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.
I originally picked up Out of The Easy because I’m fascinated with anything having to do with New Orleans and voodoo. What I got is a whole lot more than just that.
Much to my surprise, Out of The Easy covered grotesque adult-like situations in reasonable means that left me astounded. While Out of The Easy is a story about murder, mystery, and growing up, it’s more than just that. It’s about love and finding yourself among the people that you think define you, and most importantly, the element of possibility even when you think you’ve run out of options. The novel could easily pass for being too risky in the YA world, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it ended up a Banned book. I’ve heard similar comments about Sepetys’ Between Shades of Gray, but I’ve yet to read it. Either way, the messages in the book are great.
Ruta’s depiction of 1950’s Big Easy is both parts fun and sadly true, but still lovable in many ways. I adored how the story never stuck to one part of New Orleans and readers had the chance to discover different endpoints around the city. The story was new and refreshing, and I felt like the city was the perfect place for it to take place, considering the circumstances. Something I’ve taken note of is the recent releases of various novels that take place in multiple time periods that aren’t necessarily of the historical genre. We might be looking at a new trend here. So far, so good, though.
What I liked most about Out of The Easy was the fact that nothing in the story was clean-cut. No specific happy ending, no ideal jubilant beginning, and no joyful in-between. The novel managed to offer an escape while also keeping aspects in the book as close to real life as possible, keeping it grounded and imaginative at the same time. Not many authors are able to accomplish that but I loved that Ruta did.
The tone of the novel is overall serious but none the less, slowly uplifting. Even though there wasn’t anything about the novel that was squeaky clean, readers can still walk away from the novel feeling satisfied with the way things are left at the end of Out of The Easy, imperfect and all. It’s beautiful that the novel is still left on a rather optimistic note despite all the ugly that Josie still has to face on her own. As a reader sometimes walking away with hope is better than walking away with a wrapped up ending, and for Out of The Easy, this is definitely the case.
If there’s any I could have changed about the standalone, though, it would definitely have to be the amount of characters. While just about every person introduced is relevant, after all, there is a mystery murder case going on, there were still way too many people dancing around. I would catch myself time and time again throughout the novel flipping back through pages to try and remember who was who. Plenty of importance, just too many people to keep track of.
Ruta’s writing style is gorgeous and the story played out like a movie in my mind; extremely vivid while leaving enough room for a readers imagination to work wonders. I’d recommend this to people that enjoyed books like Between Shades of Gray, Don’t Breathe a Word or Go Ask Alice and aren’t completely against a heavy read with tough issues.