/, book reviews, eleanor and park, st. martin's press, YA titles/My Favorite Book Of 2012 and Big Giveaway!
by Rainbow Rowell
Two Misfits




Goodreads Summary: Set over the course of one school year in 1986, ELEANOR AND PARK is the story of two star-crossed misfits – smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love – and just how hard it pulled you under.

My Goodreads Rating: 5 stars, (10 if they’d let me!) 

My Thoughts: First off, I can’t believe I missed the release date! It was yesterday, February 26. I read this book way back in September so I’m including the gushing email that I sent to the author’s editor as my review. I saw the name in the back of the book and just had to send my thoughts asap. I felt so much upon finishing this story that I was just over-flowing with it and it had been a long time since a book had that effect on me and I missed it. I really missed that feeling. So, the email captures my just finished thoughts better than a formal review ever could. 

Here’s the jist of what I wrote months ago…

 Wow…I don’t even have words to describe how much I loved this book. I have to say, it’s my favorite book that I’ve read so far this year and I’ve read A LOT of good books. I’m totally nuts over the Fault In Our Stars by John Green and honestly, this one edged it out for my top favorite of 2012. Maybe one of my favorites ever. It’s one of those books that I’m going to be telling everyone that they have to read. I could have sent this very same email 60 pages in because I really didn’t care what happened in the rest of the book it was already amazing at that point. I know it probably seems like I read it fast, but I actually spread  it out over two days and that’s slow for me.

I read every word, no skimming, no sense of urgency to find out what happens next because I was so absorbed in the right now, too much to even think about the next chapter.

The characters were so deep…I loved Park’s mom and his dad…I even loved Tina, of all people. And of course Eleanor and Park. When I flipped the book over after getting it in the mail, I read, “Its 1986…” and I told my husband, “okay, I’m already sold.”

I had a similar reaction to reading the beginning of The Future Of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler because I remembered so vividly getting those AOL disks in the mail and the sound of the dial up modem, but as I read that book, I couldn’t help wondering if today’s teens would be able to relate to that. But with Eleanor and Park, the year isn’t distracting. It’s probably just going to feel like a fictional world and it’s amazing the problems that we can solve in a plot now because of the existence of cell phones. But I was glad to not be distracted by the fact that everyone could call/text anyone anytime or find out answers by using google. I loved all the 80’s references but it was so much more than that.

I’m left with that feeling that I want to know what happened between them and what happened to Eleanor’s siblings, like I could keep reading them forever. I can relate to Eleanor in a lot of ways…I didn’t have an abusive stepfather or anything like that, but I was mostly raised by a single mom and I was the one in the middle. The one who stayed invisible and money was often tight and our phone would be disconnected for weeks at a time in middle school and I’d make up excuses when my friends would call and get that “this number has been temporarily disconnected” message and I’d tell them they must have been dialing wrong or that the phone company had to fix something. I also “forgot” my lunch money a lot.

I especially related to the scene where Eleanor is baby sitting her future stepbrother. I did a lot of babysitting when I was younger and I remember noticing other people’s houses and what it was like to have closets full of extra tooth brushes and various supplies and just thinking about how much easier it would be to live in that house where things made sense. I don’t think I was as strong as Eleanor. I would have lied to keep people from finding out the phone bill hadn’t been paid…even to the school counselor. Eleanor withheld a lot of herself to most people but she rarely lied. I loved that about her. But I know kids in my day would have slowly backed away from someone in that situation. That’s why I loved Park. He started out hesitant but eventually he just didn’t care about any of that. And he had a chance to see outside of his safety net of a home. I’m so excited just knowing that young people might take that away from this book.

Besides the beautiful and honest and raw theme of first love and what it can do to and for you, one of the most important aspects of the book for me, was the fact that even though 1986 wasn’t the stone age or anything, it was very different to be in Eleanor’s situation in that year than it would be today (And for Park too, being half-Asian). I know from the school system my kids are in, they have social workers on staff, if kids show up in dirty or worn clothes, they get them clothes and shoes and coats.
Schools now a days never let kids go without lunch. Or supplies. There was so much more shame in this in the 80’s and 90’s.

This is a book I want everyone to read and enjoy and what’s amazing is that it’s so deep and layered that each reader will come away with something different, something personal. Yes, it really is that good.  


