Review of ‘Eleanor and Park’ by Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor and ParkI love love love love this book! If only I had read it a couple of days early, it would have been the second five star book on my Top Ten Tuesday list of the best books I’ve read this year!

I pretty much loved this book from the very beginning. It’s the first book I’ve read in ages that made me want to stay up all night to finish it but also stretch reading out for as long as possible to savour its perfection.

This is probably the most perfect romance I have ever read. There are so many amazing moments. When Eleanor and Park hold hands for the first time I almost squealed! It’s kind of an opposites attract love story but at the same time they have so much in common in terms of their interests and their perceived outsider status that they are ideal for each other.

I love that throughout the book there’s never any doubt that they love each other and will always feel that way, even if Eleanor never says it. Despite the ambiguous ending I’m going to believe they end up together in the end!

I love the fact that Park is somehow both perfect (as YA boyfriends usually are) at the same time as having lots of realistic human flaws, such as self-consciousness and caring too much about what other people think.

Rowell describes wonderfully what it feels like to be an overweight teenager and see yourself as much bulkier than you actually are. She also looks insightfully at the self-image issues which come with being a mixed race kid in an all-American family/neighbourhood.

There are lots of gentle references to 80’s pop culture but it’s not too heavily laid on as it sometimes can be in ‘period pieces’.

I think it’s fairly obvious from the number of times I’ve used the word ‘perfect’ (or tried to find substitutes) that I thought this book was wonderful, flawless, superlative. I’ll definitely be reading more Rainbow Rowell books in the future.

I also now have a book set in Nebraska to add to my US state book challenge and another for my books that made me cry list. 🙂

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