Author: Rainbow Rowell lives in Omaha, Nebraska, with her husband and two sons. She’s also the author of Attachments and Fangirl. I tried to Wiki her, but I couldn’t find anything, so I settled some description from her book.
Illustrator: Harriett Russell, Copyright 2013, 358 Wonderful Pages
Eleanor and Park, as what John Green said, reminds us not just what it’s like to be young and in love with a girl or a boy, but also what it’s like to be young and in love with a book. Absolutely, absolutely correct. The book reminded me of high school, where everything was messed up and yet the day seems brighter when that cute guy is around to tease you or walk to you class. Eleanor and Park is a simple book. It isn’t hard to understand and it’s witty, funny and there’s a nice balance of light and dark.
Eleanor is witty and strong but deep down, she’s still a 16-year old girl who has issues with her body, with her hair, with her clothes, and with boys. A typical high school girl with a messed-up family. Park was the opposite. He belonged to the cool group, nobody messes up with him but battles out racism being a tanned-half Korean in his neighborhood full of whites.
The setting was a small town – Omaha, Nebraska. They ride on a school bus every morning and after school. The ride paved way for feelings to develop gradually, for the two people to see the tip of the ice berg. It was good, it was simple, it was really high school – with a bunch of jerks and meanies all around.
The two teenagers each had its own struggles, but instead of dealing those on their own, they had each other’s backs and the world seems a little nicer. Eleanor and Park brings us back to what it was be a teenager, to sneak out and never let our parents know we are seeing someone; to just know and feel that someone’s gonna be there, and not run away whether the person comes to know our darkest secrets. It was like opening your young souls, letting the good things practically last forever, and yet being aware that nothing lasts in high school.
“Eleanor hadn’t written him a letter, it was a postcard. Just three words long.” Unless you wanted to.
What I didn’t like: The ending. After reading Eleanor and Park, and Fangirl — both from Rainbow Rowell, I figured out that’s how Rainbow wants her stories to end. It leaves a mark, making you wonder and think about what happened next, how were the characters ended up, how were they gonna move on, how were they gonna survive the next few years? It leaves you questioning, and I think as a writer, she nailed it. She made her readers wonder, and probably wonder forever, until she decides to make a book with all of her books’ proper endings. It ended waaayyy too soon than I was expecting.
What I liked: The character development. How a character gets better and better as time passes by, whether its because by loving a boy, or reconciling with a sister, or just by being honest to the folks. It was always starting out in an awkward person to a wonderful one. And the wonderfulness was just there, on the inner veins, on the deeper part of the skin, and then she beams it out like sunflowers smiling at the sun. The characters are refreshing. It was never the whole cliched badboy-turned-to-good-boy nor the whole badboys-are-hotter-than-gentleman-or-nerds-or-good-ones. Or maybe I was never into those.
4 out of 5 hearts.