So I read Eleanor & Park because all the cool kids are reading it. Bookwormy, nerdy, Internet cool kids, obviously. It’s all over the interweb, you couldn’t miss it even if you tried. Also, John Green is a fan. Him and the whole Internet. But anyway, I read it and
Damn you book, why?
Everything about this book is precious (OK, except the ending, or everything that leads up to the ending, because WTF happens AFTER the end? Is it like one of those ending where you get to decide? Can I decide? Well, I’d scrap the last few pages and rewrite the whole thing. But if can’t do that, I’ll just write a proper epilogue where it ends like I want it to end, OK?)
So, yes, everything is precious. Eleanor and Park are the absolute adorbz. With all their nerdy love and their music and their comics and their shyness and insecurities and the whole I-can’t-breathe-when-you’re-away-so-it-feels-like-I’m-always-holding-my-breath-all-the-time thing and the I-don’t-like-you-I-need-you thing and their Star Wars references and basically EVERYTHING.
Some parts were painful to read, but mostly it was a constant source of feels. Good feels. Lots and lots of good feels.Until the thing happens. Yeah, there’s always A THING that happens. It’s not as gut-wrenching as The Thing in Code Name Verity but it’s still pretty awful, and unexpected because eww and nope. I didn’t realise this person could get even more horrible than he was already. I was actually almost hoping he would turn up not to be this horrible, but no such luck. My only problem with the book is Eleanor’s mother. How can she even look at her daughter without slapping herself. I am aware that awful persons exist, and that’s Richie’s role. I get that. But people who on paper aren’t awful but put up with awful people and get their children hurt in the process? How is that a thing?
And then, on the opposite side of the spectrum, you have Park’s parents. They aren’t perfect, but they’re pretty awesome. Especially Park’s dad towards the end. I did love him a lot. First he throws a fit about Park’s eyeliner and soon after, when they’re getting ready to go to some boat show, he hurries his son up saying “Come on, Park, get dressed and put your makeup on”. How can you not love him.
So yeah, Eleanor and Park are the cute, but also smart and sarcastic and both beautiful in their own unique, special way, and they’re so perfect on their own but even more so when they’re together. The writing is up there with John Green’s standards, but it also has its own personal flavour which I loved. The secondary characters were brilliant too, even though I didn’t get some of them. And then the ending was asdfghjjksdffggh SHIT NO WHY WOULD YOU DO THIS TO THEM, keeping with the tradition of great books that will break your heart, stomp on it, and then eat it for breakfast.
But the cover. Can we talk about the cover for just a minute? I know there are different covers out there, but I had to deal with this one. I do like it as its own piece of art. It’s really pretty and definitely my style, I’m not discussing its artistic merits. My problem is its depiction of the two characters. Anyone, ANYONE, who has read the book would know that it’s not them. For starters, when has Park ever gone on a skateboard? If he has, the author has kept it from us. And then for the biggest culprit, the girl who is supposed to be Eleanor. Straight hair and super skinny?
But at least it’s pretty, right?
So, anyway, if you don’t know what else to read after The Fault in Our Stars and want to be punched in the feels with more cute romance than you can possibly handle, go for it. You can shake the fist at me later.