Author: Ruth Sepetys
Publisher: Philomel Books
Synopsis (via Goodreads): 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.
Review: I had a hard time remembering that this book was set in New Orleans during the 1950s. Josie Moraine's story is timeless, intriguing and heart wrenching - ingredients that are bound to make a perfect book.
Out of the Easy follows the struggles of seventeen (soon to be eighteen) year old Josie Moraine who is desperate to leave New Orleans, and her mother's shadow, behind to further her education. She's inspired to pursue her dreams after an encounter with a customer at Marlowe's Bookstore who assumes she's already in college based off of her appearance. This throws Josie off because she's used to getting looks of pity and disgust thanks to her mother's employment in "sales." Did I mention that her mother steals from Josie and treats her like a dirty kleenex? Uh, yeah.
Sound familiar? I was thinking somewhere along the lines of Cinderella, perhaps? Despite the slight similarities, Out of the Easy is a very unique young adult novel that I'm glad I read. I fell in love with Patrick Marlowe after the first 50 pages, but he had a different view on love than Josie, so he wasn't around very long. Jesse, on the other hand... Hot. Damn. I thought of him as more of the "bad boy" type, but he was so caring to Josie, and sweet, and he went to check up on her when she was hiding from her mother in the middle of nowhere and UGH. He made my heart melt.
I loved the characters. Josie stuck to her guns the whole story and didn't let her past cloud her dreams for the future. I've already touched upon the two boys who made my heart happy, so we'll move on to... Willie. She was more of a mother figure to Josie than her biological mother was, which was weird to me because Willie admits when she first meets eight-year-old Josie that she doesn't like kids. Yeah, right. She was a tough cookie to crack; she was extremely protective of Josie, but didn't show her affection often so Josie wouldn't get too attached to her. Cokie, a staff member of Willie's, was always kind to Josie. That man would most likely take a bullet for her. It made me happy when his story was wrapped up nicely at the end.
Although action was slow at times the ending, in general, was perfect. Seriously. Ruth Sepetys wrote a brilliant stand alone novel that I strongly encourage folks to read. Do yourself a favor and take a trip to your library to pick up a copy.
I'll just wait here for you to comment on how awesome it was as well...