Eleanor… Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough.
Park… He knows she’ll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There’s a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises.
Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.
I loved this novel – it’s heartbreaking but cute, sad but lovely. The relationship between Eleanor and Park seems organic. They aren’t the typical love interests of a YA novel, and I liked that. They bonded over comic books and music, and barely spoke to each other for the first couple of weeks of knowing each other.
Eleanor’s home life was the heartbreaking part of the story, and Park’s inability to help her was the saddest part of the story. In some way, you feel like they won’t end up together, and you read the entire novel hoping you’re wrong.
The dialogue and social interactions between Eleanor, Park, and the other students at their school is extremely realistic – the trivial issues that face high school students were also on point in the novel. This book is an easy read, and there are short chapters/sections for the reader.
The characters are wonderful – Rainbow Rowell has fleshed them out so they’re believable and realistic and easy to love and care for. And the description in the book is fantastic. Everything is so vividly described, but it’s not over the top. You get just enough information so that the story moves along quickly without you being bombarded by description of people, places, events etc.
I did have one absolute PET HATE with this book, and that was the point of view. The entire novel is in third person, but it switches between Eleanor and Park. This means that although it’s third person, each section focuses on either Eleanor’s feelings or Park’s feelings. And although this would’ve been fantastic if it was in first person, where their feelings can be easily stated, I hated that it was third person. It made things a bit clunky and heavy. Sometimes Park would only have one line (in third person) and then it would switch to one line from Eleanor’s third person point of view, and I’d think ‘what’s the point? why not make this first person and switch between their thoughts with a much smoother transition?’
Anyway, this novel is gripping and lovely and I recommend it to all you YA lovers out there.