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Eleanor Park Edit 519 It's been 6 years since I read this book and it has not aged well This just shows how much we really needed not only diverse books but #ownvoices authors too “I don't like you Park she said sounding for a second like she actually meant it I her voice nearly disappeared think I live for youHe closed his eyes and pressed his head back into his pillowI don't think I even breathe when we're not together she whispered I'm disappointed with this one Eleanor Park has enjoyable parts but the only real difference I can see between this and Pushing the Limits is that the characters in the latter are meant to be hot Which could have been interesting because I've always preferred reading about the so called freaks losers and ugly people but these two books follow the same generic pattern of teen love stories with a whole ton of behind the scenes angsty issues Though this one was less entertainingIt's 1986 Eleanor is the new girl and she is not only genetically made to look like a victim but she does herself no favours by pairing her looks with a bizarre fashion sense Having nowhere to sit on the school bus she takes a seat next to the clearly reluctant Park Park is half Korean in an extremely white school but he is given enough respect by the popular kids to help him get by His home life unlike Eleanor's is pretty much perfect apart from a bit of badgering by his dad Slowly over time these two individuals develop a relationship that is formed around stuff like reading comics together and exchanging mix tapes And other nerdy things like Star Wars and Shakespeare which I could easily relate to I think one of the major problems I had with this book is that I failed to get a sense of the attraction between them Their relationship to me seemed suited to friendship than love The progression from reluctant bus partners to friendship was natural in the story but I then felt that the jump from that to romantic andor sexual feelings was too fast and unbelievableNot only that but where I felt the start of their relationship avoided the usual cliches and did something a bit different like the way their relationship begins without them speaking to one another I felt that once they were together it uickly dissolved into the usual sweet nothings and thoughts like I'll die if I never see him again after knowing each other for a few weeks This isn't instalove but it's silliness Or perhaps I really am just a cold hearted unromantic person And I also didn't like the way chubby Eleanor achieves validation through Park “He made her feel like than the sum of her parts” I did like the well rounded feel of both characters though The author gave them many different levels making them experience a range of emotions in a realistic way I also thought the darker element of this novel were mostly handled well Eleanor's home life is revealed gradually in a frightening way But it does just make it easier to compare this book to Pushing the Limits And I don't like it when serious issues like domestic violence are used to fuel the love angst and create a Romeo and Juliet kind of forbidden love scenario It just leaves a bad taste in my mouthEleanor Park will be great hopefully for fans of uirky nerdy romance stories with an underlying dark angsty side and for those who love nerdy references If you don't usually like young adult romance and were eying this up as possibly being the book to change all that you'll probably be disappointed It has good parts but it's not that different from anything else out thereBlog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube | Store I've often said that nobody should write for teens who doesn't remember what it was like to be one Rainbow Rowell remembers and has captured it beautifully in this book CLICK HERE for a Booktube Video aboutTen Fabulous Book Reviews and One That Will Make You Go doesn't that belong to Miranda Reads?Now that you know this one made the list check the video review to see the rest and find the stolen surprise The Written Review I want everyone to meet you You're my favorite person of all time Replace person with book and you know how I feel This book just swept me off my feetWe have Eleanor Big Red the new girl in town Her home life is in shambles she's the oldest of her siblings and she's developed enough that her stepfather has started noticing Yes you read that right We have Park half Asian in a town full of whites who's the coolest kid in his school His life is not going to plan his younger brother constantly shows him up his father is never proud and his mother just doesn't get American high schoolOne fateful meeting on a crowded bus sparked it all As Eleanor dithered from seat to seat trying to find a spot when Park takes pity on her “Sit down He said it came out angrily The girl turned him like she couldn't tell whether he was another jerk or what Jesus Fuck Park said softly nodding to the space next to him just sit down Definitely NOT a typical YA romance Thank goodness This romance was grounded it was crass in the right sort of way and sweet but not saccharine I loved how love wasn't the end all be all of life Eleanor and Park's romance is the kind that has you clutching the book kicking your feet and suealing in relief at their happiness “No matter what happens Park said I love you” Audiobook CommentsRead by Rebecca Lowman and