I read (and loved) Attachments a couple of months ago, and have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of Eleanor + Park at my library. When it finally arrived, I squealed all over Twitter, and set aside my current read so that I could dive into this one.
I wanted to love this book so, so, so much. Especially after hearing so much blog love. But I didn't. I liked it, and it definitely had its moments that touched me, but on the whole it fell a little flat.
I absolutely adore the cover. In fact, it was the cover that first convinced me that I'd love this book -- a couple bonding over music? Yes please! I was imagining something along the lines of Sarah Dessen's Just Listen, but the music aspect wasn't as prevalent in the story as I'd expected.
Eleanor and Park are definitely unique characters and I really do have to applaud Rainbow Rowell's character development. I honestly can't say that too much happened in this book (it's not an action driven plot), but the growth in characterization is definitely the driving force in the novel. I didn't particularly care for Eleanor's character throughout most of this book. She's been through a lot in her short life, so I can definitely understand why she's a little messed up, but I didn't feel as sympathetic for her as I probably could have. Maybe it was just her abrasive personality? I don't know. But I really, really, really liked Park. And his mom. His mom was probably my favourite character.
I know that I've written about this before, but sometimes I feel like I have unreasonably high expectations of a book (I know that this happened with both Code Name Verity and The Madman's Daughter), so when I finally read the book, I'm expecting way too much. Perhaps that's the case with Eleanor + Park -- I was just waiting to be blown away, to laugh, to cry, to want the book to never end -- and it just didn't happen. It's still a good story, but just not ten thousand kinds of amazing like I had expected.