Tag Archives: Melissa K. ’18

Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys (review by Melissa K. ’18)

Out of the EasyOut of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Out of the Easy begins with seventeen-year-old Josie Moraine’s stark opening line: “My mother’s a prostitute.” From the very first sentence, author Ruta Sepetys sucks the reader into the world of 1950s New Orleans, a place rife with scandal and mystique. Desperate to escape the stigma of her mother’s reputation, Josie dreams of leaving New Orleans by attending college far from the South.

Everyone in the novel has something to conceal—the wealthy Mr. Lockwell hides his trips to the French Quarter from his wife; Josie’s friend Patrick hides his aging father’s memory loss from the authorities; Josie hides a pistol under her skirt. The inexplicable death of a wealthy Memphis businessman in the French Quarter only adds to Josie’s list of secrets, especially when she suspects her mother’s involvement.

Ruta Sepetys writes flawlessly, revealing striking historical details through Josie’s observant eye. As historical fiction, Out of the Easy is painstakingly researched and powerfully told. Do I need to say more?

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Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling (review by Melissa K. ’18)

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Television personality Mindy Kaling has an opinion about everything, from the ideal level of fame to men’s chest hair. In her first book, she recounts stories of photo shoot fiascos, lists her favorite moments in comedy, shares her elaborate “Revenge Fantasies While Jogging.” While her memoir may read like a series of unrelated essays—she might transition from a chapter about “Karaoke Etiquette” to a chapter about “Day Jobs” without so much as a page break—the lack of flow reflects Kaling’s writing style: spontaneous, bold, and prone to going off on hilarious tangents.

As a size eight Indian woman, Kaling is the minority in Hollywood. She could have easily preached to her readers or reveled in her own achievements. Luckily, she wrote a much more enjoyable book instead: one filled with sarcastic humor, random entertaining facts, and insightful observations. Highly recommended.

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Good Enough by Paula Yoo (review by Melissa K. ’18)

Good EnoughGood Enough by Paula Yoo
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

High school students can relate to Patti Yoon, a high school senior juggling six AP classes, SAT boot camp, and college applications. At her Korean church youth group, overachieving is the norm and everyone has their own unique “hook” into the Ivy Leagues: Lisa Kang is a nationally ranked fencer; Isaac Rhee is the captain of the academic decathlon team at his high school; Sally Kim is a Siemens Competition winner. Patti’s “hook” into college is her violin. As a B-tier violin prodigy, she is the concertmaster of her youth orchestra and considered one of the best violinists in Connecticut.

However, Patti’s seemingly predetermined life takes a turn when she meets Ben Wheeler, a trumpet player who invites her over for jamming sessions, takes her to a punk concert, and encourages her to apply to Juilliard even though her parents think that a career in music is too risky. Sprinkled with Spam recipes, SAT tips, and lists of ways to “Make Your Korean Parents Happy,” Good Enough is a candid and surprisingly funny take on the pressures facing today’s high school students. – Melissa K. ’18

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Walk Me Home by Catherine Ryan Hyde (review by Melissa K. ’18)

Walk Me HomeWalk Me Home by Catherine Ryan Hyde
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After their mother dies, two sisters Carly and Jen trek from New Mexico to California in hopes of living with her ex-boyfriend. Trying to dodge Child Protective Services, they risk hitchhiking with strangers, dehydration in the desert, and stealing for sustenance. They pass small towns and encounter an odd variety of people, whose quirks are the highlight of the novel. Even the minor characters have distinctive voices. Catherine Ryan Hyde manages to convey regional accents so naturally that the reader barely notices them. The downside of the novel was the overuse of fragments, which distracts from the plot. If that annoys you, avoid this book. Otherwise, Walk Me Home is an easy, satisfying read. – Melissa K. ’18

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