Title: Out of the Easy
Author: Ruta Sepetys
Publisher: Philomel Books
Publication Date: February 12, 2013
Source/Format: Library / Hardcover, 346 pages
Opening Sentence: “My mother’s a prostitute.”
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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.
With characters as captivating as those in her internationally bestselling novel Between Shades of Gray, Ruta Sepetys skillfully creates a rich story of secrets, lies, and the haunting reminder that decisions can shape our destiny.
Reading the synopsis for Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys, it’s hard to really put a finger on what type of novel this is. It could be an issue book (a mother who’s a prostitute), a mystery novel (mysterious death in the Quarter), or it could be a coming-of-age story (main character who wants to move away and go to college). But which is it? All of the above and so much more.
Out of the Easy is a splendid and unique novel with so much going on. The plot is like nothing I’ve ever read before. Josie Moraine has a pretty tough life. As if having only one parent (who’s completely negligent) isn’t bad enough, Josie grew up before her time and now has to deal with the likes of perverted men, angry gangs, personal loss, and so much more. This novel had me twisted up in emotion the entire time I was reading it. I’m sort of wondering how I went so long without it in my life.
Josie is my kind of strong character. I feel like there’s a lot of wonderful but far-fetched “strength” going through books as of late. Josie’s character was completely believable.* She crumpled up and cried more than once. She was scared to death a lot of the time, and sometimes I questioned her (actions), but Josie was a fighter. With so much blackness in her life I wouldn’t have blamed her for giving up, but she never did. She always got up and kept going on. THAT’S why she’s strong and why I might have to make a list of “Favorite Characters” just for her.
Really, Out of the Easy has a bunch of wonderful, unique characters. Each character had their own personality and history and they were all generally fantastic. I even liked the characters I hated. They were domestic villains of the truest forms and even while I was wishing they would leave I was praising Ruta Sepetys for writing them so well.
At the end of the day I really loved Out of the Easy. I was iffy on it at first, but it proved itself as a well written, deep, and emotionally captivating novel. I’m so happy to have not passed this one up and definitely recommend it to everyone. You’ll get invested in it. I promise.