Sunil Malhotra they did an absolutely fabulous job with the narrationYouTube | Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Snapchat mirandareads If you've experienced that first love that heart wringing soul sueezing crush the air out of your lungs whenever you're apart first love this book will bitch slap your feels all to hell I love it I love its warmth and its vibrancy its heartache and its pain its humor its meanness the ugliness the beauty the crying the laughter the sarcasm I love Eleanor and I love Park and I love that there's still a tiny chance for themand for everyone whose first love was torn away Even if you never see that person again they change you in ways that no one else will ever understand They will always always hold that little piece of your heart that no one else will ever be able to touch I love you Rainbow Rowell for giving me this Thank you I should have read Eleanor Park during winter when it’s freezing outsideBecause it completely warmed my heart and it’s so hot already I thought my heart would burst into flames inside my chestBelieve me or not but I always thought I was immune to the usual young adult romanticism in books You know hand holding shy smiles and flushed cheeks I didn’t think I would ever feel actual butterflies reading a YA contemporary romance bookBut I did And it took me by such surprise that at first I didn’t even know what it was What? Can a book really have this kind of effect on a human being?Well I have my answer nowEleanor Park It’s like they’re the main reason why the word ''love'' exists They symbolize true love It’s not dirty or sickening or lustful or manipulative It’s like two angels fell in love and you can see a halo above their heads and all you can think is ''God I wish them forever If they can last then maybe there is hope for the rest of us'' and then you can’t help but cryI wanted to lock the characters some place safe where they could be together forever protected from the looming danger in the worldOh god I can’t believe it took me this long to read Eleanor ParkBlog | Youtube | Twitter | Instagram | Google | Bloglovin’ You can find the full review and about this book on my blog “Eleanor was right She never looked niceShe looked like art and art wasn't supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something” 5 PERFECT STARS You can find the full review and about this book on my blog I never read contemporary books I have read like 4 maybe till now and didn't really like them Anyway I decided to give this book a try because if you haven't notice this book is greatly rated here on Goodreads And believe me the hype is real This was so worth the time for a hundred reasons “Holding Eleanor's hand was like holding a butterfly Or a heartbeat Like holding something complete and completely alive” Halfway through the bookI realized that Park is mebeside the Asian and the eyelinerhe is completely meMy favorite bands are Joy Division and The Smithsand also I dig comics so muchSo it was like reading about my life like my wannabe life “I want everyone to meet you You're my favorite person of all time” I liked this bookand not because of the romanceI never like the books based on their romanceBecause it was peaceful and wild and sad and beautiful and the same timeAnd it made me want to read made me search for a seuelmade me think a lot after I finishedmade me happylike entirely happy “What are the chances you’d ever meet someone like that? he wondered Someone you could love forever someone who would forever love you back? And what did you do when that person was born half a world away? The math seemed impossible” I didn't like the endingI loved itIt was predictable at some pointsat least for mebut still so freaking beautifulAnd am I the only one who wants a seuelof what will happen with them after the end? I think it would be awesomelike the best surprise we could getSo Rainbowwrite one “I just want to break that song into pieces and love them all to death” I highly recommend this book to youeven if you don't like booksread itPictures from the review are not mine I took them mostly from Google images or Tumblr I fully admit that I'm a sucky book reviewer This book for me was so personal that this review is just for me Eleanor is just that girl The weird one that people pick on Who knows exactly why? She doesn't stand up for herself she doesn't fight back I was that girl This is me my 10th grade year If this book had been around then I would have completely worn the pages out As it is I feel like highlighting and just re reading the thing until it falls apartTalking about Romeo and Juliet Eleanor's comments were It was 'Oh my God he's so cute' at first site It's Shakespeare making fun of loveExactlyI hated PE class That was the worst time of my school life Not because I didn't want to participatethat's just when the mean girlsboys were the worst I'm going to tell Mrs Burt that my mom doesn't want me to do anything that might rupture my hymen For religious reasons I can't tell you how many notes I forged in my mom's name and how creative I was in those reasonsPark's thoughts on Eleanor at one time He couldn't figure out why it upset her so much Sometimes it seemed like she was trying to hide everything that was pretty about her Like she wanted to look uglyBelieve meyou do get to that point You don't really understand why Your mind just completely gets to the point