Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Review: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: February 26, 2013
Source / Format: Library book!
Page Count: 325.

Guys, I can't even fully summarize this book without wanting to throw the whole thing out there and geek out about it even more than I already have. Here's the short of it:

Eleanor is the new girl at school, and she sure has a way of sticking out. Her clothes don't fit her, and they're all thrifted and covered in patches. She decorates her body with different ties and ribbons. Her step-father is notorious in their small Nebraska town for being a not-so-great kind of guy. And she's got wild red hair and a bigger body that is the target of ridicule from her peers. The only peer that doesn't rip her apart is Park, the quiet Asian kid on the bus who lets her sit with him, and shares his comics and tapes with her. What blossoms from this seat sharing is FEELS. PURE FEELS.

To kick off this 'review,' I will post this twitter exchange that also just made me throw my hands up in the air and die:
It's decided: if I ever need a book that will make me cry in seconds, this is the one. Not only for the cries, but the sweet smiling and book hugging that comes right after the tears. Rowell is a wizard at creating characters that I want to take under my wing and love, and also characters that I want to burn in hell. She was a puppet master of my emotions for the whole 12 hours that I spent reading and obsessing over this book. Every time I had a heavy sigh and tears poking at my eyes for the thousandth time, it was immediately followed with a laugh or smile, and it was a great balance that made me keep reading and feeling like I was too much into a rut of sadness.

All I do when we’re apart is think about you, and all I do when we’re together is panic. because every second feels so important. And because I’m so out of control, I can’t help myself. I’m not even mine anymore, I’m yours, and what if you decide that you don’t want me? How could you want me like I want you?

The best part about this whole book? The characters and the realistic connections between them. In a lot of YA novels, teenage romance seems to be the thing that always works out with little to no complications, but that is hardly ever the case. Rowell approached the relationship between Eleanor & Park with a heart squishing realness that made me both respect and admire her. And despite her realness, it's a teen romance that I wholeheartedly rooted for. Both characters have their flaws, but each one has such shining qualities and characteristics that I almost forgot they were high schoolers. Even the not-so-great relationships like the ones between Eleanor and her step-father, or Eleanor and her bullies was a beautifully painful portrait of character relationships. GAHHHH. 

Eleanor 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. 

I don't know what else to say about this book other than JUST READ IT!!!!!!! It's real, it's beautiful, it's painful, it's swoon-worthy, it's tearjerking. This book is just so lovely that I want to and need to read it again. I was initially nervous to read it, because of the HUGE hype that surrounds it, but I can see now that the hype is well, well, well deserved, and now I cannot wait to read Attachments and  Fangirl

Rating: 5,000,000 / 5

Have you read Eleanor & Park? Tell me in the comments what your reading experience was like!

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