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The student-generated news site of Mount Saint Joseph Academy

The Campanile

The student-generated news site of Mount Saint Joseph Academy

The Campanile

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Bookmarked!: February ROMANCE 2024

The book for this month is “Eleanor and Park” by Rainbow Rowell.
Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell details the lives and love of a pair of outsiders.
Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell details the lives and love of a pair of outsiders.

Hello everyone! Thanks for tuning in to another installment of the Campanile’s Book Review Column, Bookmarked!. This month’s theme is Romance, and the book is Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. A summary of the book is below:

“Bono met his wife in high school,” Park says.
“So did Jerry Lee Lewis,” Eleanor answers.
“I’m not kidding,” he says.
“You should be,” she says, “we’re 16.”
“What about Romeo and Juliet?”
“Shallow, confused, then dead.”
“I love you,” Park says.
“Wherefore art thou,” Eleanor answers.
“I’m not kidding,” he says.
“You should be.”

Set over one school year in 1986, Eleanor & Park is the story of two star-crossed misfits—smart enough to know first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.


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Our reader’s reviews are below:


2.5 out of 5 stars

The title of Eleanor & Park sounds as if a couple couldn’t pick a ship name. This romance book takes on two main characters and their challenges in their everyday lives, yet they are able to come together. 

Both Eleanor and Park in some shape or form are outsiders to their communities. Eleanor does not fit in with the beauty standards of the 1980s,and she tends to feel as if she is just another face in her family. Park, on the other hand, is popular in school compared to Eleanor. Yet unlike all of the other popular kids he is not white. This aspect of his identity, along with his “obtuse” interests, makes him stand out from the rest. The way in which their struggles are written is unrealistic. Park and his family lived in the Midwest during the 80s, yet it feels as if he is more concerned that his interests are too obscure rather than racism that historically happened to people like him in that area of states. Additionally, it feels that Eleanor herself talks a lot more about her appearance than some of the more worrying aspects of her life. 

Not only that, but their “clandestine” relationship just started by the simple gesture of the two of them sitting next to each other. Then once they start to fall in love, like every romance book that’s been written, their points of views change. The ways in which they describe each other and how they feel about the other is both poetic and cheesy. It reminds me of a romcom that didn’t try to hide the fact that it’s based on a Shakespearean work. However, their points of view change too rapidly. Furthermore, they definitely tell each other they love the other way too fast. Like every teenager in their town and in the world they have their whole lives ahead of them. Are they willing to waste it tied to each other?

— Gianna Scotto, ‘24


3 out of 5 stars

Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park is a young adult novel that deals with themes of love, abuse, and loss. This novel balanced both the pure love of teenagers with the dark forms of abuse present in society while also setting the reader within the culture of 80’s Omaha, Nebraska. I have to say, I started this book with some preconceptions from others who had either gushed about it or warned me about the ending, and no spoilers, but the ending definitely packed a punch. Eleanor and Park struggle with different, but equally important issues; Eleanor has an abusive home environment and deals with body image issues, while Park deals with the isolation of having unconventional interests and being Asian in a mostly white populus. While I do enjoy a good enemies-to-lovers trope, this one’s pacing just felt rushed. One page they hate each other, then the next they are professing their love in Shakespearean quotes. Additionally, Rowell packs so many issues into one book that it made me dizzy. I understood where she was coming from, but she briefly glossed over several things that required further explanation. Overall, while this novel told the story of a cute little romance between teenagers, it also felt somewhat slapdash in its approach, which led me to rate it 3 out of 5 stars.

— Sine Thompson, ‘24


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About the Contributor
Sine Thompson
Sine Thompson, Arts and Entertainment Editor
Sine (pronounced Shee-na) is a senior who loves spending her free time hiking, watching interesting movies, and chilling out to music. She is a discus and shotput thrower on the Track & Field team at the Mount and is a leader of numerous clubs, including American Sign Language, Book, and Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Club. Sine is also involved in the Mount Ensemble as a drummer, and she runs Bookmarked!, the Book Review Column at the Campanile. She is looking forward to many future articles!
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