Eleanor and Park – Rainbow Rowell ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Before I review this beautiful story, I firstly want to address the matter on the current BLM movement. As many of you might be aware, there is currently a worldwide protest to end cruelty and discrimination against black people. This came after the unfortunate death of George Floyd who lost his life at the hands of a police officer. This wasn’t an onetime thing, and sadly, is something that happens constantly. We live in a terrible world where people are still judged by the colour of their skin and this needs to come to an end. By no means am I an educator or an expert on the matter of racism, I am still learning and educating myself but if you follow me on social media, you may have noticed I have spoken actively about this. I urge you all to do the same. It can be hard to make a voice, especially if you can’t find the right words to say, but sometimes you don’t need to say something to be heard. There are many great ways you can make an impact on this movement. Firstly, there are hundreds of pages you can donate too and thousands of petitions you can sign that will help massively. You can educate yourself through books and memoirs, help black businesses and even attend a protest near your local town. Make yourself aware of the world around you. Most of us have kept a blind eye until now, but we need to be better and help fight this fight to finally end racism for once and for all and make black lives finally matter. Visit blacklivesmatter.com for more information.

Black Lives Matter" Art Print by cvx-official | Redbubble

Eleanor and Park Review ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Eleanor is the new girl in town, and with her chaotic family life, her mismatched clothes and unruly hair, she couldn’t stick out more if she tried.

Park is the boy at the back of the bus. Black T-shirts, headphones, head in a book – he thinks he’s made himself invisible. But not to Eleanor…Never to Eleanor.

Eleanor and Park is one of those books I still think about days after I finish reading, it had me hooked from the first page and it’s still reeling me in. It is one of those books that I show when someone asks, ‘why do you love reading?’. Eleanor and Park make me realise the fascination and fondness I have for romance novels and are an example of why they are my favourite genre. 

I am so happy I finally got around to reading this book, especially after it has been sitting on my shelf for over a year. Written by Rainbow Rowell, Eleanor and Park is her first novel. Since then she went on to write other bestsellers, such as Fangirl and Carry On. (Let me know what you thought of these in the comments). What I loved most about this book was how it is written in the style of each character’s perspective, alternating 2 or 3 times each chapter. Although this was unusual for me to read, since I often read books that are solely based on one character, I did really enjoy reading both characters thoughts and feelings. I also loved how she had written it so both characters were the main character. Since the book is called Eleanor and Park, and not just Eleanor, or Park. 

If you’re not sure what Eleanor and Park are about, it is a beautiful story that follows the lives of the two teenage outcasts living in the ’80s. Park, the quiet Asian boy who sits alone on the bus every day and Eleanor, the flaming red-haired and quirky new girl. The two are completely different. Whereas Park has mastered being invisible by his peers so he can get through the school year, Eleanor, had not. So, when Eleanor sits down next to Park on the school bus it is an awkward and quiet interaction until they finally find something in common…Eleanor and Park is a great novel for lovers of YA books, particularly those who are lovers of John Green’s Looking For Alaska. 

But this isn’t your stereotypical YA romance, however, as Eleanor and Park truly captivate a realism on young people. From how they meet (and fall in love), to the issues and the complications they face in their everyday lives Rowell has done an amazing job on capturing the real world. As the novel goes on, the characters become more and more relatable to my childhood, and this is what made the book so special to me, I relate to Eleanor as my 17 years old self, and sometimes still do in my 20’s. There are so many moments in the book where I would’ve had, or already have done, the same thing. For example; Being annoying and mean to get out of serious conversations or using sarcasm to hide real feelings.

Rowell couldn’t have written a better love story on ‘first love’. Her accuracy in first situations such as hand-holding, the first kiss and the struggle to be alone together is magnificent, (let’s not forget that awkward back of the car moment most young teenagers have faced.)

The only issue I had with this book was the ending. And I know that you’re reading this and thinking, “oh I don’t want to read it then if you think the ending was bad.” But the ending wasn’t bad, the ending was pure and emotional, and I loved it. It was just…different. Eleanor and Park ends with a lot of questions, and yes, I did stay up until 3am trying to find answers to those questions. I must confess though that I’m not an entirely huge fan on endings that leave me wondering. When the book finished, I found myself asking the simplest things that any book reader would want to know. What happened to the other characters? How did they end up where they are now? What did she write to him? Unfortunately, the ending did feel rushed, which might be a reason for the lack of closure in certain aspects, although Rowell has commented on why she ended it the way she did. Hopefully, one day she’ll do a sequel where they are all grown up and we’ll get the answers we deserve. 

Thankfully, my love for the story overall outweighs my dislike for the uncertainty end, and I see myself reading it all over again in the upcoming months. 

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