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!