where if everyone else thinks badly about you so do youI never had my Park I did have friends But I can remember when the teasing started that I could see the embarrassment on their faces too You hate to see that but it happens I don't think worse of them now It just happened I ended up leaving home at age 15 I went out on my own and met new people and guess what? I wasn't judged like I had been in middle and high school I realized it was just that group of people I can be included in groups of people and liked for who I am My daughter faced some bullying last year at school Not because of what she looked like or wore she is beautiful She was picked on because she stood up to the bullies that were picking on a friend of hers So I did learn something from my teen years I raised someone who just won't stand for itAnd now me? I'm the ueen bitch of you piss me off and I'll tear your arm off and beat you with it well in words anyways Remember guys and girls What doesn't kill you makes you strong as hell 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 if she triedPark 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 to EleanorSlowly 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 READ THIS UOTE MY ROMANTIC HEARTED FOOLSREAD IT AND LET YOUR HEART GO PITTER PAT```````````````` ““I don't like you Park she said sounding for a second like she actually meant it I her voice nearly disappeared think I live for youHe closed his eyes and pressed his head back into his pillowI don't think I even breathe when we're not together she whispered Which means when I see you on Monday morning it's been like sixty hours since I've taken a breath That's probably why I'm so crabby and why I snap at you All I do when we're apart is think about you and all I do when we're together is panic Because every second feels so important And because I'm so out of control I can't help myself I'm not even mine any I'm yours and what if you decide that you don't want me? How could you want me like I want you?He was uiet He wanted everything she'd just said to be the last thing he heard He wanted to fall asleep with 'I want you' in his ears” ````````````````The setting? 1986I was five years old but I do remember random tidbits of the eightiesmemories mostly accompanied by a cringe But not here This story was perfection I think I liked it even better than Fangirl simply because it was dramatic and poignant Eleanor and Park the people stole my breathThe initial story starts out with Eleanor the new girl in school getting on the bus for the first time and having no place to sit Everyone is staring no one helps her out including Park Finally Park caves in and scoots over so that she can sit down but he does it grudgingly almost angry with the stupid redheaded girl in the frumpy man clothes who made such a spectacle of herself Over the next weeks these two go from pointedly ignoring each other to a reluctant yet silent cameraderie bonding on the bus over Park's comic books and eventually music Once their silence is broken the floodgates sort of open and they become fascinated with one anotherThe dual point of view here uite literally MADE THIS STORY Being in Park's head as well as Eleanor's was paramount to my enjoyment Park has a romantic soul made evident by the way he thinks of his Eleanor the way he goes from train wreck curiosity to utter fascination and adoration with the awkward girl with so many secretshe stole my heart```````````````` “Eleanor was right She never looked nice She looked like art and art wasn't supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something” ````````````````These characters are uniueso new and fresh the word has been reinvented Eleanor comes from a broken homeuite literally her home is broken Her parents both not so great to begin with are divorced Her mom remarried a man who loves to drink and loves to bullyand bully he does but he does so much Eleanor's back story is one to make me feel like the world's best mom uite simply because I could never allow what happened to her to happen to my daughters And yeahher mom ALLOWS this bastard to treat Eleanor like trash allows her daughter to be left alone and scared without the support and love that a parent owes their children Park on the other hand has a wonderful home life His Dad met his Mom in Korea married her and brought her home They still kiss and hold each other like they haven't seen each other in months They are simply adorable and no matter how Park rolls his eyes the reader can tell that his parent's love for each other gives Park a wonderful sense of security that he absolutely takes for grantedas kids really should be able toIt takes awhile for Park to realize what kind of life Eleanor is leading```````````````` “ “My girlfriend is sad and uiet and keeps me up all night worrying about her” ” ````````````````It seemed to me that this high school love story is one of the few that I can actually see continuing on through the years and becoming The bond between Eleanor and Park is already so deep so strong Nothing will keep them apart They are young but they are realistic They are also made for each other and though Eleanor seems to be skeptical I know that deep down she wants this to be a forever kind of thing than any other wish in the world aside from her tragic circumstances against all of the odds she just wants Park ```````````````` “Nothing was dirty With