15 July 2015

Review: Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

Reviewer: Kayla
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Pages: 328
Format: Hardcover
My Rating: 5.5/10

Summary (thanks, Goodreads):

Two misfits.
One extraordinary love.

... 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.

My Thoughts:
Maybe it was that my expectations were irrational. Maybe the reviews & ratings of this book heightened my expectations. Maybe because I loved Fangirl so much I was sure Rainbow Rowell could not write a sucky book. Well, whatever the case may be, this book sucked.
Okay, no. I guess it didn't suck as blatantly as I say it. I admit to enjoying it, as it did have some "aw out loud" moments that I live for. It was just... not as great as I was expecting. No, not great at all, despite the expectations.

Despite me reeming out this book, there were some things I liked and appreciated. I liked how Eleanor wasn't a typical thin, aesthetically pleasing girl normally found in YA (don't even get me started on that subject), and how they both found love despite insecurities. I also appreciated how Rowell exemplified the beauty in atypical "beautiful" girls, as well as her ignoring gender roles through both protagonists, and because of all these reasons, their characters work well together.

BUT... of course there's a but... I had so many problems with this book I was literally screaming. I had to call my friend to vent about it. Firstly, I've never really wished for the death of a main character(s), ever. Until this book. Sorry.
This book was a bad modern day representation of Romeo and Juliet, a play which I hate, and the irony that Eleanor also stated she hated Romeo and Juliet's story just to star in one herself was predictable and corny. Despite Park's initial hatred toward the new girl, it was instalove. I hate instalove. It's unrealistic and pathetic.
It's clear Eleanor and Park are different from everyone else, straying from the norm, and I get and like that, but it seemed that Rowell was trying way too hard to make them extremely diverse, so much so that it got predictable and eyeroll-worthy. It bugged me that they were co-dependent, so much so that they stopped talking to their friends to be with each other. The fact that they needed each other to breathe was a little much and just reiterated their Shakespearean bullshit. The entire story was about how much they loved each other with some family crap mixed into it, which I could relate to, especially on Eleanor's part, and I hated her lack of emotional depth through the situation. She didn't go into details about her home life when she narrated, and maybe that was the point, but I feel that the situation could have been extended more. Her relationships with everyone else besides Park were shallow. Some of the things Park said to her and did that made her rightfully mad was a load of shit and I would have drop kicked that kid asap. I didn't find the ending realistic and I was utterly enraged with the ending. I hated it. I almost threw my book out the f*cking window.

Final Thoughts:
this book was so much less than I was expecting. I see the appeal and why people like it, but I couldn't do it.

Additional Thoughts:
ALSO, "Nobody thinks Asians guys are hot"...? shut up I can give you a lengthy list of Asian guys I find attractive

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