REVIEW: Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

Monday, July 14, 2014

My rating:

"You saved me life, she tried to tell him. Not forever, not for good. Probably just temporarily. But you saved my life, and now I'm yours. the me that's me right now is yours. Always."

I was not sure what to think of it. I'm still not sure why this book has so much hype to it, when I don't really see anything too special about it. It was just like any other YA contemporary book I've read, only this time involving two teens (one was white, while the other one was half-white/half-korean) who both have problems (one has a bigger one than the other), and found comfort with each other.

I'm sorry, don't hate me. I know there are a lot of people who really enjoyed and liked this book, and I feel happy for them, but for me personally, there was something missing. It's like a big chunk of this book is gone. It felt like the part that would have made sense of it all, was intentionally removed from the story. Sometimes I wonder if I missed something when I was reading this, or my copy was somehow a misbound, which caused me to not read the good bits. But no, it's just really me not connecting with Eleanor, Park and their romance.


The story starts when Eleanor got bullied on the bus, on her first day at school. On Park's mind, Eleanor was asking to be bullied, just because on how she wa dressed. Since there was nowhere else to sit, Eleanor sat beside Park, who was actively ignoring her, trying so hard not to have anything to do with her. He was saving himself not to be bullied by association.

Over the weeks, they notice each other, especially Park. He noticed that Eleanor reads with him, when he reads his comics. He lets her, bring her a new one every day, until he brings her more thanone that she could take home. That was how their friendship started, and I guess that was the start of how they fell in love.



I like Eleanor's character, mainly because she wasn't the typical character authors use nowadays. She wasn't shy, beautiful, smart and sexy. She was exactly the opposite, okay not entirely opposite. She wasn't ugly, but she wasn't pretty either. She was also on the heavier side. She was shy though, but then who wouldn't be on their first day right?

I feel bad for the stuff Eleanor had to go through. I don't judge her for being depressed, and wanting to be alone. It was easier for her that way, than to explain to anybody what's going on at home.

She has a shitty mom. I fucking hate her mom to bits.She protects that stupid bastard husband of hers, but never once really cared about the well-being of her kids. Maybe that's an exaggeration but who cares??? I don't. Who the hell, let's their kid out in the cold night, just to avoid conflict with her good-for-nothing douchebag of a husband? I'm a single parent, and I would have preferred my kid to not have a father at all, than to have one who treats them like garbage. And mind you, that's exactly what I did. She has 5 kids. Was it 5? Yeah fuck it, I don't care, point is that, she has kids to think of. She says "he puts food on the table", WHO CARES? Can't she work for her kids? All the time I was reading about her mom, I was in hysterial mode, okay most of the time, not all the time. So yeah, I hate her, but I do like Eleanor.


Okay. I'm not sure what to make of Park. I think he's nice, but I think he has Dissociative Identity Disorder. I think the Park that Eleanor got to love, was the other personality of Park. LOL. Of course, I'm just kidding, but then again, who would be extremely rude to someone one day, and just be extremely nice to the same person a couple of days later, and then falls in love soon after. That is just unrealistic and insane. Young love? Give me a break.

Park had it good at school. He was half-american and half-korean, which means people don't really make fun of him, in fact, he was quite popular with the girls. His family life was good, as far as I could remember.

Like Eleanor, one of the reasons why I liked Park was because he wasn't the usual MC. He wasn't the generic hero in majority of the YA books. He was cute (not hot) and nerdy (not sexy), which I think is one of the good points I got from this book.

Of the two, I kind of like Park's voice better than Eleanor, but sometimes, he was just over-the-top cheesy it was nauseating.


Two misfits.

One extraordinary love.

This is what this book claims to be, but I didn't see it, hence, what caused my disappointment. I love romance. I love the struggles that couples have to be with to be together. I don't like couples getting their happy ending easily. I would have loved to see that between Eleanor and Park, but it just wasn't there for me. I felt strongly cheated after reading this book. The similar feeling you get when someone tells you they love you, when they actually don't.

Was this book supposed to be a YA romance novel or just a contemporary one that deals with teen problems? Because if this was a romance book, then it's definitely lacking in that department. I couldn't see the connection between Park and Eleanor at all. They're better off as friends, I think. I just don't get how you could go from hating disliking one person to liking them the next? I mean what was up with that? You like them now because they let you read their comics while on the bus, even when you aren't talking?

"Holding Eleanor's hand was like holding a butterfly. Or a heartbeat. Like holding something complete, and completely alive."

This here my friend, was one of Park's thought, only a little bit after she shouted at her on the bus. Seriously. Unbelievable.

This book has a bad case of not-wanting-to-look-like-instalove-but-it-actually-is syndrome. I like the first part when they were aloof to each other. Park didn't like her, likewise with Eleanor. Insta-love is not my thing. I've always openly declared my dislike for it. Some of you may argue that this wasn't one, but come on, it's so obvious that it is. It was just delayed for a little bit.


PLOT: 10

WRITING: I don't know what to think about it the writing. Rainbow Rowell's writing style is the type that I would usually like. It's written in a third-person POV, but alternates between Eleanor and Park. Sometimes, there would be abrupt switch in POVs from one character to another, and I thought that was a good touch to how their story was told.

PLOT: I have read on a few reviews about how unrealistic, this book was based on when it happened and where it happened in the US. Honestly, I don't give a rat's arse about that. The reason why I couldn't give the plot a high score was that, I really couldn't see where it was going, and not in a good way.

