Review: ELEANOR and PARK by Rainbow Rowell

by Rainbow Rowell
ISBN-13: 978-1250012579
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Pages: 320


Read an excerpt: HERE
Rating:  ♥♥♥♥♥

"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 & 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. 

Eleanor is the new girl in town, and she's never felt more alone. All mismatched clothes, mad red hair and chaotic home life, she couldn't stick out more if she tried. Then she takes the seat on the bus next to Park. Quiet, careful and - in Eleanor's eyes - impossibly cool, Park's worked out that flying under the radar is the best way to get by. Slowly, steadily, through late-night conversations and an ever-growing stack of mixed tapes, Eleanor and Park fall in love. They fall in love the way you do the first time, when you're 16, and you have nothing and everything to lose. Set over the course of one school year in 1986, Eleanor and Park is funny, sad, shocking and true - an exquisite nostalgia trip for anyone who has never forgotten their first love. 

Have you ugly cried so hard that you are just one hot mess of emotions? Well that is precisely what happened to me when I read ELEANOR and PARK BY Rainbow Rowell. This beautiful story between two intelligent and offbeat teens that are jinxed from the start but make perfect sense together. I cried and laughed and cried some more but will never forget them, ELEANOR and PARK forever!

Once I began reading ELEANOR and PARK I could not seem to stop for I was immediately drawn into their story especially since it came from their alternating POV's. From the moment that Eleanor came into the scene she stood out for the wrong reasons but she didn't care. She was fluffy, tough and eccentric yet oddly vulnerable and once I understood her story I could not help but admire her. Park on the other hand was on the fringe of popularity, smart, handsome but completely adrift in his comics and music...until he saw Eleanor. Their initial encounter was anything but love at first sight yet you knew that there was something truly special between them and as the days passed and their hearts opened I was treated to some of the most heart warming moments that I can never forget.  

One of things that I enjoyed most about ELEANOR and PARK was it's era, 1986 before a time of cell phones and PC's, where communication was done on a more personnel level. This fact created a mood of longing and desperation that truly made this story work even more. The music, that was such an integral part of their story because it meant so much more back then. Going back to that time was nostalgic but It was done in a subtle manner that was well appreciated.

Some of the most difficult moments to read was of Eleanor's home environment. Her poverty, abusive step-father and lack of self esteem all so heartbreaking.  At times it was so frustrating and very distressing and I would be left screaming in frustration.  UGGGGG!!! ...but despite how things are for Eleanor her relationship with Park made it all fade away when they came together. It is like the world blurred and went out of focus while they became sharp and oh so clear. Their feelings towards each other were beautiful and honest and it shone through so that I could not see anything else. I attribute this all to how evocative and moving certain moments passed between, even the simple action of holding hands was taken to a completely different level.

ELEANOR and PARK is a fantastic story and Rainbow Rowell did a magnificent job of not only creating a love story between two memorable characters but she also wrote some of the best dialogue that I have witnessed in a long while. I still get all teared up at times just thinking about certain moments between Eleanor and Park and had to include one my favorite's that I adored.
"You don't like me..." he said, leading her, pressing the base of the phone into his lowest rib.
"I don't like you, Park," she said, sounding for a second like she actually meant it. "I..."--her voice nearly disappeared--"think I live for you."
He closed his eyes and pressed his head back into the pillow.
"I don't think I even breathe when we're not together," she whispered. "Which means, when I see you n Monday morning, it's been like sixty hours since I've taken a breath. That's probably why I'm so crabby, and why I snap at you. All I do when we're apart is think about you, and all I do when we're together is panic. Because every second feels so important. And because I'm so out of control, I can't help myself. I'm not even mine anymore, I'm yours, and what if you decide that you don't want me? How could you want me like I want you?"
After reading that passage how could you not want to read ELEANOR and PARK? I'll forewarn you that this book does not end in a neat and pretty package but it does offer a promise of hope and new beginnings and that is what made me smile despite my tears.

Although you may ugly cry and run through a box of tissues you will love this book and sorely miss those two characters when you finish the last word. Oh my foolish beating heart. I am so madly In love with this book, ridiculously "in love" to point that I want everyone to share In this joy. READ THIS BOOK NOW!!  ELEANOR and PARK is for anyone that loves a great contemporary read or a book that is simply amazing.

