Eleanor and Park is the story of two high school students who meet and fall in love. There’s not much more in terms of plot honestly, as it’s a YA romance novel, but there are conflicts of different types throughout the story.
Now, to be honest, I wasn’t the biggest fan of this book. I read it because I’d heard so many good things about it, so I think it was just not as good as I expected it to be. It wasn’t bad, but so many people had told me how great it was and it had such good reviews that I expected it to be mind-blowing, which I didn’t think it was.
And I don’t really know what I dislike about it. It was well written, the characters are interesting enough and their dynamics are super realistic, the sub-plots are believable enough, it doesn’t ramble on about undying love or anything. So overall, not bad. But I remember finishing it and not really feeling anything. Even though I connected with both characters, I wasn’t really upset by the ending. The ending is slightly cliff-hanger-ish, and I always pretend that it ends worse than I think Rowell intended (oops).
I think my biggest issue with it was that I didn’t think it was anything really special. Like I mentioned, I’d heard so much hype about it. It does deal a little with abuse and bullying and in a very subtle and respectful way. But at the end of the day, it was just another YA that had good characters.
That being said, I do think it is the most accurate representation of a high school relationship I have ever read. I have read countless YA romance novels. Most are completely unrealistic, at least for the average high school student. The relationships and dynamics in most YAs are not typical and are way over the top. But, this book manages to capture high school romance in a very realistic way. The way Eleanor feels about Park is super relatable. The way Park responds to other girls who have crushes on him is super relatable and 100% realistic. So I really enjoyed that aspect of the book and thought that was really well done. The characters were also pretty good characters, in terms of YA characters.
I feel like I should also put a disclaimer saying I have nothing against YAs. I have read literally dozens at this point and thoroughly enjoy a lot of them. They’re good books to read when you want an easy and somewhat enjoyable and entertaining book to read. I just think there are better ones out there than this one and this one didn’t live up to the hype I had heard.
I would recommend this book to someone in high school, for sure. If you want realistic expectations and a realistic representation of the feelings high school students have in romantic relationships, this will be a gooder for you.
If you feel differently, let me know! I know a lot of people who love this book, so if you do I would love to hear why! I think different people connect with different things, so I’d interested in knowing what you connect with 🙂