Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Park thought it was just another day in high school until a new girl boarded the bus. Red hair, big, weird clothes, all screaming for attention. She was definitely not someone Park would make friends with but there was just something about her that he just cannot shake off.
It’s Eleanor’s first day at the new school. She just hopes to blend in but the minute she stepped on the bus proved otherwise. The kids are already starting to make fun of her – great, how good can this school get when she cannot even get a seat on the school bus. A weird Asian kid shouts at her to just seat, he’s mean, yes but at least he let her take a seat beside him. Awesome, so she can just sit there and ignore him forever.
My sister lent me her book to read for the weekend. She loved Eleanor & Park and thought I might like it as well. I started reading last Thursday and finished it in a jiffy since it’s only around 300 pages long. I was a bit hesitant to read this book because I was expecting a very cliched YA romance story – the boy meets girl, against all odds kind. At first this was going to be the formulaic novel but I have changed my mind.
- The characters were likable. The Eleanor and Park are well developed characters with consistent attitude throughout the story. Although I know the story revolves around the lovebirds, I just wish I heard more of the other characters as well. It felt like they were in a world of their own, that they only existed and nothing else mattered. Not much interaction with other classmates/friends. But at least it’s a good thing the family was consistently present (at least on Park’s side)
- The plot was different. I like the fact that Eleanor has an interesting back story which you don’t see or read everyday. Hers was something darker which you can empathize with. She was like an orphaned heroine for me. Although she has a (crazy) family, I felt that she was facing her battles alone. Park’s back story on the other hand, was a bit bland and ordinary. I can sense the extreme difference of the two but it helped balance out things and give emphasis to the budding relationship/maturity of the two.
- The setting of the story on the other hand was cute because it was based in the 80s. The references to music and pop culture just showed that the author did her research well.
- I like how the love/romance was portrayed throughout the novel. It was sweet, young and wholesome.
- The twist/climax of the story is something to look forward to. I did not expect the last minute turn of events which spurned Eleanor and Park’s relationship unexpectedly.
- The ending really hit me hard. Ugh. Why?!
All in all, the story was good. It was not something I totally expected but something I would recommend to put on your to-read list.