book review, fiction, young adult

Review: Eleanor and Park

“You can be Han Solo,” he said, kissing her throat. “And I’ll be Boba Fett. I’ll cross the sky for you.”

Eleanor and Park, Rainbow Rowell

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GENRE: Young Adult

WHAT FORMAT: paperback

RATING: 5/5 stars

SUMMARY: Eleanor and Park are two high school strangers turned into almost, but not quite, star-crossed lovers. They meet because they don’t have anywhere else to sit on the bus, crammed with crappy, judgmental high school kids. They soon bond over comic books, good music, and odd fashion choices. However, other people always worm their way into the relationship and test it- this ranges from unwanted, abusive step-parents, loving parents, high school bullies, or personal insecurities. It all makes for a tragedy of two kids in love for the ages.

THOUGHTS: My friend quite seriously told me that if I didn’t like this book, then she would have to reconsider our friendship. This is her favorite book of all time, and after reading it, I can understand why. I sped through this book in a couple of hours, unable to put it down.

I have read Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell before, and to be honest, I did not love it. I was surprised by the tone that Rowell had in Eleanor and Park because it was completely different from Fangirl– in a good way, of course. I really enjoyed the contrasting voices of both Eleanor and Park. Beyond the stylistic elements of it, the dual narration also advanced the story quite well since neither Eleanor nor Park offer up intimate information easily.

Rowell’s romantic timing was also superb and perfect. This can be such a fickle thing but the way in which Eleanor and Park come together feels so natural, and there is not one part of their relationship that feels forced. Rowell captures exactly what it is like to be young and in love- it’s awkward, it’s dampened by a lack of communication, it’s passionate, and it’s like nothing else you’ll experience in the rest of your life.

The relationships that Eleanor and Park have with their families are so important as well- the slightly dysfunctional family that only seems perfect on the outside is there, and the absolutely messed-up family that is barely holding together. I love the focus on family because it takes up so much of a young adult’s life and has the power to determine what happens in a young adult’s relationships. It reminded me of just how little control teenagers can have over their own lives, and how frustrating it can be.

Honestly, the only thing that I found fault with in this book is Park’s name. It felt too stereotypical for a Korean American character, maybe bordering on ignorant.

Other than that, this book is everything- it’s cute, it’s angsty, it’s emotional, and it will most likely (definitely) wreck you at the end. It’s really the closest thing we’ll get to the twenty-first version of Romeo and Juliet, in that you know what will happen with these two intense, perfect lovers but it will take you by surprise anyway. So what are you waiting for? Go read this book!!

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to be read

Books I’m Taking with Me to College (FALL 2017)


The inspiration for this blog post came from Katherine Reads on Booktube. Because I live in a dorm room that is meant for two people but that will actually be occupied by three means that I do not have the luxury of taking more than six books to my dorm room. The rest of the room on my bookshelf will be dominated by the books I actually need for class!

I hope to rely on the extensive University of California library resources, as well as audiobooks and ebooks to supplement the few physical books I am bringing with me to college. Also, as soon as the quarter ends (in December) I can bring these back and bring back six more unread books!

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The Awakening by Kate Chopin: I’ve been meaning to read this book for forever (I have read some of Chopin’s short stories and I am obsessed) and it’s small enough that I’ll be able to store it easily in my backpack and in my purse for my commute for my internship.

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Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell: I had mentioned to a friend that I recently read Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell and enjoyed it, so she immediately supplied me with Eleanor and Park which she claims is much better than Fangirl. I can’t wait!

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Life of Pi by Yann Martel: I solely picked up this book because of the hype surrounding the movie but apparently the novel is just as good as the movie supposedly was. I picked this one out of my TBR jar when picking out books for college and I am excited to read it.

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The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan: I wanted to include a nonfiction book as well, and I love personal essays so I chose this book. I had bought this book earlier this summer and have only heard good things about it. I know that Emma Watson also recommended this book, so of course I am going to listen to Emma Watson, cause, duh.

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The Price by Arthur Miller: I wanted to bring a play in addition to the novels that I am bringing. I adored Death of a Salesman by Miller, so I’m excited to see what that’s about.

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The Sonnets of William Shakespeare by William Shakespeare: Sometimes, after reading hundreds of pages of textbook reading, I don’t really want to read long chunks of text. Poems, and short ones like sonnets, are the perfect solution to this.

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