Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Review: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

”There’s no reason to think that we’re going to stop loving each other. And there’s every reason to think we won’t.”

It’s 1986. Eleanor is the new girl in school, and she’s not exactly blessed with the most fortunate appearance. She’s overweight, has unruly red hair, and wears clothes from thrift store. Park is the only one in the bus who lets Eleanor sit with him, although grudgingly. They didn’t warm up instantly either. It takes piles of comic books and shared Walkman to get them to start talking. Countless legendary songs and what feels like million afternoon-after-school in Park’s house to get Eleanor to open up.

But Eleanor holds many secrets, and none of them are pretty. She is bullied because of her looks, and to top it off, her terrifying stepfather is watching her every step. Park knows that he can’t always be Eleanor’s hero, and it drives him frustrated sometimes. Eleanor is acutely aware that their time has limit, because nothing good can stay forever. Nothing can stay, especially nothing as good as Park.

Eleanor didn’t have anywhere to hide her secrets. In a box, on her bed. At Park’s house, a block away.

She was running out of time with him.

When I saw the cover and read the blurb, I knew that I’m bound to love this book. I love flawed characters. I love slow-pacing romance, and I love little things that characters do when they fall in love. For those reasons, I love Eleanor and Park to bits and pieces. Park is so sweet towards Eleanor, and I found myself smiling when they start to warm up toward each other. It was impossible not to root for their happy ending, because they feel so real and you just want them to have the happy ending they really deserve.

I like Eleanor’s character, she is very strong even in her darkest days. Yet, sometimes I found her insecurity is a tad bit frustrating. Eleanor guards her heart with all her might, and I really wished that someday she could see that that Park loves her because she deserves to be loved.

Park is a half-Korean, and having a protagonist who comes from minority is one thing I’m very pleased about. I’m glad that his heritage doesn’t overpower the story either. Park is a very nice and considerate guy, and he is in every aspect a perfect boyfriend. I really like the way Eleanor depicts Park. She describes Park so vividly, so much that I can imagine Park when I close my eyes. Green eyes, black hair. Skin the color of sunshine through honey. Park seems almost delicate, but his taekwondo lessons build him into a warrior. It’s very adorable that each of them find things they appreciate in each other, although both are unable to see those special things in themselves.

I’m not a big fan of the ending, however. I love it when pieces of the story are put perfectly to make a complete puzzle, and I felt like I missed one big, important puzzle when I finished this book. I heard that the author is thinking to make a sequel, and I really hope that it’s true. Because we need more of Eleanor’s snarky replies. More of Park’s subtle understanding. More of Eleanor and Park together, creating a world where only two of them exist.

With the music, the gorgeous writing, and the intricate romance, Eleanor and Park wholly deserves a place in your bookshelf.

When Eleanor got on the bus that afternoon, the Asian kid opened up Watchmen right where they’d left off. They were still reading it when they got to Eleanor’s stop – there was so much going on, they both stared at every frame for, like, entire minutes – and when she got up to leave, he handed it to her.

Eleanor was so surprised, she tried to hand it back, but he’d already turned away. She shoved the comic between her books like it was something secret, then got off the bus.

She read it three more times that night, lying on the top bunk, petting the scrubby old cat. Then she put it in her grapefruit box overnight, so that nothing would happen to it.

I rate this book:
Four cups of tea. Amazing! Love the book, it’s simply awesome. I love the tea flavor!  A strong recommendation.

PS: If my reviews isn't convincing enough for you to give this book a go, try reading John Green's review of Eleanor & Park here. :) 


  1. AH! This book sounds incredible and I cannot believe that I haven't gotten a copy yet! Great review. (:

  2. Great review, Hilda! Although I do think that this book sounds really lovely to read I'm a little worried about the ending. Haha! You know I'm a sucker for HEA! But I do hope too that there would be a second book! I feel like I would like to have something more of this two characters if I ever pick this up. :)

  3. Okay, I have been seeing glowing reviews of this book literally EVERYWHERE and you have no idea how much it's killing me that the copy I ordered isn't here yet! And your beautiful review is certainly not making the wait any easier! >__<

    I'm really hoping that all this hype isn't giving me unrealistic expectations of the book.

