Author: Rainbow Rowell
Genre: YA Contemporary
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Pages: 328 c.
Released: April 12th 2012
Goodreads Rating: 4.21
One extraordinary love.
Eleanor… Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough…Eleanor.
Park… He knows she’ll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There’s a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises…Park.
Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.
This book was adorable – I really enjoyed the not super typical love story between Eleanor and Park. I get a big goofy grin whenever I think about it (be warned though, the book isn’t all sunshine and rainbows).
As I mentioned in my review of Fangirl, Rainbow Rowell really knows how to write characters. She knows how to make them so real, relatable and perfectly flawed that you forget you are reading about fictional characters. Eleanor and Park actually acted like their age, unlike in a lot of YA novels I’ve read.
I flew through this book because I constantly wanted to learn more about their developing relationship; to be part of their first experience with love. But also to find out about their lives when apart; who was writing on Eleanor’s books, will Park ever be able to stand out in the crowd and be different rather than staying in the shadows (both of which are answered in the book).
I think the only problem I had while reading it was the age gap – I felt old reading the book sometimes, but I guess in comparison to them I am quite a bit older so that only makes sense. It didn’t really change how I felt about the novel as a whole though, considering I still loved it.
I thought Eleanor’s character in particular was especially beautiful; one of my favourite characters in recent memory. I definitely preferred reading about her life than Park’s. It was heartbreaking and heart warming at the same time, and by the end of it you have to be happy that she made it out of the toxic environment that was her home – even if it meant leaving her siblings behind.
I liked the ending because it seemed really real. First loves don’t normally last, and for it to end the way it did was good…though a bit abrupt and awkward (which makes sense considering the circumstances). It wasn’t necessarily a break up, but it wasn’t a “stay together forever” thing either. They both knew what was happening.
This is definitely a book that I will pick up again and again to read and I bet every time I read it I will find something different to love about it.
4 out of 5 stars. I would definitely recommend this book to people (in fact, I have). It’s a great quick read that has you totally invested in these kids relationship from start to finish.
“Holding Eleanor’s hand was like holding a butterfly. Or a heartbeat. Like holding something complete, and completely alive.”
“What are the chances you’d ever meet someone like that? he wondered. Someone you could love forever, someone who would forever love you back? And what did you do when that person was born half a world away? The math seemed impossible.”
“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.”