ParkNothing could be shamefulBecause Park was the sun and that was the only way Eleanor could think to explain it” ```````````````` This goes down as one of my favorite books of 2013 and Park goes onto my favorite heroes shelf Because he is the best kind of herothe one who saves his girl against all odds who fights against the world because of his devotion I loved this story with all my heart It was just beautiful Recommended read for everyone This review originally appeared on Clear Eyes Full ShelvesReviewer's Note added 252016 Please be aware that I have turned off all notifications for this review and do not check or respond to comments It's not that I don't like y'all; it's just that I'd rather spend my time talking about books that I actually ya know likeI have thought about Eleanor Park everyday since I read it two months agoThat’s not a complimentIn some respects my attitude is perhaps not terribly fair because a particular aspect of Eleanor and Park elicited a visceral reaction from me that is personal to me a reaction that a lot of people would not have or understandBut as I’ve thought about the novel over the past two months mulling over the possibility that I was perhaps being too sensitive that the possibility of my being too sensitive was unfairly impacting my view of the rest of the book and the book as a whole my final analysis has always been the same I don’t believe this bookI don’t believe the historical contextI don’t believe the charactersI don’t believe the romanceLet’s start with the first issue the historical contextEleanor and Park is framed as a historical novel taking place in Omaha Nebraska the author Rainbow Rowell’s hometown in 1986 Our titular 16 year old characters meet on the school bus when Park grudgingly allows new kid Eleanor to share his seat Park is half Korean his parents having met and married in South Korea where his father was stationed as a member of the army Hmmmmm Okay so they met around 1968? 1969? I have to assume it was no later than 1969 since as a sixteen year old in 1986 Park would have to have been born in 1970 Soduring the height of the Vietnam War when a draft was in place to send as many young men as possible into the fray Park’s father an able bodied member of the US military wasstationed at an army base in Korea Possible I suppose but still a bit ludicrous to meOk so then his parents get married and move to his father’s hometown of Omaha Nebraska where Park is raised and according to Park the good people of Omaha “couldn’t call him a freak or a anti Asian slur or a homosexual slur because—well first because his dad was a giant and a veteran and from the neighborhood”Let me get this straight Park’s interracial family faces minimal racial prejudice in the midwestern United States an area known for lacking in diversity during the 1970s and 1980s Park’s Korean mother and Caucasian father married and lived happily with their biracial children facing little racism in Omaha Nebraska starting in 1970 less than 30 years after United States citizens of Japanese descent were forced into internment camps during World War II less than twenty years after the Korean War took 36516 American lives only seven years after interracial marriage was legalized in the state of Nebraska only three years after the US Supreme Court struck down all other anti miscegenation laws throughout the country via their Loving v Virginia decision only two years after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr and the height of the Civil Rights Movement and smack dab in the middle of the controversial Vietnam war which made villains out of members of the military who served in it upon their stateside returns and caused a swell of anti Asian sentiment throughout the countryI call bullshitFurther while a version of racism does appear in the novel in the form of bad kung fu jokes and “You are Asian therefore you must be Chinese” assumptions it seems deliberately placed within the historical framework As Rainbow Rowell stated in a Publisher’s Weekly interview “The neighborhood Eleanor and Park live in is the neighborhood I grew up in And at that time it was white and racist”Therefore the author was attempting to portray racism as it was as if that racism is limited to that time frame Unfortunately as I discussed at length during our first podcast that 1986 version of racism is alive and well in 2013 and I seriously resent the placement of it in a historical novel as if it no longer exists today So while Eleanor and Park was conveniently accurate as far as pop culture cutely peppered with nostalgia inducing references of many 80s bands and comic books I found the historical context extremely shallow and unconvincing In addition to being devoid of so many of the broader deeper societal issues of the time the context also wrongly and paradoxically relegated issues that still gnaw at the framework of our current society to historyMoving on the the characters I never deeply connected to either of them despite having much in common with both of the main charactersWhile the third person past tense POV that switched from Eleanor and Park’s perspectives throughout the novel made sense for the story it also seemed to create a barrier that did not allow me to experience what the characters were going through or how they felt with immediacy or intensity Considering how much I could relate both of the characters the disconnect