Review: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor & Park


“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.


After hearing that John Green raved about this book in the New York Times Book Review, I requested a copy. For the first twenty pages or so I was skeptical and then all of the sudden I was blown away.

Author Rainbow Rowell’s writing is incredible. Her descriptions and insights frequently made me gasp or re-read them several times because they are so unique and so perfect. This is the kind of writing that I die for, the kind of writing I dream about writing. So evocative, emotional and true to life. The characters Eleanor and Park, two misfits who come together and form a powerful bond, are stunningly vivid. I loved them both. The narrative is packed full of terrible events and heart-breaking-tender moments. Their romance is not the standard high school fluff (thank goodness), but beautifully real.

This is the kind of book you read late into the night because time falls away. This is the kind of book you hate to finish. The kind of book that when it ends it’s hard to start another because you don’t want to let go of the feeling brought to life inside you by the story.

My only complaint is that the ending felt a little rushed, but the last page is so fitting that it’s easy to look past it.

If you enjoy edgy, contemporary fiction (and love the 80’s), I highly recommend this book.

Content note: Frequent use of foul language including a lot of the F-word and crass sexual and deity terms. The story mentions spousal abuse, drug use, bullying and brief sexual references.

If you’ve read it, I’d love to hear what you thought!

Share notes: @TeriHarman, @rainbowrowell, #amreading


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