PlotSet 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.
Eleanor is the new girl in town, and with her chaotic family life, her mismatched clothes and unruly red hair, she couldn't stick out more if she tried.Park is the boy at the back of the bus. Black T-shirts, headphones, head in a book - he thinks he's made himself invisible. But not to Eleanor... Never Eleanor.Slowly, steadily, through late-night conversations and an ever-growing stack of mix tapes, Eleanor and Park fall for each other. They fall in love the way you do the first time, when you're young, and you feel as if you have nothing and everything to lose.
One of the main points I loved about this book was the differences in upbringing of the two main characters, and how that affected their relationships with one another. It was very easy to see the internal conflicts between the two and how they felt about the others circumstances as they learnt more about each other. I especially loved the relationships Eleanor had with her siblings and her mother, it was very representative of how such a relationship should be after such a traumatic event (I'm trying very hard not to give too many spoilers, but these shouldn't affect your reading pleasure at all) rather than how in some books the reunions are very overdone and forgiving for what would really happen in real life.
Rowell also did a fantastic job at portraying the father-offspring relationships, for both Eleanor and Park for all of these roles within the book. Park's relationship with his father was very relatable for many I'm sure and showed the pressures of parenthood and how children have to live up to expectations in a realistic view that allowed the reader to see the arguments from both sides and really feel for the characters involved. Eleanor's relationship with her step-father in particular was very interesting to read about and I must say I was left wanting to know more about what happens to her and her siblings after the climax of the book.
However, my favourite part of the book overall was, of course, the relationship between Park and Eleanor themselves. I thought it was absolutely adorable, especially as they were working past those things that needed to be overcome in order for them to have the relationship they did. I felt it was very accurate to the situation they were in, as well as creating enough "Awhh" moments for the reader to stay completely engaged and wanting to know more.
Overall, I'd rate this book 5/5*'s and would recommend it to anyone who was looking for a cute summer read which will stay with them for a long time. You can get it from the book depository here or from Amazon here and see more reviews on this book from goodreads here.