caren's Reviews > Eleanor & Park

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
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's review
Feb 18, 2013

really liked it
bookshelves: feb-13, galley-arc, book-boyfriend, swooning-for-days, favorites, rec-to-all-the-people-i-know, all-my-feels, netgalley, husband-material, that-ending-though, cliffhangers-suck
Read from February 20 to 21, 2013

This book was everything I've been searching for since Anna and the French Kiss. It gave me that melty, clenchy feeling in my chest, the warm fuzzies in my stomach. I was basically a mess throughout the entire thing. These two characters had my emotions going up and down like someone was beating on them with one of those sledgehammers at a carnival, trying to get them to climb to the top of that lit up pole again and again. And every time I thought they couldn't go any higher, Park would do or say something else that sent me flying up, up, up...

In this book, it's 1986 and Eleanor's life isn't easy. She's one of five children to a mother who's married to a grade-A jerkface, and a father who just doesn't seem to care at all. After being kicked out of her mom's house once, she's back home now, crammed into a tiny bedroom with her four siblings, and stuck using a bathroom that doesn't even have a door. Her family doesn't have a lot of money. She doesn't even have shampoo. But she's tough, because she's learned how to be. She doesn't really have any other choice.

On her first day of school, it's Park who--somewhat grudgingly--shares his seat on the bus with her. Which is just the beginning of what becomes an incredible story of first love. After sitting on the bus together day after day, they bond over comic books and mix tapes and kicks to the face and even makeup. He says things like this to her:

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.”


“You can be Han Solo,” he said, kissing her throat. “And I’ll be Boba Fett. I’ll cross the sky for you.”

GAH. I cannot with him. Can. Not. He's definitely top-five-book-boy material. I don't think I've ever flailed so hard over a simple hand holding scene, but damnit, I did. Again with the sledgehammers.

Sadly, as Park and Eleanor learn the hard way, sometimes not all first loves are meant to be forever loves... or are they? ;)

(view spoiler)
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Quotes caren Liked

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
“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
“Looks like somebody's got jungle fever.'
'That's not even the right kind of racist.”
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

Reading Progress

29.0% "SERIOUS FREAKING SWOONS UP IN HERE. "Don't be mad at me," he said, sighing. "It makes me crazy."" 2 comments
69.0% "And now he's wearing guy liner and I love fine even more."
93.0% "My heart. :("
100.0% "*sobs*"
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Comments (showing 1-28 of 28) (28 new)

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Eleanor (The Book Hammock) Ooooh possibly a book about me? :clicks add:

caren Eleanor wrote: "Ooooh possibly a book about me? :clicks add:"


Obsmama "I’ll cross the sky for you.” that line was THE line for me.

Angela Vanburen is it worth the $10 they want for it for my Nook?

Lisa (Fic Talk) You need to tell me whether they end up together, Caren! Pleeeeeease.

Angela Vanburen How far are you Lisa?

Eleanor (The Book Hammock) Caren, say nothing. LOL

Lisa (Fic Talk) Angela wrote: "How far are you Lisa?"

Haven't started it yet.

Lisa (Fic Talk) Eleanor wrote: "Caren, say nothing. LOL"

I'm calling you a really bad name in my head, E!

Eleanor (The Book Hammock) Eh, I've "been" through worse ;)

caren I'm not telling any secrets!!

Eleanor (The Book Hammock) Caren wrote: "I'm not telling any secrets!!"

Mwahahaha. Crap, I still need to review this book.

Lisa (Fic Talk) Boo. However, I respect that stance, Caren. ;)

Angela Vanburen Who did you guys picture as park and Eleanor?

Eleanor (The Book Hammock) I didn't picture anyone.

Angela Vanburen I think the kid I'm picturing is Justin woo. I think that's his name. And I picture a heavier clary. Haha

Angela Vanburen Maybe not that last name. But I know his grist name is Justin

caren I don't picture an Asian kid. He's half white.

caren Ricky Lee Neely is a good choice. ;)

Angela Vanburen Yum caren! I like him!

Angela Vanburen I think I'm picturing a heavier Emma Stone

caren Aaaack, I don't like Emma Stone. *hides*

Eleanor (The Book Hammock) Lol. I love her, but she's definitely not Eleanor. Not even with extra 50 lbs.
I rarely think of actors to match characters' description. Not wasting reading time on that. lol

Maria Thanks: your review captures exactly my experience of reading this. I just hid in the bathroom so I wouldn't wake my hubby with my crying. Such a great review!

Krissie Jen I don't actually understand the last part of the book where Park received a post card from Eleanor. What happened? What was the 3 words written on the postcard? Did they end up together? I love the book by the way. Eleanor & Park's love story is so genuine and innocent.

caren Krissie Jen wrote: "I don't actually understand the last part of the book where Park received a post card from Eleanor. What happened? What was the 3 words written on the postcard? Did they end up together? I love the..."

Hi Krissie, I'm guessing the three words were 'I love you' and in my head, they're totally together!!! Rainbow did say she wanted to write a sequel someday of E&P when they're 30, so....

Cherrey Mae I think Park can be Forrest Wheeler of New Girl in a year or 2 more. Eleanor can be Marlowe Peyton or Morgan Lily.

Cherrey Mae I think the last 3 words in the postcard must be "Park, just stop." That's the only thing she supposedly wrote but she got rid of it. So she might have had the courage to send it in a postcard. *sob*

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