Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Review of Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell + Giveaway!

Eleanor & Park "Bono met his wife in high school," Park says.
"So did Jerry Lee Lewis," Eleanor answers.
"I’m not kidding," he says.
"You should be," she says, "we’re sixteen."
"What about Romeo and Juliet?"
"Shallow, confused, then dead."
''I love you," Park says.
"Wherefore art thou," Eleanor answers.
"I’m not kidding," he says.
"You should be."

Set over the course of one school year in 1986, ELEANOR AND PARK is the story of two star-crossed misfits – smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love – and just how hard it pulled you under.


(Summary from GoodReads)

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Even though I read the synopsis of Eleanor and Park and peered at several reviews of it before requesting it via NetGalley, I was particularly surprised by what I found.  Yes, this is a book that’s set in the 1980s, and yes, I was only alive for two years of that era, so I wasn’t really sure how the setting and pop culture would be different.  As it turns out, Rowell’s novel contains some difficult subject matter that perfectly show cases the ups and downs of young love.

Eleanor and Park are thrown together because they are both misfits. Park listens to quirky music and reads comics while Eleanor is the new girl who is redheaded, a quirky dresser, and overweight.  In addition to standing out amongst her peers, Eleanor has problems at home—problems that I won’t name because otherwise this review will turn much too spoilery.

To be honest, I’m a little surprised that I liked Eleanor and Park as main characters. If I knew them in real life, I’m sure I’d think they were both cool, but would have little to talk to either of them about.  The reason that they are both so amazing, though, is that Rowell leaves no holes in her characterization.  She doesn’t just talk about what they both love but details the annoying things their families do that are embarrassing or awkward when you’re sixteen.

The plot of this book is where it gets really heavy.  There are some gut wrenching scenes that will leave you positively aching for these characters.  The last scene especially drove me crazy because I just wasn’t ready for the story to end where it did.

Eleanor and Park may sound like a novel that will only appeal to a few readers because the era its set in is an unusual choice for YA, but I can assure you that’s not the case.  As I read this book, I was brought back to my own teenage years many times, and found that even as an adult, I can still relate to some of what Eleanor and Park go through.  I highly suggest getting this one for yourself, and luckily, the folks at Saint Martin's Press have offered up a copy for me to give to you guys.

Giveaway rules
*One finished copy of Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell is up for grabs.
*Must be 13 years of age or older
*Open to US readers only.  Sorry international folks!
*The giveaway ends at 11:59 p.m. on March 11th.

15 comments:

  1. I've heard so many great things about this read from the blogging world! I actually went and requested it from my library a few weeks ago via audiobook (even though it wasn't available going to be checked out until the day of release). I'm glad to hear you liked it, too! I'm so excited to give it a try :)

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  2. Like Farrah I've heard some great things about this one! Plus it looks sooo cute!!! :)

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  3. I got through about half of this before I had to put it down... it was getting too heavy for me at that point in time. I'd love to get back into it though, since I think my NetGalley copy is probably expired by now.

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  4. I really cannot wait to read this book! I'm not sure how I missed it on NetGalley but I'm supremely disappointed I missed out on a book so many people have enjoyed. Thanks so much for the giveaway Liz!

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  5. When this book’s cover and blurb were first released, I was a bit conflicted and unsure as to whether or not it was really for me. But now the reviews are coming in, overwhelmingly positive, I’m really getting excited for this book. It seems quirky and realistic, with lots of room for character development and emotional connection on the reader’s part. I’m really glad you liked this, Liz!

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  6. After reading your review, I will give this book a try. I was going to pass on this one because it set in 1980 and I am just not into that era =X

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  7. I haven't heard a lot about this book, but what I have read (review-wise) have all been positive!! can't wait to read this one!! Thanks so much for the giveaway Liz!!

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  8. I adored this book too-an absolutely fantastic read that I was not expecting. I've never thought of myself as a big fan of the 80s but it doesn't even matter because the characters, relationships, and writing are what make this book.

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  10. I went from age 10 to age 20 in the 80's so I am a complete child of the 80's!! I need to read this book for sure :) Sounds really good too.

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  11. I'm so stoked to read this. I wish I was born early enough to experience the 80's.

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  13. I've heard this one recommended to fans of Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo, which obviously means I must read it immediately. Thanks for the giveaway!

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  14. I've heard great things about this book! :) I can't wait to read it. <3 I love the cover, it's so cute <3

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  15. Thanks for directing me here Liz!

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