Thursday, April 4, 2013

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

Book:  Eleanor and Park
Author:  Rainbow Rowell
Publisher:  St. Martin’s Griffin
Date:  February, 2013
Source:  Publisher via Netgalley
My grade:  A++

Bono met his wife in high school, Park says.
So did Jerry Lee Lewis, Eleanor answers.
I’m not kidding, he says.
You should be, she says, we’re 16.
What about Romeo and Juliet?
Shallow, confused, then dead.

I love you, Park says.
Wherefore art thou, Eleanor answers.
I’m not kidding, he says.
You should be.

Set over the course of one school year in 1986, this is the story of two star-crossed misfits—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love—and just how hard it pulled you under.

Initial reaction
You know all the hype about this book?  BELIEVE IT ALL!!!!

Cover Story
I love this cover.  It’s simple and honest, sort of like the book.  And it fits the book perfectly, so I loved it even more when I finished the book.  The title works for me too.  Two thumbs up on this one!

What’s the Story?
Thank goodness I listened to Tara B. and went ahead and read this one.  I had a review copy of it, but I wasn’t sure if I would get to it.  No matter what, MAKE SURE THAT YOU GET TO THIS ONE ON YOUR TBR PILE!!!

This book was like a John Hughes movie in a book, complete with an 80s setting and some messed up kids!  I kept waiting for Judd Nelson to jump out from behind a bush or something.  And I mean that in a fabulous way here, people!  I mean, I saw The Breakfast Club in the movie theatre.  I thought this might just be a fluffy little novel about a couple of kids in the 80s, but just like The Breakfast Club, things below the surface are much deeper than they seem.

I loved Park.  He was a fabulous character.  But I may have loved his family even more!  This book had both the world’s best parents and the world’s worst parents, all within a couple of blocks from one another!  I liked Eleanor as well, but the tough issues she was dealing with made her a little abrasive and not as easy to love as Park.  But it was completely understandable, so I didn’t hold it against her.

I love the way the author moved back and forth between the 2 POVs.  It was fun to see what each character was thinking at each point in time and it worked really well.  It never felt chopped up or confusing at all.  Although reading from Eleanor’s POV was sometimes difficult and heartbreaking because of the horrible situation she was living in.

The only thing that bothered me is the ending.  I know that she sort of had to end it the way that she did, but I wish I could have gotten at least one more sentence.  When you read the book, you will know what that sentence is.  I don’t want to spoil the whole book for you by revealing it, but gosh, Ms. Rowell!  Really???  You could even just send me an email with the mystery sentence and I’d be happy, ok?
This is a book that will stay with me for a long time, but like those beloved John Hughes movies.  I already find myself thinking back to various parts of the book and pondering them.  I love it when books stick around in my brain, and I’m pretty sure that this is going to be one of those books.

The Soundtrack

You and Me by Lifehouse

With Me by Sum 41

The rest of the soundtrack has to be from the 80s, right?

If You Were Here by The Thompson Twins

In Your Eyes by Peter Gabriel

Left of Center by Suzanne Vega

If You Leave by Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark

Love Will Tear Us Apart by Joy Division

How Soon Is Now by The Smiths

The Final Grade
My final grade for this one is A++.  This novel totally lived up to the hype for me.  It was a sad and beautiful story that pulled at my heart strings in so many ways.  It also took me back to my own high school days in the 80s and, like Park, made me realize just how great I had it then.  It was such a simple book, yet so profound.  And it makes me want to pop some popcorn and have an 80s teen movie marathon in my living room!  Anyone want to come?

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