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February 2017: Quirky > Eleanor & Park by Rowell (2.5 stars)

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message 1: by Jen (last edited Feb 04, 2017 01:38PM) (new)

Jen | 1545 comments 2.5 stars
This is the story of two teenagers who meet on the bus and fall in love. Interspersed in the love story are "heavier" themes of dysfunctional family relationships, abuse, and bullying. It's shelved 29 times as quirky but I didn't find it particularly quirky. I knew going in that it probably wouldn't be my sort of book but I read it for my face to face book club.

This will probably be an unpopular review but this is the sort of book that I think people refer to when they say that YA isn't really for adults (I do enjoy my fair share of YA literature too so I'm not saying I agree with that original premise about YA but just that the stereotype fits for this book). Had I read this when I was 12-13 I probably would have loved it and seen it as a complex story of teenage relationships and deeper themes of abuse and family dysfunction. The author also tries to examine ethnicity (Park is half Korean). However, reading it as an adult it felt unrealistic, oversimplified, and rather predictable. The examination of ethnicity really came down to the main character mentioning a few times that "white girls" don't find Asian boys attractive every now and then. It was disappointing in its simplicity.

I think as a YA book it will work for its target audience and it is important in its tackling of difficult themes in a way that younger readers will appreciate. For me it was just okay but all pretty surface level. I'm just thankful that there was no love triangle.


message 2: by Susie (new)

Susie | 4488 comments I felt the same Jen, and turfed it after a few chapters.


message 3: by Karin (new)

Karin | 7204 comments I didn't like this book much, either, even when I was reading y/a along with my teens and liked some of it.


message 4: by Elise (new)

Elise (ellinou) | 525 comments Same here, I didn't like it much, especially compared to Fangirl, another YA novel by Rowell I loved.


message 5: by Jen (new)

Jen | 1545 comments I was the only one at my book club who didn't love it.


message 6: by Barbara M (new)

Barbara M (barbara-m) | 2275 comments I loved it.


message 7: by Karin (new)

Karin | 7204 comments Ellie wrote: "Same here, I didn't like it much, especially compared to Fangirl, another YA novel by Rowell I loved."

What is better about Fangirl? I was turned off of her writing but wasn't sure if it would be all of her books or just this one. If the right things are different, I'd read another by her.


message 8: by Raine (last edited Feb 09, 2017 11:13AM) (new)

Raine (rainelu) | 243 comments I loved this book - I read it last month. Although I did listen to it while driving to and from Virginia. The audiobook was very well done.

I can't see why this book was tagged "quirky" unless it is because Eleanor dressed in quirky clothes.


message 9: by Joi (new)

Joi (missjoious) | 3822 comments I liked this one best of the Rowell's I've read so far. Thought it was far superior to Attachments.

I plan on reading Fangirl this month, so we'll see where it stacks up.


message 10: by Elise (new)

Elise (ellinou) | 525 comments Karin wrote: "Ellie wrote: "Same here, I didn't like it much, especially compared to Fangirl, another YA novel by Rowell I loved."

What is better about Fangirl? I was turned off of her writing but wasn't sure i..."


I just felt it was much more relatable and less corny, so it might be just a personal opinion.


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