I think I’m broken. I really, really do. All of the books that people dub the best YA contemporary romance, I’m just kind of like, “Meh”. I adored “Fangirl”, I really did. It was relatable and funny on so many levels. And I had heard from so many people that this one was even better. I strongly disagree.
“Eleanor and Park” by Rainbow Rowell is a story of two teenagers in the 80s who are thrust into each other’s lives one day on the bus to school. Neither of them fit in, but they sort of unify in their outcast-ness and fall in love. The main obstacle in their relationship is Eleanor’s home life, which is truly horrible.
I liked this book in the beginning, in the build-up. It was adorable and made me all teary-eyed. But, for me, there just didn’t seem to be enough. Not enough knowledge about them as characters. Not enough time spent getting to know each other. Not enough in their relationship. Not enough in the plot. Not enough of an ending. The whole book just left me wanting more, but not in a good way. After finishing this book, I just felt sort of unsatisfied, which makes me really sad. I wanted to like this book like I liked “Fangirl”.
I think another of my main problems was that I didn’t connect with any of the characters. I didn’t understand them or love them on any deep levels. I normally don’t connect that much to characters in books, but this took that to a whole new level.
Like I said, I really liked the build-up. The build-up was just right. It was sweet and beautiful, and what I wanted the whole book to be like. But for some reason, it just wasn’t. I would probably give this book two out of five stars.
*Spoiler territory with some of my notes from when I was reading.*
Note 1: That’s so cute though. When they talk to each other, it’s like, “Whatever, bitch”, but then he goes home and he’s all making her mixtapes.
Note 2: I’m gonna puke it’s so cute.
Note 3: I understand zero of these 80s references.
Note 4: THAT HAND-HOLD THO. I’m literally getting all teary-eyed at two people holding hands.
Note 5: That was quick. Love already?
And that is where I stopped taking notes because I kind of stopped caring. I wanted it to get back to those cute moments so badly, but, in my opinion, it didn’t. The only other thing that I would add is that I was furious at Eleanor’s step-dad and her mother the entire time. I don’t know why her mother got to me so much in this particular case. In real life, I feel so deeply horrible for all the mothers who have to go through abuse like Eleanor’s mother. But something about this particular book just made me angry at her instead of sympathetic. And I felt like a terrible person for feeling that way the entire time. So yeah, the last two thirds of the book were not great for me.
What did you think of “Eleanor and Park”? Are you one of the many people who adore this novel?