By: Rainbow Rowell
Reported by: Julianna Helms
"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 sixteen."
"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, ELEANOR AND PARK 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.
-Summary from Goodreads
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"Eleanor...""Stop. Don't say my name like that. It only makes it worse.""Makes what worse?""Everything," she said.He was quiet.She sat up and wiped her nose on her sleeve."Do you have a nickname?" he asked. That was one of his tricks, whenever she was put off or irritated--changing the subject in the sweetest way possible.-pg. 107
I don't like this book.
I think I live for this book. (Read the book. You'll get it. What I just did. But also, why I did what I just did.)
You know, there are plenty of faults with Eleanor & Park. In the beginning there was a lot of switching back-and-forth between current events and reflections of past circumstances, but it was all written in a way that I couldn't tell where one began and where the other ended. It was a bit confusing, and once I got the POVs (Point of View) switched up because Eleanor and Park, in spite and perhaps because the book was written in third-person, sounded so similar. Not their personalities, of course. Just the narration.
But that only happened once, and honestly, I don't freaking care.
You know, it's weird. I used to think that the St. Martin's editors and I had really drastically different tastes, because all of the past books I've read with St. Martin didn't exactly top my favorites list. But you know what, that was stupid of me to judge an entire imprint by twenty or so books. And what better way to prove myself so so stupidly wrong than with Eleanor & Park?
I had insanely high expectations for this book. As in I couldn't touch a book for three weeks while waiting for E&R to arrive on my doorstep because I wanted it in my heart so badly, I'd already carved out a little nook for the characters, and I didn't want other protagonists stamping their ways into my heart, into that little home for Eleanor and Park, before they could. I'd heard raving reviews from friend after friend, so I knew this had to be at least as good as Anna and the French Kiss (my review of AatFK here), because otherwise those weeks of coveting these two characters I hadn't even met would've been another shameless stupidity of mine.
But god is this book beautiful. Like I love it so much I want to soak it up and eat it and drink it and roll myself in it. I know, I sound like a pig. But there's this... magnetism about Eleanor & Park, a story so real and alive that there is no way I could possibly refuse their love or their sincerity.
This novel isn't just a flourishing, exotic punk love story, though. The book would've been that much duller without Eleanor's rad stubborness, or her family's fight and collapse, or Park's defiance, or his family's acceptance, or the comics, or the music, the music. There's something kicking and punching in the heart of every character, and if you listen close enough, you'd hear the heartbeats of Park's dad, or of Ben, of Maisie, even Tina and Steve, the bullies. There is so much to be discovered between the pages of Rainbow Rowell's masterpiece that it would take years for a cartographer to chronicle Eleanor and Park's love and their beautiful, terrible--absolutely irresistible explosion.
You have to let yourself go with this book. You have to let it get to you in places you don't even dare peek within yourself. That's the only way to feel the softness of Eleanor's hands, the wild green eyes of Park, the chemistry that lights something on fire even if they simply looked at the other. The strings that thrum beneath the book's skull and the sappy love songs that pound at nodes of perfection, here and there.
I am so, so glad and privileged to have read this book. So, so glad.