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Eleanor & Park | [Rainbow Rowell]

Eleanor & Park

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (1059 )
5 star
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4.3 (991 )
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4.5 (982 )
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Tessy Slaton 07-02-14 Member Since 2013

    I love adventure and any thing that makes me laugh. I am somewhat drawn to books of teenage angst.

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    "Good Story"
    What did you love best about Eleanor & Park?

    I really liked the characters in this book. While in some respects the characters were just surviving their teenage years and the makeup of their world, they still were on a journey. The characters were dynamic. I enjoyed the way the book was written, short chapters from specific characters. The ending was thought provoking and appropriate to the characters.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Eleanor & Park?

    The book really spoke to personal image in some ways. I liked the scene when Park's mom made over Eleanor and her response and process. I liked the contrast between Eleanor's parents and Park's parents. I loved Park's dads reaction to the fight.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The ending, last scene, was perfect.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    I am afraid to see this book made into a film because there is so much that goes on internally with the characters that would be difficult to relay on the big screen.


    Any additional comments?

    In someways this book was a sappy teen romance, but it touched on some real and serious themes that deserve discussion. I enjoyed this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michelle san diego, CA, United States 06-23-14
    Michelle san diego, CA, United States 06-23-14 Member Since 2009
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    "I absolutely loved it"

    Eleanor and Park perfectly captured what it's like to be madly in love at 16 years old. The narrators did an amazing job of capturing the tone, nuance and inflection of both characters. I couldn't stop listening and it was one of the few novels I didn't zoom right through at 2x speed. Beautifully written and a total gem

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sandra Saettone California, USA 06-11-14
    Sandra Saettone California, USA 06-11-14 Member Since 2014
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    "LOVED THE BOOK, didn't love the narrators"
    Where does Eleanor & Park rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I downloaded this book because I had already read it twice before and loved it and I wanted to try audiobooks while driving and see how it went. I'm kind of biased in that way because I love the story and the characters and everything about this book, so it is still my favourite. However, I did not like the narrators, Rebecca Lowman made the characters sound kind of depressed (also noticed it when she read another Rainbow Rowell book) and I didn't like the way she did the voices, also i couldn't stand the way the Sunil Malhotra did the voices when women were talking (be it park's mom or Eleanor or whoever) it sounded weird and fake, like he didn't know how women are supposed to talk.


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Rebecca Lowman and Sunil Malhotra ?

    No, I tried with Rebecca Lowman where she read Attachments by Rainbow Rowell as well and I sitll didn't like it.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    This book makes you go through a whole array of emotions, so worth it, even if you don't like the narrators.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John Braine Dublin, Ireland 05-07-14
    John Braine Dublin, Ireland 05-07-14 Member Since 2010

    J.

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    "boy meets girl"
    Any additional comments?

    I can’t remember where I got this one recommendation from – I seem to end up reading more than my fair share of teenage love stories sometimes. I’m not exactly the target market.

    Boy meets girl. They fall in love. There’s not a hell of a lot more to it. Ok there’s bullying, an evil stepdad, and a lot of good music references. That’s pretty much it.

    It’s pretty good for what it is. I imagine a lot of teens would love it. I thought it was fine. Enough with the teeny stuff for now though.

    Notes on the audio:
    Both actors were fine. But as often the case, when the male actor was speaking as the female character, it was awful. He made her sound whiny and unlikeable. Eleanor didn’t sound like that at all when the female actor was doing her bits.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Meghann Swiney 05-07-14 Member Since 2014
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    "Painful, beautiful and real"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes! Beautifully written, had me in it's grip instantly.


    What did you like best about this story?

    It was like remembering and feeling those hyper emotions of being a teenager all over again.


    Have you listened to any of Rebecca Lowman and Sunil Malhotra ’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No - but they both did an incredible job. Real and heartfelt.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The first moment that they touched, it swept over me like a warm glow, and filled me with hope.


    Any additional comments?

