book cover for Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

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,
Magan

Rather Be Reading Buy It Icon

Goodreads | Amazon

49 thoughts on “Magan: Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

  1. Kailia @ Reading the Best of the Best says:

    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?).

    • Magan says:

      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! πŸ™‚

    • Magan says:

      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!

  2. Ginger @ GReads! says:

    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

    • Magan says:

      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

    • Magan says:

      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! πŸ™‚

  3. Cynthia says:

    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

    • Magan says:

      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!

  4. elena says:

    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.

    • Magan says:

      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!

  5. Stormy says:

    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.

    • Magan says:

      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!

  6. Asheley Tart (@BookwormAsheley) says:

    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.

    • Magan says:

      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.

  7. Tabitha S. says:

    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!!

    • Magan says:

      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! πŸ™‚

  8. Rachel says:

    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.

    • Magan says:

      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!

  9. Lori says:

    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.

    • Magan says:

      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!

    • Magan says:

      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. πŸ™‚

  10. April @ Books And Wine says:

    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.

    <333

  11. Isa says:

    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.

  12. Alexa Y. says:

    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 πŸ™‚

  13. Jessica - Sweet Green Tangerine says:

    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. πŸ™‚

  14. Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl says:

    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. πŸ™‚ Thanks for your review!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *