Book Review: Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

Title: Eleanor and Park
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Genre: realistic fiction, romance, contemporary
Publisher: St. Martins Griffin (imprint of Macmillan)
Publication Date:  February 2013 (first published April 2012)
Pages: 320 pages
Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
“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.

My Review:

Park instantly thinks of Eleanor as odd. Eleanor considers Park to be rude. And yet somehow over the course they go from being uncomfortable strangers sharing a seat on the school bus to being the centre of the other’s universe.

For me, books set in the not-so-distant past are often hit or miss. Eleanor and Park is a hit. Rainbow Rowell has a way of mentioning past events, pop-culture references and the way life was in the eighties that instantly felt authentic. Park with his comic books and cassette playing walkman is a kid who doesn’t fit in because he’s half-Korean but no one can touch because he’s schooled in martial arts. With her eccentric outfits and crazy hair, Eleanor is misunderstood.

This book deals with some tough issues – Eleanor’s home life is troubled – and I liked how Rainbow dealt with those. I loved the contrast between Eleanor and Park in nearly every aspect of their lives. The progression of their relationship was beautiful and different. It’s a gradual progression where I felt like both parties were perfect for the other. The supporting characters are strong but didn’t leave a lasting impact however they did a good job of carrying the plot along.

I think that Eleanor and Park will appeal to fans of quirky romances with tough issues. The setting adds to the plot and the music references just add to the enjoyment of the book.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book Depository 

Also by Rainbow Rowell




  1. I’m looking forward to reading this one. I read Attachments and liked it (largely because I’m fascinated by the workplace privacy issues, but also because I thought the characters are appealing; I wrote about it on my blog on Jan. 11, 2013).

  2. I just finished Eleanor and Park and totally agree with you that this one is a hit. I love the way your review really cuts to the chase and spells out the reasons to read this book.

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