Eleanor & Park | Rainbow Rowell

You by Caroline Kepnes (5)

Synopsis: Two misfits.
One extraordinary love.

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…Eleanor.

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…Park.

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.  (Goodreads)

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Opinion: This book is really a very popular book in the book-community, but I was not that blown away by it actually. I liked the concept of the story. Seeing two totally different and strong personalities connect in such a fragile way, was something I found really appealing. I really enjoyed the book until I got to the last parts. I expected more character development and a totally different ending, but I still loved the story, though!

Eleanor was a really fascinating character to read about. She’s really insecure and she wouldn’t let anyone get too close (physically and emotionally). She has fire-red hair and struggles with her body weight. I think that’s an interesting character to write about too, because in this century there are a lot of girls who also struggle with their self image, like Eleanor. There is a great part of young girls who feel insecure about their bodies and I thought this book kind of needed to have more character development on Eleanor. But I do admire Rainbow Rowell for not writing about a beautiful girl that every guy finds attractive, which is far more easy to write about, I think. Eleanor was special in her own way and that’s why a lot of people were probably drawn to her, like me.

But overall I though that the characters in the story were very realistic. Park felt like a typical teenage boy to me. Kind of insecure and not really knowing what he really wants in life. And although the story was set in the eighties, I thought it was very similar to our society.

I expected a little more of the romance. I think with the high expectations, it let me think all sort of things about this book, but it didn’t quite live up to my expectations. I just wanted Eleanor to feel more comfortable with Park and I wanted him to be the one she could totally be herself with. Her confidence did evolve, but I really wanted her to feel comfortable in her own skin. I kind of thought the story to be a little too short, it ended way to fast to be a standalone. For me, open endings are very tricky. It can either empower me, or it can make me somewhat unsatisfied, like this book did. I wanted just to know more. But the beauty about an open ending is also that everyone could think of their own personal ending. The can story can end in the way you find the book the most beautiful.

I’d still recommend this book to all YA and older readers. It has a lot of aspects where a teenager can relate to, what feelings and self image concerns. This book left me emotionally touched and it made me thing a lot about myself and society.

Thank you so much for reading!Liesje


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