Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell is an adorable and heart-wrenching coming of age story.
One extraordinary love.”
That quote from the blurb is a very good summary of this lovely, but sad, love story. It was not the best of Rainbow Rowell’s books (I loved Carry On to pieces!) but I really enjoyed it nevertheless. This is a cute and fluffy YA contemporary read but it also has a lot of serious moments with child abuse and negligence.
My heart went out for both Eleanor and Park while reading this book. They both had so much to struggle with, especially Eleanor with her horrible home life and her mother, and her own appearance (“Red hair, wrong clothes.”).
I also really loved the pop references and that the book took place in the 80s.
I am not sure how I feel about the ending though, I both love it and hate it… I think the book would have benefited from a more bombastic ending somehow. All the time while reading, I kind of waited for something more or bigger to happen.
All in all, if you haven’t read any of Rainbow Rowell’s books I would recommend you to start with Carry On, but after that, this is a really cute read as well.
Find out more about the book and the author here: Rainbow Rowell
I’m so happy, I’ve found a new favorite book and favorite author, Carry On by Rainbow Rowell. I love this book! It kept me up all night, I just couldn’t put it down. I love the way Rainbow Rowell keeps you in suspense. This is the complete opposite of insta love, you have to wait almost the whole book to find out if the two main characters love each other or hate each other, if they will end up together or if they will kill each other first. So good! And so mean to the reader, it makes the story completely addictive and deprives you of sleep... I love Rainbow Rowell’s writing style with all the different POVs and the fast pace and the way she entrangles the background story. And the world building and the plot and the characters. Alright, let’s face it, I love everything about this book!
Carry On is something of a fan fiction for Harry Potter. It is also a spin-off from Rainbow Rowells’ book Fangirl, where Simon Snow began his life as a fictional character. In the beginning it’s quite easy to pick out the similarities between Carry On and Harry Potter – Simon/Harry, all the things about being the “chosen one”, Baz/Draco, Penelope/Hermione, Watford/Hogwarts, the Humdrum/Voldemort etc - but this story very soon takes its own completely unique direction and it’s definitely not a rip-off of any kind.
This story is about Simon Snow (“the worst chosen one who’s ever been chosen”), Baz (Simon’s roommate who “might be evil and a vampire and a complete grit”), Penelope (Simon’s best friend) and Agatha (Simon’s girlfriend who breaks up with him right from the start of the book). The story is told from all their different views, as well as from some more characters, and it’s written in a fast, witty style, that gives you all the information right from the start; who’s who, what they think and feel, their backgrounds. You also get the mystery part right from the start and then you can’t wait to read on to figure out how everything comes together –and most of all, will Simon and Baz end up together, or what?
I loved the characters so much (except for Agatha). Simon is so sweet and adorable. Rainbow Rowell did such a fantastic job to describe his struggle with himself, and how he’s definitely not perfect in any way, that I immediately took him to my heart. Penelope is badass, bossy, bold, smart and possibly the best friend ever. And Baz. Oh, I love Baz. He’s my favorite book boyfriend right now! I love that you didn’t know what to expect from him in the beginning, thinking that he might be the villain, a snobby bully, but how he develops through the story to this absolutely amazing, funny and wonderful person.
I also love Rainbow Rowell’s style of writing so much! Since it’s a standalone, the pace is very different from many other YA fantasy books and it’s much more quirky and fun. I love the way she constantly kept you guessing to what was going to happen next and how the mystery ran its course, but without actually being the main drive of the story. Instead it was the characters and their feelings and the dialogues that lead the story in such an amazing and addictive way.
The only negative thing I can say about this book is that it is a standalone, since I’d love to read more about Simon and Baz. I don’t feel like I’ve had anywhere near enough of them. They will always have a special place in my heart and I know I will keep thinking about them a long time ahead.
Find out more about the books and the author here: Rainbow Rowell
Hi! I'm Annie, a Swedish bookworm, YA addict and coffee lover, who writes romantic YA books in English. I'm the author of the Angelheart Saga series (First Came Forever and Forever Disguised).
I love YA books and want to share what I read with you too, so check out my reading tips here!
Below you can find the reviews per author as well.