Review: Eleanor and Park

Book Review15745753Title: Eleanor and Park

Author: Rainbow Rowell

Series: none

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Publish Date: January 1st, 2012

Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary

Two misfits.
One extraordinary love.

Eleanor… Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough…Eleanor.

Park… He knows she’ll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There’s a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises…Park.

Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.

My opinion about this book is an extremely unpopular one, particularly based upon the reviews that I read from my Goodreads friends and fellow bloggers…so please don’t get too mad at me!

I actually marked this book DNF at about 60%, mainly due to the romance and the plot, neither of which interested me or appeared to be improving anytime soon.  Additionally, I haven’t been particularly enjoying contemporary novels recently, so that also could have been a contributing factor, although certainly not the only one.  While I’m amazed that I made it as far as I did in this book, I think I made the best decision possible in setting it down rather than attempting to force myself along at a painfully slow and extremely frustrating pace.

I wasn’t a huge fan of the alternating POV – I found it distracting and challenging to distinguish between Eleanor and Park’s individual voices because they were nearly identical.  Having heard the story from both of their perspectives, I would have expected more insight into their thoughts and overall personalities as the tale unfolded, but they remained disappointingly static.  To add to my dislike, some of the comments in the narration were unbearably cheesy, particularly during Park’s POV.

The plot, as I already mentioned, did nothing to capture my attention and gave me the impression that I was watching a thick coat of paint dry.  It was extremely monotonous and lacked a significant and shocking plot twist or emotional roller coaster, both of which were disappointing.  The reader is forced to connect quite a few dots plotwise, which simply added to my frustration while reading.

Both Eleanor and Park routinely got on my nerves (although Eleanor more frequently did so than Park) and I couldn’t connect with either of them.  Eleanor took the word pessimist to an extreme – she pitied herself for her financial and familial situations and used this as an opportunity to see everything in a negative light.  She frequently picked fights with Park as a result which were entirely unnecessary.  She also seemed to be the only person who was bullied or discriminated against, which was strange considering Park’s background.  Park was extremely emotional, over-reacting to the smallest of things. He was also extremely cliche and cheesy, which made him equally as challenging to relate to.

Moving on to the romance, which caused emotions of confusion and anger to bottle up inside of me whenever it made an appearance.  It was poorly crafted from the start, arising from a mutual hatred between the two main characters.  Over the course of a single week, they went from absolutely despising one another to carving their initials within hearts on trees.  Okay, maybe the carving their initials into trees was a bit of an exaggeration, but it demonstrates the abrupt shift in their relationship that was entirely unbelievable.  It’s almost as if Rainbow Rowell was attempting to disguise insta-love and pass it off as something else, which far from amuses me.  Furthermore, I couldn’t picture any chemistry between the two – they were just so different that it didn’t seem like their relationship would be a particularly long lasting one.

Overall, this book was a bit too quirky and, in my opinion, definitely overhyped.  Nothing particularly special stood out to me in Rowell’s writing style or in the world and characters that she has crafted.  I was definitely disappointed that i didn’t enjoy this book more, especially after seeing so many positive reviews.   Needless to say, I don’t foresee myself picking up Fangirl at any point in the near future.


1/5 Cauldrons

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I am a senior in high school and an avid reader/reviewer, horseback rider, and graphic designer.  Since a young age, I have fostered a love of reading, beginning with my forays into the Nancy Drew series.  I’ve branched out significantly in my reading tastes since then, and my favorite genres include young adult, romance, mystery, and thriller.  I’m constantly trying to expand my horizons, however, so I do dabble in other genres.  While I’m not reading, I volunteer at a hippotherapy center and a veterinary clinic, practice agility with my dogs, play piano, and sketch.
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8 thoughts on “Review: Eleanor and Park

  1. Ooh it’s a shame that you didn’t like this – I really enjoyed it! I guess the one week thing was fast in perspective, but I feel like she wrote it so it didn’t seem so fast, at least not to me. And that kind of thing kind of happens to me – I think too much so I could think absolutely nothing about someone one day and the next I’m constantly thinking about them…
    But we’re all entitled to our opinions. 🙂


    • I am a bit of an oddball in not liking this book, so you’re certainly not alone! I like long, drawn-out relationships that develop slowly, so that was one of the driving forces that caused me to dislike the book, but this also could have been a positive for others!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I liked his book, but I’m mostly just okay with it. I was expecting a whole lot more and this book really seems like nothing new that I read and not a whole lot happened. Again, I liked it, but I really can’t see what the big deal is. I actually agree with a lot of the points you said.


    • I can definitely see where you’re coming from – I think I had set my expectations way too high based upon all the hype surrounding this book, and that caused it to crash and burn (metaphorically, of course) while I was reading.


  3. Pingback: 2015 Bookshelf Tour | Brewing Up Books

  4. Pingback: Review: Fangirl | Brewing Up Books

  5. I don’t know HOW I missed your review for this^^ especially considering how I felt THE SAME WAY about this one! I actually read Fangirl first and really enjoyed it…but this one was a fail for me too. Didn’t like the characters, the story or honestly any of it much. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Great review 🙂


    • Thank goodness someone else picked up on some of these things!!!! I wasn’t able to connect with any of the characters, and it went straight downhill from there. I’m thinking I may not be a fan of Rowell’s writing in general…


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