Author: Ruta Sepetys
Publisher: Philomel Books
Release Date: February 12th, 2013
Interest: Historical Fiction / Author
Source: ARC received from the publisher
Summary (From Goodreads): 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.
Ruta Sepetys is a wonderful writer and Out of the Easy is proof that she’s only getting better. I was completely sucked into Josie’s world and didn’t want to stop reading. One of the things I love the most about this sophomore release is that even though it’s historical fiction, I felt like I was reading something contemporary. I typically have a difficult time enjoying historical fiction, and that simply wasn’t the case when I was reading Out of the Easy.
I love that this book is set in 1950s New Orleans. The atmosphere Ruta Sepetys created is outstanding and made me feel like I was living every moment with Josie. I don’t know if I’ve ever really considered visiting New Orleans, but I want to now! I enjoyed how the setting affected the character development and voices of characters other than Josie. Josie is originally from Detroit and that early mid-west upbringing never really left her. New Orleans almost felt like another character in the novel.
Speaking of characters, I will admit that I had a difficult time keeping track of such a big cast of characters. That’s really my own complaint with Out of the Easy because it kept me from getting to know some of them better like I would have appreciated. I really wanted to get to know Jesse better than I did, and I think I would have if a few characters weren’t as involved in the storyline.
Josie is a smart, witty, and fun character to read. I don’t envy her life, but I thoroughly enjoyed watching her try to rise above it. She doesn’t want the life her mother leads. She doesn’t want to continue cleaning up the brothel. She’s incredibly smart and motivated. It’s obvious that she has the potential to go places and leave New Orleans behind, but she still has to jump the hurdles that are keeping her from getting what she wants. I loved the mystery in the story, but I loved wondering if Josie would achieve her goals even more.
I definitely recommend reading Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys. She’s truly a gifted writer and I can’t wait to read what she has in store for us next!