Release Date: February 12th 2013
Published By: Philomel Books
Goodreads: Add it to your reading list
Rating: 4 out of 5
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.
Review: Out of the Easy tells the story of Josie Moraine, who is the teenage daughter of a prostitute. Life hasn’t been easy to her. She refuses to become anything like her mother, but in order to change her life, she finds herself working hard every day so she can try and pay her way through college (if she can get in). Unfortunately for Josie, because of who her mother is, as well as the people around her, she gets caught up in some pretty shady dealings including having the mob bosses after her, and the police also. There’s murder, threats on her life as well as loved ones dying around her. But there’s also some love that comes out of it all as well.
I enjoyed the change of pace that this bought book with it. I haven’t read any YA based in the 1950’s and so this was a first for me. I enjoyed the writing style as well as the setting of this book. It takes place in New Orleans and Ruta Sepety’s writing painted such a good picture of where the book was set. The characters were really well defined and three dimensional. Each character, no matter how small had a story behind them.
I really felt for Josie, although I admired the fact that she wasn’t someone who dwelled on how bad her life was, but rather, she just got on with it. Her situation was pretty bad with her mother being a prostitute who doesn’t have any maternal instinct and her father being non existent. However she had her head screwed on straight. Instead of perpetuating the cycle, Josie wants more for herself. She works hard – both in a book store and also as a cleaner of the brothel to make enough money to go to college. So whilst it was a sad situation, I couldn’t help but feel a great deal of hope for her character.
I really loved Jesse… initially he shows his cocky side with quotes like “You like me, Josie Moraine. You just don’t know it yet”, and then we also see a sweet, protective side of him also, and I really found myself loving all the parts of the book that he was in.
Patrick was a surprise character for me, because I thought I had him pigeon holed as a certain type of guy, but his character has a bit of a twist turn about half way through that I thought actually worked really well with the story we were told so far and made it far easier for me to make a decision as far as any love triangle was concerned! I also admired his dedication to his sick father, and the scenes where he plays the piano non stop for his father because the doctors feel it will bring him some joy. So sweet.
Don’t even get me started on Josie’s mother… ugh. I hate bad parents, and Josie’s mother was a perfect example of that. I’d like to say she had a moment of awareness or clarity, but unfortunately she doesn’t.
The working women themselves, whilst aren’t heavily featured in detail play an entertaining supporting role. The brothel itself is almost its own character, and personally I found Willie to be an intimidating (but at the same time nurturing) character. She wanted to be softer, but was so hardened by life that she couldn’t bring herself to show it. But she really cared about Josie and this showed. Then there’s Sadie and Cokie who I thought were just fantastic characters in their own right, even though they are quite small characters in the story. There was LOTS of characters, but it was easy to keep a track of who was who, keeping up was never an issue!
All in all, a story that felt so very real. Definitely worth checking this one out!