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
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.
Characterization is minimally fleshed out. The build up and turning point was sudden and rushed. Some story lines were not explained. For instance, Tina hates her so much she bullies her constantly and even goes so far to dump her clothes in the toilet (all of which the readers do not directly experience), yet when she is fleeing from her abusive stepfather she is overly eager to help. Also there was a reference plopped in about the step dad possibly being sexual abusive?! Make up your mind on your antagonist. Build him up at least. Also... after ALL this plopped in and sputtering drama they do not talk for a year. Just really poorly written. This author needs to go back to basic creative writing. I cannot believe this passed as a story.
Loved the story and the narrators did an amazing job. Wish did author would wrote more details about the step dad notes'. And wish it would've ended a bit differently. Overall i loved the characters!!!
I personally didn't enjoy this book due to the ending or the plot. The ending didn't say much and the entire book was repetetive, though I understand where some repition might have been useful, it was overplayed
I really enjoyed this book! I thought the performance brought life and personality to the characters. The story was sweet and happy and sad all at once. It definitely brought back memories of first love, but it seemed deeper than that too.
Born in Ohio, lived in California, Alaska, and now Texas
I can't think of a single positive about this story. Certainly not the characters, the plot (or lack thereof), or the ending. I just don't get what others see in this book. When the story ended I was upset about wasting my time but happy that I could move on to something better. Flat Out Love is 100X better, and and The Fault in Our Stars 50X more enjoyable. Don't waste your time.
The relationship between Eleanor and Park was so innocent and relatable.
To me, everything that involved Eleanor's stepfather really stood out. I feel like it's a subject that is glossed over in many situations.
I really liked the switch from female narrator to male narrator. I feel like it made me pay more attention to what was really happening.
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