The plots of both titles have been summed up in previous posts, so I’ll spare you a couple of paragraphs.
Charm & Strange.
Charm & Strange tackles a common theme in YA fiction with a new slant and I applaud Keuhn’s approach to the subject matter. The protagonist, Drew, is a compelling character that grows immensely by the end of the novel. I found Charm & Strange dark and remarkably peculiar. I did, however, have several issues with this book.
The writing was a bit weak and the story had some major holes. With the exception of Drew, most of the other characters were particularly special or relevant to the plot. The female friend could have been a great character; however, if her character was nonexistent; it wouldn’t affect the plot. The ex-roommate, once again, could have been great but he was extremely underdeveloped. Kevin and the cousins were flat and I didn’t care about them.
Out of the Easy
Girl power in teen fiction is the romantic comedy of movies. There are so many and in order to make it stand out, the writing has to be impeccable, the characters have to compelling, and the story has to be slightly different from the norm. In Out of the Easy, Sepetys takes a different approach by introducing us to a strong girl who grew up in a brothel with a prostitute for a mother in 1950’s New Orleans.
Many authors have tried to write this story and have failed. Sepetys, however, manages to write wonderful round characters that are essential to the plot and Josie’s struggle to get out of the Easy. She writes a relatable heroine who wants the educated boy who symbolizes hope as opposed to the hustler with seemingly no opportunities. She writes a flawed girl who has been strong her entire life and finds it difficult to accept help. She writes a role model who has a clear goal and works hard to achieve it.
The winner of this final battle is Out of the Easy.
Charm & Strange takes on a serious and familiar subject with a new approach. Out of the Easy also takes on a familiar subject but in a familiar approach. Out of the Easy stands out because of the writing and the characters. From the nasty brothel floor that Josie has to scrub to the streets of the French Quarter; Sepetys takes the reader to Josie’s life in 1950’s New Orleans. Sepetys’s characters are beautiful people that you want to be friends with, including Willie. It’s an engaging story of a girl with an unconventional family and an unconventional life who fights for her dreams.