  4. Ohh, I just bought a copy of this days ago and it seems that I was right to do so! It sounds absolutely beautiful, Hilda! I can't wait to read it. I'm sorry the ending didn't quite work for you, but maybe it'll make the sequel that much better, if there's a sequel, and I'll keep my fingers crossed.
    Wonderful review, hon.

  5. This looks and sounds sooo good! Like you, I adore that front cover, and would love to display it proudly on my bookshelf. That blurb really managed to draw me in too. :D

    I haven't even read the book but I already feel very sorry for Eleanor. Although I see what you mean about it getting frustrating when she won't let Park into her heart. I recently read a book where the main character had a terrible past, but wouldn't let the guy who loved her talk about it with her and ended up pushing him away. I wanted to scream "He's in love with you, for goodness sake! Let him in!"

    Anyway, this is definitely something that's going straight on to my TBR. Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful review with us, Hilda. Reading your posts always makes my day. <3

  6. I've heard really good things about this book and I really want to read it myself. I'm glad you enjoyed it and I'll definitely add it to my wishlist now. The romance between Eleanor and Park also sounds very realistic and I like stories that capture something special like that. Thanks for sharing! :)

  7. Wonderful review Hilda!! I love how unique and simple the cover is. Sounds like a great romance that I can't wait to read for myself. You have me a little scared about the ending... I want Eleanor & Park to have a happily ever after! I hope the author does write a second book so everyone can get a more satisfying ending =)

  8. Oh I hope you get the sequel you're after! I find it hard to let go when the ending of a book isn't quite as satisfying as I would have liked. I'm the meantime, I'll definitely have to pick this up. The reviews so far have been brilliant and I am almost certain Eleanor, Park and I will get along just fine. I love that the characters sound a little different to the norm, too. Beautiful review as always, Hilda! :)

  9. I've had this for a while now and am still yet to read it, but this is another fantastic review of it so I should get a move on!

  10. D'awww this one sounds like such an adorableful story. >____< Even if it's adorable it also sounds like it has lots of depth and the characters are flawed! I love flawed characters! Why can't YA have more of them, I do have to wonder. XD And the fact that Eleanor has ruff times makes me want to hug her. And Park is half-korean, though I don't mind the nationality of people, but it's very fresh to use a different nationality visual in mind. ^^

    Gorgeous review, Hilda! I shall be looking out for this beauty. ;D

  11. I've heard such great things about this one, and your review makes me want this book even more, Hilda!! I love how adorable the romance sounds. <3 I feel like I would be able to at least connect with Eleanor a little, because sometimes I go through those dark days as well. Even if you were a little frustrated with her, I think I'd like her with all her flaws. =) Park also sounds so awesome!! I mean, come on, a half-Korean! Woot for minorities being represented. :D I'm excited to see how his heritage affects his life, although I am really glad it does take over the book. Although you didn't really like the ending, you have convinced me to pick this one up, Hilda! <3

    Lovely review as always, dear. It's so great to see you back!! I think I'll be ordering this one tomorrow when I have to get some school books. ;)

    -Aneeqah @ My Not So Real Life

  12. THIS BOOK SOUNDS SO GOOD. All of Rainbow's books do, actually. Everyone is gushing over this one, even John Green! I definitely have to pick up a copy of my own. I love that Eleanor is so different from other protagonists. She's not that small, skinny girl that boys feel the need to defend. And I love Park because he's half-Korean. And I'm Korean. This book is obviously meant for me! I'm glad you enjoyed this one, Hilda! With its lovely characters and slow-building romance (YAY!), I'm sure I will, too. But I'll keep my eye out for the ending! :)

  13. I SO want to read this. It's been on my wish list for a long time. I love books that reference music and geeky things (and I've actually read Watchmen, so yay for that haha). I heard recently that John Green loved it and it just made me even more excited. I'm so glad you enjoyed it. That would be cool to have a sequel. :)


  14. Okay, I am definitely going to read this book. I seen reviews of it all over the place and I love the idea of it. Eleanor sounds like the kind of girl I would relate to and Park just seems so swoon worthy. I'm a bit worried they're not going to have much of a happily ever after but I guess I'm just going to have to read it to find out!

  15. This book is EVERYWHERE! AHHHH I want to read it so badly. First it was just for the amazing cover and then the summary and then the few reviews and now ALL THE REVIEWS (especially John Green because *fans self*). So basically, I'm a little interested in this one :) So glad you loved it, Hilda! <3


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