Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys
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 to 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.
This book was pretty atypical for YA. It’s historical fiction. Josie is the daughter of a prostitute living in New Orleans in 1950. She’s tried to distance herself from her mother and lives in an apartment above the bookshop where she works. But she also cleans the brothel where her mother works. She has a rather unusual collection of friends – the brothel madam, her colored driver, the bookstore owners son, a motorcycle riding boy, and a collegiate woman down from Massachusetts visiting her aunt and uncle.
Josie wants nothing more than to get out of New Orleans and go to Smith College with her new friend Charlotte. She’s a strong woman and she’s going to make her dream come true even though everything seems to be conspiring against her.
It took me about half of the book to really get into this story. I liked Jo right away, but things were a bit slow moving for me. Once things got really crazy though with the murder investigation, I was pretty hooked and routing for Jo to out of there! I enjoyed the characters in this book a lot, and I would definitely read more about them (i.e. a sequel if there ever was one), but I don’t think I’d read this book again.
My Rating: 3 Stars
On the blog last year…