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Magan: Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

book cover for Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell (web | tweet)
Publication Date: February 26, 2013
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Pages: 320
Target audience: Young Adult
Keywords: young love, scary step-parents, biracial characters, curvy female YA characters
Format read: ARC from NetGalley (Thank you!)

Summary: Eleanor is the new kid at Park’s school; she dresses crazy and has big, red hair that makes her stand out in a crowd. On her first bus ride to school, Eleanor sits by Park who is agitated by having to share his seat. Slowly and beautifully, Eleanor and Park forge a friendship that leads to falling in love for the first time.

Dear Rainbow Rowell,

You forever and always will have me as a lifelong reader and fan of your work. Thank you for writing a book I will declare one of my favorite 2013 reads. Eleanor and Park completely and utterly absorbed me. Your writing is poetic, spot-on-descriptive, and made me want to cry because I could relate to every word you poured out.

From several glowing reviews I read before beginning your book, I was pretty sure it would be something I would love. I saw it described as “a cute love story” and “adorable.” But you see, Rainbow, while those things are accurate, for someone like me your story was so much more than young love. I felt like pieces of your story could have been written (though not nearly as perfectly, of course) by me. I, too, fell in love with my husband at a young age (when I was 16). Your words made me tear up at some of the most innocent scenes because I understood how Eleanor felt about her body — her insecurities about her curves and having to wear the same Goodwill clothes over and over because her family just couldn’t afford more.

I cringed when you made me remember what it was like to grow up in a home where friends weren’t welcome to come over because our living conditions were less than ideal. I understood how it felt to put up a front and to not let people’s comments (like Eleanor from her bullies) bother me because there were bigger, scarier things to worry about where my family was concerned. You explored these details so subtly, but for me, they stood out as if they were bolded and underlined.

What I feel most people will admire about your story is how Eleanor and Park so perfectly fall in love. Their love is sweet and innocent, but not without their fair share of complications to make it believable and realistic. Park has a few best friends who refuse to accept Eleanor. She has to lie about her whereabouts to her mom because her over-protective step-dad would flip if he knew she was spending time with a boy. But you know what I love most? The friendship that developed into more over time. It’s real. It’s not easy. They don’t always understand each other, but they’re gentle and kind and caring toward one another — falling in love despite (or maybe because of) their flaws.

All of this young love stuff? You got it so right. The slow build and trust issues were impeccably flawless. I held my breath for pages as you explored the meaningfulness of what holding hands for the first time with someone you’re falling in love with feels like. The significance of locking eyes and with that  boy when you’re so used to having your eyes glued to the ground, trying to be as invisible as possible, is immeasurable. Eleanor may have thought Park was too good to be true, and Park may have feared that their relationship was temporary because we’re taught that young love is fleeting, but Rainbow, you delivered a message that needs to be heard.

Sometimes, love saves our lives.

Please, please keep doing what you’re doing and sharing your talent with us all. I may go broke pre-ordering copies of your books for all my friends, but for the sake of spreading your stories, I vow to continue doing so.

Your biggest, newest fan,

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March 11, 2015 - 10:51 am

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September 12, 2013 - 4:24 pm

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September 2, 2013 - 8:01 am

Upcoming September Releases (Nailed It) - […] anticipated when I gushed and fell incredibly in love with Rainbow’s writing after reading Eleanor and Park? We’ve got the amazing green color of the background that I think I would wear all year and […]

March 31, 2013 - 10:50 pm

Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl - Oh wow. I have not seen a review quite like this one, and now I’m dying to get a copy for myself! I struggled a lot in high school with body image and I also had a very strong love story during that time. I can relate your past to mine, and I feel like I could really relate to Eleanor as well. Hopefully I can read this soon. 🙂 Thanks for your review!

March 14, 2013 - 9:32 am

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell - HOBBITSIES - […] Loves Books Good Books and Good Wine Rather Be Reading Into the Hall of […]

March 3, 2013 - 8:04 am

Magan + Estelle's Shelve It >> 3/3/2013, Estelle + Magan - […] My lovely pal Magan (you may know her) pre-ordered me a copy of Eleanor + Park! I can’t wait to read it after her super positive and touching review! […]

March 1, 2013 - 12:00 am

On a Personal Note: Magan in High School - […] them that I’ve related to so, so well. Just last week, I couldn’t stop thinking about Eleanor and Park because so many of Eleanor’s thoughts felt like I lived them. They felt real to me. This made […]

February 28, 2013 - 10:50 pm

Jessica - Sweet Green Tangerine - I know I’m a little behind in reading this, but what a GREAT review! I love that you found something so personal in this book and shared it with us. I have this book to review too and now I cannot wait to read it. Great, great job.

