Thursday, March 31, 2016

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell [Audio Review]

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.

I’ve thought about Eleanor & Park for a while now. I love Young Adult books, but I don’t know why I never took the plunge and read this book. I finally got it on audio and I have to say, AUDIO is the best way to read this book.

The narrators are awesome. I couldn’t have picked a better Eleanor or Park to voice the audio. It’s a little awkward at first because it’s told in third POV, but with alternating POV. So there’s two voices, one female and one male, but they speak in third person.  BUT I really like the way they portrayed the characters. I love the voice transitions, the speed was perfect and the sound of the voice was spot on.

One word to describe this book is ADORABLE. If you read the other reviews, I bet you a lot of reviewers use the words, cute, young, innocent, adorable and sweet and it’s because it’s true. If you want a book about young puppy love and innocent youths, then Eleanor and Park is for you.
Eleanor and Park are two completely opposites. Eleanor is slightly cubby with red hair and Park is half Asian in a town where there aren’t any Asians. It was hard to wrap my head around this couple, but I went with it. Eleanor doesn’t come from the best of homes. She lives with her verbally abusive step father, four siblings and a not so great mother.

It was really hard for me to read Eleanor’s story. Her life was really tough and it brought up a lot of my anger. She’s poor so she shares a room with her siblings, she re-wears her jeans because she doesn’t have enough and her step father is the tyrant of the house.  So many times I wanted to scream at the mom to do something, but she wouldn’t.

Eleanor finds peace with Park. They ride the bus together and during that little ride, they talk about music, comics and all sorts of random stuff. I SUPER loved reading about the Eleanor and Park interactions.

Park comes from not a perfect home, but a loving home. He’s half Asian, but looks full Asian and his brother looks white. I’m Asian and my daughter is half Asian, so I can feel for the kid. Like Park, I grew up in a town where I was practically the only Asian kid. So every time they called him the “stupid Asian kid” I understood. I loved Park and I love his family. His dad is a no fuss no muss kind of dad and his mom is a little eccentric, but like I said, they all love each other.

Throughout the book it’s really sweet and pure, but there’s an underlying tension of Eleanor’s hard situation and Park’s need to make things better. Eleanor was tough to like in this book. Sometimes I wanted to slap her or question why Park liked her so much, but you felt for her.
The best part of the book is the writing style. The author knows how to create tension with sweet innocence and the chemistry between the two characters is so apparent.

I really enjoyed this book.

Rainbow Rowell writes books. Sometimes she writes about adults (ATTACHMENTS and LANDLINE). Sometimes she writes about teenagers (ELEANOR & PARK and FANGIRL). But she always writes about people who talk a lot. And people who feel like they're screwing up. And people who fall in love.
When she's not writing, Rainbow is reading comic books, planning Disney World trips and arguing about things that don't really matter in the big scheme of things.
She lives in Nebraska with her husband and two sons.
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