By Ruta Sepetys
Publication Date: February 12th 2013
Philomel Books, 346 pages
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.
- From Goodreads
This is my first time reading anything by Ruta Sepetys. I've heard about her, mostly because everyone on Goodreads RAVES about her first novel, Between Shades of Gray, which is on my list, I just haven't gotten to it yet. But I think I'll be bumping it up because wow, you guys, Sepetys can write a book!
Out of the Easy tells the story of Josie Moraine, the daughter of a prostitute in New Orleans. By mornings she is the personal attendant to Willie, one of the most famous brothel owners in the French Quarter. By afternoon, she is a shop girl at a bookstore. After meeting Forest Hearne and imagining him to be the father she never knew (mostly because of their shared love of Dickens), she is devastated when she finds out that he was murdered that evening. Who did it, no one knows, but everyone can smell foul play.
Josie's tale is entangled around the murder of Forest Hearne and because of that, the story is extremely engaging. There was never a dull moment and I was anxious the entire way through waiting to read who the killer was, if Josie's mom would ever shape up, if Willie would ever tell Josie she knew what was going on the entire time, or if Jesse would finally kiss her already.
From what I've read, this book is a 180 from Between Shades of Gray. Some people didn't think it lived up to Sepetys first book, but I disagree, even without having read it yet. What is it if an author doesn't step out and try new things? I loved this novel and recommend it if you love compelling novels with strong female leads.
- Out of the Easy, Ruta Sepetys
By Melina Marchetta
Publication Date: May 9, 2006
KnopfBooks for Young Readers, 243 pages
Francesca is stuck at St. Sebastians, a boys' school that's pretends it's coed by giving the girls their own bathroom. Her only female companions are an ultra-feminist, a rumored slut, and an impossibly dorky accordion player. The boys are no better, from Thomas who specializes in musical burping to Will, the perpetually frowning, smug moron that Francesca can't seem to stop thinking about.
Then there's Francesca's mother, who always thinks she knows what's best for Francesca—until she is suddenly stricken with acute depression, leaving Francesca lost, alone, and without an inkling who she really is. Simultaneously humorous, poignant, and impossible to put down, this is the story of a girl who must summon the strength to save her family, her social life and—hardest of all—herself.
- From Goodreads
In my world, Melina Marchetta can write NO wrong. Several years ago, I happened upon a brilliant book called On the Jellicoe Road and reading young adult fiction, for me, hasn't been the same. If there was ever an emotional story of love, loss and everything in between, Jellicoe Road is that book. So, my love affair with Melina Marchetta's books has been going on for a while. Saving Francesca was no different.
It tells the story of Frankie, who has just transfered to St. Sebastian's for Year Eleven of her schooling (by the way, this story is set in Australia). She has left all her old friends behind and has trouble fitting it. Plus, she is dealing with her mom's recent depression. So, life for Frankie is not going well. Then she meets Will Trumble and starts making friends with Thomas, Jimmy, Siobhan, Tara, & Justine. The book is their coming-of-age story and everything you have to deal with in between.
Much like Jellicoe Road, this story is about a group of friends. I think this is where Marchetta excels as an other. She is able to pair people together that might not work, but then they do and they form these really intriguing friendships. It's nothing short of amazing. It also makes you long for your own group of close-knit relationships.
Frankie has to deal with a lot of hard stuff in this book. I think this is one of those stories that girls in the thick of their adolescence need to pick up. It's hard for everyone, even girls in fiction stories, but the circumstances can be the same. We're all dealing with things, and they always seem harder when we are young. This is a great book for girls who want to learn and who need to see pictures of healthy relationships and friendships.
It's National Library Week! I just found out today and now I am giddy with excitement. I have and always will, love the library. I have a profound sense of joy every time I walk into one. I could be having the worst day and I go into the library and I am instantly better. When I was younger, I would spend my summers lying in the aisles of the library. My mom always knew exactly where to find me. I would read anything I could get my hands on and remember back when I was obsessed with ghost stories and the boxcar children, and those book written by children themselves. I loved everything and every library I've ever encountered.
