Being reviewed today is "Eleanor & Park" by Rainbow Rowell.
This is the blurb!
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."
I cannot wait to review this :D I'm shaking with excitement.
"Never mind I'll fiiiinddd soooomeone like yooouu"
But finally, I ordered it on The Book Depository. I bought the beautiful hardcover, excitedly sat on the doorstep, and waited for it to arrive alongside my 3 other books I ordered (The 100 by Kass Morgan, Attachments by Rainbow Rowell, and Restoring Harmony by Joelle Anthony).
I have only heard good things about this book, and after hearing Sav's thoughts on it, I knew I just had to read it. I was so torn between what cover I should get. I'm a huge cover snob, and I need to buy the right cover when I initially buy the book. I found that this cover was so simple, and looked so symbolic of their blooming relationship through mix tapes. And it was also the Hardcover version, so instantly I went for this cover. It's amazing and I really love it. It's truly one of the better covers I've seen around for awhile.
It's 1986. Eleanor is the new girl and she is not only genetically made to look like a victim but she does herself no favours by pairing her looks with a bizarre fashion sense. Having nowhere to sit on the school bus, she takes a seat next to the clearly reluctant Park. Park is half-Korean in an extremely white school, but he is given enough respect by the popular kids to help him get by.
A lot of the story is about the impact that our families and friends have in our life. Eleanor's family dynamics is that her biological father left her family, she has heaps of siblings (Which I actually wasn't able to keep track of, and thought in the end she had like 6-10 siblings when in reality she probably only had about...maybe, 3 sisters and 1 brother. Her step father, Richie, is an abusive alcoholic and is such a buttface that one day when he had a fit, he sent Eleanor to go and live with another family. Yeah, he is a butt. A giant butt.
Park Sheridan has a pretty good, ideal, family life. All but fact that his father is pushing him to stop being such a girl.
I liked that in this book it doesn't have this huge, dramatic, and angsty plot. It was a very real and "coming of age" sort of Young Adult book. There were no love triangles that needlessly went on for chapters, there was no dramatic life-or-death situation where the other had to sacrifice themselves for the ones they loved, it was simply a book about two teenagers and their first loves, friends, and families. There are so many supernatural, triangle-love, angsty-we-can-never-be-together-cos-that-requires-compromise, type of books out for teenagers and young adults that, I personally believe, are really detrimental to the beliefs of those who do read them. While it's fun reading about them (Come on, who did not choose between Peeta and Gale in the Hunger Games? Who didn't hear about the wars begun in the Twilight Fandom about the choice between Edward and Jacob? There were shirts about whose team you were on, for mint chocolate chip goodness sake!), it's teaching girls and boys that to have the ideal romance, it has to be this overly dramatic and angsty filled relationship, and that's not healthy. Thinking, "I won't be able to breathe without you beside me" is just dependent, needy, and actually pretty creepy if you think about it. But in saying that, this book is about FIRST LOVES. That infatuation crazed first relationship you have. You feel like you're going to die without that person next to you, and you believe that you're going to marry that person. I feel that Eleanor & Park really demonstrated that sweet innocence that comes from that, but also while dealing with some pretty heavy topics such as bullying, self image, abusive family members (physically and mentally).
Eleanor and Park took it slowly, always testing the boundaries with one another. At most, they made out. Which made their cute romance into something that would have dragged the whole book down for me if they did. It was a major reason why I didn't like The Mortal Instruments series (that's a whole another review for another time). But in the end...
As everything was unraveling and coming to an end, I found myself almost shriek-reading, and flinging the pages as it was coming closer and closer to a conclusion. I'll be honest, as the ending was revealing itself more and more, I wanted to throw myself off the bed and just cry from sheer frustration and "NOO WHAT ARE YOU DOING STOP THAT OH MY STAAAAAHP STAHP!". I know a lot of people are in differing opinions about how the ending happens, and I guess that's what I really like. It's up to each person's interpretation of it is. But I still was all dramatic and throwing myself around and even texting Sav what happened and why am I head-butting everything in my general proximity and saying -
I'm rating it an 8/10, and I laughed so many times during the book, which is a real rarity for me. Sometimes I feel like book humour tries to hard to be funny, but it was perfection in this book. I did shed maybe one or two manly tears at certain points, which just tells you how great of a book this is, and how much I want you to read it and enjoy the emotional turmoil like I am :)
Now for my favourite quote of the book! :)