Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys
Posted by Caitie F on February 3, 2013
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.
In 2011, I said that Ruta Sepetys debut Between Shades of Gray was one of the best books I read that year. Well I read this book in 2012 and it was one of the best books of that year. I was afraid that somehow the beauty of her debut couldn’t be matched, it was a perfect book. The good news it can, and it was with this.
I think it would be impossible to not fall in love with Josie. She comes from a tough background, but she is smart, caring, and ambitious in the best way possible. She works hard and cares about all of the wonderful people in her life. She knows that she can’t do anything without them, but if there is something that will put those she loves in danger, she will still try. She is not without her faults, but those faults make her who she is and make her feel so real.
That isn’t to say she is the only character that makes this book so great. The madam her mother works for is like no other. She is feisty and brash, but she loves everyone who works for her and loves Josie as a daughter, which is a good thing since Josie’s mother is such a reprehensible character. The things her mother would say to her filled me with so much rage. There is so much in every single character, they are so fleshed out that I could write a paragraph about each one and why they add to this beautiful book, but I won’t because I want you to read and find them for yourself.
Great characters would be nothing without a great story. There is mystery and suspense. There is some romance and relationships. There is grief and growing up. I could not put the book down. I read it in three sittings and each times I found myself saying “Just one more chapter” at least a few times before I finally stopped. It is an exciting story, but it doesn’t have excitement for excitement’s sake. Everything matters.
This book is young adult, but like her previous book, it is a young adult book with a wide cross-over audience. Josie is seventeen and eighteen in the book, putting her towards the top of the age range. She talks and acts like a young woman. It doesn’t even really feel like it is a young adult novel, other than that she is a character that young women can relate to and love. To me, it is the kind of book that anyone can enjoy, even if it has a YA label.I know I will pass it on to many people of all ages!
If you only add one book that I review to your to-read list, this is the book to add.