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.
Publisher: Philomel Books
Number of Pages: 368
Reviewed by Rachel, age 18
This read has been a long time coming. I've owned the ARC for ages but haven't gotten around to reading it. Which is crazy, since I fell deeply in love with Ruta Sepetys' writing after reading Between Shades of Gray, her debut novel. On a little side note, I think Between Shades of Gray is a book that anyone and everyone should read, especially students. Not only is well-written, but the subject matter is well-researched, little-known and vastly important.
Moving on. Out of the Easy was just as well-researched and well-written. Sepetys is able to make characters come to life so easily. Josie Moraine is full of angles and layers that you see unfold throughout the story as you would if you met and got to know her yourself. (Plus, I like her because we both work in bookstores!) The thing about Sepetys' characters is that each of them is detailed, minor and major alike. She captures humans so well and it lends her books a realistic feel, which is good because Sepetys' stories are always based around true events.
Did I like it as much as Between Shades of Gray? I think I just find WWII over the 1950's more interesting, so I'd have to say no. But I did enjoy reading it and I don't think I could choose between which MC I liked better, Lena or Josie. They are too different to compare.
As always, there is a little romance in Sepetys books. Because she writes somewhat coming-of-age stories that focus on the evolution of the main character, the romance is always just an undertone, a layer to the already complex story. While in some books I might find that more boring, I don't find it boring at all in hers.
If you like historical fiction, especially cerca the 1950's in America, pick up this book now. It's a good read for both young adults and adults. If you don't like the historical fiction genre but want to give it a try, check out Ruta Sepetys. I doubt you'll be disappointed. Despite the fact that they're historical fiction, both Between Shades of Gray and Out of the Easy are not bogged down by background information in the slightest. You understand the time through the main character's eyes, with no further explanation needed.
As a caveat, I will mention that this book definitely has mature language and content but is glazed over well and is only mentioned because it aids the overall story. Regardless, I would recommend this book in a heartbeat!
This book is on shelves now!
Buy Paperback | $9.99
You can learn more about the research that went into Out of the Easy, here.
Rachel, age 18