Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys
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.
I have heard nothing but brilliant things about Ruta's debut novel, Between Shades of Gray, and so I went into Out of the Easy with high expectations. Luckily, it completely blew me away and made me all the more anxious to read Ruta's first novel.
Out of the Easy was a fast paced and romantic novel set in New Orleans in the 1950s. I am a huge historical fiction fan and I am fascinated by anything to do with New Orleans, so this was the perfect set-up for me. Sepetys has a great writing style and I loved how complex and layered Out of the Easy was. I felt like I was walking the streets of the Quarter alongside Josie-- the setting was so well developed. There was something very beautiful about Out of the Easy and everything about it captivated me.
To begin with, all of the characters were wonderful. From the villainous Cincinnati to the loyal Cokie, every single character felt real. Josie, the protagonist, is someone I would love to get to know. Not only did she love books, but she was very brave and loyal to her friends. She fought for what she believed in and was not afraid of doing what was right. Her life was not an easy one, but she had such amazing support from all of her friends. I loved getting to know all of the different characters and seeing how their individual stories wove into the bigger picture.
There was a lot of mystery and intrigue in Out of the Easy and I often found myself on the edge of my seat. While there was romance, it was not the main focus, which was refreshing. It was apparent Sepetys had done her research and I truly felt transported back in time.
By the time I turned the last page, I was sad to be finished. I had gotten very attached to all of these characters and would love to see what is next for all of them, especially Josie. This was a wonderful sophomore novel and Ruta Sepetys has written a story that felt extremely real to me. I will definitely be picking up her debut novel soon and am looking forward to seeing what her next project is.
Overall: 4.5 out of 5 stars
February 13, 2013/Philomel Books/348 Pages/Young Adult
Source: Publisher (ARC)