One extraordinary love.
Eleanor… Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough…Eleanor.
Park… He knows she’ll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There’s a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises…Park.
Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.
Do I even have to say how much I love this book? I don’t think so. It was just amazing. One of the best books I read lately, and I’m not even exaggerating. Seriously, it was perfection and I enjoyed it so much more than I thought. The most important thing why I like it so much is the fact that it was so REAL. Yes, it’s YA contemporary romance, and it sonds like a total cliche when I say that, but Rainbow Rowell managed to make it totaly unique and beautiful. Characters were normal people, people you would meet in real life, and not some perfect persons that don’t have any flaws. It is unusual and it was a bit strange to get into it at the beginning, but that is the main reason why is this book so popular and why a lot of people enjoy it, it think. I haven’t heard a single bad review on this book and all these good reviews motivated me to finally pick it up and read it. It took me a long time to actually finish it because I listened to it as an audiobook and since school started I haven’t had time for audiobooks (which is ridicolous, I know). Now I can freely say that I’m a fan of Rainbow Rowell since I read two of her books (which is half of her work) and totally loved them both. As I already said, this book really surprised me. Yeah, I expected it to be good because everyone seem to love it, but I definitely didn’t expect it to become one of my favourite books. I love the writing style, it’s so easy to read but it also amazes you how beautiful it is at the same time. Characters are loveable and really easy to connect to, plot is not very fast paced or super intense, but it’s nice, cute and fun to read. And then you get to the end and it’s like a punch in the face. I cried (I do that a lot lately…) at the end and it was so not okay. I was sad at first, but now I’m pissed. But let’s not talk about that now.
You should definitely pick this book up if you haven’t yet because I assure you that you’re going to like it. No, you are going to LOVE IT, you will want to hug it and hold it tight and never let it go and then you’ll read last few pages and it will BREAK YOUR HEART. But trust me, it’s a good book. You should read it.
SPOILER PART – if you haven’t read the book yet, I recommend not to read any further, go and read the book and then come back.
The first thing that surprised me about this book is that it’s set in ’80s. I didn’t know that and I was a bit sceptical about it at first but it turned out totally unimportant and I maybe even like it more because it was set in different time because teenagers weren’t as stupid as they are today. Also, it was interesting to see that teenagers were able to live without phones, facebook and internet. It was very refreshing and very unusual to see in YA. But I loved it!
Park was perfect and I want him next to me right now. I’m totally in love. Yes, he’s weird, misfit and very different, but I love him especailly because of it. When he said that no one thinks Asian boys are hot, I literally raied my hand and said: ”I do.” Seriously, he was so amazing and in my mind, he was totally hot. He is the type of boyfriend I’d like to have and I wouldn’t mind meeting some Park tomorrow on my way to school. I’m in love, that’s all.
Eleanor was very loveable character and I could really connect with her. Okay, sometimes I wanted to yell at her because she was acting ridicolous, but all in all I really liked her. Because she was real. She was very insecure and she had to deal with a lot of problems, but sometimes she acted so stupid arond Park what was annoying at times. I was even asking myself why is Park trying. But these times were rare and we could totally see hercharacter grow throughout the book. I also felt so sorry for her almost all the time while reading because she didn’t deserve any of that shit that happened to her. But at least she had Park.
There was one character I really hated. He is probably my least favourite charavter of all time. Richie. That bastard, I really don’t blame Park for wanting to kill him. Someone should. I hated him from the moment he showed up in a book until the last time he made an appearence and when Park kicked his ass (he totally deserved it). But he managed to surprise me anyway. No matter how much I hated him, I would never guess that he was the one who wrote all these terrible stuff in Eleanor’s books. That was just awful and with that his character hit the bottom.
I didn’t really like Eleanor’s siblings or her mother. I didn’t hate them or anything, but I didn’t like them and I couldn’t care less about them. Maybe I’m heartless, but they were just annoying.
