The Ending That Begins: A Book Review on Eleanor and Park

in Hive Book Club2 months ago

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Konnichiwa Hivers! It's your ridgette again. Are you all alright? Feeling fine? I just want to ask you all something: have you ever been in love? How does it feel? Today, I'm going to share a book review on a novel that somehow let me feel how it is to be young and in love.

Warning: Spoilers ahead.

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He'd stopped trying to bring her back. She only came back when she felt like it, in dreams and lies and broken-down déjà vu.

Eleanor and Park was one of the first young adult romance books that I read. What really piqued my interest in reading it was that John Green, who was one of my favorite authors, gave praise to this book, and upon knowing that, I decided to read it. Yeah, it wasn't a good reason to start reading a book, but I'm really grateful that I read it. Until now, I still remembered how thrilled and excited I was while reading it. Reading it made me feel what it's like to be young and in love for the first time, as if you have nothing and everything to lose.

About the Book

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Eleanor and Park is a novel written by Rainbow Rowell, and it was published in 2012 by Orion Books. The story is about two 16-year-old high schoolers who seemed to find themselves different from their peers, so basically they're misfits. Although both of them are misfits, Eleanor and Park are really different from each other. Eleanor was the new kid at school, and she's really weird. She wanted other people to not notice her and leave her alone, but with her crazy red hair and eccentric clothes, she'd never be invisible to others even if she tried to. Opposite to her, Park, with his black T-shirts and headphones, can be invisible to other people but not to her—never to Eleanor.

The novel was narrated from an alternating point of view; both perspectives were equally addicting to read. The author isn't only focused on Eleanor and Park's love story; she also features other aspects of their lives. The story delves further into how Eleanor and Park both display different ranges of gender expression. Eleanor likes to wear ties and shirts for men, and Park enjoys wearing eyeliner, which makes his dad furious since he wants him to be more traditionally masculine. Both of them have different issues with their father, which were also narrated from their own point of view.

How It Started

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Although their start wasn't the usual love at first sight, slowly and steadily, through their little interactions and talks in the bus and their common love for comics and mix tapes, they gradually developed feelings for each other. Their interaction in school was also cute and romantic—but not the typical overrated romantic. The way they talk with each other felt very real; it doesn't feel like I'm reading a novel. Of course, they didn't fall in love immediately; they really took time to get to know each other and accept each other's flaws, and for me, that's really mature for 16-year-old high schoolers. They fall in love like you do the first time, when you're young, and you feel that you can lose nothing and everything all at once.

How It Ended

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Honestly, for me, it didn't end happily, but hopefully. With all the things that Eleanor has been through, she worked through all her fears, anxieties, and insecurities to reach out again to Park. It may not end with typical wedding bells and sunsets, but this isn't the end for these two young people. Like the author, I somehow imagined how the characters would live after the story ends, and 17-year-olds don't get happy endings yet. They have beginnings. If they're real people, then their story is not yet ending—it's just where we leave them, and like the author, I also have so much hope for them.

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Young love is often viewed as immature and shallow. It is often portrayed as superficial feelings of intimacy and affection, but after reading Eleanor and Park, their story somehow made me realize that not all young love is shallow; some runs deep. It made me believe that young love can also be true love. Although I haven't yet experienced loving a guy, it made me feel how it feels to fall in love. The feelings that you will feel when you fall in love are certainly surreal and illogical, and they can be both gratifying and terrifying.

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I learned a lot from reading this book. Park taught me that genuinely loving someone entails being selfless. If your relationship with that person isn't healthy anymore, then staying with that person will only be destructive for both of you. If letting go of that person will make him or her grow, then let him or her go. For me, letting go of that person doesn't mean that you don't love him or her anymore; rather, it shows how much you truly care for that person. You'd rather lose that person than see him or her lose himself or herself.

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Eleanor taught me the significance of valuing oneself. She had suffered a lot from her family orientation as well as from how the people in school bullied her. We all have limits, and even though it's hard to let go of Park, she still managed to because she valued herself. She loved him, but what good would it do to her if she stayed? She can't love Park in her current state because she needs to heal. Letting go of the park and embracing the changes in her life allowed Eleanor to engage fully with her own healing, and I think that's what sixteen-year-old high schoolers should do.

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Overall, the story was nice, and it really got me hooked up because their dialogues were quirky and well written. It felt like I was listening to them, and I really felt thrilled. Their story wasn't the usual naively romantic high school romance; there was way more to it. Their story changed my perspective on falling in love. It made me realize that true love isn't defined by your age because not all grownups can love genuinely. It is in the depth of your feelings for each other and in how you're willing to sacrifice for each other. Indeed, the novel was worth reading, and I rate it 4.5/5.

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That's all for now, bookworms. See you next time for my next book review—and take note, it's not spoiler-free!


Doing something because someone you admire did it is not healthy but we still do it anyways hehehe.

I just added this novel to my reading list. Thanks for sharing

It was really nice story @caithlyn, the plot really got me hooked up (⁠灬⁠º⁠‿⁠º⁠灬⁠)⁠♡. Hope you'll like it the way I do...

I hope I end up liking it more than you do😏😄😄

This book was really popular back in the day. Sadly, I vaguely remembered the plot but Elanor and Park were iconic characters a few years ago. It was like you said, the quirky dialogues gives life to this book.

It was really the dialogue that kept me all night while reading it (⁠。⁠・⁠/⁠/⁠ε⁠/⁠/⁠・⁠。⁠), it was well-written and it didn't felt like fictional characters were talking, it's like I'm reading a conversations of real people.

So true! also can't wait for more reviews from you!

The book has a really interesting plot and it feels like it would be a good read.


It was definitely a good read (⁠´⁠ε⁠`⁠ ⁠)...