Book Review | Eleanor and Park

“Tell us, why has Romeo and Juliet survived four hundred years?”

“Because… because people want to remember what it’s like to be young? And in love? Is that right?”

Oh, it’s definitely right. And that is just how Eleanor and Park made me feel — young and in love.

Like Romeo and Juliet, Park Sheridan and Eleanor Douglas are star-crossed teen lovers. Park is a half-Korean, half-Irish dude who seems to have a perfect life, not to mention a perfect family. He seems to have everything a guy his age wants. Band shirts, comics and punk music are a few of his interests. He has friends but most of the time he tries to keep to himself and stay out in everyone’s way.

Eleanor, on the other hand, is a curly-red-haired, fat girl who seems to always wear the wrong outfit. She has a family that is dysfunctional. Her parents were divorced and her mother was remarried to a very mean heavy drinker who physically and emotionally hurts her.

Their love story began on Eleanor’s first day of school when she was somehow reluctantly saved by Park while she was being picked on by the rest of the kids inside the school bus. Park offered the seat beside him when other kids gave him the you-can’t-sit-with-us look. From then on, their admiration for each other slowly unfolded – from sharing comic books and mix tapes to kissing with tongue in the bus.

Well, I have to commend Rainbow Rowell for writing and publishing such an adorable novel. Her ability to make her readers adapt to ages, times and even emotions is exceptional. If I gave Attachments one million stars over five, I think I’m giving Eleanor and Park half-a-million. Why, I’ve never read anything quite like it. I think it’s in the graphic and very descriptive writing style of the author where I got to experience all the insecurities and butterflies that the characters went through.

I highly recommend this book for fans of young-adult contemporary romance. The characters are so real you’ll almost feel the electric kilig like you’re part of their conversations. Park’s protectiveness towards Eleanor is almost too good to be true considering that Eleanor was at first judged by his family and friends but nevertheless, that gives him so much pogi points. Teenage girls who have read this book, especially those who do not feel secure about themselves, surely consider Park as their ideal guy.

The conflict in the story does not only involve Eleanor’s stepfather but society as well. Eleanor tries to ignore annoying girls who gossip a lot, and she tries to fight her insecurity on the thought that a fairy tale ending can never happen to a misfit like her. What’s amazing is that at first you’d think they will never handle the struggle because that’s how first love is supposed to be, but they did, apparently. The ending has got me going and I think it was just resolved enough with the unstated three words.

It is easy to read although the theme is pretty heavy. It is of dealing family problems and people’s judgments. It is of two people finding each other and then being strong enough to grow apart to save themselves.

I also recommend this for fans of the 80s pop-culture. There are a lot of references on 80s music, Star Wars and Watchmen.

Overall, the story is adorably different and I never mind losing sleep just to read it again.

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