“It made sense that Tina was in Eleanor’s gym class–because gym was an extension of hell, and Tina was definitely a demon. A weird miniature demon.”
“If he were to look up at her now he’d know exactly how stupid she was. She could feel her face go soft and gummy. If Park were to look up at her now, he’d know everything.”
“Holding Eleanor’s hand was like holding a butterfly. Or a heartbeat. Like holding something complete and completely alive.”
“Eleanor could still feel Park holding her hand. Could still feel his thumb exploring her palm. She sat completely still because she didn’t have any other options. She tried to remember what kind of animal paralyzed their prey before they ate them…Maybe Park had paralyzed her with his ninja magic, his Vulcan handhold, and now he was going to eat her. That would be awesome.”

So, today I have three ARCS of Eleanor & Park to giveaway and along with each copy of this book I send, I’ll also include a personalized, signed paperback of Tempest. So 3 winners and each winner gets 2 books!

Open Internationally!
Enter by tweeting/facebooking about the contest and commenting in the comment section either on the review, your personal “first love” story, or answer the question from the book’s summary: Can First love last? Or tell us your favorite 80’s band. Doing all of these things in separate comments will get you more entries! And more chances to win!

Leave your email in the comment section!

Contest deadline: Saturday March 2, 2013 at 11:59pm (CST)




About the Author:


  1. Danielle Nguyen February 27, 2013 at 7:48 pm - Reply

    I tweeted: https://twitter.com/Dani_Nguyen/status/306852571669204992

    I keep hearing such great things about Eleanor & Park. I don't read a lot of contemporary but I think this is one I'll really love. Can't wait to read it!

  2. Danielle Nguyen February 27, 2013 at 7:57 pm - Reply

    Also, my favorite 80s band is Queen, obviously 🙂

    ABBA would be a close 2nd.

  3. beck nicholas February 27, 2013 at 10:04 pm - Reply

    This sounds awesome. And not just cos I love the 80s.

  4. beck nicholas February 27, 2013 at 10:05 pm - Reply

    I'm married to my first love so I kind of am betting on it lasting. 18 years this month since I stopped by the roadside at 4am and picked him up…

  5. Scott Pilgrim February 27, 2013 at 10:26 pm - Reply

    I love listening to Beastie Boys!
    I do believe first love can last!

  6. Megan White February 27, 2013 at 10:37 pm - Reply

    Well, first off, I love you and I am hoping I win(: I'm young, so I haven't really had a first love yet, but I can;t wait until it happens!

  7. beck nicholas February 27, 2013 at 10:39 pm - Reply

    Best 80s bands… Maybe The Cure, New Order and Violent Femmes!!

  8. Maidenveil February 28, 2013 at 12:24 am - Reply

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. Maidenveil February 28, 2013 at 12:24 am - Reply

    i love the 80s! david bowie, duran duran, tears for fears, and the cure!


    -Len of Musings of a Reader Happy

  10. Chey February 28, 2013 at 1:20 am - Reply

    I just had to add this one to my wishlist. I don't know why I haven't before! 🙂

    Tweet: https://twitter.com/ohaiitschey/status/306936684451356672

    Thanks for sharing!

  11. cristina February 28, 2013 at 2:38 am - Reply

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  12. cristina February 28, 2013 at 2:39 am - Reply

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  13. cristina February 28, 2013 at 2:40 am - Reply
  14. cristina February 28, 2013 at 2:42 am - Reply
  15. cristina February 28, 2013 at 2:45 am - Reply

    Loved your review. I've heard great things about this book and now I really want to read it. Specially after reading your faorite quotes.


  16. cristina February 28, 2013 at 2:51 am - Reply

    Can first love last? I believe it can. I don't think it happens very often and I wish it would happen to me.

  17. cristina February 28, 2013 at 2:51 am - Reply

    my e-mail alpha_lycan(@)msn.com

  18. Gaby Pendragon February 28, 2013 at 8:39 am - Reply

    Can first love last? Yes, I want to think so.
    Favorite 80's band: Mmm Bon Jovi.
    Tweet: https://twitter.com/GabyLafara/status/307046364162965505
    FB: https://www.facebook.com/gaby.navarro.54966/posts/342070425904319
    Email: gaby_sama@hotmail.com

  19. Alexju February 28, 2013 at 6:20 pm - Reply

    Thank you so much for this giveaway!
    Favorite 80's band: Aerosmith
    I tweeted: https://twitter.com/ajupde91/status/307192334238482432
    email: ajupde91@gmail.com
    Again thank you for the giveaway!

