Title: Out of the Easy
Author: Ruta Sepetys
Publisher: Philomel Books
Release Date: February 12, 2013
Source: ARC from Publisher
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 to 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 Grey, Ruta Sepetys skillfully creates a rich story of secrets, lies, and the haunting reminder that decisions can shape our destiny.
I remember when I first heard about Out of the Easy, I just knew this was a book I had to read. The synopsis just caught my attention and I kept thinking about what a story set in the French Quarter of New Orleans in the 1950s would be like. Now after having read the book, I can say that it was a fantastic story that also really moved me.
Josie Moraine knows how to take care of herself. With a mother like hers she didn't have any other choice but to make a life of her own, and has been doing so she was 12 years old. But despite everything, Josie can't just let her mother go and can't help wanting to protect her. But now that her mother has left town, Josie has a plan. She's applying to college and she's going to get out of New Orleans and away from all the people who know her only as a prostitute's daughter. But when a wealthy tourist turns up dead, Josie's plans take an unpredicted turn. Now trying to stay clear of danger even when danger comes knocking on her door, Josie is conflicted: should she leave everything behind and go or should she stay and help protect the people she loves.
The story in Out of the Easy is not about the plot, it's about the characters. But that doesn't mean the story wasn't beautifully written and didn't captivate me from start to finish. There was intrigue, love and loss all mixed together to make this fantastic story. The historical aspect of the story truly captivated me and Ruta Sepetys' writing made me feel like I was walking the French Quarter in New Orleans right along side Josie. I was transported back in time by the writing and I could just picture everything while I was reading. Though I said the story itself was more about the characters, that doesn't mean there wasn't a plot at all. Because there was, and it kept me interested the whole way through. I just wanted to know what would come of everything and if something would finally go right for Josie because she more than deserved it. And as you may have gathered, the plot was all about the characters, their relationships and their growth.
Josie was so interesting to read about. She has never had an easy life but she never let that deter her from going after what she wanted. Her mother may have been one of the worst mothers I have ever read about, but still Josie found a way to make her own life, learning early on that if she wanted something she would have to go for it herself. And throughout the book it was just really interesting to see her coming to terms with everything that has happened to her and learning from those experiences to move forward. By the end of the book I was really happy to see just how far Josie had come. The other characters in the book, though they were not necessarily as prominent as Josie were still all fully fleshed out. I could so easily picture Cokie driving around in his cab, Sadie in the kitchen going about her business unable to say a word, Willie fiercely protective of Josie even though she didn't owe her a thing or Patrick going about his business in the store, getting excited about books. It was really great to see that though her family was a mess, Josie had all those other people around her willing to step in and do just about anything for her. And best of all was Jesse, even though Josie didn't realise he had been there all along until it was almost too late.
Ruta Sepetys' Out of the Easy was an absolutely fantastic read. From the very first page, the atmosphere of the book drew me in and I was right there in the French Quarter in 1950. Even if historical fiction is not something you tend to enjoy, you can't go wrong with Out of the Easy. You should really give it a try.