top of page

Book Review: Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

Updated: Aug 2, 2021

Sexually explicit content available at Canyon Independent School District in Region 16 of Texas:

Title: Eleanor & Park

Author: Rainbow Rowell

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

Publication Date: 2013

Categorization: Young Adult

Lexicon Level: 570 3rd grade reading level

Pages: 335


  • Canyon High School (CISD)

  • Randall High School (CISD)

  • Westover Park Jr. High School (CISD)

"Sit down," he said. It came out angrily. The girl turned to him, like she couldn't tell whether he was another jerk or what. "Jesus-f*ck," Park said softly, nodding to the space next to him, "just sit down."
"I know you're a slut, you smell like cum." Ch 48, Pg 283
"Do I make you wet?" Ch 16, Pg75

PROFANITY COUNT (or other sensitive words to give context)

  • f*ck 62

  • d*ck 2

  • p*ssy 3

  • a*s 10

  • b*tch 10

  • b*stard 4

  • sex 8

  • screw 1

  • pregnant 7

  • whore 1

  • fag 1

  • gay 2

  • rape 2

  • drunk 4

  • beer 11

  • slut 4

  • pissed 5

  • shit 9

  • Playboy 1 (the magazine)

  • '666' 1 (in reference to hell / devil)

  • demon 8 (demonic)

  • damn 17

  • Jesus 24 (in vain, Jesus-fuck, Jesus F. Christ, Jesus-fuck-sit-down)

  • God 75 (in vain, oh my God, Goddamn, God damn it)

  • Total of 272 sensitive words and the title is 335 pages


  • Sexual Content, Pornography

  • Physical abuse (Peer to Peer)

  • Bigotry, Racism, Fetishization, Stereo-types

  • Questioning sexuality / Crossdressing

  • Violence

  • Alcohol & Drug Use (Beer, Cigarettes, Marijuana)

  • Drunk driving

  • Extreme Profanity


  • A New York Times Best Seller!

  • A 2014 Michael L. Printz Honor Book for Excellence in Young Adult Literature

  • Eleanor & Park is the winner of the 2013 Boston Globe Horn Book Award for Best Fiction Book.

  • A Publishers Weekly Best Children's Book of 2013

  • A New York Times Book Review Notable Children's Book of 2013

  • A Kirkus Reviews Best Teen Book of 2013

  • An NPR Best Book of 2013

  • Amazon's Teacher's Pick



A morning bus ride changes everything for Park Sheridan. He's minding his own business until a new girl -- a crazily dressed redhead with a scowl -- gets on and has nowhere to sit. Fearing the worst for her, he angrily swears at Eleanor to sit next to him, and despite the six inches of space she leaves between them, it's the start of something really special. Park is a sensitive half-Korean guy whose parents are still in love with each other, while Eleanor is an intelligent but often ridiculed girl from a poor, broken family. But every day, Eleanor and Park's seating arrangement leads to silently reading comics together, then talking about music, and eventually sharing a deep and abiding friendship that becomes an unforgettable first love.

  • Eleanor and Park hold hands, kiss, and (although not explicitly depicted) almost have sex.

  • On one occasion when they were going to Park’s room to listen to music, his father told him, “Just don’t get anybody pregnant.” See, for example, pp. 231, 248-255, 269-275.

  • Additionally, the book refers to Eleanor’s parents having sex, noting that Eleanor and her siblings knew to hide when they heard the bedsprings. See, p. 27.

  • Although Eleanor and Park references racial tension between the students, Park is half-Korean and, although he feels like a misfit, it appears as though the other students accept him. Additionally, Eleanor’s first two friends (other than Park) are two African-American students. See, for example, pp. 53-56, 140-141.

  • When he is falling in love with Eleanor, Park remembers how kissing other girls in the past had left him uninspired. He had wondered if he might be gay. See, pp. 71-72.

  • Park decides to wear eyeliner to school and although his mother accepts his decision, his father is angry and does not speak to him for weeks. See, pp. 218-219.

  • Because she does not want to cause trouble at home, Eleanor lies to her parents about her relationship with Park. She tells her parents she is spending time with a girl named Tina instead (p. 119).

  • Book contains a lot of casual racism, fetishization of Asians, and harmful stereotypes usually involving the Koreans and Korean-Americans.

* Summary provided by Common Sense Media (and parental comments) & detail by The Objective Reader.


"It so f*cking does!" Steve shouted behind him. "Drunken Money style, man, it's a real f*cking thing. You can kill somebody with it...." You're full of sh*t." "You're full of sh*t," Steve said.
"What the f*ck does Sheridan know about kung fu?: Mikey said. "Are you retarded?" Steve said. "His mom's Chinese." Mikey looked at Park carefully. Park smiled and narrowed his eyes. "Yea, I guess I see it," Mikey said. "I always thought you were Mexican." "Shit, Mikey," Steve said, you're such a f*cking racist."
"Do you think we should get in the back seat? She pushed off of him and slid over the back seat. God, it was huge, it was glorious. Not even a second later, Park landed on top of her." Ch. 45, Pg 275.
"Suck me off." Ch 48, Pg 282


Not appropriate for K-12 schools.



Below version for Canyon ISD:

Eleanor & Park
Download PDF • 4.67MB

Below version to use in any school district. We have left the bottom line blank so that you may insert your own library or reading list names. We have also left some blank space on the last page so that you can insert a message or your own board of trustees. Go get 'em!

Eleanor & Park_Blank
Download PDF • 4.65MB

2,208 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page