Monday 6 October 2014

Book Review - Eleanor & Park

Title: Eleanor & Park
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Publisher: Orion
Release Date: 1st February 2013
ISBN13: 9781409120544

Eleanor is the new girl in town, and with her chaotic family life, her mismatched clothes and unruly red hair, she couldn't stick out more if she tried.
Park is the boy at the back of the bus. Black T-shirts, headphones, head in a book - he thinks he's made himself invisible. But not to Eleanor... never to Eleanor.
Slowly, steadily, through late-night conversations and an ever-growing stack of mix tapes, Eleanor and Park fall for each other. They fall in love the way you do the first time, when you're young, and you feel as if you have nothing and everything to lose.

My Review
I really enjoyed 'Fangirl' by Rowell so wanted to try something else by her. My colleague at work had read this one and quite enjoyed it so whilst I was waiting for the next book in the series I am currently reading I picked this up - it looked like a fairly quick and enjoyable read. Which was right - I started to read this in my lunch break and then finished it that evening, got really stuck into it and wanted to read more.
Eleanor is awkward, frizzy hair, bad dress sense, a bit odd - she just doesn't seem to fit in. At first glance you would probably look away and avoid eye contact, and that's exactly what the kids at her school do, well - unless they are teasing her or calling her names. Eleanor wishes she could be invisible sometimes - it's easier that way, but with bright red hair and the clothes she wears, that's basically impossible - she stands out like a sore thumb. And this book really makes you realise how wrong first impressions can be. Eleanor is a sweet girl, embarrassed, unsure of herself, but intelligent caring and actually quite adventurous. the more I learnt about Eleanor the more I felt for her, I just wanted to pull her into a hug and tell her it would be ok. She is very strong, and never complains about her situation which is a lot more than I could have done I'm sure.

Park starts off as a real cool guy, a bit of a jerk but yet you still get a feeling that he is a nice guy, something about the way he acts and talks really gives it away so when it turns out that it's true I was very pleased. I actually really like Park - he's not as confident as he tries to come across and to be honest he is a bit of a nerd, but then so am I. He's also very caring and considerate but still has his typical teenage boy sulky, rude moments.
I thought the two of them worked well together and I love how their relationship built up, small steps at a time. None of this 'insta-love' stuff that is so unrealistic. No, these two actually get to know each other a bit. 

The story has good pace and a very good storyline - a lot of twists that I didn't expect. I read it quickly and wanted to know as much about the characters as possible. I was truly entranced.

However, the ending really let this book down for me. It doesn't really finish and leaves you questioning and is really just a bit up in the air. To me it felt rushed and unsure, like Rowell didn't know how to end it but had to meet a deadline so filled it out best she could. It was just too vague and unknown. I wanted some big epic finish or at least a 'happily ever after' or 'it didn't work out but they tried' etc, but it kind of all starts to happen at once and then the brakes are slammed on and it all ends. I truly wanted more.

But overall I did enjoy the book, and you should decide about the ending for yourself, it is more of a personal preference really, but I really don't like things left that way.

Good for a lazy day read that you can get lost in though.

My Rating

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