  20. Christina Kit. February 28, 2013 at 6:30 pm - Reply

    I think first love can last if the people truly care for each other, if they love each other enough to grow up together and if there's something that bonds them forever.

    Tweeted https://twitter.com/christinafiorio/status/307196027872616448

    Thank you so much:)

    ccfioriole at gmail dot com

  21. Brooke DelVecchio February 28, 2013 at 6:32 pm - Reply

    Sounds right up my street. I am an 80s girl, favortie group: Duran Duran. But, I LOVE Echo and the Bunnymen!

  22. Brooke DelVecchio February 28, 2013 at 6:33 pm - Reply

    I think first love can last. Sometimes two people are just made for each other!

  23. Brooke DelVecchio February 28, 2013 at 6:35 pm - Reply

    Great review! I'm interested to see the depth this goes to as they work through first love and trying to make it last. bhwrn1@gmail.com

  24. Brooke DelVecchio February 28, 2013 at 6:36 pm - Reply

    My first love was out of HS. He was my first long term boyfriend, even if only for the summer. Needless to say, I don't think it was really true love since I didn't end up with him! bhwrn1@gmail.com

  25. callusedfingers February 28, 2013 at 7:14 pm - Reply

    One of the settings I'd said I'd like to see more of was the 80s and 90s a few weeks ago in a top ten list…and I want to read this book based on the fact that it's set in 1986! That was also the year that my family moved from the condo where we lived into a house and my last year at my elementary school. Such memories!

  26. callusedfingers February 28, 2013 at 7:17 pm - Reply

    I tweeted it here: https://twitter.com/Marzipan9/status/307207645805297665

    oh and my email is shelleymb9 at gmail dot com

  27. Brookexx February 28, 2013 at 7:25 pm - Reply

    Can first love last? I believe it does for certain people, like my aunt & uncle who have been together since they were 14! They recently celebrated their silver wedding anniversary by renewing their vows!

  28. Brookexx February 28, 2013 at 7:28 pm - Reply

    Favourite 80's band? some many Queen, Aerosmith & Guns 'N' Roses.

  29. Lilian February 28, 2013 at 9:46 pm - Reply
  30. Lilian February 28, 2013 at 9:47 pm - Reply

    Favorite 80s band? Aerosmith. hands-down.

    lilianxcheng AT gmail.com

  31. Lilian February 28, 2013 at 10:31 pm - Reply

    Call me a romanticist, but I definitely think first love can last. I know many people who have married their first love.

    lilianxcheng AT gmail.com

  32. Amanda Berens February 28, 2013 at 11:08 pm - Reply

    Facebooked it!

    I think first love can last if both parties are in love for the first time. If one is and the other has been in love before then it is more difficult. Because if you've been in love before it's easier to doubt that it won't last, and even if it should it doesn't. Sometimes you both have to get your heart broken before you realize that you are in love again. Sometimes it's through pain that you find happiness.


  33. Brodie March 1, 2013 at 8:56 am - Reply

    YOU HAVE SOLD ME, JULIE CROSS! Why did I not have this on my TBR already?! I especially love when you talk about Park being hesitant at first, but then being one who didn't give a crap and loved her for all she is <3 And those quotes! You slay me! I want to read this SO BAD.

    My first love story? I was 5 and he had a giant T-Rex *wink wink* Okay, that sounds really creepy. But he really DID have a T-Rex…. his name was Jason and he was the original red Power Ranger and I was going to marry him (and become the non-existant purple ranger, of course). Sadly for some reason, Zordon never recruited me to join 🙁

    Do I think first love can last? YES! I know some first-love couples who've been together for years. If it's meant to be, it will survive the tests of time 🙂

    As for the 80's band question… er… I can't answer that because I don't listen to 80's music. I KNOW, I'M A DISGRACE *sob*

    I tweeted here: https://twitter.com/peacelovevegan/status/307413911756492801

    And finally, THANK YOU for the incredibly generous giveaway!!! I am also crazy excited to read Tempest. It had me at TIME TRAVEL!

    eleusinianmysteriesblog AT outlook dot com

  34. Helen T March 2, 2013 at 3:11 pm - Reply

    https://twitter.com/iDisneyGirl/status/307870358021758976 tweeted

    radiodisneyfan (dot) helent (at) gmail (dot) com

  35. Angelica March 2, 2013 at 3:12 pm - Reply

    stars30.angelica@gmail.com First of all, I wanted to say that I am a huge fan of yours! I love the Tempest series and I can't wait for the third book to come out. It would mean so much to me to have a signed copy of Tempest! I love reading and would love to have a momento like that! Thanks so much for the opprotunity.

