The Selective Collective Features: ELEANOR & PARK by Rainbow Rowell

The Selective Collective reads ELEANOR & PARK by RAINBOW ROWELL

I am SO GLAD that we got to read ELEANOR & PARK for one of our February books for The Selective Collective! I’m a huge music person so whenever I read books with a strong music focus, I feel like it adds an extra layer to the book and an additional way to connect with it. Additionally, I love that ELEANOR & PARK took place in 1986 because it also added some nostalgia (not like I was even born in 1986, but you get what I mean) for some great and possibly forgotten songs until I read about them again. That, and it rekindled my love for The Smiths.

SO! For the people who were also not born yet as well as those who want to reminisce about the songs from their past, I wanted to put together a playlist of the songs/bands that were featured/mentioned in the book. Some were talked about in detail and others only appeared on one of Park’s band T-shirts. (Oh, I do miss the days of wearing band T-shirts in high school…)

Let’s back track a second before we jump in because I know not all of you know much about the book! Here’s what we’re diving into:

Eleanor & ParkPublishing Info: February 26th 2013 by St. Martin’s Press Source: ARC copy provided by St. Martin’s Press for review and use for the Selective Collective promotions

Book Synopsis: “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 sixteen.”
“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 the course of one school year in 1986, ELEANOR AND PARK 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. (Summary as listed on


As I was reading, I kept noticing all of this great music I had totally forgotten about and quite a few bands that I recognized, but didn’t know many of their songs. I know some people can listen to music while they read and others can’t, but I feel like some of these songs have such a “listenable” quality (okay, I know that doesn’t make sense, but just go with me here) that they should totally play on loop as you’re reading this book (*cough*The Smiths*cough*). Others are not quite background music (talkin’ about the punk rock here), but really help you get to know Park a little bit better, and maybe even help you appreciate some 80s punk rock even if it isn’t your style.

1. How Soon Is Now? by The Smiths

“How Soon Is Now?” is actually mentioned a few times in the book. Many people probably don’t recognize the title, but I think you’ll recognize the song once you start to listen to it! I didn’t even know this was The Smiths for the longest time because it’s got such a unique style. I love that it’s featured in ELEANOR & PARK because I can totally see this fitting perfectly into the story!

2. Bad by U2

I’m actually not a huge U2 fan, but in the context of ELEANOR & PARK, I absolutely love “Bad”. Gosh. I mean, just putting it into the context of the book just makes it so much more emotional and picturing these two characters listening to “Bad” together just kind of makes my heart melt.

3. Love Will Tear Us Apart by Joy Division

I KNEW this song was out there! I had a total confusion mash-up in my brain because (I’m embarrassed to admit) that the first version I heard of this song was a cover by Fall Out Boy (Right? Ugh.) and every time I thought of Joy Division, I kept thinking of the song “Let’s Dance to Joy Division” by The Wombats, so YouTubeing this song was a bit of an adventure in itself! I definitely prefer the original to the cover (Thank God) and it has some classic 80s keyboards in there to really bring you back in time!

4. Punk Rock Girl by The Dead Milkmen

I had actually never heard of the song or the band before the mention (of the band) in the book. Curiosity got the best of me and I had to look up a song by The Dead Milkmen and surprisingly…… I actually liked it quite a bit!

5. Alison by Elvis Costello

“Alison” is a bit more of a ballad and a little less punk and do you want to know where I first heard this song? It’s kind of embarrassing as well….. In the movie Get Over It (2001) with Ben Foster, Kirsten Dunst and SISQO. (Ugh. For real) It’s kind of a terrible movie (and an embarrassingly terrible nod to Shakespeare), but that’s not what we’re talking about (please help me get off this topic). Anyway, that what was where I first heard it and thank GOD the real song is better than a love-sick Ben Foster screaming it at the top of his lungs.

There are a bunch more songs on the playlist that were mentioned in the book by bands like The Smithereens, Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers, Joe Jackson, and The Dead Kennedys as well as all of the ones you’ve listened to above. If you want to check out the full playlist, I set it up on so you can take a listen (maybe even while you read the book). Here’s your link: Eleanor & Park playlist

So that’s the playlist and I absolutely love how Rainbow Rowell combined music and literature in a fantastic relationship in ELEANOR & PARK. I hope you enjoyed the music and that it helps you connect to a book on a whole different level! If you didn’t care of the music, I beg you to PLEASE pick up the book regardless because you guys, it’s freaking phenomenal. It was such an amazing experience to read this book and I think it’s going to knock your socks off!

