21 March 2013

Review: Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys

Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys

Published: 12 February 2013 by Philomel Books

Pages: 352 (hardcover)

Genre/s: YA, Historical Fiction


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 Thoughts

I really enjoyed Ruta Sepetys' first book, Between Shades of Grey when I read it last year, particularly her characters and storytelling and Out of the Easy's historical-fiction element really appealed to me, so not long after my copy arrived, I sat down to try out the first chapter and was immediately captivated by both the characters and the setting.

The characters are what really make Out of the Easy a great book - Josie is kind, strong and smart, Willie is the tough but kind madam with a nose for business and common sense and there's a whole bunch of other kooky, loveable characters, particularly Willie's chauffeur Cokie, and Josie's friend Jesse, the local mechanic.  I really enjoyed the dynamic between Josie and Jesse in particular, it was very natural and sweet without being overdone and progressed in a very organic way.  The only character that I really didn't understand was Josie's mother, and her motiviations - but it felt like she was intended to be quite wishy-washy and flighty.

Along with the characters, I was captivated by the descriptions of life in New Orleans in the 1950's, and the personalities of the characters really made everything come to life - from the ladies in the brothel through to the gangsters that lurk in the shadows, Out of the Easy really made me feel like I was there with the characters.  

The actual plot itself is quite meandering, and where there could perhaps be menace and tension its a little too laid-back to really get the adrenaline pumping, but it didn't detract from my enjoyment of the book, and by the end I could really appreciate being able to just sit back and enjoy the characters and setting.

Out of the Easy was a book that I devoured in just two sittings and by the time I finished I was almost a little sad that I wouldn't find out what happened to Josie, Jesse and her friends after the end of the book.  I'd unhesitatingly recommend this to anyone who enjoys historical fiction, coming-of-age stories or books that have wonderfully real characters in a setting that jumps off the page and pulls you right in.


  1. I have been meaning to read this author's books for the longest time! I am pretty sure that I will like them!

  2. I'm not a big fan of historical fiction but I do enjoy coming-of-age stories. Plus, I have her previous book and I've heard so many great things about it. I might as well give this one a try :) It sounds like a great book.

  3. I am not a fan of historical fiction but this book has caught my eye since I first started seeing reviews for it. I think that's a really great time period and not too historical, you know? I love that it sounds like the characters grow so much and the very unconventional setting. Fabulous review!

  4. Oh you changed your rating picture. I like the hearts!

    I'm a big fan of Historical Fiction but usually prefer it set pre-20th century. However, this one keeps catching my eye and the more reviews I read the more I lean towards reading it. Great review, you might just have convinced me to give it a go!

  5. Well, I have heard a lot about this author and her books. I think that I might read this sometime soon, since I have added it to my TBR for a LONG while, now
    GREAT review, Kat, as always
    Your reader,

  6. Oooo, 1950! I didn't realize this book was 20th-century historical fiction. I've heard amazing things about Ruta Sepetys's books, but I haven't read any! It sounds like you really, really enjoyed this book, so I am definitely going to check it out. Great review!

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

  7. So happy to hear that this book was GOOD. I will be reading it next for book club. I'm looking for a solid historical fiction with fantastic characters. And the 1950s in New Orleans? What's not to love about that!

  8. I love your new rating system! Pretty :D

    Between shades of Grey was a fantastic book. I liked the way she created all the characters, so I have high expectations for this one. I also like the setting of this book. I can't wait and I'm happy you liked it so much!


  9. I'm glad this one worked for you even more than for me. You got that elusive last step and connected with the characters. I was very much just watching them do things, which is good, but not OMG AMAZING. :-p

    I do want to know what was up with her mom. She was the worst!

  10. I can't wait to read this one. I read the first few chapters of it at work the other week, but I didn't check it out. I need to jump on it though!

  11. I read and loved Between Shades of Grey last year too. I had this on my wishlist and after your raving review and 2 sitting finish, I'm going to get it soon. I love historical fiction and real characters. Must get this asap. Great review, Kat.

    P.S. I keep forgetting to mention love your new rating bone hearts.

  12. I've been wanting to read this, so definitely love hearing that you enjoyed it so much. Part of the reason I want to read it is because I live in Louisiana, but even if I didn't it still seems like the type I'd enjoy.



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