Pssst, you there. Yes, you. Thanks for travelling to my corner of the internet, I hope it's cozy enough and that you enjoy your stay :)
25/02/2014, first part of the review (page one to sixty-something) :
I wasn't planning to buy this book. Thanks to Tumblr and Goodreads I was perfectly aware it exists and that it is popular. I had already let curiosity coax me once into buying a book recommended by many readers and reviewers last Christmas, which is unlike me, and I ended up very disappointed with that one, like I feared I'd be.
So I saw Eleanor & Park in my small local anglophone bookshop and bought it out of surprise and curiosity - the sellers don't usually go for internet favorites, there must be another YA reader out here in Bordeaux who maybe requested this one, I'm glad - but, deep down, fully expecting it to be another disappointment.
This is a book that could have gone wrong any time : There's no actual action, the narration is mostly centered around reflections and everyday life details. Rainbow Rowell succeeds in bringing out the best of her topic, but most surprising is that she manages it while keeping her story natural. Other authors tackle the same topic and achieve to make it enjoyable by giving their protagonists a life more active and outlandish than the life of a teenager really is.
For the first sixty pages or so, the author sticks to her point. She gives the reader something not only interesting, but also exciting, thanks to trivia and details...and by building a careful gradation. The tension adds up little by little with each of Eleanor and Park's (non-)interactions, and I wanted to know what happens next. And still, I'm grateful that there is no rush. YA romances these days almost hand you the happily ever after before the characters properly say hello to each other for the first time. I'm glad someone had the sense to make it rational, and make it good. Finally.