This is a novel that I went into with incredibly high expectations. So many of my Goodreads friends and people that I talk to on Twitter have been raving about this book the last few weeks. I was honestly a little nervous that my expectations would get the better of me because I really didn’t think there was any way a book could live up to them. This book surpassed those expectations, it blew them away, it left them in the dust, it was perfect. I have no idea what I could bring to the ELEANOR & PARK fanclub that is new so I am going to keep this short and talk about my favorite things in the novel.The real gem of this book is the portrayal of the main characters Eleanor & Park. They are incredibly flawed in their own ways and live completely different lives and yet through some shared interests they begin to slowly (very slowly) open up to one another. There was an innocence to their relationship and a sense of wonderment as they explored their emotions for one another. I loved that even after they fell for one another their worlds didn’t stop and focus solely on their love for each other. They were still incredibly self conscious and even pretty damn selfish at times. Eleanor had a lot to deal with, not only did she have to put up with bullshit at school but she had to put up with just as much (if not more) of it at home. I felt for this girl so much you guys. I hated her stepdad, I hated her mother for being so weak and I hated the bullies at her school. But through those things I came to really admire Eleanor, she was herself through and through. She didn’t parade around trying to be something that she wasn’t to make those crappy things in her life go away, she faced them. Park leads a much different life, he comes from a stable family with two parents who are madly in love with one another. I thought he was so adorable. He had this dark rebellious side to him that wasn’t really brought out until he had Eleanor and he realized that some things are worth fighting for. Their relationship is exactly the polar opposite of insta-love (how refreshing, right?) This is definitely a slow burn romance, the slowest I have ever read and I loved every small step that these two took with one another. As I had mentioned there was an innocence to it as it was new to both of them and they didn’t know what they were doing at all. Most of the romantic scenes were actually pretty awkward which is perfect because at that age they are awkward! Where do you put your hands? How much is too much? You can never be sure. What made these scenes, and everything in the novel really shine was the dual POV. There were random switches between Eleanor and Park's POV some spanned a few pages and some mere sentences but they were perfectly placed to really give you both sides of the story. I don’t think I would have picked this book up based on the cover, actually I know I wouldn’t have because at one point I did get a review request for this one that I turned down. What a fool I am! Now when I look at the cover there is absolutely nothing that I would change because it is so perfect for the novel. Filled with real life turmoil, a relationship that will warm your heart (seriously I thought at one point that my heart might actually burst) and a general honesty about life that is hard to find, ELEANOR & PARK is a story that you don’t want to miss. --You can read all of my reviews at Alluring Reads.