Sunday, 12 October 2014

Review: Eleanor & Park - Rainbow Rowell

Synopsis:

Two misfits.
One extraordinary love.
Eleanor
... Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough...Eleanor.Park... He knows she'll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There's a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises...Park.


Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.

Taken from Goodreads

                                                                    

Review: (Contains slight spoilers)


My first Rainbow Rowell book. I've heard nothing but praise for all her works but always hesitated in buying any. I caved in with Eleanor & Park, off all her books this seemed the one I would most enjoy. I did for the most part. 


Set in 1986, Rainbow Rowell explores the lives of two sixteen year olds; they're school life, home life and first love. 

Eleanor is the typical misfit girl in that she wears strange clothes, repeatedly described as not pretty and has next to no social skills. Her family are neglectful near abusive, since her Rickie her mother's boyfriend- now husband forced Eleanor out of the house once before for several months. Now living back at home she is constantly on the edge not to do anything that could set him off again. She is torn by wanting nothing more than to get away from where she is, but knowing that she has no-where to go.
Park is half Korean, slightly outcast by his race but has several social friends that allow him to get by enough at school. His family are more or less perfect, expect for his mother's perfectionism and his farther's nagging. 

Eleanor and Park meet on the school bus, after reluctantly giving her a seat, over time they form a friendship over their love for; music and graphic novels.

It wasn't that this was a bad book or that I hated it, it just wasn't amazing. Maybe I had pinned high expectations since so many people loved it. For the most part the book is dialogue  between Eleanor and Park, at first when they are in the early stages of forming a friendship I really liked it. I liked that fact that Park let her borrow his comic books and that he made her tapes of the music he liked because she had never heard it. I liked reading about them discussing music and graphic novels. It felt natural.  

The decent into the romance between them felt a little rushed, probably due to the fact the book isn't very long. Them falling in love didn't feel so natural, I would have liked a more gradual buildup to it.  I also didn't have a great feel for the characters, they were nice enough but I didn't love them either. I felt like the whole thing was rather predictable, the ending especially. Maybe I just didn't get into the spirit of the whole romance thing.
 I am sort of on the fence with this one, I didn't love it but I didn't hate it. It was just okay. If you love any other Rainbow Rowell novel then you will probably love this one too. If like me, you haven't read any I wouldn't start with this one. I'm going to read her other books because I like her writing. I'll start with Landline and maybe I'll revisit Eleanor & Park in a year or so and see if my opinion changes.

Rating: 3.5 stars