REVIEW: eleanor & park by Rainbow Rowell


Two misfits.
One extraordinary love.

Eleanor… Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough…Eleanor.

Park… He knows she’ll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There’s a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises…Park.

Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.


This was such an cute and easy read. I felt like I was wearing rose-gold (not rose) coloured glasses the entire time!

As you guys (should) know, my favourite genre is fantasy, not contemporary or romance, so if you are a huge contemporary fan, mentally add a star to my review 😉

Lets break this down:


💙 Eleanor and Park are both outsiders to some extent – this doesn’t follow the YA trope of one lover being super-hot and/or popular

💙 The parents are actually quite involved in the story! Again, in many YA stories parents are either MIA or enemy #1 – this is a bit different…

💙 I love how even though Eleanor is somewhat insecure and nervous she is still sarcastic and blunt, which makes her seem a lot more genuine

💙 Park was quite adorable (but still not better than Levi from Fangirl), but I was a long way from swooning! I felt like I could picture myself as his mother more so than I could his girlfriend 🙈

💙 Although the main characters are in high school, their biggest problem is actually very serious and life-threatening rather than just angsty high school drama – these raised stakes made everything more intense


🌀 It took me a while to get into the book – the first several chapters just seemed so repetitive and bland (now would be a good time to mention that I’m used to reading the fantasy genre)

🌀 The sense of time in the novel wasn’t always clarified…sometimes I couldn’t tell is something happened the next day, the next week, or the next month! The book spans about a year and a half, marked by the mention of holidays, but the timing day-to-day events was sometimes confusing (this wouldn’t be a big deal except it made the romance feel ever so slightly insta-lovey)

🌀 Eleanor’s many siblings sort of just blurred together – they really only functioned as a cluster of siblings rather than as individuals (which is how it seems Rowell intended them to be seen)

cute eyeroll

I don’t know how I feel about the ending (again no spoilers!), but I wish there was an epilogue!

Now, I waited one day after finishing this book to write this review, and I can say with a fair amount of confidence that I’m not going to remember this book a few years from now. I’m already starting to forget the details! But even though it’s not quite memorable to me, I still enjoyed it quite a bit! It made me smile and worry and roll my eyes (in a good way)!

Although I’m only rating this three stars, I feel like if you’re in high school, love Rainbow Rowell’s other novels, and/or like YA romance or YA contemporaries, you’ll love this.
I think I would have liked the novel more if I was younger (i.e. in high school or experiencing my first love) so that I’d be able to relate more to Eleanor and Park. I think another reason why I did’t relate to Eleanor is because Park is just not “my type” (too superficial?). Oh well, I still really enjoyed this book and am really happy to have read it!


3.5/5 Stars



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