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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.Praise for OUT OF THE EASY "Sepetys writes with rawness and palpable emotional unease...the stakes are momentous."--The New York Times Book Review "Street-smart, literary and compassionate... Atmospheric and assured...nicely paced novel."--Wall Street Journal * "A surefire winner. Immensely satisfying."--Kirkus, starred review New York Times bestseller
An Amazon Best Book of the Year 2013
A Kirkus Best Book of 2014
A Goodreads Best Young Adult Fiction Book of 2013
Yalsa Best Fiction for Young Adults nomination
Carnegie Medal Finalist
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2012-12-24
- Reviewer: Staff
Sepetys follows her debut, Between Shades of Gray, with another taut and charged historical novel, though the setting—the French Quarter of New Orleans in 1950—is a world apart from that of her previous book. Living and working in a bookshop, 17-year-old Josie Moraine dreams of attending college—anything to get away from her mother, a prostitute with Hollywood dreams and a knack for getting involved with the worst men. When Josie becomes involved in a high-profile murder investigation, she becomes even more entrenched in her circumstances. The sensual yet rigidly class-based setting is a real standout, and Sepetys has also built a stellar cast, which includes Willie, a strident but generous madam; Charlie Marlowe, the bookshop’s owner; and a pair of potential love interests for Josie. Readers will find Josie irresistible from the get-go (“The only reason I’d lift my skirt is to pull out my pistol and plug you,” she tells a guy early on) and will devour the sultry mix of mystery, historical detail, and romance. Ages 14–up. Agent: Writers House. (Feb.)■
Searching for something better
The French Quarter of New Orleans is no place for a child. Josie Moraine, the daughter of a prostitute, grew up there and made her own way by cleaning the brothel and working in a bookstore. She’s 17 now and ready to make a better name for herself, which means getting away from her past. When a murder ties all the strands of her life in knots, will Josie make it Out of the Easy in one piece?
Author Ruta Sepetys (Between Shades of Gray) sets her story in 1950 and decorates it with both glamour and grime. The city’s nightlife is decadent, but morning finds the streets littered with broken glass, Mardi Gras beads and bottles. Josie cleans up after nights of revelry, finding a high heel here, a cufflink there, and delivers them to madam Willie Woodley, whose brusque manner belies a genuine love for this tough, smart girl.
There are many supporting players here: mechanic Jesse and Josie’s best friend Patrick, either of whom may be a potential suitor; the working girls who’ve watched Josie grow up; and Cokie, Willie’s driver and right-hand man, who wants to help Josie escape and get an education. Through all the plot twists, Josie’s desire to better herself and maintain a moral center in a place where that’s decidedly unfashionable keeps us in her corner.
Out of the Easy has a mystery at its center, but in many ways it’s a book about family and how the ones you’re born to aren’t necessarily your true tribe. Rough-edged and glamorous by turns, this is a wild ride worth taking.