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Elli Reads Books

by Elli Alvis
Posted on Nov 08, 2018

“Eleanor and Park”takes place in the 1980s in Omaha, Nebraska. Eleanor Douglas moves to Omaha after her mother remarries, and struggles to fit in. Eleanor is described as “big and awkward”, and dresses in men’s clothes and odd accessories. On the first day of school, when boarding the bus, the only student to make room for her is Park Sheridan. Like Eleanor, Park struggles to fit in with his peers, but in a different way. While Eleanor is ostracized, Park just feels disconnected from those around him, even though he has a support system of friends. From that first day on the bus, a relationship between the unlikely pair—mostly through a common love of comic books and music—starts to slowly grow.


Both Eleanor and Park must also manage family issues. Eleanor’s mother and step father, Richie, one of the main antagonists, not only deal with problems between themselves but also surrounding Eleanor. Her family struggles very much financially, which causes friction between Eleanor and her young siblings and their parents. Park, who is half Korean, deals with a strict, traditional family. His father, an army veteran, expects him to be athletic and analytical, when really Park would rather listen to music alone.


Author Rainbow Rowell uses language and style expected in a young adult novel, although her writing doesn’t feel too elementary. The book is written in third person and alternates perspectives between protagonists Eleanor and Park, so the reader gains insight into their lives both within their relationship with each other as well as their home life and personal experiences.


Rowell gained a lot of notoriety from Eleanor and Park, which was released in 2012. In 2013, she wrote Fangirl, which was also well liked by readers. Since the publication of Eleanor and Park, Rowell has released Landline (2014) and Carry On (2015), and has become a popular  young adult fiction author among audiences.

Rating: 4/5