I have a love-hate relationship with Park’s parents. At first it didn’t like his mother, but when she accepted Eleanor I started to like her. I also liked his dad, especailly when he told Eleanor that she is always welcome at their house because he knows about her stepfather. But then, he acted like a total douche about Park wearing eyeliner and I was totally disappointed with him. But he got my respect back when he helped Park to help Eleanor to escape. That was really nice. And a very pleasant surprise.
I hated Tina almost throughout the whole book, but I went to only not liking her much by the end when she helped Eleanor to hide from Richie. Also, it was an interesting plot twist that she has a stepdad as well.
Now to all these other things that made this book so perfect. First, I absolutely loved Eleanor’s and Park’s relationship. I think I’ve finally found my OTP. They were totally adorable together and I love them so much. It was interesting that it wasn’t love on first sight like it is most of the time in YA books and they actually thought the other person is weird and awkward and they hated that they have to sit together on the bus. But we all knew that won’t last. Later, when they slowly started to talk to each other and read comic books together, and then listen to music and everything.. so cute! Yeah, I was rooting for them to finally get together, but I totally enjoyed their relationship before that. There was no insta-love at all and that was what was beautiful. Their love was kind of platonic at first which I found surprisingly nice. The way both of them looked down on themselves and were total misfits but thought that the other person is beautiful and amazing made me so jealous. I want someone to love me like that! What especially got to me was the fact that Eleanor constantly kept repeating how fat she is and how dissatisfied she is with her body, but Park had never, not with a single word, said that she is fat, or big, or that there is something wrong with her body at all, throughout the whole book. That is probably one of the reasons why I love him so much.
There was a lot of opportunities where this book could’ve been a cliche, but it never happened. It was not a cliche at all, not even once. But what really surprised me was this: The prom was mentioned few times in this book, and Park even invited Eleanor to go, but the thing is – THEY DIDN’T GO. There is a school dance or prom or something in pretty much every YA book, but there the characters just didn’t go and it was totally unimportant. Amazing!
One of my favourite scenes in this book aside from cute Eleanor/Park scenes was the eyeliner scene. I found it hillarious! I had nothing against Park wearing eyeliner and I actually agree that he looks more dangerous and even more exotic with it, but it was so funny to see how other people reacted on it. I laughed so hard while reading that part, definitely my favourite scene! But just to get this clear, I never thought that I’ll find a guy wearing eyeliner hot. But I did, and I love it. Another proof how unique this book is. And how weird but amazing characters are.
I just remembered another one of my favourite scenes. Eleanor talking about Romeo and Juliet. I completely agree. She said the exact thing I was thinking while reading that book. I just had to mention it.
Am I ready to talk about the ending of this book? No. Am I going to talk about it? Yes. Why? Because I have to.
First of all, I knew this book won’t have a happy ending because at the beginning we get this excerpt from Park’s POV when he says that she is not with him anymore. But damn it, I didn’t think it would hurt so much!
When Eleanor realized that Richie found out about Park and she ran away, I wasn’t aware of the fact that this is the beginning of the end. But it was. And it made me hate Richie even more than I already did. If that was possible. Goodbye part was heartbreaking because I knew that that was a goodbye. And I hated it. They really deserved to get a happy ending. Damn it, they deserved it more than anyone! But that was not the part when I cried the most. The part that followed was so much worse. When we got to see how their lives were after that goodbye, it was unbearable. Seriously, I cried a lot. Especailly when we got Park’s POV. But then he got the postcard with only three words on it and now I think it’s the best ending ever, even though I hate it so much. At least it was real. Because no one get a happy ever after in real life. At least, I’m glad that Eleanor finally found someone normal and caring to live with.
Now, I have to tell you my theory. Three words. Everyone is frustrated because we don’t know what these words are. But the thing is, WE KNOW. I love you. I’m 100% positive. Why? Eleanor never said to Park that she loves him. He told her that dozens of times through the book, but she always said something like ‘I know’ or she just kissed him or something, but she never said him I love you back. But she did at the end. I just know it. I know I’m right. It’s the perfect conclusion. Frustrating. Heartbreaking. Sad. But perfect. Just like the whole book, actually.