Posts Tagged ‘eleanor & park’

As it’s now near the end of 2013, I feel it’s about time I did my review of the top books I read this year.  First of all, some statistics.  According to GoodReads, I have read an incredible 115 books this year!  I am certain that this is partly due to Audible and my being able to listen to books during my nightshifts.  As I am moving onto day shifts soon, I suspect my total will drop for next year.  As an item of interest, the longest book I read was A Memory of Light by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson at a total of 909 pages.  

So without much further ado, onto the retrospective.  Here, in no particular order, are my favourite books of 2013.

[book-info title=”A Memory of Light” author=brandon-sanderson-2] A Memory of Light is, of course, the final book in Robert Jordan’s magnum opus The Wheel of Time, completed by Brandon Sanderson after Jordan’s death.  There was a lot of pressure and expectation on this book; the series has been ongoing for nearly 25 years and had a cast of thousands as well as hundreds of narrative plot threads.  Sanderson was faced with a real challenge to pull this all together and to create a satisfying ending in a world he had not created. While not perfect, I felt the book was a wonderful farewell to much-loved characters and was emotionally satisfying.  

Read my reaction to A Memory of Light. (note: contains spoilers)

[book-info title=”Cinder” author=marissa-meyer-2] Cinder is a fantastic blend of fairytale and sci-fi.  I loved this book because of the creative concept, the humour, the wonderful characters and witty writing style.  Sci-fi is not my favourite genre, and I was curious to see how well it would integrate with the fairytale world of the Brothers Grimm, but Meyer did a wonderful job on this.  I can wholly recommend it.

Read my full review of Cinder.
 

[book-info title=”Emperor of Thorns” author=mark-lawrence-2]  Emperor of Thorns is one that really sneaked up on me.  I had disliked Prince of Thorns, the first book in the trilogy, mainly due to the unsympathetic main character.  Reluctantly I was persuaded to read the second book and finally the third.  Due to Lawrence’s wonderful character development I began to really care about Jorg, or at least to understand him better, so the ending came as a real sucker punch to me.  Any book that can leave me feeling as emotionally drained as Emperor of Thorns  has to be worth reading.

Read my full review of Emperor of Thorns

[book-info title=”Emerald Green” author=kerstin-gier-2] The real charm of this and the rest of the Gem Trilogy is the main character Gwyneth.  She is just so charming and engaging it’s hard not be sucked into her story.  The time travel concept is very interesting and well done.  It should be noted that the Gem trilogy is best read as a marathon – the books are not very self-contained so it’s best to read the story as a whole.

Read my full review of Emerald Green.

[book-info title=”The Golem and the Jinni” author=helene-wecker-2] The concept of The Golem and the Jinni – a golem and a jinni emigrate to late 19th century New York and form a friendship – is very fresh and engaging.  I also loved Wecker’s detailing of the New York of the time, which felt so real, as well as the characterisations and interrelationships between the characters.  This is a wonderfully charming novel that I heartily recommend.

Read my full review of The Golem and the Jinni.

[book-info title=”The Darkest Minds” author=alexandra-bracken-2] I was hooked on this book from the first few chapters I read.  The brisk narrative style kept me turning page after page after page and I was very invested in the characters.  I was intrigued by the dystopian setting and felt it worked very well.  I have yet to read the sequel, but I’m looking forward to it.

Read my full review of The Darkest Minds.

[book-info title=”Eleanor and Park” author=rainbow-rowell-2] Eleanor & Park is a sweet coming-of-age romance between two outsiders Eleanor and Park.  I loved Rowell’s writing style and the characters felt very real and engaging.  I could easily imagine meeting Eleanor or Park on the bus into town.  This is the first book of Rowell’s that I have read, but I will certainly read more of her work.

Read my full review of Eleanor & Park.

[book-info title=”Allegiant” author=veronica-roth] Allegiant is the final book in Roth’s Divergent trilogy.  While not without flaws, Roth’s willingness to break YA dystopian tropes along with engaging characters and a beautiful writing style made this a wonderful, emotional read.

Read my full review of Allegiant. (NB spoilers)

Do you agree with my thoughts?  Let me know in the comments.

Advertisements

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell is the sweet story of the romance between two misfit teens, Eleanor and Park.  Neither of them fit in easily with their classmates; Eleanor because of her quirky appearance and Park because of his half Asian heritage in a predominantly white Omaha community.  While Eleanor’s homelife is desperate and downright dangerous, Park comes from a loving and supportive family.  When Eleanor sits beside Park on the school bus a sweet, beautifully written romance ensues.

I read this after coming out of my post-Allegiant emotional hangover and it was the perfect antidote.  Despite the terrible family situation in which Eleanor finds herself, the bright spot in her life provided by her friendship with Park is truly heartwarming.

What I liked

The characterisation.  The novel is written from the dual viewpoints of Park and Eleanor, and both are beautifully and evocatively drawn, each with his or her own concerns and issues.  The characters feel very alive, and it is very easy to root for both of them.  Rowell has a real knack for making her characters seem real people.  

The romance.  The love story between our two protagonists is beautifully and sweetly drawn.  It starts off very slowly but gradually the relationship develops between the pair.  It seems very real, with a solid base on friendship and a shared love of music and comics and the progression to love is wonderfully done.  I loved that when Eleanor’s world comes crashing down towards the end, Park is there for her as much as a friend as a boyfriend, even though it had a personal cost for him.

The narration.  I listened to this in audio format and both Rebecca Lowman and Sunil Malhotra did an excellent job.

Here’s a sample

What I didn’t like

There was nothing I didn’t enjoy about Eleanor & Park and will certainly pick up more of Rowell’s books.  I gave Eleanor & Park four and a half stars out of five

 buy from Amazon, Kobo, iTunes or Audible