Chronicle books is asking people to share their own #LibraryLoveLetter for a chance to win $500 worth of books (that is amazing!). I did it, and you should too. They've also posted these really wonderful Love Letters from famous authors who, like me and like all readers, fell in love with libraries.
- Saving Francesca, Melina Marchetta
By Robin Sloan
Publication Date: October 2, 2012
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 304 pages
The Great Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon away from life as a San Francisco web-design drone and into the aisles of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. But after a few days on the job, Clay discovers that the store is more curious than either its name or its gnomic owner might suggest. The customers are few, and they never seem to buy anything—instead, they “check out” large, obscure volumes from strange corners of the store. Suspicious, Clay engineers an analysis of the clientele’s behavior, seeking help from his variously talented friends. But when they bring their findings to Mr. Penumbra, they discover the bookstore’s secrets extend far beyond its walls. Rendered with irresistible brio and dazzling intelligence, Robin Sloan's Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore is exactly what it sounds like: an establishment you have to enter and will never want to leave.
- From Goodreads
I might have made the mistake of listening to this on audiobook instead of actually reading it. Or maybe I didn't? I can't quite decide. At first I thought I wasn't going to like it. I mean, computerese and characters who talked way too much and really unlikable female characters, but I stuck with it and I'm happy I did. Unbelievable in some places, particularly exhilarating in others, it was an interesting novel, centered around one of the things I love the most in this world: books.
The book is full of go-getters, Mr. Miagi wannabes and quirky secret keepers. You also, even if you don't want to (which I didn't at times), learn about Google, the world of book publishing and the early world of printing. I think people uninterested in the world of books would not be able to finish this book, but I was intrigued by what they would find at the end, and of course, I loved Mr. Penumbra and his thoughtful way.
And all in my favorite city in the world: San Francisco.
There is a follow-up book, Ajax Penumbra 1969, and I have no doubt that it is his Codex Veti (which you'll have to read the book to figure out that one). I'm intrigued as to what is Mr. Penumbra's story and how many of the Unbroken Spine members will play a part in his life before Clay meets him.
Overall, it was a quirky and enjoyable book!
My local library recently shared a link to an article about five amazing university libraries. Published later this month, a book called Reflections: Libraries has collected 44 images of the most iconic library buildings. It just goes to show that libraries are still in demand!
You can read the entire article here.
By Lauren Oliver
Publication date: February 7, 2012
HarperCollins, 441 pages
Ninety-five days, and then I'll be safe. I wonder whether the procedure will hurt. I want to get it over with. It's hard to be patient. It's hard not to be afraid while I'm still uncured, though so far the deliria hasn't touched me yet. Still, I worry. They say that in the old days, love drove people to madness. The deadliest of all deadly things: It kills you both when you have it and when you don't.
- From Goodreads
Up until this year, I have really shied away from Dystopian anything. I mean, except for the Hunger Games, which everyone has read, I haven't opened anything else. And I think I know why...because OMG! YOU GUYS, what if these things really happen in the future. Okay, so that's a little melodramatic, but still...
What if we all had to live in a certain faction? What if we were forced to kill others in a Game, what if love was considered an illness and we had to be cured? What if, what if, what if? Right?!
In Lauren Oliver's Delirium, love is an illness. And when you turn 18, you get the "cure." And Lena is ready for it. She's watched the illness kill her mother. She watched it drive her sister mad until she herself was "cured." Love - or amor deliria nervosa as it's called in the book - is not something Lena wants to experience, but then Alex comes along and changes it all. They dance through pages of Delirium, falling more and more and more until Love over takes both of them.
The end of Delirium will leave your head swimming. And even if you have a stack of books you should read before Pandemonium (the second book of the series), you'll want to pick it up instead. I mean, I WANT to know what's going to happen to Lena.
I think the Delrium series and the Divergent series will be my only dystopian novels this year. I can hardly handle all the anxiety they give me.
Delirium, Lauren Oliver