Eleanor and Park: First Love at Its Finest

Genre: Teen, Contemporary

Page Count: 328 pages

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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.

I did this book for a reading vlog without knowing anything about it and that turned out to be a mistake. This book was a lot heavier than I anticipated. Trigger warnings for domestic violence and child abuse for those who want to read it.

Together, Eleanor and Park are excellent. They have witty dialogue full of 80’s references and general high school silliness. The two of them together made me nostalgic for high school with their cuteness.

That was definitely needed because the rest of the book was really dark.

From the start, Eleanor isn’t doing well. As the new kid in school, she is an easy target for bullies and has no friends to turn to (at least until Park). But her home life is even worse. After living off a neighbor’s couch for a year, Eleanor was finally allowed to move back into her mom’s house, where her mom and siblings live under the tyrannical rule of Ritchie, a violent and abusive alcoholic.

In Eleanor’s house, the feeling of danger and unease is always there, heightened by nightly fights between Ritchie and the mother and having no bathroom door. Eleanor only really feels safe in the house when Ritchie isn’t there.

Her escape becomes Park, the quiet boy on the bus who let her sit next to him and lets her read comic books over his shoulder. Slowly they develop a reluctant friendship which turns into love.

I really like Eleanor. I think she’s really smart and witty and very relatable. She’s insecure about her body and the abuse definitely took a toll on her emotional state. But in general, she’s just a normal teenager.

Park is a typical teenager as well. He’s frustratingly insecure and angsty, which makes him act like a jerk to Eleanor sometimes, especially in the beginning. But despite that, he’s usually a really nice guy who cares deeply for Eleanor. He’s pretty understanding about her home life and is patient with her, which I really like. He does a lot of things that he thinks are small, like lending Eleanor comics and making her mixtapes, but they mean the world to Eleanor, and it’s really sweet.

The only time I didn’t like him was when he found out someone was writing dirty messages on Eleanor’s textbook and he accused her of writing the messages herself. That was really out-of-character for him and was pretty horrible. Aside from that, though, he was nice. He was, in general, a normal, realistic teenage boy.

My biggest problem with the book was the ending. It wasn’t satisfying for me because it ends abruptly and I didn’t get enough closure about Eleanor’s family. It’s hinted at that they move out of the toxic house but it’s never confirmed. So because of that, it’s only 4 out of 5 stars, but still definitely worth reading.

You can get Eleanor and Park at your local bookstore today.

Disclaimer: this is an affiliate link, which means I get a small commission if you purchase this book through this link but at no additional cost to you. 50% of my affiliate earnings are donated to charity.

Read for a Better World Spotlight: Limitless

Genre: Anthology, Literature, Non-romance

Page Count: 337 pages

Average Goodreads Rating: 4.6 out of 5 stars

Purchase on Amazon

I like shining the spotlight on books that aim to make a better world and Limitless does just that. It is about tolerance, love, and hope with all the profits going to helping people rebuild their lives in the Middle East.  With recent events, it might be something we all need. Definitely worth checking out.

Continue reading Read for a Better World Spotlight: Limitless

Book Review: Eternity by Maggie Shayne

6baad4c8166fb3b89d4ff0a592bfab85300 years ago, Raven St. James was hanged for witchcraft. But she revives among the dead to find herself alive. She is an Immortal High Witch, one of the light. A note from her mother warns that there are others, those of the Dark, who preserve their own lives by taking the hearts of those like her.

Duncan Wallace’s forbidden love for the secretive lass costs him his life.

300 years later, he loves her again, tormented by hazy memories of a past that can’t be real. She tells him of another lifetime, claims to be immortal. Though he knows she’s deluded, he can’t stay away. And the Dark Witch after her heart is far closer than either of them know.

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Book Review: The Remnants

51c2jlnk8ilGenre: Historical Fiction

Average Goodreads Rating: 4.26/5 stars

My rating: 3/5 stars

Danny Pulbrook is a handsome and rebellious young man. Born the bastard son of a minor royal and orphaned at birth he is determined to find a new life far beyond his “pre-ordained oblivion”. His only way out – a forced enlistment into the army brings him to an inevitable confrontation with his own demons in the cauldron of the first world war.

Rose Quayle is a beautiful and confident hazel-eyed housemaid who, like her mother and her mother’s mother is employed in service at Meaford House – an expansive vice-regal estate near Tunbridge Wells. Like Danny she longs for a life beyond the tyranny of the rigid class system that defines her humble destiny.

Their chance meeting becomes the catalyst that changes both of their lives forever.

The Remnants is like a fixer upper. It’s unpolished and a bit of a hot mess, but you can still see the potential. Unfortunately, The Remnants was published before it got the TLC it deserved.

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Book Review: Love Fortunes and Other Disasters

In Grimbaud, love is on everyone’s mind. From the annual ritual of getting a completely true love fortune from Zita’s charm shop to the statue of Love in the square, that is just about the only thing that matters in the town. This is great for those who have found their matches and live happily ever after. For those who are fated to be single forever, not so much. They quickly become the social outcasts in the town and join the Spinster and Bachelor villas.

For Fallon Dupree, a spinster fortune is just another reason that she’s an outcast in Continue reading Book Review: Love Fortunes and Other Disasters