struck me as especially oddI know what it’s like to be relentlessly bullied in school for weeks months on end I know what it’s like to have to walk on eggshells in what is supposed to be the safety of home and I understand the undercurrent of fear that results from knowing that walking on said eggshells doesn’t guarantee safety from someone else’s volatile temper I know what it’s like to have ridiculous racial stereotypes thrown in my face on a regular basis And yet when I encountered these situations in Eleanor and Park I felt nothing than a mild discomfort as I felt my own memories merely tickle at the edge of my awareness rather than force their way to the forefront and mirror whatever provocations Eleanor or Park happened to be enduring at that point of the book Moreover while Eleanor and Park are on the surface atypical YA characters I still found their life circumstances portrayed in a way that did not allow me to take them seriouslyFor instance at the beginning of the book Eleanor has just moved back in with her family after having been kicked out by her stepfather and spending a year at a friend’s house During that time her family moved to a different house in which the bathroom has no door and she has to share a tiny bedroom with her four younger siblings Her stepfather is an abusive alcoholic her biological father is a deadbeat who doesn’t pay his child support thereby making her mom stereotyped abuse victim 101 Catie from the Readventurer aptly noted in our podcast comments that she appreciated the novelty of a poor struggling caucasian character in EleanorWhile it’s true that the poor struggling characters in YA books tend to be boys andor minorities Eleanor’s troubles in the book by having bullying AND abuse AND alcoholism AND poverty all crammed in there struck me as caricatures rather than authentic struggles I know it may be hard to believe but sometimes not all of these issues happen simultaneously in real life Sometimes parents are assholes without the fuel of alcohol Sometimes they’re abusers without the frustration of poverty Sometimes they’re poor AND gasp good hardworking people Additionally as I also spoke about at length during our first podcast I found Park’s character which had so much potential for nuance to be flat as a freshly zambonied ice rink First of all I do not understand how he could not be somewhat aware of the issues surrounding Eleanor’s crapfest of a home life I get teenage self absorption and all but the obviousness of the situation combined with his obliviousness made him look like a moron Further rather than have him deal with the intangible struggle of being caught in between two very different cultures and value systems between his Korean born mother and American surroundings the author instead has Park spend his time whinging about his insecurities over his Korean appearance He is ashamed of his mother’s accent He blames his short height on his Korean genes He fears his white dad looks at him as effeminate because he looks Korean than his younger brother Josh He is jealous of his brother because Josh barely looks Korean at all As a Korean American I found this simplistic attitude that portrays being a minority solely as a negative solely based on racial appearance shallow offensive and frustrating because this type of poor depiction has been going on for my whole life repeatedly in every cultural medium I suppose it would be easy to assume that every minority in the US wishes they could just snap their fingers and be white but the reality is far complicated Rainbow Rowell had a huge opportunity to explore these intricacies via Park’s character and Park’s mom for that matter but clearly did not do her research and therefore did not deliverUltimately I found could not buy into what is supposed the be the focal point of the book which is the romance like romance? between Eleanor and ParkI did find the framework of the romantic development in which the Eleanor and Park slowly connect on the school bus via the sharing of mixtapes and comic books novel and charming But the 180 degree contrast of Eleanor’s home life to Park’s financially stable loving home life felt like a forced exaggerated version of Pretty in Pink which as a movie is charming but never struck me as realistic And because I never felt like the book delved into either character in a deep manner which limited the character development which limited the relationship development I was unable to believe in the all consuming teenage love that Rainbow Rowell tried to portrayHowever even though I found myself incredibly let down by Eleanor and Park due in large part to the lack of proper research and context into cultural and historical issues that I find uite important especially for what is termed a historical novel I still harbor optimism for any of Rainbow Rowell’s future worksAs a huge fan of Rowell’s previously published book Attachments which utterly charmed me with its portrayal of vivid connections between characters who don’t interact in person as well as convinced me of the 1990s setting I look forward to being delighted by her writing once again because I am convinced that it will happen FNL Character Rating JD McCoy Cute on the surface initially promising but ultimately a huge disappointment that I’d love to forget but can’t because he was so darned infuriating

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