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
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.
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.
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.
Readers bring each unique voice to life; great audio version.
Park- I could relate to his subtle blend of awkwardness and hope.
Sunil Malhotra- he sounded like a 15 year old guy.
At some points I laughed, and at the end, I cried. That's a good book.
Rainbow Rowell captures the intensity of first love; the performances enhance that intensity.
Psychologist and lifetime reader
This book is a story of young love in its unlikely beginnings. Despite the age of the characters in the book, the story is timeless. If you have forgotten the dewy eyed beauty of your first kiss, your first touch or even your first love, this story will be a stroll down memory lane. The characters are imperfectly perfect for each other. There is depth and richness in the story which examines the social boundaries and prejudices found in the cafeteria and on the bus at every high school in America. The narrators provide a richness to the experience that has exquisite moments of tenderness paired with the sarcasm and wit of youth. I highly recommend this book!
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.
Tough question, as the book is so brilliant - after listening, I bought the print version, because I needed to own both.
The amazing attention to the details of Eleanor's & Park's interior lives.
Yes for Lowman, and this was stellar on her part - she was fully immersed in the character. Malhotra was new for me so I can't compare.
About a billion of them.
I push this book on everyone, and they're all glad I do.
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!
I have over 800 books in my library, and this is one of my all time favorites. It really is a nearly perfect little book. As soon as I was done listening my daughter started from the beginning, and I was happy to hear it again immediately -- that says a lot.
The story takes you on a journey of their relationship with a precision of words and emotions that is achingly beautiful. I have seldom cared so much about characters, or felt like every word counted. Honestly I keep thinking about "To Kill A Mockingbird" for a similar quality of every word being in place. This may be considered a "teen book" but that is only in the sense that it is a human book, and we were all teens once. My heart still aches with tenderness for this book, and that is not idle praise.
Psychology doctoral student, making time to read (and now listen!) as much as possible.
Wow, I can understand why this book is popping up on all the "Best of 2013" lists! A beautiful story of first love. I listened to this as an audiobook on Audible and found myself listening very late into the night - I even dreamed about this story! The narration was fantastic. The writing was simple, yet poignant and you really want Eleanor & Park to work out, despite the improbability of high school romances and their specific circumstances. I think I especially liked it because both the guy's and the girl's perspective is given, making for a story that didn't fall into the cliches of typical high school novels. I highly recommend to anyone looking for a quick story that will draw you in and stick with you for a while.
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