Kajol's Reviews > Eleanor and Park

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
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's review
Oct 12, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: netgalley, young-adult, teen, romance, realistic-fiction, favorites

Rating: 4.3 stars!

An advance copy was provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

“Think you're escaping and run into yourself. Longest way round is the shortest way home.”
- James Joyce

Ever since I began planning this review and reflecting on everything that I experienced during the read for the purpose of putting it all into words, this quote kept zinging 'round and 'round in my mind, going wheeeee.. so I just had to mention it because it explains the feel of this book, or how I felt while reading it.

My.. where to start?

I feel as if I've been branded and in the maelstrom of all the feels, the world has faded and I've finally found that another part of me clicking back into its place.

This was a wonderful book and I had to take a few moments to myself, patting down emotions and gathering my wits, before I could calmly sit down and write this review. The story completely fell in with 1986 background and for most parts, I just thought that it was really, really cool.

The best part about this novel was that it(the book) was so comfortable and familiar reciting Eleanor and Park's story.. So completely settled in that soft, revealing place between reality and fantasy, that each new scene, every other dialogue that connected even slightly, felt as if it would reach out and lure you deeper into the couple's whispers and quiet sighs.

Another thing that I fancied was that their conversations felt true. They seemed to fit each other so well, their actions and thoughts so perfectly hesitant and bold all at the same time, it kind of left a reminder of all the feelings and the memories that seemed old and intimate but in reality, when you blink your eyes and notice that it's morning already, you realize that it's just part of the story and nothing like you experienced first-hand. At least, it was like that, for me.

For most parts, I liked Park. Knowing that that's the understatement of a millennium, I'll continue by saying that though I loved him and thought him adorable and totes dreamy, I wasn't blind to his shortcomings. Like that instance when he admitted that he coveted being the first (first love/boyfriend) of the most popular girl in school just so he wasn't labelled a total nobody. But since we are talking about teenagers here and self-preservation is something we all hold on to, and also because I acknowledge the truth in the fact that it's very easy to judge others- almost natural actually- I'll let it pass because it's just one of a zillion facets of human nature.
I was already going "Aww.." and "Darn it, this guy is AMAZING," when (gasp) I found out that he was of half Irish and half Korean descent.

Instant crazy fangirl moment.

For those of you who don't know- which includes most of you, heh- I've been in love with the idea of Ireland(I say idea, because I've never actually been there) for as long as I remember and I totally got a thing for Koreans (the Korean thing started with this TV Show that I watched for a history assignment Dae Jang Geum- man, I've been a little weird like that ever since).
For a teenager with conflicting emotions and a hesitant want of acceptance, he was a person who was his own and who had a really kick-ass taste in music and comic books.
As conclusion, I'll just say three words: I. Love. Him.


Now.. Eleanor.

Eleanor's was a character which we got to see from different angels and aspects- sometimes high, sometimes low, sometimes a little blurred and sometimes so vibrant that it almost felt real. I really really liked her. Having to live in a small house, with a disreputable and abusive step-father and a submissive, doormat mother, sharing a single room with all her siblings and no privacy to even think about, Eleanor had lots of struggles of her own- both, inside and outside of her high-school social circle. Big Red, some kids from school teased her and we were confronted with the reality of how alone a person might feel when faced with such bullies. Eleanor had an unwavering strength in her personality, that little quirk in her aura, that never backed down, and so I came to love her tenacity and backbone. As rough as life had weathered her to be, all the times she spent with Park, all the times that we got to read more about her, we learned that she was, in her own way, awesome. I adored her.

This was a great story that started out amazingly and got even better as it progressed. The only thing that holds me back from giving it a 5-stars rating is that as it moved towards it's ending, the writing lost a little of it's charm, as if slowly running out of battery, the torch dimming slightly. Except that, this novel was beauty in the most simplest form. It never got bad, but it got just a bit unsteady, still managing to somehow holding me glued to it like an iron bolt to a magnet. The ending felt just a teeny-tiny bit abrupt. Very teeny-tiny bit. My feeling might have something to do with the fact that I was so in love, that I never wanted this story to end.

I have to say that I am undoubtedly going to re-read this book. Soon.

It just made me feel so good, you know? This novel definitely belongs in my favorites shelf.

As it so happens, I'll be looking forward to reading more by this author and I recommend this book to all YA realistic romance lovers, looking for a cute, really good read.

Verdict: I am in love with this story and with Eleanor and Park. Especially Park- that boy owns a chunk of my heart and keeps it golden.

This review can also be read on-
The Dark, Delicious and Dreamtastic.
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Quotes Kajol Liked

Rainbow Rowell
“Bono met his wife in high school," Park says.
"So did Jerry Lee Lewis," Eleanor answers.
"I’m not kidding," he says.
"You should be," she says, "we’re sixteen."
"What about Romeo and Juliet?"
"Shallow, confused," then dead.
"I love you, Park says.
"Wherefore art thou," Eleanor answers.
"I’m not kidding," he says.
"You should be.”
Rainbow Rowell, Eleanor & Park

Rainbow Rowell
“I just want to break that song into pieces and love them all to death.”
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 wound the scarf around his fingers until her hand was hanging in the space between them.

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

And Eleanor disintegrated.”
Rainbow Rowell, Eleanor & Park

Rainbow Rowell
“I miss you, Eleanor. I want to be with you all the time. You’re the smartest girl I’ve ever met, and the funniest, and everything you do surprises me. And I wish I could say that those are the reasons I like you, because that would make me sound like a really evolved human being …‘But I think it’s got as much to do with your hair being red and your hands being soft … and the fact that you smell like homemade birthday cake”
Rainbow Rowell, Eleanor & Park

Rainbow Rowell
“Nothing was dirty. With Park.
Nothing could be shameful.
Because Park was the sun, and that was the only way Eleanor could think to explain it.”
Rainbow Rowell, Eleanor & Park

Reading Progress

October 12, 2012 – Shelved
October 16, 2012 – Shelved as: netgalley
October 27, 2012 – Started Reading
October 27, 2012 –
page 39
October 27, 2012 –
page 45
October 27, 2012 –
page 68
20.24% "I really hope this is not too early to say this but.. Daaamn. Park is SO adorable! Loving how the story's progressing!\n Nothing says "cute" like sharing awesome comics with a girl you're not sure you like, but are fascinated against your better judgement and recording a tape- a mix-CD version of the 1986. Makes meh happy!\n description"
October 27, 2012 –
page 81
24.11% ""Jesus. Was it possible to rape somebody's hand?"\n LOL.\n Let me love you, Park. Just. Let. Me.\n description"
October 28, 2012 – Finished Reading
October 29, 2012 – Shelved as: young-adult
October 29, 2012 – Shelved as: teen
October 29, 2012 – Shelved as: romance
October 29, 2012 – Shelved as: realistic-fiction
October 29, 2012 – Shelved as: favorites

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