Here is one of the blurbs on the back of the hardcover edition:
"Rowell keeps things surprising, and the solution maintains the novel's delicate balance of light and dark." --Publisher's Weekly (starred review)
As I was getting close to the end (switching from audio to hardcover for the last little bit [Chapters 51-58]), I was getting ever more anxious that there simply weren't enough pages to achieve a "solution" as alluded to in the blurb. Ultimately, I kind of see what the PW reviewer meant, but I was left wishing for more.
Backing up from my reaction to the end--Park and Eleanor's relationship is endearing. Misfit love in 1986 in Omaha, Nebraska. In high school. Park had a mother who is Korean and a father who looks like Tom Selleck. Eleanor has a doormat mother, four younger siblings and, a horrible, vicious stepfather, Richie.
Some readers might not be into the musical name-dropping (I've seen reviewers who complain about this kind of thing in books like The Time-Traveler's Wife.) I enjoyed the musical references (I'm three years older than these characters who were 16 in 1986). I even paused the audiobook to listen to "Love Will Tear Us Apart" (Joy Division).
Eleanor's home situation is so awful, I could only hate her mother for allowing it to happen. The five kids, including an actual baby ("Little" Richie) cower in one bedroom to stay out of Richie's drunken, raging way, and Mom just walks around on eggshells and tries to get the kids to not set off her horrid husband. The whole thing almost made me want to downgrade my rating, but bad home situations happen in real life, too.
So, this book has been on my want-to-read list for a long time. I'm glad I finally listened to/read it. After having signed up for at least three Giveaways for it on Goodreads....