Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell Review

Author: Rainbow Rowell
Series: none
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Publication Date: February 26, 2013
Genre: YA Contemporary
Pages: 335
Buy it on Amazon
Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell is the only Rainbow Rowell book I have read, and I am already a huge fan. I just recently completed this book and I honestly don't know what took me so long read her work. It's mainly because I don't read young adult contemporary fiction very often because I find so many predictable plot lines, cheesy dialog and one-dimensional characters stuck in an unhealthy romance in this genre. But this is not the case in  Eleanor and Park, and Rainbow Rowell certainly knows how to write well crafted and interesting characters. This was one of the best books I read in 2015.

"Eleanor was right. She never looked nice. She looked like art, and art wasn't supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something."

It centers around two high school kids, Eleanor and Park (obviously), and their unlikely and strange romantic relationship that starts by passing comic books to each other on the bus. It focuses a lot on the differences between their family lives. Park lives with his mother and father, who have an over-the-top loving relationship. And Eleanor who just moved back in with her mother and abusive step-father after spending a few years in foster care. The stark differences in their lives drive the story as they both try to hide things about their families from each other, only to later learn so much about themselves by experiencing a something the other one has to offer. I have read that this book is partially inspired by Rainbow's life, which makes this novel pull at your heart strings even more.

Like I said, this book is amazing. The characters are so fleshed out they seem like real people. It feels like you are watching a movie as the chapters jump back and forth between Eleanor and Park's perspectives. You learn so much about what it's like to grow up poor but also what it is like to grow up in a loving family. I love the contrasting settings so much because it really makes both characters much more sympathetic and relatable. This is the type of book that sticks with you because of the feelings and attachment you feel for the characters. Despite all that what I love most about them is their witty dialog and banter. They are so funny but also very introspective and poignant. Reading this book is like a sociology assignment stepping into the lives of poverty and high school in the 1980's. It's an amazing teaching tool that would be effective for high schoolers all over the country to read and understand. It covers not only topics on poverty and foster care but also bullying, abuse, depression, overcoming obstacles, and hope. You just can't help but love what Rainbow Rowell has done in this novel.

I highly recommend that you pick this one up immediately. And let me know what you think about this one. Do you like Rainbow Rowell as much as John Green? I love John but she gives him a run for his money on the top YA Contemporary novelist, in my opinion!  I give Eleanor and Park 5 stars.

Get your copy here!