Falling For The First Time

Eleanor and Park

He’d stopped trying to bring her back.

Sometimes a book unexpectedly smacks you right between the eyes and you become completely consumed by the words on the page. Eleanor & Park did that to me! There is a reason why all the bloggers I follow wax lyrical about this book and now I wholeheartedly understand why. I became utterly addicted to Rainbow Rowell’s debut YA book and read it almost non-stop (damn you work!) in two days. It’s a beautiful, affecting, emotional, light-hearted and deep read that is accessible and relatable and, in case you hadn’t already guessed, I LOVED it!

This book affected me more emotionally than a book has in a long time. The protagonists are far from picture perfect and are therefore much more realistic on the page than some other YA couples in modern fiction. Both Park and Eleanor are flawed, quirky-looking teens that are just trying to find themselves – a headspace almost everyone can identify with! There is a unique authenticity to Rowell’s writing that transports you straight into the confusion of the teenage years, where nothing you do seems to be right and nothing you want ever seems to get realised. It’s a place that no one wants to relive once survived and yet the world and characters in Eleanor & Park is so overwhelmingly well-realised that you don’t ever want to leave once you’ve turned that first page and met the protagonists.

The central premise to the story is a school romance but it would be doing it a disservice to say that it is just a romance story – there is so much more to it than that. Eleanor & Park is about trying to find your place in life and working through the trials it gives you as best you can. It brings to life everything fearful and wonderful about growing up and falling in love, that confusing time when you don’t think you could ever breathe without your first love by your side. Rowell captures the intensity of teenage years and locks it within the pages of her novel for anyone to rediscover. So if you haven’t already, relive it now with Eleanor & Park – I promise you won’t regret it.

5 star


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