July 11, 2016

Book Review · Eleanor & Park

If you want a Young Adult Fiction novel that will make you feel every emotion, and then break your heart, Eleanor & Park will do it.
Rainbow Rowell introduces us to Eleanor, a young, chubby high-schooler with large, curly, red hair. Her step-dad, Richie, is an alcoholic and a monster. Throughout the novel, Rowell does an incredible job of making you feel the fear in Richie when Eleanor is a the house or she is out and discusses going back home. Eleanor is also one of four children, the rest younger than her. She bathes before Richie comes home from work in the bathroom that is off of the kitchen; the bathroom also doesn't have a door. 
We also meet Park, who lets Eleanor sit with him on the bus during her first day. He realizes her reading over his shoulder as he reads comics and begins reading slower so she can read along. They begin to share mix tapes and eventually fall in love. Park has a more alternative style and vibe, as does Eleanor. At one point Park describes Eleanor as being like, "art. Art wasn't supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something." 

This novel touches on a lot of teen issues such as domestic violence, stereotypes, and falling in love for the first time. I have a special place for this book growing up an outcast, like both protagonists, but finding somebody who accepts you wholly. It's such a beautiful story and although the ending will break your heart into a million pieces, you'll be filled with an overwhelming joy for Eleanor and Park's fate. Rowell does an incredible job with emotional investment in each scene, character, and situation, both good and bad.

I wanted to link a page on Rainbow Rowell's website which includes Eleanor & Park's mix tapes for each other, as well as her merchandise.

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