Book Review: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

I previously read ‘Fangirl’ by Rainbow Rowell and enjoyed it so much I asked for another one of her books for Christmas. Eleanor & Park did not disappoint, although darker than Fangirl the story was lovely and very engaging. I completely agree with John Green’s quote on the front of the book:

‘Reminded me not just what it’s like to be young and in love with a  girl, but also what it’s like to be young and in love with a book’ John Green

Rowell described the love between Eleanor & Park in such a powerful, emotional way I felt as if I was a part of their love. She describes the way they felt in their first loves and reminded you of teenage feelings you forget about.

I loved the ending, although from the discussion at the back it seems some people have been frustrated with then ending. Without giving anything away, I liked how realistic the ending was. Rowell didn’t lie or make the story flowery just for the typical happy ending but instead left it open for the reader to decide what happens throughout the rest of their lives. Rowell believes characters live on after a book is finished, which is a very romantic but lovely was to view a book. I have never thought about how the characters will continue to live on afterwards but this book has made me do just that. In my head the characters have had a happy ending.

‘I don’t believe that 17-year-olds get happy endings. They get beginnings’ Rainbow Rowell

The characters Eleanor and Park have very different lives but are similar in their dependence on each other. Eleanor can be quite annoying and needy at times but it is evident why this is so from her troubled family life, which inevitably blows up at the end. Park is just a very caring guy who changes throughout the book to become whoever he wants to be and I love that he begins to become his true self towards the end.

The only problem I would have with this book is that nothing really happened until the end. I understand Rowell wanted to keep the ending open, which I do love, but I felt like there were too many loose ends regarding other characters. For example the story built up with the character Tina but then nothing really came of it. Did she fancy Park? If so, why was he with Steve? Did she hate Eleanor? We also have no idea what happened to Eleanor’s family after she left. Was her mom and siblings safe? What happened to them?

I like how open this book is and the fact that you can end it however you would like. This is definitely not a book for young readers or those who are suffering with mental health problems due to the underlying message of abuse. But you should read it if you are able!

My Rating: 7/10

Favourite Character: Park


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