And thank you again to St. Martin’s for sending us copies and to Rainbow Rowell for being an amazing author! She’s been so great with helping us with extra tidbits for these Selective Collective posts and it’s been so much fun! And thanks again for re-turning me on to The Smiths (and I’m sorry, but I just had to stick this gif in there… another thing that the book reminded me of <3).

And please don’t forget to check out the features from the other ladies in The Selective Collective! We each have a post to feature a different side of ELEANOR & PARK so please go visit their take on the book as well!

Tee @ YA Crush  Review: Eleanor & Park
Candice @ The Grown-Up YA  Round Table: The SC discusses Eleanor & Park
Diana & Sandie @ Teen Lit Rocks  Author Interview with Rainbow Rowell & Giveaway
Daphne & Kristina @ Gone Pecan  Casting Call: Eleanor & Park
Hi, I'm Brittany!
Hi, I'm Brittany!

I'm an avid reader, candle-maker, and audiobook lover! Here you'll find book reviews, fun blog posts, and my other loves of photography & craft beer!

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12 thoughts on “The Selective Collective Features: ELEANOR & PARK by Rainbow Rowell

  1. Rachel @ hello, chelly.

    Great playlist! I love this book and one of my favorite things was definitely the music. I think after reading, the first thing I did was listen to The Smiths. Do you use Spotify by any chance? The author posted Eleanor & Park playlists on there.. you should check it out! 🙂

    1. Brittany Post author

      I have not used Spotify before. I’ll definitely have to check those playlists out!! Thanks for sharing and thanks for commenting!!! 🙂

  2. Diana

    I’m older than Eleanor & Park so I completely missed a lot this music. Actually I was more excited that Eleanor liked the Beatles. I’m more of a 60s and 70s music fan, but now my 17 year old has totally brought me up to speed and Sandie catches me up on what I missed during the 80s and 90s (I had kids in the 90s so I was listening to Barney, the Comfy Couch, and other kiddie videos so I REALLY missed out on 90s music). So, I had a lot of fun listening to this playlist. I def missed out on some awesome tunes!!

  3. Alyssa @ Books Take You Places

    I love all of these songssss!! I was born in December of 1986 so you know…that totally counts. I often think about making playlists to go with my reviews, it’s hard to think of songs though! You did an excellent job of collaborating! *listens to all the songs on repeat*

  4. Candice

    Hearing about 80s music and how it transforms people really makes me wish I grew up in the 80s to have that kind of experience! While I was alive for most of the 80s, it wasn’t until the 90s when I got into music and by then it was Brittany Spears and Spice Girls and blah… music sucked then! Although there was some good tunes when I was in middle school/beginning of high school. But I don’t ever think of it like people talk about the 80s! Definitely will be checking out your playlist – thanks so much for putting this together!

    One a side note, going along with the 80s awesome music theme, have you ever checked out the soundtrack for Perks of Being a Wallflower? It’s fabulous.

  5. Sandie @Teen Lit Rocks

    I’m just six years younger than Eleanor & Park, so I absolutely LOVED the music Rainbow highlighted in the book. I remember listening to U2 and Peter Gabriel and the Cure and feeling transformed. One of my favorite parts in the book is when Park plays “How Soon Is Now” for Eleanor, and while he knows the lyrics are “I am the son and the heir,” she thinks they’re “I’m the sun and the air.” That might have been a throwaway line for some readers, but I remember thinking the exact same thing until I looked up my friend’s liner notes. Gah, I could go on and on 😉

    1. Brittany Post author

      Please do go on and on!! I love it 🙂
      I noticed that too (I am the son and the heir/air) except not until I went back to look for songs again. It was a little lost on me since I’m not as familiar with the song!
      I can only imagine how awesome it is really knowing all the songs as you’re reading! I was fuzzy on a few, but the ones I did know, it was just so mcuh fun picturing the characters having some really great experiences with this music <3

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