Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Riveting Romance

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

* Book read via NetGalley

5 out of 5 gnomes

This book was just so darn great.  I believe Rainbow Rowell may be the new master of dual perspective YA books.  Everything flows so well together that it feels poetic at times and the emotions that the characters are feeling really jump off the page.

The story takes place in 1986, which means I would have been just a little over a year old.  Even with not actually being old enough to remember that year, the story in this book feels timeless and like it could happen anytime.  It’s also pretty cool that the story takes place Omaha because that’s where I live too.

The characters and everything they go through will have you wincing in one place and then actually laughing out loud at others.

There is definitely some school bus politics realness shown here.  If you’re not popular it’s not exactly an easy thing to ride the bus (Eleanor finds this out on her very first day of school.)  The bus ride everyday becomes an important part of the story and shows how Eleanor and Park grow together.

Park is that kid that stays in the middle ground by being quiet and not being noticed as much as the other kids.  He’s not unpopular but he’s not exactly popular either.  He’s half Korean which makes him stand out and he’s more into comic books and music rather than sports.

Eleanor is the kind of girl that just stands out as different right away, she doesn’t mean to or anything it’s just how she is.  She has a really crappy home life and is just trying to acclimate to her family again after being kicked out of the house.  Being back home isn’t exactly great though because the same problems are still there along with this foreboding sense of unease/danger from the whole situation.

I truly love that there was no instalove connection here.  This relationship has to be worked for and is by no means perfect.  Their relationship has plenty of ups and downs but their worries and uncertainty give a realistic edge to the story.

Another great thing about this book is that it doesn’t suffer from a case of missing parent/guardian-itis like some YA books do.  The parents in this book are vital to this story and shape the main character’s lives.  

This book has a superb sense of humor which can be seen in one of my favorite lines which is hilarious in the story but sounds very wrong out of context, “Jesus. Was it possible to rape somebody’s hand?”

The ending was so good, I thought it was going to end rather darkly at first but the very end actually had me "awwwing" like one would normally do after seeing an adorable puppy.  It's the kind of ending that will make you want to cheer out loud.

Overall this story has a lot of both humor and heart.  It’s one of the best YA contemporary books that I’ve ever read and is indeed one of the top books that I’ve read in 2013 so far.


  1. I really have to read this book soon! I've been seeing so many great reviews.

    I feel old now. I graduated HS in 1983 lol

    1. You really should read it ASAP, it's so good and also full of funny lines (my favorite quotes post was almost as long as my review.)

      Well you know what they say, You're only as old as you feel. :)


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