Book Review | Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

11 May 2017

| goodreads |
I like to think that I am the type of reader who can read and love anything. And for the most part that's true. But I don't read a lot of contemporary books. I just have the hardest time finding contemporaries that I actually love. For some reason, though, I found myself actually craving a cute, fluffy, romantic, contemporary book to read.
I stumbled upon Eleanor & Park at my school's library. Since it has been on my TBR shelf for forever, and since I've read and enjoyed Rainbow Rowell's other young adult book, Fangirl, I figured I wouldn't totally hate it (like I typically do with contemporaries).

Guys. This book was all kinds of adorable. The relationship between Eleanor and Park was probably one of my favorite parts of the book. It wasn't the strange, unrealistic case of insta-love that I expected. In fact they can barely stand each other at the beginning. The development of their relationship is nice and gradual. They bond over a shared love for music and superhero comic books, becoming close friends before eventually starting a real romantic relationship. And if you're a helpless romantic (*cough* like me), you can't help but gush as you read it.

I also really enjoyed the setting. The story is set in the 80's, so it is filled with cultural references that give a cool atmosphere to the whole book. It makes you feel like you're reading a book based on an old 80's film, honestly.

I'm always surprised at how Rainbow Rowell is able to also incorporate some pretty heavy topics along with her cutesy romance. There are serious sub-plots that go on in this book, about bullying, working through bad family situations, etc. I don't want to spoil anything, but I will admit that, while this book starts off fairly happy and carefree, the ending was able to make me tear up. It left me with a mild book-hangover when I was done, which hardly ever happens to me with contemporaries.

The only thing that got on my nerves was that Eleanor could get kind of angsty. I tried to be understanding, since she she had a hard life. But there were too many times where her confidence would shatter and she would worry that Park didn't love her anymore because of her weight or whatever, whatever, whatever. It got a bit annoying. Which is probably why Park was my favorite character.
Park was so sweet and understanding and a total nerd. He genuinely cared about Eleanor and didn't want her to get hurt, even if it meant possibly losing her, and I just thought it was adorable.

I forgot how much I love Rainbow Rowell's writing, and now I'm finding myself wanting to reread Fangirl. She is so so good at hooking readers to keep them reading and interested until the very end. Even people like me, who have trouble finding gems in the contemporary genre will become invested.
“Eleanor was right. She never looked nice. She looked like art, and art wasn't supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something.” 
― Rainbow RowellEleanor & Park


  1. This book was so cute! I love Rainbow Rowell's writing. I remember thinking how absolutely adorable it was when they held hands for the first time. :)

    I think I like Fangirl better though, as far as her YA goes. But my favorite of her books is Attachments!

    1. The handholding scene was especially cute, and one of my favorite scenes! :) I definitely want to pick up more of Rainbow Rowell's books.

  2. Great review, Hannah! <3

  3. I really want to read this book now. I miss reading I have little time for it with school but this book seems like the perfect read. Thanks for this helpful and insightful review!

    1. It's very hard to find time to read with school. I know the struggle all to well. But I totally recommend this one whenever you have time :)