  36. Angelica March 2, 2013 at 3:14 pm - Reply

    I think that first love can last. My parents were each other's first love and they have been together since highschool! I really look up to them.

  37. Helen T March 2, 2013 at 3:15 pm - Reply

    80's band = Queen

    radiodisneyfan (dot) helent (at) gmail (dot)com

  38. Helen T March 2, 2013 at 3:16 pm - Reply

    I do think first love can last.

    radiodisneyfan (dot) helent(at)gmail(dot)com

  39. Angelica March 2, 2013 at 3:17 pm - Reply
  40. Angelica March 2, 2013 at 3:19 pm - Reply

    My favorite band from the 80's is Duran Duran

  41. reem hardan March 2, 2013 at 3:42 pm - Reply

    Woow I read Eleanor and Park the other day and fell madly in love with the book. Hmmm I believe that true love lasts…not that you will stay in love with that person…but you will always remember him, and he will always have a special place in your heart …it will leave a feeling that no matter what it will never leave you.

    I tweeted about the giveaway and shared on Facebook..hope I win…thanks for the giveaway.

  42. Anonymous March 2, 2013 at 3:59 pm - Reply

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  43. Anonymous March 2, 2013 at 4:00 pm - Reply

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  44. Diana March 2, 2013 at 4:12 pm - Reply

    Tweeted: https://twitter.com/artdem83/status/307885274522861568

    Thank you for the giveaway!
    artgiote at gmail dot com

  45. Diana March 2, 2013 at 4:13 pm - Reply

    I shared it on FB: https://www.facebook.com/demitra.giote/posts/501613599897351

    artgiote at gmail dot com

  46. Diana March 2, 2013 at 4:16 pm - Reply

    It is the first time I hear about ELEANOR AND PARK. It sounds so good. I loved your review and especially the quotes in the end.

    artgiote at gmail dot com

  47. Diana March 2, 2013 at 4:26 pm - Reply

    First love is the most beautiful, pure thing in the world. You'll never have anything else to compare it to. The truth is that is rare for a love relationship that begins in High School to endure for a lifetime.
    But whoever has managed to be together with the first love then she/he is very lucky.

    artgiote at gmail dot com

  48. Diana March 2, 2013 at 4:27 pm - Reply

    My favorite 80's band is Bon Jovi

    artgiote at gmail dot com

  49. Veronika March 2, 2013 at 6:26 pm - Reply

    Duran Duran is my favorite band from 80's! And Queen of course!
    verusbognar (at) gmail (dot) com

  50. Veronika March 2, 2013 at 6:28 pm - Reply

    I might be cheese, but I truly believe that the first love can last! It's possible to love more people, but the first love is always memorable and stays with you forever.
    verusbognar (at) gmail (dot) com

  51. Veronika March 2, 2013 at 6:31 pm - Reply

    ELEANOR AND PARK sounds so great! I can't believe I've never heard about it before! I definitely need to read this one, especially coz I was born in '86 xD Great review!
    verusbognar (at) gmail (dot) com

  52. Veronika March 2, 2013 at 6:45 pm - Reply

    Tweeted: https://twitter.com/twveronika/status/307924521497800705
    verusbognar (at) gmail (dot) com

  53. Veronika March 2, 2013 at 6:48 pm - Reply

    Posted on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/tw.veronika/posts/219604351518144
    verusbognar (at) gmail (dot) com

  54. reem hardan March 2, 2013 at 6:54 pm - Reply

    I forgot my email

  55. reem hardan March 2, 2013 at 6:55 pm - Reply

    My favorite 80 band is Bon Jovi


  56. beck nicholas March 4, 2013 at 1:37 am - Reply

    Oh, email is beck.nicholas(at)hotmail.com

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