Eleanor & Park is definitely not an average high school romance. Eleanor. She is the new girl, the girl with the untamed, red hair and the abnormal clothes. A misfit. Park. He is the quiet, Asian boy who would do anything to take attention away from himself. A misfit. All activities are as normal as they should be. Until Eleanor walks onto the bus. The two awkwardly sit together never speaking, no communication, until they come to the conclusion that they share a common interest in comics and good music. Once their border of silence is cut they are propelled into a gust of first love. While neither of them has a perfect life, they manage to perfect each other's.
From the very first page I knew I would enjoy this book, even in the first few pages, I could already see the characters breaking thorough. Eventually, I noticed that Rowell had structured this book to be in both Eleanor's and Park's point of view, but not in first person exactly. The ability to switch between what both characters were feeling and their backgrounds made this book polished. Some romances can be very one sided and you read through it constantly having to guess about the secondary character. However in this book, it's different. It's better.
Eleanor comes from a deteriorated family. Eleanor's mother remarries this abusive man after her husband left the family. They have so little money, that toothbrushes have become a treasure, and all five sleep in one cramped room like sardines in a can. Their new stepfather is a monster who always gets what he wants because they know he can kill them in a punch, one-by- one. Eleanor's family causes her to become afraid of what will happen to her in the future. She is so conscious of her actions. Almost too conscious. Although, her true personality does break through when she's with Park. She was written to have quite a skeptical personality. However, deep down she knows what she wants and that she does truly love Park.
Park on the other hand, has a much more stable family. However, he constantly struggles for the approval of his father. There is just such an overwhelming power to this book that will grab you and not let you go until the last three words. Rowell twists the common romantic novel and stirs every little detail that makes this book whole. The ending killed me, however. It wasn't enough.
This book got to me. After I finished it, I felt like my mind was done, that there was no closure. Eleanor and Park is a beautifully crafted artwork of a book. Rainbow Rowell has truly outdone herself, and in my opinion, this is the best book I have read so far.