Author: Rainbow Rowell
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Publish Date: January 1st, 2012
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
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.