This review is spoiler-free!
Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys
Genres: Young Adult, Historical Fiction
Release Date: February 12th 2013 by Speak
Format: Paperback, 346 pages
Find it here: Goodreads || Book Depository
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.
If you know anything about me, you probably know I adore Ruta Sepetys and her historical fiction books. However, as I was marking Salt to the Sea off Goodreads as “read”, I went to her author page and realized … I had not read all of her historical fiction books. In fact, I hadn’t even realized this one had existed.
So, obviously, I immediately snapped it up, even though it wasn’t about WWII like her other two books are.
Though I did not enjoy Out of the Easy as much as I did Salt to the Sea and Between Shades of Gray, I have to say, walking in Josie’s shoes was really interesting. I mean, how often do you read a story about a girl whose mother is a prostitute and wants nothing more than to get out and go to college? I certainly don’t very often.
Watching Josie evolve from the girl she is at the beginning of the book to the one she is at the end really was riveting, despite the slow points there were at times. It always managed to pick back up in pace before too long. The things she has to go through in order to get her dream and the obstacles she has to basically pole vault over really show what kind of a world Josie has had to grow up in, and what points of New Orleans were like in the 1950s. I only wish I had been able to read more about Mardi Gras, but I guess I can turn to another book for that one. For now, Josie’s fiery personality and quicksilver tongue managed to lead this story into greatness in my book.
I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this to anyone who read Between Shades of Gray or Salt to the Sea, despite having the same author, simply because it’s very different from those two books in ways other than the time period and the setting. There’s a lot more going on in Josie’s world in vastly different ways, and you have to go into it with a clean slate rather than expecting more of what Salt to the Sea and Between Shades of Gray offered. If you like historical fiction, however, have at it. You’ll definitely get a ride.
I can’t wait for more from Sepetys. (Which I just found out is pronounced SUH-PETTYS. Oops.)
Thanks for reading!