Jaime Arkin's Reviews > Eleanor & Park

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
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's review
Sep 28, 2014

really liked it
bookshelves: ya, contemporary, favorites, not-for-bff, read-in-2013, recommend-forever, swoony-boys, on-my-real-shelves
Read on February 21, 2013

4.5 stars I'm sitting here staring at this little box wondering what I'm going to say that will do this book justice. I type a sentence and then delete it and then type again and delete again. So please, bear with me as I attempt to gather my thoughts into something that looks like a review instead of me flailing about.

If you were watching my updates last night, you know that I was commenting on my progress left and right. I feel like every once in a while you read a book at exactly the right time and it's just everything you were looking for... and this book was that for me last night.

I couldn't put it down.

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It all starts with a muttered "Jesus fuck sit down"

Eleanor is the new girl - she's been away from home for the last year but she's back living with her mom, her siblings and Richie... the husband. Her life is a mess and the farthest thing from perfect.

Park is a middle of the pack kind of kid. He's not the coolest but he's also not the kid that gets picked on. Like he says at one point. If it weren't for kids like Eleanor, he would be in her place.

When Eleanor sits down next to him, he never imagined the awkward silence and weirdness between them would grow into what it does. It starts with comic books of all things and goes from there.

With mentions of swatches, U2, The Smiths, and Short Circuit, Rowell takes you back to 1986 where kids weren't attached to their cell phones and big hair was all the rage. Rowell does an incredible job of keeping true to the time frame.

And never ever did I think that holding hands could be so amazing but the way that Rainbow Rowell writes it in this book makes me want to go around grabbing the hands of all the single guys in the universe to find my match and see if I can feel what these two did.

Then he slid the silk and his fingers into her open palm.

And Eleanor disintegrated.

The characters were amazingly well done - they aren't the perfect people you're used to reading about though so don't expect it. Eleanor is chubby and has frizzy red hair and never wears appropriate clothing and Park is short and a teenage boy who sometimes says stupid teenage boy things... but when he says the right thing... *sigh*

"No, I love your name. I don't want to cheat myself out of a single syllable."


"I want everyone to meet you. You're my favorite person of all time."


He set his forehead against hers. She didn’t know what to do with her eyes or her hands.

“Nothing before you counts,” he said. “And I can’t even imagine an after.”

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While all that is swoony and lovely, ultimately this is the story of falling in love for the first time and the outside forces that can have an impact. While reading I swear I ran the gamut of emotions. Rowell had me laughing out loud on one page and feeling the butterflies in my belly the next and then wiping tears on the page after that.

The build of the relationship between these two was just so wonderfully done. It absolutely wasn't insta-love and while there was this slow build, I never once felt the story drag or slow down.

Then the end happened...

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THE END ... my heart ... (view spoiler)

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There is a bit of an open end to Eleanor and Park's story, which allows you to use your imagination a bit and imagine where they might be down the road. I want to peek inside the author's mind and see where she thinks they might be. Sometimes it's nice to just be told... LOL

This was my first foray into the words of Rainbow Rowell and I can say absolutely that it will not be the last. If you're looking for a book that will have you turning pages well into the night because you're so caught up in the story, this would be a perfect pick. While it's not an action packed story, it's a wonderfully told story of first loves and life and it will have you thinking back to your first kiss, the first hand you held, the first flutters of that unknown something deep in the pit of your stomach.

Make sure you read this one when it arrives next week!

This review can be found on my blog, Fic Fare:
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Quotes Jaime Liked

Rainbow Rowell
“I just want to break that song into pieces and love them all to death.”
Rainbow Rowell, Eleanor & Park

Rainbow Rowell
“I want everyone to meet you. You're my favorite person of all time.”
Rainbow Rowell, Eleanor & Park

Rainbow Rowell
“I love you," he said.

She looked up at him, her eyes shiny and black, then looked away. "I know," she said.

He pulled one of his arms out from under her and traced her outline against the couch. He could spend all day like this, running his hand down her ribs, into her waist, out to her hips and back again.... If he had all day, he would. If she weren't made of so many other miracles.

"You know?" he repeated. She smiled, so he kissed her. "You're not the Han Solo in this relationship, you know."

"I'm totally the Han Solo," she whispered. It was good to hear her. It was good to remember it was Eleanor under all this new flesh.

"Well, I'm not the Princess Leia," he said.

