2.5 stars, Reviews
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Book Review: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

This is one of those books that Tumblr raves about, which had been sitting on my shelf for so long unread. But I finally just decided to get it off Audible. I was expecting to love this book and thought it would be completely soul-crushing, but honestly I didn’t love it. It didn’t make me feel anything but some slight nostalgia of what teen love was like. But that’s pretty much it.

What it’s about: Eleanor is finally allowed to come home after being kicked out one year earlier. On her first day at school she meets Park on the bus, and they start up a forbidden romance. Why forbidden? you ask. Because Eleanor’s stepfather is a psycho.

What did I think: Honestly, I didn’t love it. Due to my black black heart and love of magic, Contemporary Romance isn’t my favourite genre to begin, but I was expecting to like this a lot more than I did.

I think the main reason I didn’t love this was that I didn’t really like Eleanor, like at all. She felt like a parody rather than a real person. I kept rolling my eyes at her constantly. On the other hand, I actually quite liked Park (and his mum despite her old fashioned values). I felt like their relationship was very one sided. Park just gave 100 % to Eleanor and she honestly didn’t really give much back. She often wasn’t even nice to him. I often felt bad for Park for dating Eleanor. There is a part in this book where Eleanor asks Park why he likes her and he can’t give an answer, and all I could think was that I also didn’t understand why he liked her.

I thought Rainbow Rowell captured that sweetness and insanity of teen love really well and it really took me back to relationships I had when I was a teenager. I hope it’s still like that for kids today. But I did find it a bit immature for an old married dame like me.

I also really liked that park had a teen love story with a fat female character and the focus of the book wasn’t the fact that she was fat. Her size just wasn’t an issue in their relationship.

“Eleanor was right. She never looked nice. She looked like art, and art wasn’t supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something.”

This book does examine some important issues like bullying, gender roles, domestic violence etc. and I’m sure that lovers of contemporary romance would probably enjoy this a lot more than I did. And clearly there are a lot of lovers of this book out there. I am just not one of them.

As for the audiobook part of this review, this was a really good narration. There were two different narrators (one for Eleanor and one for Park) and both gave a really genuine performance as if they were their characters.

I rate it 2.5 stars. 

Find it here: 

Goodreads. Amazon. The Book Depository. Kobo. Audible.


  1. I didn’t love Eleanor & Park as much as Fangirl. And I think you’ve pretty much outlined why — Eleanor doesn’t seem to really did Park all that much. :/ It felt like she was being a bit opportunistic with him? And then I feel bad thinking that because of her terrible home life. But still, the ending. That’s cold.


  2. Cait @ Paper Fury says

    “Due to my black black heart and love of magic, Contemporary Romance isn’t my favourite genre to begin, OMG ARE YOU ME, TINA?! THIS IS EXACTLY ME TOO. XD I always have such a tough time with contemporaries. I want to like them! But…I need me some blood and war and dragons, preferably. *heavy sigh* So I did like this more than you did, but not nearly as much as I thought I would D: Everyone raves about it?! But…why?! I mean, it was cute, and I LOVE how comics got them together. But yeah…I didn’t really feel anything for Eleanor. I get that she’s abused by her horrible step-father and neglected by her mother/real father, but I still…yeah. No connection. 😦


  3. missdarcy87 says

    I agree with a lot of your review. This was my least favorite of Rowell’s books.


  4. Since I loved Fangirl, I was excepting to love this book too. Like you, I was terribly disappointed. I felt so bad because everyone else seemed to love it! But I’m so glad I’m not alone! Hilarious review!


    • I still want to read Fangirl despite not enjoying this book. I was so confused because I’d never seen anyone else not like it and I was like ‘but… how? I don’t get it!’ so it’s good that I’m not the only one.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I am so glad you didn’t love it. I didn’t either and I felt like such a grouch with everyone raving about it. I agree with everything you said about it! Great review.


  6. Pingback: August Wrap Up and Book Haul | Read the Bloody Book

  7. ivymanhattan says

    I only read Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell so far and heard so many good things about Eleanor & Park that I ordered it like a couple of days ago. I’m really excited to read this one because i LOVED Fangirl so much but now after reading your review I’m kinda scared too that I’ll be also kind of disappointed. But I’ll see 🙂 great review by the way!


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