Review: Eleanor & Park

Eleanor and Park Book Cover

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell, published April 2012 by Orion. 

Read: January 2016
Young Adult/Contemporary
Source: Book Swap
#Pages: 336
Get It Now: Wordery

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Goodreads Synopsis: Eleanor first meets Park, she thinks he’s obnoxious. When Park first meets Eleanor, he thinks she’s weird. It is hate at first sight. But as they suffer each other’s company in silence on the bus rides from and to home every day, Eleanor and Park realise that first impressions can be deceiving.

The Review

There was a time when Rainbow Rowell was pretty much all the Bookish community could talk about. If her latest YA wasn’t getting all of the attention, then her books written for an adult audience were the latest “must read”. I decided to take the plunge and get stuck in, picking up both this and another of her well-loved novels, Fangirl.

Perhaps it was the ridiculous amount of hype surrounding this book, or the author in general, that resulted in me expecting a serious masterpiece, and which ultimately left me feeling a little… unsatisfied. The novel was reasonably well-written, with diverse characters, and it had some serious tug-on-the-heart-strings moments. But the ending was infuriating, the plot wasn’t without its problems, and overall it didn’t blow me away like I was willing it to.

Even as I’m writing this review, I’m checking out what my fellow blogging friends felt about this read, and SO many are raving about it. So, I’m over here in my corner of the Internet thinking “did we read the same book?”, “Is there something wrong with me?!”. While the book does have a slow-burning cute romance, and a hefty amount of more serious family issues, I really struggled with the fact that for me, the majority of the romance was so unbelievable. Maybe this is how people hooked up in the 80s? But I really don’t think so. The inner monologues at times were also really weird!

“Holding Eleanor’s hand was like holding a butterfly. Or a heartbeat. Like holding something complete, and completely alive.” 

Look, I’m a proper die-hard romantic, but some of the dialogue in here made me physically cringe.

Soon after finishing this read, I moved on to Fangirl. I was expecting to like it even less, but somehow I enjoyed it a lot more that E&P. Sorry, Rowell fans, perhaps I’ll find her adult fiction more addictive.

The Rating


Have you read Eleanor & Park? Am I the only person alive who doesn’t love this book? Would you recommend any of her other books? Let me know in the comments!

About Rachel

Avid reader & #bookblogger. Lover of all things business. A fan of drinks & dancing. Ever optimistic. Feminist.

8 Responses

  1. I kind of agree with you, because there was a whole ton of hype surrounding this book, and it did leave me a little unsatisfied as well. I really want to read FANGIRL though because I’ve heard so much about it. Great review!


  2. Eleanor and Park was never my favourite Rainbow Rowell book although I do want to reread and see if that changes the second time around. Fangirl and Carry On will forever be my favourite of her YA books because they belong together so I can’t appreciate and enjoy the one book without the other.

    I think part of it when it came to Eleanor and Park is that I didn’t get the 80s nostalgia which obviously happened for many reading as I wasn’t alive then! I connected more with Fangirl because I read fanfic and could relate to Cath which I couldn’t do with this one. Basically, you’re not alone about not raving over this one. I liked it and enjoyed it but I wasn’t on the hype train.

    As for Rowell’s adult books, I know not everyone loved Attachments but Landline, I loved that book. I don’t know why more people haven’t raved about it because I just loved it so much, even though it took a year for me to get around to reading.


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