After the initial hype over Eleanor and Park, I was still afraid that it wouldn't actually live up to it. When I finished the book, I sort of wanted to kiss it because it was just such a beautiful story.
First of all, the characters were extremely diverse and unique. Each character was distinct because of their personality as a "jock", or the "jock's girlfriend", making it easier for me to identify the characters. Stereotypes might be annoying sometimes, but they are also effective in making it easier to remember who is who. I extremely loved the back story of Eleanor's family with an abusive step-dad and divorced parents with a dad that doesn't seem to care about her. Both Eleanor and Park seemed like actual real people and the reacted in ways that normal people would; they were embarrassed and self-concious about being around each other because of the difference in their "social status".
Both characters had a comprehensive back story; especially Eleanor. Without getting into too many details, I really liked that her history played into her relationship with Park, and how it started out in the background, but brought itself to be an important factor in the story.
The love story itself was so adorable and sweet, with the relationship building step by step. I loved that Rainbow Rowell took her time to really bring the vastly different people together, and even when they were together, there were certain problems they had to face that were believable. Moreover, just the fact that they weren't painted out as perfect people just made me love the book even more.