**For those fans of this story I found another post about this book and it had a cast picked for this book that was perfect, please check out THE SELECTIVE COLLECTIVE 

4 comments on "Review: ELEANOR and PARK by Rainbow Rowell"

gonepecanla wrote: March 3, 2013 at 3:16 PM

what a great review! so many things you said were right on the money. and thanks for linking to our casting :) i like when people agree with me :) ~daphne

Bookluvr Mindy wrote: March 3, 2013 at 10:55 PM

Oh NO! Another sad book? I think I cried enough tears with TFIOS.

Jane Craske wrote: March 5, 2013 at 8:44 AM

Oh dear, going to have to read this and have the big snot tears. I was 16 in 1986, I think it's going to hit close to home.

Jess (The Cozy Reader) wrote: March 14, 2013 at 8:08 AM

I adored this book! I need to do a formal review yet.

Post a Comment

I would love to see what you have to say :)

“Reading is everything. Reading makes me feel like I've accomplished something, learned something, become a better person. Reading makes me smarter. Reading gives me something to talk about later on. Reading is the unbelievably healthy way my attention deficit disorder medicates itself. Reading is escape, and the opposite of escape; it's a way to make contact with reality after a day of making things up, and it's a way of making contact with someone else's imagination after a day that's all too real. Reading is grist. Reading is bliss.”

Nora Ephron, I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman

Tales of a Ravenous Reader

My Photo
Hello, and thank you for stopping by. This is my little haven for talking about the books that I adore.

Grab My Button

Email Twitter RSS Feed

Contact Me

I am an avid reader from Northern California and if you are a publisher and would like to have your YOUNG or NEW ADULT book reviewed, please email me. I accept ARCs, as well as books that have already been released. I am also more than happy to do author interviews, guest posts, and contests to promote your book as long as they are in the Young and New Adult genre. Please check my review policy prior to sending me an email, thank you. curlyshoe(at)gmail(dot)com

2016 Reading Challenge

2016 Reading Challenge
nancy has read 29 books toward her goal of 125 books.

@ravenousreader on INSTAGRAM

Upcoming YA Bay Area Book Events

I have compiled all the SF, bay area YA events in this section. If you know of any events that I have failed to post, please let me know. Also, please keep in mind that some events may change and it is always best to verify any event prior to attendance.


STACEY LEE Launch Party
Books Inc. in Palo Alto
Thursday, May 26 @ 7pm


June 4&5 in downtown Berkeley
Julie Buxbaum
Gail Carriger
Veronica Rossi
Daniel Handler
Stephanie Keuhn
Stacey Lee
Caroline Paul
Wendy MacNaughton
Lauren Myracle
Alyson Noel
Yvonne Prinz
Jason Reynolds
Evelyn Skye
Wendy Spinale
V.E. Schwab
Nicola Yoon

Books Inc. in SF OPERA PLAZA
Tuesday, June 7 @ 7pm

Kepler's in Menlo Park
Wednesday, June 8 @ 7pm

Kepler's in Menlo Park
Thursday, June 9 @ 7pm RSVP Here


Barnes and Noble in El Cerrito
Friday, June 10 @ 7pm


Linden Tree Books in Los Altos
Friday, June 10 @ 6pm


Barnes and Noble in Emeryville
Friday, June 10 @ 7pm

Barnes and Noble in Dublin
Saturday, June 11 @ 12 NOON

Barnes and Noble in Roseville
Saturday, June 11 @ 12 NOON


Barnes and Noble in Dublin
Saturday, June 11 @ 2pm


Barnes and Noble in El Cerrito
Saturday, June 11 @ 4pm

B-FEST Book Festival Panel(s) with
Hannah Jayne, Gayle Parness, Jane George and Wendy Spinale

Barnes and Noble in Dublin
Sunday, June 12 @ 12 Noon and 2:00pm

Barnes and Nobel in Corte Madera
Sunday, June 12 @ 2pm

Book Passage in Corte Madera
Friday, June 17 @ 6pm

Mrs. Dalloway's in Berkeley
Thursday, June 30 @ 7:30pm


Kepler's in Menlo Park
Thursday, July 28 @ 7pm


...and lots more events are coming. I am so excited but cannot share them yet :) Stay Tuned!!

What I am Reading Now

and this too.....

Book Tour Host

Book Tour Host

Book Tour Host

Follow by Email


Rating System

♥♥♥♥♥ Love it! A must read

♥♥♥♥ Great, give it a try

♥♥♥ Okay, a decent read

♥♥ Meh, read at your own risk

Would not recommend

DNF=Did Not Finish

Blog Archive

Blog Stats

Blog Designer

Net Galley

Professional Reader