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.
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