A Book Review: Eleanor and Park

The following is a book review by The Ameri Brit Mom. This post expresses the genuine opinion and experiences of The Ameri Brit Mom and is in no way endorsed by authors, publishers, and outside influences.

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Title: Eleanor and Park

Author: Rainbow Rowell

Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin

Copyright Date: 2013

Lately, I’ve been on a bit of a YA reading hiatus. Most of the books I’ve been reading have been about writing and novel production. However, over Thanksgiving Break I really wanted to quench my thirst for a good YA novel and I found that in Eleanor and Park.

Rainbow Rowell has recently become a big name in YA fiction. Some of her books like Attachments, Eleanor and Park, and Fan Girl have been chart toppers and favorites among my students so I decided to track down a copy of Eleanor and Park and see what all this Rainbow Rowell hype was all about.

This story of unlikely love was extremely addicting. From the very first chapter I was hooked to the characters, Eleanor and Park. The two lovebirds met on the school bus when Eleanor moved back to Omaha, Nebraska. Park was a Korean kid and although no one really messed with him he was not a popular kid by any definition of the word. On Eleanor’s first day of school the only empty seat on the bus was the one historically available beside Park. And it’s when Park moved over (at first reluctantly) to make room for Eleanor that a friendship began to form.

Eleanor and Park would bond on future bus rides over comics and 80’s rock bands. Park would bring new things to share with Eleanor each day because she was too poor to even own a pair of headphones. They both began to look forward to those bus rides, and one day it became clear that their relationship had moved from bus buddies to romance quickly.

Park lived a privileged life. His father was a war veteran who married a Korean woman and brought her home from war. His family was built around love and affection. Eleanor was one of five children who was forced every night to listen to the violence between her stepdad and mother. She didn’t have two pennies to rub together. But Park gave Eleanor an excuse to wake up every morning and a reason to look forward to school. They begin to spend all day and every evening together as Eleanor used Park as an excuse to avoid the inevitable at home.

As their relationship developed Park began to learn about Eleanor’s home life. He knew someone was bullying her at school, but when he discovered that she was bullied at home as well Park vowed to protect her.

This story is about how far two young lovers will go to protect one another. Full of heavy themes and real language this book was hard to put down. I really enjoyed this read and I look forward to some more Rainbow Rowell reads in the future.

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