Book Review: Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

Five days later, I am back!

Hey guys, long time no post, I know. Well you see, I have actually spent the last two days at an MUN conference! By last two days, I mean the whole day, leaving at 8:15 am and reaching home by 9 pm. On Saturday, the day we had the socials, I honestly couldn’t even process my thoughts because I was so tired. I came home, ate, and collapsed on my bed, only to wake up early again the next day. It was an insanely fun experience, and I love the whole concept of MUNning anyway. This time, my committee was super different and cool, which I will be talking about in my upcoming post on Wednesday, so stay tuned 🙂 .

Anyway, that is why I missed Saturday’s post, and as for Friday, I literally spent the entire day trying to get as much last-minute research done, planning my speeches, and being a nervous wreck.

But don’t worry, MUN is over now and we’re gonna go back to normal with the posts.

It’s been quite a while since I posted a book review, so here is one for you! I think this will be my first book review which is more negative than positive. I really expected this book to be very different, because I absolutely fell in love with Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, and I don’t know how I ended up disliking this book, from the same author, so much.

Let’s get on with the review!


Eleanor and Park, as you can probably tell by the name, is a teenage romance novel. Eleanor is the new girl in town, and probably the weirdest one. She wears all sorts of strange objects in her hair and sometimes pins them to her horrendously (but intentionally) mismatched clothes, and does her very best to stand out. She is not at all easily accepted in her new school, especially because of her slightly larger body type, and gets shunned out on her very first day when she attempts to sit next to the cool kid, Park. Park is a Korean-American kid who is the classic ‘strong, silent’ type. Dark and brooding, he buries himself in his comic books and sits at the back of his bus with his headphones firmly in his ears. Eleanor deals with very complicated family issues and Park has some of his own. Through manga, mix tapes, and late-night chats, these two teenagers fall in love, and this is the story of how they did.


It is extremely rare that I do not connect with the characters, or at least the protagonist, of any story. However, it happened here. It did. I understand how Rainbow tries to make Eleanor very strange and unique in a good way, but it just did not sit well with me. I couldn’t grasp much of her personality even after reading the book twice, probably because her character was not developed enough for me. By that, I mean that there wasn’t much to her except for a very weird dressing sense and some hardcore family problems. I didn’t care for her behaviour or the way she thinks, it was just too meh for me. Park, on the other hand was okay. He could have been a little more interesting, I feel, but I took a liking to his fully-developed personality and even how he processes things in his mind. I loved his reactions to certain events, how he describes his family, how firm-willed he is, and even how mysterious he is. Since the story, understandably, revolves only around these two people, the side characters were mostly irrelevant and did not make any kind of impression on me, which is fine, because hey, it’s literally called ‘Eleanor and Park’. It’s gonna be about them.


I am one of those readers who hates to hate a book. It’s true. Even if a particular novel *cough* this one *cough* is absolutely terrible and I know it, I will try to find good things in it desperately because I do not like disliking books. This one, though, oh dear lord. What a train wreck. I know, that’s harsh, but let me explain. First, I CANNOT EVEN BEGIN TO TELL YOU how frustrated I was when I realised how INSANELY OVERDONE this plot was. I adore Rainbow Rowell’s work and I was expecting so much more. I mean, come one, weird new girl who doesn’t fit in and the cool guy who sits at the back of the bus fall in love, WHERE HAVE I SEEN THAT BEFORE?! Only in countless other movies and books, and I am SICK of it now. This plot couldn’t possibly be more clichéd, and worst of all, it was lacking substance. In places, I felt like this book should be called ‘Eleanor and Park’s Troubled Family Life‘. I appreciate how Rainbow tried to make her characters more interesting, but it was executed poorly. In many places, the abuse was handled very insensitively, and it seemed to take over the whole storyline. Also, WHY can’t there be more good parents in YA? I have seen this side of families too much and it is stressing me out, and it’s not just that, I would have been absolutely fine with it if the issue was handled well, which in this case, I’m sorry to say, it wasn’t. Such a let-down after Rainbow Rowell’s other fantastic works. The plot went in circles, it was clichéd and overdone, and everything about it was yawn-inducing.


I don’t have any major problems with the writing of this book. I bought it based solely on the impression ‘Fangirl’ had on me, and although this book wasn’t nearly as good, it still had most of Rainbow’s charm, writing-wise. One thing I loved was the dual perspective. I can’t imagine the story being told from any one point of view. However, the ending was SUPER ambiguous, and not even in the good way, and it was very, very easy to predict what will happen next. Meh.


Again, meh. It was a regular paperback, nothing special. The font size was good, easy to read, but it wasn’t a floppy paperback which meant I could only open it a very little bit because of my intense fear of cracking the spine. Although, that’s probably just me, so don’t judge it based on that 🙂 .


I think ‘nothing special’ pretty much sums up this story. I’m sorry, Rainbow, I really wanted to love it. The storyline was much too overdone and lacked substance, the characters weren’t lovable, and I felt like I was going in circles while reading it.

My Star Rating

1.5 out of 5 stars. I know, it’s harsh, but it was just so bad 😦 .

One thing I would like to point out, is that just because I don’t like this book doesn’t mean you won’t love it! I mean, John Green loved it. I just wanted to share my opinion with you, and if you want to read it, you do you, by all means!

Thank you very much for reading this incredibly long review, and stay tuned for Wednesday’s post!

ThePastryPoet, signing off.



2 thoughts on “Book Review: Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

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