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Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys (thoughts)

February 27, 2013

OutOfTheEasyFrom the author’s website:
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 a police 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 a quest for truth, dangling temptation at every turn, and escalating to the ultimate test.

I loved Between Shades of Gray, a conviction I will share with anyone who listens (and even those who won’t). So it was with great excitement and some trepidation that I started Ruta Sepetys’ latest book. Yes, they’re both historical fiction, and yes both stories take place within 10 years of each other – but the settings and circumstances surrounding them are so vastly different that they might as well have taken place on different planets. I worried that Sepetys’ beautiful writing and heart-rendering story telling might be more suited to bleak Siberia than to bustling New Orleans.

However, by the time I got to the point in the book where I was so mad at one of the characters that I actually threw my book down, I realized that those worries had long since been forgotten.

What usually draws me into a book are the characters, and there are plenty of fantastic ones to choose from in Out of the Easy. Josie is bookish and cunning, unsure of herself but so determined. While she took a little time to warm up to, she became a protagonist I didn’t have a hard time rooting for.

Out of the Easy does feature two potential male leads, but thankfully never fully delves into a love triangle. Patrick is clean cut and sophisticated and it’s easy to see why Josie feels so drawn to him. And then we have Jesse. Well, Jesse has a lot of Jess Mariano-like characteristics. So yes. A fan of him.

And then there are the cast of characters from the Quarter. This is where the book really comes alive. Josie’s life is filled with an eclectic group of people who, from the outside, might look like they’d be nothing but terrible influences but who are, in reality, what make Josie the wonderful person she is.

It’s safe to say that Ruta Sepetys’ success with Between Shades of Gray wasn’t just a one off, but that just about any story is safe in her hands. While the first is my favourite of the two, Out of the Easy is definitely also worth your time.

(Also, it won’t make you cry quite as much. Maybe just a little bit.)

Source: ALA

6 Comments leave one →
  1. February 27, 2013 11:18 am

    I was a big fan of Between Shades of Grey so I’m looking forward to reading this one as well. I’m ready for the crying part.

    • March 3, 2013 3:06 pm

      There isn’t as much crying in Out of the Easy, but I did become just as attached to some of the characters.

  2. February 27, 2013 4:51 pm

    Okay, I was disinclined to read Between Shades of Grey in the first place, because of its title. I know that’s very silly! But absolutely everyone has been raving about Ruta Sepetys and making it very difficult for me to maintain my original position.

    • March 3, 2013 3:08 pm

      Okay yes, start with this one and then see if you can do with or without another Sepetys, in spite of its title.

  3. February 28, 2013 6:53 pm

    I still haven’t read her first book just because it is heart-renching and I need to be in the right mood for that kind of book, but maybe I’ll start with this one.

    • March 3, 2013 3:19 pm

      Both her books are fantastic, but if you’re looking for something that will cause fewer tears, definitely try Out of the Easy first.

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