Genre: YA Historical Fiction
Pub. Date: February 12, 2013
Source: Publisher for review
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
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."
It's 1950 and Josie Moraine lives in the French Quarter of New Orleans. She dreams of making something of herself and going to college one day despite being the daughter of a prostitute and not having many opportunities. Josie works at the local bookstore that she lives above and even cleans the brothel her mother works at. No one can say that Josie isn't hard working. Just when she thinks there may be a chance to break free of New Orleans, Josie becomes involved in a murder investigation that took place in the Quarter. Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys is such a captivating tale that had me glued to the pages. It's easily one of my favorite books of the year.
First off, I heart Josie. Seriously. She is one of my favorite protagonists ever. She's gutsy, smart, knows how to shoot a gun, is independent, well read, witty, and dare I say it...she works in a bookstore! I was rooting for her from the start. I loved reading about the French Quarter bookstore that she worked in along with her best friend Patrick. I thoroughly enjoyed their witty banter and discussions at the bookstore. Needless to say, it was right up my alley.
Josie also works at her mother's brothel and unfortunately cleans up the messes from the night before. It's not ALL bad though since she works for Willie, the madam. I adored Willie even though she was rough around the edges; she was one of my favorite characters in Out of the Easy. She's ballsy and doesn't take anyone's crap. There's also a cast of characters that work for Willie and I loved them all, especially Cokie, Willie's driver.
Josie's mother is one of the most insufferable characters I've come across in a long time. I pretty much loathed her. She was so self-centered and treated Josie horribly. It's been a long time since I wanted to reach through a book and slap a character. Sepetys did an outstanding job developing all the secondary characters; I felt such love for Willie and Cokie one minute and then such disdain for Josie's mother. Well done, Sepetys.
The setting of Out of the Easy, I knew I would love and boy, did I. Sepetys did a wonderful job bringing the French Quarter to life in the 1950s. She also illustrated the differences between the rich and the poor very well. Josie had many encounters with some rich residents of New Orleans, which was juxtaposed with the struggling residents of the French Quarter. Reading Out of the Easy made me want to visit New Orleans stat.
Sepetys is a brilliant author and she has wiggled her way into my heart as one of my favorite authors along with Out of the Easy being one of my favorite books. I highly recommend it.