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
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.
the narrators were fine but the story line... and it got cheesy to the point where I was like no teenagers talk this way. I thought the ending would be worth the misery. nope.
Not at this time
I cried to hear the struggles Eleanor faced having to live in the same house as her Mother's husband
The whole young adult genre is a wasteland that I don't usually dip my toe into. But when a book like Eleanor & Park comes along that I've heard nothing but adoration and praise I had to jump in. I'm a big sucker for a good "coming of age" story which is what I thought I was getting myself into. Eleanor & Park is that but its actually a lot deeper then I would have expected. The story of both Eleanor & Park two kids who aren't comfortable in their own skin get to live in their own world together. They each have their own demons to face, although Eleanor's were far more pronounced, Park had his fair share as well. To see both kids face those while dealing with the normal day-to-day trauma that is High School was extremely interesting. There were times that I got stressed out for both of them.
The one issue I had with Eleanor & Park was the ending. It didn't nail the landing. There is a story arch that overlays the two characters that comes to an end sort of abruptly and so too does the book. I'm fine with where Rainbow Rowell took the two characters I just didn't think the path in which they took to get there was the most satisfying.
With that being said Eleanor & Park is a book that's an incredible journey. There were aspects that I didn't love but the overall journey is one of the most enjoyable ones I've had all year. Its one that made me want to sit down and read a comic or listen to some 80's punk music. It's a captivating story that brings you in and makes you care deeply for both of its characters. The ending felt rushed but that wasn't enough to spoil what otherwise was an incredible journey.
I'm an audiobook addict and blog about books at The Reading Date. My favorite genres are YA, New Adult, Fiction & Memoirs.
Rainbow Rowell’s latest book Eleanor & Park is set in Omaha, Nebraska in 1986. It is the story of an all-consuming first love formed from a shared comic book and alternative music connection.
The book is primarily about the relationship between Eleanor & Park, two teens that feel like outsiders. Eleanor is the new girl who wears all the wrong clothes, and stands out with her large frame and red hair. She’s bullied and called Big Red. Park is half-Korean and isn’t new in town but feels isolated because of his musical taste. In 1986 there was a divide between the Top40 and alternative scenes and Park’s tastes were ahead of the curve in Omaha. The pair end up next to each other on the school bus and slowly form a connection over music and comic books that develops over time.
The 80s decade is an interesting YA book setting for many reasons, but stands out for the lack of technology & the explosion of post-punk. There were no cell phones for Eleanor and Park to text (not that Eleanor could even afford a cell phone) and music was not that accessible either. It was the time of mix tapes, and I could definitely relate to Eleanor falling in love with the music mixes Park made her, listening to the same songs over and over. And it’s so satisfying for Park to have someone to share his interests with, finally.
It’s nice for Eleanor to have Park as this bright spot in her life because her family life is rough. She lives with her mom and step-dad and shares a room with her four younger siblings. Her step-dad is abusive and an alcoholic and her home life is all-around difficult. Park has some drama with his dad but for the most part has it pretty great compared to Eleanor.
Even though the story is a heavy read due to Eleanor’s family drama, there are plenty of feel-good moments that made me smile. Rowell captures that first love feeling, and made me root for Eleanor and Park. The book has short chapters and Rowell writes in third-person, with alternating Eleanor and Park perspectives. Rowell makes you feel like you’re back in the 80s with many pop culture references.
Rebecca Lowman and Sunil Malhotra read the audiobook, and this is my first experience with their narration. I thought they both did a great job, and sounded age-appropriate. I didn’t feel any disconnect between the characters as written vs. how they sounded. Each narrator uses different voices for different genders, ages, and accents, and gets the tone of the book right. I think the audiobook format made it easier to connect with both Eleanor & Park. It’s a book that I didn’t want to stop listening to, and will probably listen to again. One thing that would have been cool is if the audiobook contained music snippets since music is such a running theme.
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!
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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