantly written young adult novel.”
Where to begin? Eleanor & Park was equally heartwarming and heartbreaking. Extremely adorable and tragic at the same time. Never did I expect that it would take such a dark turn towards the end, but somehow it all makes sense.
That’s what I really liked about the book – everything made sense. Okay, maybe sometimes I was a little annoyed with Eleanor’s behaviour and her being so closed off, but other than that those people were just human. They acted like people – they were jealous, embarrassed, proud, defiant, mean, kind and everything in between. Every character felt like they had proper motives for their actions (except for Richie).
I also liked that parents played a role in the book. Often in YA fiction I have the feeling that those children just don’t have parents, or if they do they don’t give a damn about their kids. Granted, Eleanor’s parents were far from being role models, but Park’s were great! Sometimes there are issues and topics that cause tension in a family and I was just so happy to see that in the end, they were supportive of whatever he wanted to do.
When I started reading the book, I had no idea where it was going. There were awesome pop culture references along the way and I liked to see Eleanor and Park’s relationship blossom, but I still had no idea how it would end. That was the real surprise. I didn’t expect it to be sort of cliffhanger-y, but it suits the story. No one knows how exactly their story will end, but I do know that they had something real.
I am really looking forward to the movie to this. I can’t imagine it yet at all, but maybe that’s a good thing. And maybe we’ll get to see a little more in the end.
Fazit: 4.3/5 stars. As expected not my favourite Rowell book, but majorly fantastic nonetheless.