Also, I love your rating system. I’ve been reading your reviews for a little while now and I just caught on to the whole borrow/buy rating. That’s so clever. 🙂

February 26, 2013 - 4:17 pm

Alexa Y. - M, your review/love letter is absolutely LOVELY. I’m so glad that this story touched your heart so much and that you could relate to it. I thought it was beautifully written, and your thoughts made me want to read it all over again! I have to be sure and snag a finished copy for myself 🙂

February 24, 2013 - 6:20 pm

The Sunday Wrap-Up(1) | Book.Blog.Bake. - […] Review: Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell @ Rather Be Reading […]

February 24, 2013 - 11:44 am

Isa - I loved your review. Eleanor & Park is one of my all time favourite reads, I was surprised by how much I loved it. Even weeks after reading it, the book still lingers on my mind and I have this uncontrollable urge to reread it over and over again. Although I couldn’t identify so personally with the book, it was definitely a realistic read with genuine characters. I’m so happy you enjoyed it, I can’t wait to own a physical copy. I love Rainbow Rowell’s writing so I ordered Attachments and I’m really excited for Fangirl.

February 23, 2013 - 6:56 pm

Daniela - This is a beautiful review! If I hadn’t already had this on my tbr list, your review would have been reason enough to pick up a copy.

February 23, 2013 - 8:13 am

April @ Books And Wine - Magan, this is the perfect review! Seriously, I have a feeling I will be tearing up so much for Eleanor because well I know what it’s like to be poor and in high school and it fricken sucks and yeah I cannot wait. I think this will be like my next Kindle read after This Is What Happens Looks Like and If You Find Me.


February 21, 2013 - 7:18 pm

Magan - Dear Jamie: Thankfully I *know* a copy will be making its way to your casa. I really hope you love this book as much as I did. Anna and I chatted for a long time today about this book because we both cannot get it out of our heads (and hearts). It’s just… powerful stuff. I hope you love it. I wish I could make the book fairy deliver it to you early. 🙂

February 21, 2013 - 7:11 pm

Jamie - MAGAN. I am even more excited for this one!!! AHHHHH! I seriously and desperately NEED a book like this!!

February 21, 2013 - 12:16 pm

Magan - Kailia — isn’t it perfect (the cover)? I’m sorry I almost made you cry, but wow — the story just touched me so much. These kinds of intense emotions are hard to come by so I try to savor them for as long as I can when I find them. I hope you love, love this book! 🙂

February 21, 2013 - 12:15 pm

Magan - Oh, Taylor! I hope you pre-ordered a copy so you can start reading it right away! It’s so lovely and wonderful. I can’t wait for you to fall in love with Eleanor and Park!

February 21, 2013 - 12:14 pm

Magan - Ginger, THANK YOU! I just… can not stop thinking about it. Even today. I’m so in love with Rainbow’s work. Thank you for being there to receive my chats and texts about it! xoxo

February 21, 2013 - 12:13 pm

Magan - BOOKWORM! I’m so excited for you! I hope you love it every bit as much as I did!

February 21, 2013 - 12:13 pm

Magan - Brittany, I’m so glad you felt the same way. SO GLAD. I always fear I’m going to have this intense, emotional reaction to a book and then be the only person. You know, with crickets chirping because no one else understands. I’ve not seen a bad review for this book yet, which makes me super duper thrilled. It’s absolutely AMAZING! 🙂

February 21, 2013 - 12:11 pm

Magan - Cynthia — I feel ya, I do. I want my finished copy in my hands. I kid you not, I will do a re-read as soon as I get it. I want to relive every single moment of this book. <3 Hope you LOVE IT!

February 21, 2013 - 12:09 pm

Magan - Elena, I can’t tell you how much your comment means to me. I struggled with my words and felt like I wasn’t doing this book any justice. I just had to go with WHY it meant so much to me and to gather my thoughts, just started writing it as if I could sit down and talk to Rainbow and then… bam. The review finally came together. Thank you for your sweet comment and yes, wow!

February 21, 2013 - 12:07 pm

Magan - Stormy, YES! I couldn’t agree more with you. The books that make me feel ALL THE THINGS are the ones that just really hit me hard. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about this story. It’s perfect and wonderful. And yes! Fangirl! Wow — I can’t wait! I just bought Attachments, too, which I’ve heard only awesome things about!

February 21, 2013 - 12:06 pm

Magan - Megan — I’m so glad you added it to your TBR. SO HAPPY. You made my day! 🙂

February 21, 2013 - 12:06 pm

Magan - Read it soon, Mandee! Read it soon! Eleanor and Park is so perfect and wonderful. I felt bad for having put it off for so long too!

February 21, 2013 - 12:03 pm

Magan - Jess — I’m so, so glad to hear that! Please, please read E&P soon. Please. It’s so perfectly wonderful! xoxo

February 21, 2013 - 12:01 pm

Magan - Asheley, I wish there was a way for me to favorite your comment because I would. What you wrote is exactly how I felt about the story. EXACTLY. I am moving on to Rainbow’s other work right now, too. I just ordered and received Attachments in the mail this week. I need to pause everything else and bump this one up. I just … love her. Everything about her writing felt pure and authentic and just… so personal.

