Read from August 08 to 10, 2013
Review originally posted on August 11, 2013
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.
Awww, this book is so freaking beautiful! My expectations about this book is quite high because I learned that this book was recommended by John Green, and you know how much I love JG! Anyway, I'm happy to say that the book did not disappoint.
Eleanor & Park is a story about two students in Omaha, Nebraska back in 1986. Park is a half-Korean, comic collector and a music enthusiast while Eleanor is the new white kid in school which everyone seems to dislike. Park felt out of placed because of his Korean features, Eleanor on the other hand is unhappy with her figure and her bloody red hair. While Park's home life is happy and satisfactory, Eleanor's was crappy and oh so horrible. Despite their differences the two found something in each other while they ride the bus to and from school.
So, what did I like in this book? Tons! First of all, I loved how the relationship between the two developed. It wasn't instant. What they have is an innocent and sweet kind of relationship, it was so cute. They are just perfect for each other. I loved how Park throws bits of kindness to Eleanor's way when they are together, because that little bit of kindness made a lot of difference in Eleanor's day. If Park is kind, Eleanor is such a brave character. For me, she's a bad-ass. Despite how she was treated both in home and school, she still have the energy to wake up each morning and face those horrible people every freaking day. She can even do it with an empty stomach, how bad-ass is that?
‘In big family,’ she said, ‘everything … everybody spread so thin. Thin like paper, you know?’ She made a tearing gesture. ‘You know?’I could've quoted one of so many cute and sweet dialogues between Eleanor and Park but Mindy's (Park's mom) emotional break down after seeing Eleanor and her family in the grocery store almost made me cry. Yup, surprisingly, the book didn't made me cry! It made me feel warm and fuzzy inside though. Anyway, I felt my heart clench when Mindy broke down and tried to explain to Park how she can relate to Eleanor's situation. If Mindy was born after the Korean War, and with a large family like she had, it must have been really hard for her parents to feed them all. It was an eye-opening moment for Mindy because of all people, she should be the last one to judge Eleanor because of her appearance and where she came from. Eleanor looks the way she is not because she wanted to but because she doesn't have a choice. That part is just, ahhhhhh, very heart warming.
So why didn't I give it a perfect 5-star rating? The book was set in 1986...I was born in 1987. There are a few references in there that I didn't get at all. I had to stop reading and search some facts over the internet. I love the music though. Eleanor wasn't the only one who learned stuff about music in this book, I did too!
Let's talk about the ending. Unlike most of the people who read the book, I'm pretty much satisfied with how things ended. It's an HEA, what more can I ask for? I think it's realistic that it took Eleanor almost a year to send him a postcard because I believe emotionally wounded people like Eleanor needs time to recover before entering into a relationship again. I think, Eleanor needed to feel whole again before she can share herself to the person she cared the most---and I liked that. You know the saying: "It gets worse before it gets better."? That's exactly what happened to Eleanor and Park.
Overall, the book is such an amazing read. I highly recommend it to people who love to read YA contemporaries.
For people who read and loved Eleanor & Park, I recommend the following books to you:
Sophie & Carter
Heart on a Chain (this one is very similar to Eleanor & Park's story, but I think it's more intense because it made me bawl like a baby)
Callum & Harper
RATING: 4.5 Fairy Wings!