    Read it - you will thank me.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    nadine CAMINO, CALIFORNIA, United States 02-23-14
    nadine CAMINO, CALIFORNIA, United States 02-23-14

    Clever

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    "Young at heart"
    Would you try another book from Rainbow Rowell and/or Rebecca Lowman and Sunil Malhotra ?

    Yes I would. Although I think this is a book for a younger listener then I. I enjoyed the story.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    I didn't like the ending.


    Which character – as performed by Rebecca Lowman and Sunil Malhotra – was your favorite?

    I liked Parks mother. Funny little lady with a heavy Korean accent.


    Was Eleanor & Park worth the listening time?

    I thought it was easy listening for a Rainey day.


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    The Reading Date CA, United States 02-05-14
    The Reading Date CA, United States 02-05-14 Member Since 2011

    I'm an audiobook addict and blog about books at The Reading Date. My favorite genres are YA, New Adult, Fiction & Memoirs.

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    "Easy to Connect To"

    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.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Beth Anne Philadelphia, PA, United States 01-04-14
    Beth Anne Philadelphia, PA, United States 01-04-14 Member Since 2012

    i like to read. i like to listen.

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    "beautiful, sad, hopeful...gave me chills"

    one of the best, most solid, most beautiful and sad and crazy young adult novels i've ever read. ever.

    i love eleanor
    i love park
    i love their narrators

    i love this book.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Clifton Richmond, VA, United States 12-30-13
    Clifton Richmond, VA, United States 12-30-13 Member Since 2013
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    "Good Story Made Great by Narration"

    Very good story and writing, although I agree with some reviewers that the end was disappointing. The end is not really the point with a book like this, though.

    Both narrators are a true joy. I hope they find lots of work based on their amazing work on Eleanor & Park.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amber 12-25-13
    Amber 12-25-13 Member Since 2013

    I read and listen to books. I drink tea. I sleep like a cat and wished I lived in Hawaii.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Liked It & Didn't Like It"

    I want to write this review while the book is still fresh in my mind. I struggled with this book. I thought the first half was kind of boring and was tempted to abandon it, but my curiosity got the best of me. I wanted to know what the big deal is about this book, why everyone is swooning over it. Now that I have finished, I am still not quite sure. Eleanor and Park are both described as misfits in the book description, but Park barely is. He's a somewhat cool kid that comes from a good family environment. His being half Korean is the only thing that sets him apart from his peers. Eleanor is a misfit for sure, in more ways than one. I felt bad for the poor girl. Anyone in that type of home situation gets sympathy from me. With that said, she wasn't the most likable person. The book dragged for a while and I didn't feel like there was much character development for Eleanor or Park until the second half began. Then the story picked up and things started happening. At this point, the book went from a 3 star to a 4 star. Eleanor and Park have a sweet romance full of lovey-doveyness and moodiness. At times, it made me want to gag, but I have to remember that I am not the target audience here. My teenage years are way behind me. Then the ending happened and the book went south for me. What was up with that? I felt like Rowell described everything that was happening and how everyone felt in detail until the last couple of chapters of the book where many things were left unsaid and it seemed a bit incomplete. This is why I cannot give the book 4 stars. If the ending were better, I could have overlooked the slow first half. I liked the way the book constantly alternated between Eleanor and Park point of view's. I liked getting both perspectives on what was going on in their relationship and lives. Rowell did a good job of creating believable teenagers. I think that she kind of nailed down how teenagers act and how they think. This book is about first loves and heartbreak, surviving a bad home life and trying to keep your head above water in those difficult teenage years. The narration was pretty good, but Malhotra's (Park's) narration was awful when it came to doing Eleanor's voice. It was so quiet and mousey and very different than the way Lowman portrayed Eleanor. My very favorite part of the book was Park's mom. She was awesome. She was charming and full of personality. Malhotra's narration of Park's mom was spot on. I could listen to a whole book just about her and I wish she was my next door neighbor.

    If you are a person who seeks out YA books, then you should go for it. Listen to it or read it and you probably won't be disappointed. If you generally don't enjoy YA books, then I say proceed with caution.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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