Eleanor & Park, Book Review – Rainbow Rowell

This book was enjoyable but it kinda let me down.

I am not a very fast reader but I ended up reading this in just two days which is really quick for me. Mainly because a) I have a lot of free time at the moment and b) it was an easy read.

Which brings me to my first thing: this book was incredibly cliche. However, I wasn’t expecting anything more. As a cheesy teen love story it was entertaining enough to keep me picking it up again and again. However, a love story is literally all the book is; there is barely even a side plot. Yes I know, it is literally called Eleanor & Park but those two are the entire book. Nothing else happens besides their romance. There were so many other characters that felt like cardboard cut outs that could’ve had great potential – Tina and Steve would’ve been interesting to develop more, for example.

Despite the basic plot being cliche, certain aspects of the book were really unique which I loved. There was a really diverse, although underdeveloped, cast of characters which was refreshing. I rarely read love stories so I don’t exactly have much reference but I was expecting a John-Green-esque romance going in and this was not that so I was pleasantly suprised.

Pretty much, there wasn’t much wrong in the book that stopped me from liking it. It was a good story. Except for one thing that annoyed me to no end:

The whining!! Both Eleanor and Park are insecure and teenagers and different to everyone else and while I get that it was part of their characters and what they bonded over, it got so damn repetitive at times. There’s only so many times I can read about Eleanor almost ruining their relationship because she doubts Park’s feelings for her before I want to rip out the page and tell her to get over herself (That amount of times is one. There was significantly more than that.) There was a stage in the middle of the story, around when she first started meeting his parents, that bored me to death. It seemed the only plot point was ‘~problems~ because they both think they’re not good enough for each other and then they magically make up, then repeat’. Once was more than enough.

Also, around this same time in the book, Eleanor kept bringing up Park and Tina’s grade-six relationship and was really angry at Park about it which I thought was completely irrational and it lasted in the book for way too long.

Once the plot moved on from that annoying point, though, it got really interesting. When Eleanor and Mindy (Park’s mum) started developing a relationship, Park started wearing makeup, and Ritchie was revealed as the villain instead of Tina, the book was really interesting because more things were happening than just Eleanor and Park’s infatuation with each other.

It may sound like I’m bagging this book but I did really enjoy it and would recommend to anyone just as a quick easy read that you don’t need to think too hard about.

3 stars.