Book Review: Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys

11178225Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys

Synopsis

“It’s 1950, and as the French Quarter of New Orleans simmers with secrets, seventeen-year-old Josie Moraine is silently stirring a pot of her own. Known among locals as the daughter of a brothel prostitute, Josie wants more out of life than the Big Easy has to offer.
She devises a plan get out, but a mysterious death in the Quarter leaves Josie tangled in an investigation that will challenge her allegiance to her mother, her conscience, and Willie Woodley, the brusque madam on Conti Street. Josie is caught between the dream of an elite college and a clandestine underworld. New Orleans lures her in her quest for truth, dangling temptation at every turn, and escalating to the ultimate test.
With characters as captivating as those in her internationally bestselling novel Between Shades of Gray, Ruta Sepetys skillfully creates a rich story of secrets, lies, and the haunting reminder that decisions can shape our destiny.”

Jen’s Review

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not a huge fan of historical fiction. I tend to find them drowning in nitty gritty details, too many dates and names, and general boringness…But every now and then I find one that I love from beginning to end. And Out of the Easy is one of them.

Ruta Sepetys is clearly an expert at taking real-life events and spinning them into tightly woven, fast-paced and well-told stories. She knows exactly how to create emotionally driven plots, stomach-dropping twists and, most of all, believable characters who pop off the page. When they cry, you cry. When they fall, you fall. And when they pull themselves back up and take a stand against their enemies, you stand with them. It’s a true gift that very few authors have.

I have found that Ruta Sepetys’ books give the reader not just a story, but an experience–an experience that’s both touching and memorable. So make sure you experience Out of the Easy. And if you haven’t read her other book, Between Shades of Gray, experience that one, too! Trust me, you’ll never forget it.

Jen’s Rating

4 Star

Read more about Out of the Easy here!

Book Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

16068905Synopsis

“From the author of the New York Times bestseller Eleanor & Park.
A coming-of-age tale of fan fiction, family and first love.
Cath is a Simon Snow fan.
Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan . . .
But for Cath, being a fan is her life — and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.
Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.
Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.
Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.
For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?
Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?
And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?”

Jen’s Review

I loved Fangirl. It was better than great. It was fantastic and poignant. Endearing and smart. Touching and sweet. Fangirl tells a tale that most of us can relate to on some level (er, some of us more than others). Dealing with insecurities. Facing fears. Coping with disappointment. Escaping reality. Being used. Being abandoned. Being accepted. Being loved…Few books have touched my heart–my soul–the way Fangirl did. As I read it, I could feel Cath’s misery, her anxiety, her uncertainty. She was more than just a character on a piece of paper. She was a friend. She was a sister. She was me, back when I was an awkward freshman that felt lost and terrified of leaving my comfortable present for an unknown (and uncomfortable) future.

“It’s okay if you’re crazy,” he said softly.
“You don’t even know-“
“I don’t have to know,” he said. “I’m rooting for you.”

Of course I loved the entire Simon Snow aspect of the book, too. Not only did it add dimension to Cath’s story and make it even more endearing, but the excerpts themselves were genuinely entertaining. In fact, during the longer Simon and Baz snippets, I’d forget I was even reading Fangirl. I’d get so lost in Simon Snow’s Harry Potter-esque world, that it would take me a moment to re-acclimate to Cath’s less than fantastical reality (and I’m saying that in the most positive, I-love-this-book kind of way).

If you’re looking for a story that’s a perfect combination of funny and serious, and has a dash of fantasy to it, this is it!

“Don’t make me angry-kiss you.”
“Give me the laundry.”
“Tempers rising, faces flushed…This is how it happens.”

Jen’s Rating

5 Star

To read more about Fangirl, click here!