I finally had the opportunity to get my hands on a book from one of my most loved writers, Ruta Sepetys, a month or so ago. Out of the Easy is her second book, after her dazzling debut novel Between Shades of Gray. This novel was surprisingly better than her first, which was difficult to beat. Mrs. Sepetys composes hard-hitting historical fiction (which isn’t normally my go-to genre, however, I’ll gladly make an exemption for any of Sepetys’ books) from World War II to New Orléans in the 50’s.
Out of the Easy takes after a 17-year-old young woman named Josie Moraine in a first-person narrative. Josie lives in the French Quarter of New Orléans with her mother, and the year is 1950. Much the same as many other 17-year-olds, Josie has enormous dreams to get away from the ‘Huge Easy’ and set off for college, yet there are plenty of obstacles holding her back. For one thing, she works in the mornings cleaning the brothel her mom works at, and afterward, she spends her days working in a bookshop and caring for the mentally ill owner with the help of his son Patrick. But a strange death somehow related to Josie that she can’t disregard entangles her in a web of secrets, lies, mystery, and murder that makes her question everything she’s ever worked for.
I cannot say enough about how much I loved Out of the Easy. I read far into the night (or morning) more than once until I finished reading ‘one more chapter’. I also may or may not have been almost late for class because I read all the way through my lunch period. But that’s another story. There was an engaging flow of plot and action that made me grab for each page as it came along and while I became more and more engrossed in Josie’s thrilling story. The character development was elegantly composed, as Josie goes on a journey of self-discovery and accepting some hard truths that re-shape her entire life. Lastly, Josie has a strong will, determination, and self-respect that are some of my favorite qualities of any character in any novel and not often found in today’s society.
By and large, I would rate Out of the Easy 5/5 stars since it was so freaking amazing! On another note, Sepetys’ new book Salt to the Sea is out now, so go look at that soon and be expecting a review after I read it (which ought to be in the following month).