Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Mini Reviews: Out of the Easy & A Wrinkle In Time

Title: Out of the Easy
Author: Ruta Sepetys
Publication Date: February 12, 2013
Publisher: Philomel Books
Pages: 348
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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. 

Before Out of the Easy I had read two other Ruta Sepetys books and loved them both! I knew I had to get my hands on this one and had every intention of loving it. Unfortunately, this one just was not for me.

Josie's story is set in New Orleans in the 1950s. Josie wants to go to college, but her life does not seem to be going in that direction. Her mother is a prostitute and she has been raised in the brothel, but she is determined to make her own path. On the way to her goals, she finds herself caught up in a murder mystery.

I found the relationships in this book to be really well written. I liked the strained dynamic between Josie and her mother and Willie was really my favorite! I also really liked getting to know Josie's friends and acquaintances, but that's where my enjoyment ended. As good as the synopsis sounded, I just was not intrigued by the plot at all. I was so bored reading this that I eventually just gave up.

Sepetys novels are character driven and this is no different, but I've always been intrigued by the stories as well and that wasn't the case here. If you can enjoy a painfully slow book with great characters, you may love this historical fiction novel! I just need a little more to keep me hooked.

Title: A Wrinkle in Time (Time Quintet #1)
Author: Madeleine L'Engle
Publication Date: January 1, 1962
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Pages: 288
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It was a dark and stormy night; Meg Murry, her small brother Charles Wallace, and her mother had come down to the kitchen for a midnight snack when they were upset by the arrival of a most disturbing stranger.

"Wild nights are my glory," the unearthly stranger told them. "I just got caught in a downdraft and blown off course. Let me be on my way. Speaking of way, by the way, there is such a thing as a tesseract".

Meg's father had been experimenting with this fifth dimension of time travel when he mysteriously disappeared. Now the time has come for Meg, her friend Calvin, and Charles Wallace to rescue him. But can they outwit the forces of evil they will encounter on their heart-stopping journey through space?

I distinctly remember reading A Wrinkle in Time for the first time in the fourth grade and loving it. I didn't continue the series, but the first book made a huge impression at the time. This year, a very long time later, I needed to read a childhood classic for a reading challenge and decided to visit this again. Sadly, it just didn't hold up.

A Wrinkle in Time is about a girl named Meg whose father has been missing for years. She gets the chance to rescue him along with her brother and friend after meeting a strange woman named Mrs. Whatsit. The three find themselves catapulted through time and space and end up on fantastic adventures while on their mission.

This book has a message and it hits you over the head with it from beginning to end. As a child, I suppose things being spelled out could be beneficial. It was too much as an adult and I quickly became annoyed with the preachiness. I also found that, even as a lover of fantasy books, this one was just too ridiculous and cartoony.

I can appreciate that I am not the target audience and I obviously did love this when I was, but man. A Wrinkle in Time managed to be over the top while also being extremely dull. The characters were terribly annoying and I didn't care for the way the plot jumped from one thing to another. This is a hard review to write because, like I said, I adored this as a fourth grader! Sadly, the nostalgia was not enough to keep this on my favorites shelf.