Published: April 12, 2012
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Pages: 336 (Hardcover)
My Rating: 4 of 5 stars
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.
It took way longer than it should have for me to finish this book, mostly because I didn't want to finish it. I got so close to the end and then I just put the book down because I felt like I wasn't ready for it to end and I wasn't happy with where the ending seemed to be going.
The two main characters are both outcasts. Eleanor is more of an outcast than Park because when she goes to her new school she has no friends and she's bullied. I've never been the new kid at school, but I bet there are plenty of people out there that will be able to connect with Eleanor and how she feels about being the new kid. Park has some friends and he isn't really picked on, but he still doesn't quite fit in with all the other kids and I guess that's why their relationship works so well.
The main reason that this book didn't get five stars was because of how their relationship started. The first thing that Park says to Eleanor "Jesus-fuck just sit down" and they kind of end up hating each other for the first part of the book, until suddenly they don't. It was a little weird, but once I got past that, I ended up really liking the book.
All the characters were extremely real in every way. Some people might be turned off by the use of vulgar language, but I think it just made the characters that much more realistic. Park and Eleanor both had characteristics that make them stand out among other young adult characters and I'll probably remember them for quite awhile.
I really wish the book hadn't ended where it did because now I can't stop thinking about the ending. I just know it's going to stay with me for awhile and I guess that's the whole point. I'll definitely be reading more of Rainbow Rowell's books in the future.