That Teenage Feeling: An Eleanor & Park Recap

I really love all of Rainbow Rowell’s books, but Eleanor & Park leaves me feeling so grateful. We’ve talked about a lot of the reasons why I adore this book on the blog already, but I can never talk about it enough. Eleanor & Park shows that anyone—an overweight teenage girl, a boy who doesn’t conform to prescribed gender roles, someone with a tense and dangerous home life, a Korean kid in an otherwise white community—has a story deserves to be told.

Their separation is devastating, but it still feels like the best possible outcome. As much as I want Eleanor and Park to be together and happy and in love forever and ever, it’s more important for Eleanor to feel safe—even if only way for that to happen is to put a state between her and Richie. And as much as I love young adult novels with romance, I also want to see high school romances that don’t last. When I saw Rainbow Rowell speak in St. Paul this fall, she commented on the lack of a traditional, romantic happy ending for Eleanor and Park, saying something along the lines of that at 17 there should be no ending, period. And I love that so much, because by the time I’ve read a whole book about any characters, but Eleanor and Park especially, I don’t want them to have peaked in high school.

I’m also obsessed with the cover of the American edition. I definitely judge books by their cover, and this cover made me love this book before I actually read it. I love the buttery yellow cover, and Eleanor’s squiggly hair, and that the headphones make the ampersand. It’s perfect.

Also, I kept thinking of this Neko Case song as I wrote the post. So listen and enjoy. Tomorrow, Anna moves on to Fangirl!

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One thought on “That Teenage Feeling: An Eleanor & Park Recap

  1. Yes! I love that you posted “That Teenage Feeling” — one of my very favorites. I love the way she sings “forever never comes” in it.

    Your post reminded me of one of my favorite lines from the ABC Family series Greek (did you know that i loved that show enough to have favorite lines from it? Well I do). [I just typed out a lot of context for this quote but then SPOILERS and I don’t know if you watched it/will watch it. so no context] “Not all relationships are meant to last forever. Even when you’re in love. Some love stories are short stories. But they are love stories all the same.” It’s exactly how I feel about Eleanor and Park. I think a lot of people are sad about the ending because they think it makes their love story less, but we know they couldn’t have loved each other more (Eleanor wrote I love you on that post card — right?! I sometimes think about what three-word Smiths lyric it could be). -A

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