Out of the Easy

By: Miss Luckow

I’m kind of going on a Ruta Septeys binge. I discovered her a few weeks ago and read Salt to the Sea and I just finished her first novel, Out of the Easy. This historical fiction novel takes place in New Orleans in the 1950s.

outoftheeasyJosie is a young woman who grew up with a prostitute mother who she couldn’t trust and who she couldn’t love. All she wanted was to escape her life to make something of herself. Right as she’s about to make a change for the better, she and her family get wrapped up in a murder that rips them even further apart.

Although this book wasn’t pure literary genius, I really enjoyed it. Septeys’ writing is easily accessible and sucks you right in. I became invested in every single character and cared for them all in different ways. I would highly recommend this book to anyone that enjoys historical fiction and good characters.

4/5 stars

 

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Bone Gap

By: Miss Luckow 

Winner of the 2016 Printz Award, I had really high hopes for this book. Bone Gap is a small corn town in the middle-of-nowhere Illinois, where everyone knows what you’re doing, even if you don’t.

bonegapFinn and Sean’s mother left a few years ago, leaving them to fend for themselves, but when the mysterious immigrant Roza appears beaten in their barn, they’re not alone anymore. That is, until Roza disappears.

This book weaves together magical realism and mystery in a very charming way. The writing was absolutely beautiful and the imagery was captivating.

That being said, I found it quite hard to connect with any of the characters, making me less invested in their fates. Also, I was underwhelmed by the ending and was left with more questions than answers.

3.5/5 stars

Salt to the Sea

By: Miss Luckow

“Salt to the Sea” by Ruta Sepetys has been getting a lot of buzz and good reviews lately, so I wanted to check it out (literally).  I’m happy to report that it deserves all the hype.

“Salt to the Sea” is a historical fiction set in WWII. It’s told from multiple perspectives following the storylines of a German art curator, a young Polish refugee, a Lebanese refugee and a young German soldier. All of their lives and secrets become entwined as they fight for survival.

I loved this story first and foremost for the characters. Each perspective was unique and saltprovided different voices to each character, making you almost instantly care about their fate. The relationships between the characters were heartwarming, at times frustrating, and ultimately truly human.

Sepetys’ writing was gorgeous–it was what first got me sucked into the book. Its organization, consistency and imagery were outstanding.

I had some qualms with the book, the main one being the fact that these characters’ secrets were quite predictable and didn’t have the huge shock factor that I think Sepetys was hoping for. The ending was also incredibly rushed and felt incomplete.

However, the most important part of this book was the historical event that it brought to light. I don’t want to expand on what this historical event was, because I think it’s better to go into the story not knowing. This book taught me about something that I didn’t even know had happened, which is beyond crazy to me. It’s a clearly well-researched book that I think everyone should try to read.

4/5 stars

Lottery Rose

By: Ms. Unterholzner
Lottery Rose is 185 page young adult fiction written by Irene Hunt. It has a lexile level of 1070.
It is not a new book to the reading scene but remains a great one. Lottery Rose is a lotteryroseNewberry Award winner that allows teens who have gone through some more serious life struggles that they have managed to hide or keep covered express and process those memories and emotions through the main character 7 year old Georgie Burgess. It may help others realize how fortunate their lives have been. It also builds discussion on how critical community is and that we have a responsibility to one another.
Georgie Burgess finds himself disliked by his teacher, marked as “retarded”, abused and neglected in his home, and mistrusting of all adults. He has one love in his life and it is flowers. Through a twist of fate he is able to reach his dream and discover he is lovable and able to love.
I truly enjoy this book of self discovery and healing. The idea that no matter how badly things have gone you will survive and attain what you may have once believed was impossible.

Buddha Boy

By: Ms. Unterholzner
Buddha Boy by Kathe Koja is an ALA “Best Book for Young Adults” winner. It has a lexile level of 1090 and is a fairly quick read at a 128 pages.
BuddhaThe book mirrors a typical middle to upper class high school and the struggles of bullying, cliques, finding out who you are, what you believe in, and what you are willing to take a stand for.
The book is primarily focused on the two main characters Justin and ‘Buddha Boy’. Justin gets assigned to do a group project with Buddha Boy which we can all relate to. He plans to do what he must, finish the work quickly, and get away from the new freak in school ASAP. Yet the more Justin gets to know Buddha Boy and why he does not wear a coat in the winter and begs for money at lunch the more Buddha Boy – Jinsen – shows Justin what life is about.
This book was fairly enjoyable but a bit predictable for me. I always enjoy seeing a character struggle with their inner self and evolve into something better while simultaneously battling the culture around them. However, the book held very few surprise outcomes. Something I truly love.
3.5 / 5 Stars

Bonechiller

By: Ms. Unterholzner
Bonechiller by Graham McNamee is your classic thriller. It has 294 pages with a lexile level of 580. It is a great book that gets your attention and makes it fun to read.
It starts in the middle of NOWHERE and follows the main character Danny who has been jumping from place to place for awhile witbonechillerh his dad. Before you know it, you start to question exactly what kind of book is this? A book about people out for vengeance? A book about people who have gone crazy in the dead of winter? How can the characters be doing and seeing what they are doing and seeing? How many “ghosts” of the past can come to haunt the each of them?
I enjoy this book and love to look for textual clues as to what is going to happen next. Mr. McNamee does a wonderful job of keeping the plot twist and turns fresh and new.
I recommend the book to anyone looking for a light fun read.
4/ 5 stars