February 21, 2013 - 11:54 am

Magan - Tabitha — that’s such a kind and thoughtful thing of you to say. I’m so flattered! I really, truly hope you do read this one. I’ve pre-ordered three copies. One for myself and two for friends. I would buy everyone a copy if I could afford it. I hope you LOVE IT! 🙂

February 21, 2013 - 11:53 am

Magan - Rachel! You’re so kind and sweet! If my review has you even the tiniest bit emotional, then I hope you fall in love with these characters and this story as much as I have. Really! Preorder a copy if you haven’t yet!

February 21, 2013 - 11:50 am

Magan - Jess! Add Eleanor & Park to your TBR! It’s so fantastic! I hope you love it!

February 21, 2013 - 11:48 am

Magan - LORI! It was! I ordered a copy for myself when I was at the 35%-ish mark because man, I just knew that I was going to LOVE it. I can’t stop thinking about it! It’s so amazing. And yes — so glad it hit me personally as well. Thank you for the sweet comment!

February 20, 2013 - 7:07 am

Lori - Oh, Magan! Wasn’t it just spectacular? I could read it over and over again. That first hand holding scene…WOW! It’s amazing that it spoke to you on such a personal level. I love your review so much.

February 19, 2013 - 8:57 pm

Jess, Books and Sensibility - What a great review. I’ll admit I haven’t heard of this book before but you have me so excited.

February 19, 2013 - 1:04 pm

Rachel - Is it weird that this review made me a bit emotional and I haven’t even read the book yet? Magan, this review is so so good. The book sounds absolutely beautiful and I’ve heard NOTHING negative about it so far, which means I’m dying to read it.

February 19, 2013 - 12:25 pm

Tabitha S. - What a wonderful and personal review – and I think more than any other review this is the one that’s going to get me to pick up this book. Cannot wait to read this one now – thank you!!

February 19, 2013 - 10:52 am

Asheley Tart (@BookwormAsheley) - Yes. I think you and I can relate to a love of the same things in this book. This book was a hard for me but also healing, and lovely and wonderful, and I want everybody everybody everybody to experience it and love it like I do. I want to read the other books by Rainbow Rowell now.

February 19, 2013 - 8:28 am

Jess @ Gone with the Words - Oh, gosh! This letter is wonderful and I seriously have become 1,000x more interested in reading this book now. Thank you, Magan!

February 18, 2013 - 7:56 pm

VeganYANerds - This is such a lovely, and personal review, Magan. I really want to read this and feel bad for having put it off for so long. I hope I enjoy it as much as you.

February 18, 2013 - 7:15 pm

Megan @ The Book Asylum - I love this review! Haven’t heard of the book or author before, but I just added it to my to-read pile.

Thanks for the recommendation!


February 18, 2013 - 4:53 pm

Stormy - LOVE your review. It’s always so nice when books become a little bit more and touch us because we feel like we’ve already in many ways crawled inside the pages and lived them. While browsing Goodreads one day, I found that Rainbow Rowell has a book called “Fangirl” that’s expecting release late this year, and the idea captivated me immediately, so I went to see her other books while realizing Eleanor and Park would be coming out soon. I’ve yet to read a negative review of this book.

February 18, 2013 - 3:38 pm

elena - this review is one of my favourites from you! LOVE! i have the uk edition of this book cos i couldn’t wait for it to be released but i love the us cover so much that i’m tempted to buy this too.

anyway, i really felt how personal it was to you in this review and i love that you found a book that resonated with you so much. i adore rainbow rowell’s writing. seriously. wow. this is such a good review, m. thank you so much for sharing.

February 18, 2013 - 1:15 pm

Cynthia - Oh man, I want this book so badly!! I’ve been dying for it since I first heard about it and I knew it had to be wonderful. Your review has made me want it even more. Can it be the 26th already?!!! Can’t wait to read it. =D

February 18, 2013 - 10:19 am

Brittany @ The Book Addict's Guide - YES. Beautifully written. I think the first thing I did when I finished was to thank Rainbow Rowell too. This was SUCH an amazing book and I did not expect to be so touched and so moved. I’m with you! I’d recommend this to anyone and everyone. It was amazing.

February 18, 2013 - 10:06 am

Bookworm1858 - Thanks for your lovely review-this is the next book in my to-read pile and I’m anticipating loving it.

February 18, 2013 - 9:58 am

Ginger @ GReads! - Oh Magan, this review is so perfect. There is no way to read this book and not make it personal. I loved that you shared your thoughts with me as you were venturing along Eleanor and Park’s journey. It was so beautiful to witness <3

February 18, 2013 - 9:44 am

Taylor @ Reading is the Thing - What a wonderful review. I love it when people find books that speak to them, as this one did to you. This is one of my most wanted books right now, and your review makes me want to read it even more.

February 18, 2013 - 12:49 am

Kailia @ Reading the Best of the Best - Oh Megan. I LOVED this review. First, I am in love with the simplicity of Eleanor and Park’s cover. So clean and beautiful. Your review almost made me cry and I am so happy that the author wrote such an authentic story. Often times, emotions like the ones you felt can be hard to come through with books (or is that just me?).

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