Friday, 21 February 2014

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor & ParkEleanor is the new girl in town, and with her chaotic family life, her mismatched clothes and unruly red hair, she couldn't stick out more if she tried. 

 Park is the boy at the back of the bus. Black T-shirts, headphones, head in a book - he thinks he's made himself invisible. But not to Eleanor... never to Eleanor. 

 Slowly, steadily, through late-night conversations and an ever-growing stack of mix tapes, Eleanor and Park fall for each other. They fall in love the way you do the first time, when you're young, and you feel as if you have nothing and everything to lose.

I had no idea how much I would love this book. Eleanor & Park was one of those books that you can say is one of a kind. I'd heard plenty of amazing things about this book from several very different book bloggers and so when it finally arrived in my local Waterstones I had to buy it!

Rowell's first YA novel takes place in Nebraska, 1986 where two teenagers - Eleanor and Park happen to meet and develop an unlikely friendship through sitting on the school bus next to each other. One of the things that I liked about this book was how in spite of being so uniquely diverse characters that are incredibly different from one another, through comic books and mix tapes they become good friends. Eventually a romance developed between the characters which was sort of inevitable. But there was one key difference. The fact that their relationship took time to develop made it that little bit more realistic. There were a lot of obstacles during their friendship and their romantic relationship but they got there eventually.

I really felt sorry for Eleanor, it's not often that you feel great, great sympathy for characters and this was one of those times when I really did. She has had an incredibly difficult life that continues to go on and the only person she has really been able to confide in is Park. Eleanor represented many issues within the book such as bullying, abuse and body image and I feel that Rainbow Rowell wrote these themes into the plot brilliantly and although there wasn't a huge amount of drama (which isn't always necessary in books) I think the ultimate climax in the book tied everything together and completed the book. 

This is one of those stories where although I'm going to give it the glowing rating that I'm going to I don't feel like I should. I loved the book but afterwards I felt empty and confused. I wasn't buzzing with excitement over the phenomenal book I'd just finished. I felt quiet. As I said at the beginning, this is a book like no other and this is a new kind of five star, the quiet, retrospective type that fully deserves it.

Holly x

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