Audie Award Finalist, Teens, 2014
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 16.
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, this 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.
©2013 Rainbow Rowell (P)2013 Listening Library
Short, Simple, No Spoilers
Finally, after wading through lots of simple, boring teen books, this little gem arrives. Without my Entertainment Weekly Bible, I wouldn't have discovered this fantastic teen love story, coming to a movie screen soon near you.
Eleanor is back with her Mom, step-Dad and four siblings in a miserable household attending a new school in 1986, finding an unlikely friend in Park. Both points of view shine light on the loneliness, isolation, bullying, and the dare to hope and connect in the world of teenage angst. When Eleanor thinks she's fat, Park describes her as beautiful. Couldn't wait to hear what the other had to say about the same situation.
This book is well-written, almost like Rowell popped the top on the teen brain with all the first, raw emotions spilling out into a funny, lugubrious, intense singular story line with the perfect ending. Just bought his newer book, "Fangirl" and am excited to see Rebecca Lowman is narrating as well. She and Sunil Malhotra were fantastic in "Eleanor and Park". This was an excellent read.
Lover of the magic of movies | Fan of risk takers and believers | Indulger in games and imagination | Reader of words that touch souls
I loved this book. Such real characters, a realistic yet frightening thread weaving the plot together at the seam, a legitimate love story (involving high schoolers, who knew.) it was another "Perks of a Being a Wallflower" for me in that had that coming-of-age feel with the dark under note that I kept thinking I knew the history and the stakes but that made me feel it all the more when 'mostly' everything was reveled (because honestly, in real life, no one really knows what's going on with a person right in front of us unless they say the words.)
I am an avid listener. I listen between 75-100 hours per month on my iPhone: 60% fiction to 40% non-fiction.
This novel's plot was not what I was expecting -- but tuned out to be more than I could have hoped for. It is a fresh story, with a steady plot-line that you won't guess. There is something in this story for everyone. Rowell manages to tell this teen story without resorting to over dramatic devices. There is plenty of tension and conflict and the story raises as many why's as it offers answers. This book appeals to folks of all ages. It helps you remember first love, so it does appeal to the romantics in all of us.
The story is told both form Eleanor's and Parks perspectives in alternating points of view which enhances the story. Often, this device can be distracting; but not in this novel. There are many nerves that get jangled as the story unfolds. I highly recommend you read this wonderful story.
This book has terrible language! So if that is something that bothers you, you should skip this one. It starts out with Park seeing a girl with red hair and wondering if it's Eleanor. After finishing the book I'm glad the author put that part in because it hints that it might not end the way I wanted it to. I like how we get to see things from both Eleanor & Park's point of view. Both narraters did a great job. Park is such an amazing character! These two end up falling hard for eachother, but the love story that really got to me was the love between Park's mom and dad and in turn their love for Park. I feel like they really tried to accept Park's choices even if they didn't really understand them. I loved this book! And while it doesn't end exactly the way I wanted, I found the ending hopeful.
Lawyer, reader, writer, performer. Just love listening to books and talking about it!
Warning: you are going to want to read this from cover to cover. What a profound young love story, which raises so many great questions. Why do we read Romeo and Juliet? Is young love, against all the odds, always doomed? Who / what are the Montagues and Capalets of today (or even if the 80s in this book)? Why do opposites attract? Do you have to conform to society's rules? What would you do for love? What would you do for survival?
Eleanor is chubby and has red hair. Lots of red hair. Enough so that she is quickly dubbed Big Red at her new highschool. Eleanor's dad is selfish and absentee. Her mom's husband is scary and abusive, and so mom can't / doesn't help Eleanor, even with such simple needs as clothing or toothbrushes. Eleanor isn't "nice" -life hasn't given her that chance- but there is something about her - like the way she was able to read that poem in English her first day. She is smart and unique, and beautiful just as she is.
Park couldn't be more opposite. His parents are actually still in love, and though they have their moments, they love him and are supportive and somehow pretty wise. Park is cool and even exotic looking, taking after his Korean mother. Park is into music and constantly makes tapes of his favorite songs to listen to, while reading his comic magazines.
Park has a whole seat on the bus and, not without regret, is the only one who allows Eleanor to sit. Soon he realizes that she is reading his comics with him.
Now, see, you do want to know what happens next.
Charming, Funny, and Heartbreaking
Initially, I thought I wasn't going to like them. The story starts off subdued, but after an hour, I was in love with their narration. The dual narratives in this book are really great, as they let you get to know both Eleanor and Park, and the dual narrators really helped to emphasize the differences.
Sunil Malhotra makes Park's parents so much more vibrant (I contend they are the best YA parents I've ever read). I didn't LOVE his version of Eleanor's voice, but it worked.
Rebecca Lowman does an amazing Eleanor AND an amazing Park. I didn't LOVE her version of Park's mom, but again, it worked.
Yes. And I have listened to it twice, since.
I guess I'm a baby...I just love to be read to.
I actually went to Barnes and Noble to look at the actual ending of this book to make sure there wasn't something wrong with audible download. Towards the end everything fell apart...large gaping holes in the story line and lots of questions unanswered and not in a good way. I loved everything about all of the characters and was so interested in what happened to them and it never pays off. The author goes right up to the edge of the cliff but never jumps off....ugh so frustrating.
I cried A LOT!
After hearing from so many people who loved this book and after reading John Green’s awesome review of Eleanor & Park, I was really looking forward to reading this book.
First of all, I am quite pissed off with the ending. There was something that I was waiting, and Waiting, and WAITING for that I thought would happen sometime throughout the entire book, and then something happens in the very end that only “implies” that this particular thing “might have” happened. BUT I wanted Rainbow Rowell to SPELL IT OUT!!!! I want to know what those three friggin’ words were on that dang post card. I have my hopes about what they mean but, based on this particular character, her actions are not always what you really expect or hope for.
OK…I have a lot of emotions over this book. I think I was a little guarded through a lot of the book because I was constantly bracing myself for something awful to happen. And yes, something awful does happen and, even though I was trying to prepare myself for the worst, I didn’t think it would happen like that…so I was all thrown off. You want to know if I cried? Yep!!! I cried…a lot. But it was all worth it…and it would be even more worth it if Rainbow would actually tell us what’s on that post card. *sigh*
What I loved most about this book is how well the characters were put together. First, there are Park’s totally hilarious parents who seem to be making out all the time in every corner of the book. And then there are the all-around horrific parents of Eleanor who make you want to climb right into the book and give Eleanor a giant hug. There’s also the change in Park’s personality from the beginning of the book to the end, and then there’s Eleanor who seems like she doesn’t care what people think about her on the outside but, on the inside, she’s ALL messed up. And last there are those characters that ended up surprising me at the end of the book! Loved it!
This is a very quick read that takes you through a lot of emotions, but the best part is the very fun, intense romance that seems like it should be totally awkward, but is OH!!! SO PERFECT!
This is a fantastic story. The dialogue is captivating and the narrators did an amazing job bringing the story to life. I've listened to books where I just wished the voice was different because if I was reading it to myself, it would sound different and deserved to sound different. Not so with this story.
But this is not a simple story. Eleanor lives in a dangerous household with an abusive step father, a powerless mother, a biological father who is also a loser and four younger siblings who are needy and just as trapped as Eleanor. Park, who other reviewers also call a misfit, is a product of a loving, stable home life one block away. He is a typical teenager wondering how he fits in. Yes he's part Asian, and his father flips out when he takes to wearing eyeliner, but his parents support and love him in all the right ways.
A touching, hold your breath story with enchanting prose and dialogue. I loved this audio book.
Oh, my – how do I begin? Well, first, let me say that I haven’t read a YA book in a while. I’m climbing the bookish equivalent of Mount Everest this year – aka making my way through the A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin and it is brutal. So maybe I went into this book not sure what to expect? I don’t know what happened. I had hopes of romance and swooning and first love a la Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins, but that’s not what I got. Instead I got this amazing boy whom I adored and a girl that annoyed me.
The description says that you’ll remember your own first love, and while it did have moments that reminded me of what it’s like to fall in love for the first time, I just couldn’t connect with Eleanor. Was she in a bad situation? Yes, but in times like those, you either let it make you or break and I feel like she let it break her. Again, yes, she’s 16 and “helpless” but all I’m saying is that 16 is old enough to call the police and not give a second thought to “Oh, is my mom going to be mad that I’m doing something that she as 40 something year old can’t?”
The saving grace for me in this book is Park – not only the character but his POV (the book is alternating POVs). Without Park, this book would have probably been a Did Not Finish. Park – my sweet, sweet boy – WHY do you even like Eleanor? She pushes you away, is an emotional rollercoaster and disaster, and has got to be the most self-deprecating character I’ve read in a while – she puts Edward Cullen from Twilight to shame.
And speaking of favorite characters, I’ve got to say my overall favorite character (and the one I think is most like me) was Park’s mom. She’s an Avon lady who loves makeup, nails, and hair – AND she always wants to make other people over.
I will say that I really enjoyed Rainbow Rowell’s writing style and I’m reading her next book, Fangirl, right now and absolutely loving it. So it’s just this particular book that didn’t do it for me. Also, the narrator for Eleanor on the audiobook was not the best so that probably played into things a bit.
I put this book on my Everyone Loved But Me shelf as there are no less than TWENTY 5 star reviews from my friends on GoodReads. Maybe I’m the misfit in this story.
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