She only came back when she felt like it, in dreams and lies and broken-down deja vu.
Like, he’d be driving to work, and he’d see a girl with red hair standing on the corner – and he’d swear, for half a choking moment, that it was her.
Then he’d see that the girl’s hair was more blond than red.
And that she was holding a cigarette… And wearing a Sex Pistols T-Shirt.
Eleanor hated the Sex Pistols.”
Eleanor knew she was done for the moment she stepped on the bus. She knew she’d be target practice for the vultures. New in town and knowing no-one she ends up sat with Park.
Park is the boy at the back of the bus that the others almost ignore. He’s learnt over the years to keep his head down and become invisible. But Eleanor sees him.
Over the next few months the two of them share comic books, whispered conversations and an ever-growing stack of mix tapes. They fall for each other harder than they ever thought possible – they way you do the first time, when you’re young and you feel as if you have nothing to lose.
So this is clearly a YA romance. And I dislike YA romances… so if you are a regular reader of my blog you are probably wondering why its here, reviewed like a YA contemporary ‘issues’ book or a dystopian, a fantasy or a paranormal. It is here on my blog because I couldn’t not read it any longer, its here because all the hype about Rainbow Rowell is truly deserved and I knew after reading Fangirl that I couldn’t not read more of her books. Its here because after hearing everyone praise Eleanor & Park, I had to find out if what they were saying was true – it turns out it is.
I dislike books which focus too much on romance and little else. However that is why I loved this book. There is so much more going on that you forget that its a love story. As the characters are falling in love with one another, you are falling in love with them because of how amazing they are. The story is a sad one but incredible at the same time, the way that Eleanor and Park just gradually become close and how Park helps Eleanor out so much – I honestly didn’t want it to end. Eleanor has a lot of serious whiz going down with her family and there was a period when she wasn’t with them at all and she spent a lot of the time in the book not wanting to be in her own house – and I could see why.
I knew kinda where the book would lead and what kind of thing might happen towards the end but nothing prepared me for my own feelings when it did happen. They way the narrative flicks between Eleanor’s and Parks perspective really allows you to get into their head space and understand whats going on so what happened really wrenched my guts. I loved every second and I think a lot of that is because of the magical way Rainbow Rowell offers her characters to you in her writing. She shares her characters as if she wants you to love them as tenderly as she does and even when you want to shout at them for being idiots – see incident before Christmas in this book if you have read it! – you can’t help but understand why they have done what they have done and why they feel that way.
I honestly cannot praise this book more. I didn’t think it would be my kind of thing which is why I read Fangirl first. Even after Fangirl I couldn’t help but think it wouldn’t be as good – especially as the actual fangirl aspect of that book was one of the main things I loved and this book didn’t have that! – however I think I possibly enjoyed this even more. There was something about Eleanor and her attitude that drew me to her, and it probably helped that I feel the same about my size as she does about hers. She was real and she was so many things I am – yet she was also a lot more clued up about things than I was at her age! I cant help but want to become friends with her and love her for being her.
After that declaration of love I guess I should just give it to you straight to finish my review. If you haven’t read this book yet you should. End of.
Eleanor and Park was published by Orion in February 2013. My copy was purchased from my favourite indie bookstore Storytellers Inc.
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