Friday, October 10, 2014

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell (audio)


Eleanor & Park
Written by: Rainbow Rowell
Narrated by: Rebecca Lowman, Sunil Malhotra
Length: 8 hrs and 56 mins
Publisher: Listening Library, 2013
source: purchased

Publisher's summary:
Set over the course of one school year, in 1986, this is the story of two star-crossed misfits - smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love - and just how hard it pulled you under.

My thoughts:
I don't read or listen to much young adult literature, but Rainbow Rowell has been a favorite of book bloggers for the past couple of years and I just had to see what all the fuss was about.

The plot is simple - two misfits thrown together on the school bus stumble upon first love. Eleanor and Park are such wonderful characters separately... weird, quirky, intelligent. And they were great together, too. With such a horrible home life, my heart just broke for Eleanor.

I enjoyed Eleanor & Park  very much, but one thing bothered me. I had a hard time understanding what Park found so endearing in Eleanor... but I suppose that's the nature of love.

Listening to this book was an amazing experience. Any novel told from alternating perspectives begs for dual narrators, and both Rebecca Lowman and Sunil Malhotra nail it. A five-star performance from each makes this an unforgettable audio production.

So I agree, Rainbow Rowell is a treasure. Which  of her novels should I listen to next?

Bottom line:
This book took me right back to high school - the bus, the cliques, the social pecking order, the music, the feelings, first love. Listen to this book and let yourself be taken back, too.

My ratings:

story
performance

28 comments:

  1. Sounds fascinating for the reasons you list. I realize there is a whole treasure trove of wonderful young adult books that I haven't tapped into yet. Thanks for bringing this to our attention. Also, need to start listening to audio books when I can. A few women in my book club love to listen to books. Hope you have a great weekend!

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    1. Sunday - One or two YA titles is the most I ever read in a year and I try to save those for titles other bloggers really love. I've already planned a title for next year, too... The Fault in Our Stars by Joh Green.

      I started listening to audiobooks just over 10 years ago during a year I spent inordinate amounts of time driving around... they were a godsend! I don't have as much time to listen now, but always have an audiobook in for my morning walk.

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  2. The one thing that got on my nerves a tiny bit is that even when Park lets his feelings be known, she STILL has doubts. It happened over and over again. But that is how teens are.

    I liked this one best. I read Fan Girl and it bugged me a little. I liked Land Line but it had a magical realism aspect that will turn some people off.

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    1. Ti - Eleanor was really an enigma... never really felt like I had her figured out, but that's how teens are, I guess. I might have a problem with the magical realism in Land Line...

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  3. I think Attachments is my favorite but I can't speak to the audiobook. I do enjoy Rainbow's books.

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    1. Linda - Attachments was the one I was considering next. The audio version has pretty high ratings, so I'm hopeful.

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  4. This one does seem to pop up all over the place. Glad you enjoyed it but doubt I will read it - not keen on YA.

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    1. Cat - One or two YA titles a year is plenty for me... just like to keep an eye on what is out there ;-)

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  5. Glad you liked this one! It took me totally by surprise.

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    1. Andi - Never expected to enjoy this as much as I did!

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    1. Jill - Glad she's got so many more to enjoy!

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  7. JoAnn,
    I'm so glad you've reviewed this--I must read it. I include plenty of YA fiction in my Children's Lit course. My 19- and 20-year-old students love it, and it's a great way to lure them in to a study of literature.
    By the way, when are you headed south? How I wish sometime we might do a meet-up! Like, Utica maybe. Or perhaps next year or whenever.
    Best wishes,
    Judith

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    1. Judith - I would love to meet you! Utica would be fine, but I don't mind driving to Albany either. My nephew is in school there and my sister would be very happy to have me deliver a care package. There is a great indy bookstore in Stuyvesant Plaza and a nice cafe for lunch, dessert, or coffee. I'll be here for the rest of the year... we'll head south for a couple of weeks around the holidays and then again in February. Let me know what you think.

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  8. Attachments was the first one I read, and that one is really fun.

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    1. Melissa - Attachments is the one I'm considering next and yours is the second mention... that'll probably be the one!

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  9. I've never read Rowell either and have this one on my TBR list. Maybe I'll give it a shot...Landline seems a bit too "otherworldly" for me :)

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    1. Sarah - Landline doesn't really appeal to me either. I just don't get magical realism...

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  10. Rowell's personal favorite of her books is "Fangirl" if that's any help in your decision.

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    1. Lisa - Oh, interesting!! That will probably be next for me.

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  11. I think Park felt like he did about Eleanor because she was so "different" and he too felt "different" deep down (kind of embarrassed about his parents -- typical teen stuff.

    I loved the audio of this one and just posted my review from (Sept) for Landline, which was good but not as good as this one for me.

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    1. Diane - I think you're right. This was such a great audio... will stop by now and see what you thought of Landline.

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  12. Can you believe I haven't read her yet???? Must correct this.

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  13. Beth F - LOL! Thought I was the last to read Rainbow Rowell.

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  14. I read Eleanor & Park first, followed by Attachments then Landline. I loved E&P, but think Attachments was even better. Landline was a bit of a disappointment. BTW, I started listening to E&P on audio (for a "reread") last week, but didn't get very far. I think the storyline is still to familiar and I need to wait a few years before giving it a listen.

    You are going to love The Fault in Our Stars!! I read it after E&P and saw the movie with my granddaughter. She's reading the book for the second time, she loves it so much. :)

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    1. Les - Landline sounds a bit too strange for my taste, but I'm going to give Attachments a try... but not until AFTER I've read The Fault in Our Stars! I bought the kindle version after reading your review and had it on my summer reading list, but still haven't gotten to it. This winter for sure (hopefully on a beach!)

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  15. I enjoyed Attachments though I'm also curious about Landline. My daughter read this is one sitting and absolutely adored this one. I've been considering reading it but was worried it would be a little too YA for me. Glad to hear you enjoyed it. I think I'm going to try the audio on this one.

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    1. Katherine - I'm definitely not a YA reader, but E&P was a nice change of pace for me. Audio is the way to go!

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