Friday, March 1, 2013

Review: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell (eARC)

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
St. Martin's Press, 320 Pages
Expected US Release Date: March 5, 2013
Format: e-ARC
Source: Publisher, via NetGalley
- thank you!

"Bono met his wife in high school," Park says."So did Jerry Lee Lewis," Eleanor answers.
"I’m not kidding," he says.
"You should be," she says, "we’re sixteen."
"What about Romeo and Juliet?"
"Shallow, confused, then dead."
''I love you," Park says.
"Wherefore art thou," Eleanor answers.
"I’m not kidding," he says.
"You should be."

Set over the course of one school year in 1986, ELEANOR AND PARK 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. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love – and just how hard it pulled you under.
------------------------Goodreads summary

Notable Quote
"Did I ruin everything?" he asked.
"Every-what?" she whispered, as if listening might hurt him, too.
Less than halfway through the book, this is the post-it I wrote for it:
(If you can't read my writing, it says: I want to be at the receiving end of all their words.)

Because seriously. Everything Eleanor and Park say to each other are things I dream about having said to me one day. They are the cutest couple together, and I just want to squish them to me and hold them together forever.

I don't remember where I first heard of Eleanor & Park, but the moment I saw it up on NetGalley, I was on that request button so fast - and actual squealing happened when I was approved. And yes, I was at work, but that's ok! Totally worth it.

There's something that immediately draws you to both Eleanor and Park, even though the scene where they meet isn't necessarily a favourable one. It sheds light on what kind of life Eleanor is forced to endure, and it actually doesn't paint Park in the best picture. But still, there's something to both of them that immediately grabs your attention and refuses to let go for the entire duration.

There's a delicious type of anticipation throughout this entire novel. It's not that we're kept waiting, because the relationship isn't stilted or drawn out - in fact, it moves at a fairly regular, normal pace. But the words, the situations that both Eleanor and Park are forced to experience outside of each other; they make the time they are together feel that much more important and worthy of your attention.

I know I'm gushing about the romance here, and that's because I loved it so much - but there is a distinct darkness to this novel, too. Eleanor endures an emotional abuse that's absolutely terrible to read about - from her schoolmates as well as from her stepfather - and it isn't pretty to read about. There is especially one element that was just so adult and horrific that I wanted to weep for her and hold her and protect her. Not to discredit Park and what he goes through, too - while nothing as severe as Eleanor, he has his own problems to deal with, too. And of course, seeing the girl he's growing to love more than he thought possible go through these things can't be easy, either.

But that small line of darkness through the novel makes their relationship shine that much more, too. It's sweet and tender and beautiful and, once again, I just wish I had someone to love me as much as they do each other. It's brilliant to watch this first love grow, and just as heartbreaking when you see it struggle as all first relationships do. This relationship isn't all sunshine and rainbows, despite what I keep typing - there's ups and downs and difficulties and so many moments where I just wanted to yell "NO! YOU BELONG TOGETHER DON'T YOU SEE?!"

There's really no way for me to end this review. I loved this book, I loved this relationship, I loved these characters. They own a piece of my heart.

PS. While I'm a bit young to find a ton of nostalgia in 1986 (I was born in 1987!), I loved all the timely references and them trading tapes and walkmans and batteries back and forth. Kinda made me yearn for the simpler times!

5+ Stars


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  2. I absolutely think that this book showcased the feelings of first love (and the craziness of it) perfectly. It was so sweet to read about Eleanor & Park!

  3. Awwww Ashley!! You've totally won me over with this review! I've always loved the cover but was never sure if I'd read the book...but now, I so will! Awesome, review girlfriend! :)) <3

  4. I have only heard good things about this one! I am getting it from the library and can't wait!!!

  5. Aww this sounds wonderful and I think I want to read it just to hear what they say to each other..Love you review Ashley!


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