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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Review: Out of the Easy

Author: Ruta Sepetys
Release Date: February 12, 2013
Publisher: Philomel Books
Pages: 346
Source: NetGalley
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Summary:  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.

My Favorite Lines:
“I leapt eagerly into books. The characters’ lives were so much more interesting than the lonely heartbeat of my own.” 

“One day when I was fourteen, I told Charlie that I hated Mother. “Don’t hate her, Jo,” he told me. “Feel sorry for her. She’s not near as smart as you. She wasn’t born with your compass, so she wanders around, bumping into all sorts of walls. That’s sad.” I understood what he meant, and it made me see Mother differently. But wasn’t there some sort of rule that said parents had to be smarter than their kids? It didn’t seem fair.” 

“Tragedy was a big social event, and everyone wanted in on it.” 
Why I Loved It:  Out of the Easy was nothing like Between Shades of Gray.  But it was incredible nonetheless.  I have never read a book with so many scenes in a brothel that I enjoyed so much.  The book had ounces and ounces of character spiced between the pages, and I adored Jo.  Adored her.  No one quite writes historical fiction like Ruta Sepetys.

It has been a while since I have read a book set in New Orleans.  I don't know much about the area, so I can't vouch for accuracy.  However, as I read, the setting came to life.  I kept waking from my book daydreams thinking I was in 1950 Louisiana.  I even dreamed about the story one night after reading before bed.  There were so many characters involved in some dirty business that I came to have a lot of respect for.  *Remember they are fictional characters Deidra*  The feel of the book was very much the delightful feeling I get from watching 50's gangster movies.  I don't know why.  Maybe it's how connected everyone in the book is with all the information men on the street watching everyone's every move.

Josie's *Jo* situation was sad, at times heartbreaking, but it wasn't the emotional wrenching experience of her previous book.  Throughout the book, I experienced pleasure with Jo during the huge ups and downs that was her life.  I wanted, more than anything, for her to succeed.  She won my heart and my detest for Louise.  She does not even deserve to be connected to Jo with the title of mother.

One of the biggest strengths of the book was how well developed the minor characters were.  They didn't subtract or take away from Josie.  Rather they were stories spun together to form the person that IS Josie.  *Such is what makes great historical fiction*  Cokie, a cab driver, was one of my favorites.  He was the ray of light in the darkness of the Quarter.  Ms. Sepetys has the ability to create the most despicable characters that you hate, and to take other characters doing despicable things and make you love them dearly.

Who Should Read It:  I recommend this to anyone who enjoys some seriously good historical fiction.  Its a book close to my heart, and I welcome you to bring it into yours.


  1. I loved your review! I have yet to read anything by this author. I love a good historical fiction and this story sounds captivating. I can't wait to get my hands on this book.


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