"Don't get so hung up on gender roles," Eleanor said.”
Rainbow Rowell, Eleanor & Park

Rainbow Rowell
“You can be Han Solo," he said, kissing her throat. "And I'll be Boba Fett. I'll cross the sky for you.”
Rainbow Rowell, Eleanor & Park

Rainbow Rowell
“I don't like you, Park," she said, sounding for a second like she actually meant it. "I..." - her voice nearly disappeared - "think I live for you."
He closed his eyes and pressed his head back into his pillow.
"I don't think I even breathe when we're not together," she whispered. "Which means, when I see you on Monday morning, it's been like sixty hours since I've taken a breath. That's probably why I'm so crabby, and why I snap at you. All I do when we're apart is think about you, and all I do when we're together is panic. Because every second feels so important. And because I'm so out of control, I can't help myself. I'm not even mine anymore, I'm yours, and what if you decide that you don't want me? How could you want me like I want you?"
He was quiet. He wanted everything she'd just said to be the last thing he heard. He wanted to fall asleep with 'I want you' in his ears.”
Rainbow Rowell, Eleanor & Park

Rainbow Rowell
“What do you want to show me?"

"Nothing, really. I just want to be alone with you for a minute."

He pulled her to the back of the driveway, where they were almost completely hidden by a line of trees and the RV and the garage.

"Seriously?" she said. "That was so lame."

"I know," he said, turning to her. "Next time, I'll just say, 'Eleanor, follow me down this dark alley, I want to kiss you.'"

She didn't roll her eyes. She took a breath, then closed her mouth. He was learning how to catch her off guard.

She pushed her hands deeper in her pockets, so he put his hands on her elbows. "Next time," he said, "I'll just say, 'Eleanor, duck behind these bushes with me, I'm going to lose my mind if I don't kiss you.'"

She didn't move, so he thought it was probably okay to touch her face. Her skin was as soft as it looked, white and smooth as freckled porcelain.

"I'll just say, 'Eleanor, follow me down this rabbit hole...'"

He laid his thumb on her lips to see if she'd pull away. She didn't. He leaned closer. He wanted to close his eyes, but he didn't trust her not to leave him standing there.”
Rainbow Rowell, Eleanor & Park

Rainbow Rowell
“Nothing before you counts," he said. "And I can't even imagine an after."

She shook her head. "Don't."


"Don't talk about after."

"I just meant that... I want to be the last person who ever kisses you, too.... That sounds bad, like a death threat or something. What I'm trying to say is, you're it. This is it for me.”
Rainbow Rowell, Eleanor & Park

Rainbow Rowell
“Eleanor was right. She never looked nice. She looked like art, and art wasn't supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something.”
Rainbow Rowell, Eleanor & Park

Rainbow Rowell
“Holding Eleanor's hand was like holding a butterfly. Or a heartbeat. Like holding something complete, and completely alive.”
Rainbow Rowell, Eleanor & Park

Rainbow Rowell
“He made her feel like more than the sum of her parts.”
Rainbow Rowell, Eleanor & Park

Reading Progress

02/21 page 36
10.0% "She was the only kid in school with a swatch. Lmao"
02/21 page 46
13.0% "If she didn't give it back they were even. That would cancel out the whole Jesus fuck sitdown scenario. Oh Park. Lmao"
02/21 page 68
20.0% "Omg I totally cackled... " I'm going to tell mrs Burt that my mom doesn't want me to do anything that might rupture my hymen," Eleanor said. "For religious reasons.""
02/21 page 73
21.0% "*cries* kick that a$$hole in the nuts"
02/21 page 77
22.0% "Then he slid the silk and his fingers into her open palm . And Eleanor disintegrated. *sigh*"
02/21 page 114
33.0% ""No, I love your name. I don't want to cheat myself out of a single syllable." SAWOOOOOOON"
02/21 page 117
34.0% "He wanted to fall asleep with I want you in his ears. More sawoooooon *sigh*"
02/21 page 120
35.0% ""I want everyone to meet you. You're my favorite person of all time.""
02/21 page 163
48.0% "As soon as he said it, she broke into a smile. And when Eleanor smiled, something broke inside him . Something always did."
02/21 page 196
58.0% "Omg his mom is giving me tears"
02/21 page 215
63.0% "I totally want to eat his face toooooooo" 2 comments
05/02 marked as: read
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Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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Risbee I NEEEEEEEED to read this book

caren She said on Twitter last night that she wants to write a sequel some day of P&E at 30 years old. I squealed and Christina did a dance in her living room, hahahaha.

Jaime Arkin Caren wrote: "She said on Twitter last night that she wants to write a sequel some day of P&E at 30 years old. I squealed and Christina did a dance in her living room, hahahaha."

biggest smile on my face EVER!!!

Obsmama I so hope this HAPPENS.

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