I asked earlier, whether this book was just a contemporary coming of age novel, or a romance book. I'm not sure if the intention was to focus on the love story and also the family issues, which would have worked, if the romance part was done correctly.

CHARACTERS: I liked that they're very unique characters, but I could not connect to any of them. Oh well there is one, Eleanor's mom but not in a way that you guy are thinking. I just wanted to connect my fist to her face to wake her up a bit.

UNPREDICTABILITY: Gave this book a high score for this, because I couldn't really guess which way this book was going.

PACE: Too slow for my taste.

ENJOYABILITY: There were parts that I enjoyed, but there was just too little.


They recommended this book to John Green fans, which is why I picked it up, oh and also the fact that it has extremely high ratings, not to mention the top-notch reviews. But here I am, not fully satisfied of what I have read. I feel bad though, that I couldn't enjoy it as much as other people do. Is there something wrong with me? What have I not see that other people did? These are the questions, fluttering in my head as I make this review.

John Green is one of my all-time favorite authors. I fell in love with The Fault in our Stars easily. Why? Because it stayed true to what it was supposed to be. A love story about two kids with cancer. It dealt with one specific plot, which is the love story of two sick kids, and just added the side plot which is dealing with cancer. I just felt Eleanor and Park's plot was all over the place. It didn't stay with one main plot, it seems to deal with multiple ones: the relationship, Eleanor's family problem, bullying, Park's family, and racism (which doesn't really count on my book).

I appreciate the fact that this book dealt with the subject of family, friendship, and also abuse. This part was clear to me. The racism part not too much. In my opinion, the highlight of this book was Eleanor's relationship with her family, and not Eleanor and Park, as the title suggests. Park's life was okay. It wasn't perfect, but it was fine. I don't see the need for his name to be on the title. LOL. The story showed us Eleanor's struggle with her family, making friends, and her blooming relationship with Park. I see Park as just one of the things Eleanor needs to figure out how to handle. Park, for me, was just another side plot. I don't feel that the romance part should have been the main plot of this novel. Am I making sense right now?

I would have to say, I loved the ending. The ending was perfect. There was never any closure to the ending. It was open for the readers to interpret how they want it too. And it was good that the ending wasn't wrapped up like a fancy gift with a ribbon on top. It sort of felt like the ending to a start of something good. I'm sure the people who've read it will agree with me on this one at least.

Rainbow Rowell is a talented author and a nice person too (based on one interview I've read). There is no doubt she could weave wonderful stories, and make people fall in love with them (which she already did by the way). I think the reason I didn't fall in love that way with this book is just that by preference, Eleanor and Park's story didn't move me as it promised it would. I had too high of an expectation for this, but failed to meet it.

I am in no way, an expert when it comes to reviewing books. I just say how I felt and what I thought about the book. I've read positive and negative reviews about this book, sadly, some people couldn't seem to grasp the idea of being an individual. Not everyone can share the same opinion as yours. Deal with it.

I guess that about wraps up my review of Eleanor and Park. I really really really wish I liked this, so I could go and discuss with other people who like it too. It's so hard to find someone you can talk to about a book you don't like, when everyone seems to like it. Does that make sense? I'm not sure if I explained that correctly, but yeah, whatever.

I'm sure most of you guys have already read this book, let me know below what you think about it.


  1. I did love the book but I agree with you about Park...I often didn't understand him. And yes, the ending was great:)

    Don't worry what people think about your review. I personally didn't like The Fault In Our Stars but it doesn't mean it's a bad book:)

    1. I'm just kind of worried sometimes when leaving bad reviews about a book everyone likes. I read a few reviews on GR that people started bashing because it was a negative one.

      But thanks for being open minded about my opinion!! :) Some books are just not everyone. *wink wink*

  2. Interesting ;D Thanks for sharing this review Sandee! Very informative :)
    I personally think that giving a negative review is totally great as long as you actually explain what you disliked and why (which you did *high fives*). Not just 'I HATE THIS BOOK' XD
    A well rounded assortment of reviews means that prospective readers (like me XD) can see different perspectives of the book and make an enlightened decision as to whether they want to read it :D
    People bashing others just because they didn't share the same view is just inhospitable :( *shakes head sadly*

    I do get the John Green/Rainbow Rowell connection tho. I've read TFiOS by JG and Fangirl by RR, and I found that the books, tho nothing alike, were indeed relatable in some ways. Unfortunately I was a bit meh about both, but hey. Individuality, right? Individuality. :)


    1. Thanks B! I often don't like writing negative reviews because I don't want to offend any authors. I know they worked hard making those books, so sometimes instead of writing a negative review, I just don't rate them at all. But in this case, I don't hate Eleanor and Park, I just want to share what I thought about it because a lot of people seem to go crazy over it. Hell, that's the reason why i picked this book up anyways. So imagine my disappointment when I didn't like it. O.o I was so annoyed with myself why I couldn't connect to it. Because I wanna Fangirl with the rest of the readers you know?? But now, it's not gonna happen. LOL.

      Thanks for being so open minded about it. I wish a lot of readers are like that. I've read negative comments on GR get bashed by fans and that scares me really. I don't want my negative reviews be seen as something bad, but as something to think about by the reader who will pick up the book.

      Totally agree with Individuality girl! :)


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