Title: Out of the Easy
Author: Ruta Sepetys
Published: 2013 by Philomel Books
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.
“My mother’s a prostitute.”
I absolutely adored Sepetys’s Between Shades of Gray (not to be confused with the other fifty shades novel) and my review of it is here. So it was no surprise that I also love her newest book.
Out of the Easy is beautiful, heartbreaking, and inspiring.
This story is about the complex problems that arise in your life as you get older. Friends, self, family, and future plans are all connected whether or not you want them to be. Josie Moraine desperately wants to escape New Orleans. Known to everyone as the daughter of a prostitute and as someone who helps out at a brothel, Josie can’t become who she wants to be in this town that has created an identity for her. When Josie gets a chance at going to college in Boston, she jumps to action and makes it her big goal. However, life gets complicated as a murder investigation starts to involve her more and more.
I…I felt like I was Josie. I felt imprisoned by New Orleans and confused about friendships and overwhelmed with everything that had to be done. I was brought completely into the story and it felt so real. I desperately wanted the best for Josie because she tried so very hard to do the right thing and help everyone, and yet somehow she always got the short end of the stick.
Ruta Sepetys is a brilliant writer and superb story-crafter. As my mother pointed out as she read this book, “You know it’s a good book when you read a sentence and stop to admire it.”
I cannot wait for the next masterpiece by Ruta Sepetys!
Content Warnings: Since this story deals with prostitutes, there are many aspects that could be alarming for young readers. But anything that could be railed against is just reality. Just as with her last book, it’s sad and scary, but it’s not that way for fun.