29 January 2013

Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys


Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys
Release Date: February 12, 2013
Publisher: Philomel Books
Source: Netgalley
Goodreads Stars: 4
Rating: Essential

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. - Goodreads

After reading Between Shades of Gray, I knew I could count on Ruta to full engross me. Whenever I read her books it feels like I'm there, whether 'there' is the bustling New Orleans of the 50's, or a frozen Siberia. 

The main focus of this story is Josie, a prostitute's daughter, who has just finished school and is trying to save money to get into a good college. Josie was a fabulous main character. She was so different to her mother, and yet she had to deal with her heritage at every turn. It was heartbreaking that Josie couldn't get into the college of her dreams due to her lack of money and because of where she is from.

As the story progressed it really showed how being the daughter of a prostitute didn't define who Josie was. She was her own person, and whatever womb she came from, however she was raised, had nothing to do with it in the end. Josie went after her goals with such ambition, determination, and strength. She's an amazing person, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading about her story. 

I really liked how the love interest and that whole story line takes a back seat to what this book is really about, which is the main character finding herself, as well as finding a way out of the Big Easy.

Family is a huge theme in this book, and I love the way it was dealt with. Again, I find it quite heart wrenching, because the messages this book sends are just so relatable. Ruta has a way of writing that just blows me away.

In the beginning of the novel, Josie doesn't think she has a family. She has no idea who her father is, and her mother is useless and neglectful. As the novel progresses, Josie comes to realise that she does have a family. One that is made up of the other prostitutes, the brothel's madam, Cokie (the cab driver) and her best friend Patrick. This family is more than her mother has ever had, because Josie truly treasures them, whereas her mother did not. Again, this ties in with the message that your background or heritage doesn't matter, it's who you are as a person and who you decide to surround yourself with that counts. And also that family doesn't end with blood.

My favourite relationship in Out of the Easy is the one between Josie and the madam of the brothel, Willie. The relationship wasn't a straight forward one, but Willie was basically Josie's mother figure, since her real mother had up and left her to be with some rich bloke. I loved how much Willie cared for Josie, and she did a lot to help her out. Their relationship brings a tear to my eye, because I find it quite beautiful. Even the most beautiful things aren't all that perfect.

Out of the Easy is such a thought provoking story full of moments that will make you laugh and cry and scream. The setting was perfect, the characters and events felt so real, and the writing is wonderful. If you haven't picked up either of Ruta's books yet, then I highly suggest you do so, because she is one of the most talented writers out there right now.

What other reviewers thought of Out of the Easy:

5 comments:

  1. I loved Cokie! He was my favorite character in the book. And Willie and Josie's relationship was very interesting. Fantastic review!

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  2. I loved Between Shades of Gray, and am really excited to read this! I had no idea she had another book coming out!

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  3. Sepetys' Between Shades of Gray was one that I thought was so emotional. she has a way of grabbing you with her writing. This sounds like it will too. Wonderful review. I am looking forward to this one even more.

    Jenea @ Books Live Forever

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  4. I very much want to read this book! So looking forward to it.

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