Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys
Genre: Historical Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 346 (Hardback)
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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 so talented and excels at creating touching stories and courageous characters using such simple yet well-written words. This is such a quick read and I loved every minute of it. I loved the characters, their personal struggles, and the brief look into the '50s. It wasn't just Josie but all the other characters and their struggles seen through her eyes. Some of the Gangters/mob talk seemed a bt contrived but at her book signing I did hear that it was based on a real person and their experiences. So maybe that's how it really is. I'm a bit skeptical though. Also, this story is set in the French Quarter but didn't have a strong New Orleans flavor. If you are looking to feel New Orleans and the feel of the setting, OI'm not sure you would get that here. It felt authentic but could have been easily placed in a different setting without changing anything but the names of locations. If you've read Between Shades of Grey you knows doesn't believe in perfect endings and this one is no different.
Overall, another memorable and touching read from Ms. Sepetys.