Friday, 26 April 2013

Eleanor & Park - Rainbow Rowell (2012)

4.5 stars

I ordered this book because someone recommended the author to me and this got a higher rating than her other book and sounded more appealing to me. I'm happy I got it, even though I didn't like the ending very much.

The book is written from alternating perspectives of Eleanor and Park, and gives a really nice and believable look into young love. I feel like a reason I like this story so much it that the characters aren't the usual stereotypical teenagers that have a love story and even the bullies have some depth and development over the novel. Although the plot wasn't predictable, I knew something had to happen at the end and I found myself dreading it when I was reading the second half of the novel, knowing that there were fewer and fewer pages left in which a significant event could occur. My favourite character in this novel was probably Park, I have a soft spot for adorable boys, especially ones that listen to rock music and read comic books, and I loved how after a little while he got more complex and his true character emerged because of Eleanor's influence.

Eleanor is new to the neighbourhood, and on her first day on the bus, she ends up next to Park. At first they say nothing to each other but after a while Park realizes she's reading his comic books over her shoulder so one day he lends one to her to read. After that their relationship developments through music, comic books and mutual admiration. Park learns of Eleanor's abusive stepfather who kicked her out for a year, her four siblings and her mother. Eleanor learns of Park's cultural background, his strained relationship with his father and his inability to drive a stick shift. After about six months (I'm not really sure on the time frame for this book) Eleanor and Park learn that her stepfather was the one who had been writing disgusting sexual innuendo all over Eleanor's belongings and Park has to drive her to her Uncle's house in Minneapolis and say goodbye. He writes her letters and sends her parcels for months without a reply, then just after he's given up she realizes how much she needs him and can't just ignore him so she replies.

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