Thursday, April 18, 2013

Out of the Easy ~ One Book, Two Reviews

Joint Review

Out of The EasyTitle: Out of the Easy
Author: Ruta Sepetys
Publisher:  Philomel Books
Publication Date:  February 2013
Source: Bought/Bought
Rating:  5 stars/5 stars

~ Synopsis from 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 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.



Sometimes I buy a book on impulse, because maybe my best friend bought it and I'm a little jealous because the cover is so inviting and I think "hey, why not," and I later regret the impulse spending ... But not this time. Not at all. This book was money well spent and will take up much deserved space on my shelf for some time. I read Sepetys' first book Between Shades of Gray as an ARC and while it was a very good book and very well written, I didn't fall in love with it. I think partly because I had just finished a whole lineup of Holocaust books (it was our county-wide reading theme that year), and a book about Stalin's little known but all too familiar rein of terror in the Baltics during the same period was just too much for me. I was overloaded on the whole topic of the atrocities of that period in history (but, if you're not, definitely read it). So, anyway, when this book was released it sounded great and was getting awesome reviews, but I was afraid that it would also feel ... bleak, I guess. But a used but brand-new-looking copy at my local bookstore won over my hesitation. I'm so glad it did.

This book is also historical fiction (as per the description), but is based more on the history of a city and a time period than events. It's about a teen girl living and working in the colorful "scene" that is 1950s New Orleans, and isn't based on real people that I can tell. Though the characters are no less real for that. And there are some *fantastic* characters in this book, and none of them are simple or one dimensional. Seypetys doesn't let you judge a book by it's cover (pun intended ;) ) or it's history or it's lifestyle for that matter. Her people are people in all their fallible glory but also show you that they can rise out of circumstances, even dire ones, to shine. There were some characters that I literally hated and others that I absolutely loved.

It's hard to characterize this book. It has some prostitution (see line one: "My Mother's a Prostitute."), a murder, some mob action, a love triangle (though it's far from center stage and didn't play out like I expected at all), and some twists and turns that keep you engaged from the first chapter. But like all good books, it's really about the characters and how they survive and even grow. And make you sad to say goodbye when it ends. No, I don't regret that ten dollars at all and will almost definitely spend more of them on Sepetys' next book whenever that turns up on shelves too.


I *loved* this book. I, like Malissa, have no regrets over buying it. I imagine it having a long life span on my shelf, with others having the opportunity to love it just as much as I did. I've said it before, but it's becoming rather apparent to me that I can't really say it with any truth. I am not a huge fan of historical fiction. The lack of truth in that statement is glaringly obvious when I look at some of my favorites: Code Name Verity, Revolution, Out of the Easy... lol.  I'm starting to love it. ;)

I picked this book up in my local bookstore and read the first page. I had to have it. Any book that starts with "My mother is a prostitute." as it's first sentence deserves to be owned. I don't know why, exactly, it just does. Kind of like when you see a coin lying on the ground - you just have to pick it up. Must. Be. Done.

I dove into this book not knowing what to expect. 1950's New Orleans? Doesn't really seem like my type of setting. It was so well done, though, that I didn't even realize I had been transported to a different time and place until I was already there.

Even though the writing drew me in, it was the characters who made me stay. Sepetys created characters that jumped out of the story, filling my mind, my world. There were characters I loved ~ Josie, Jesse, Cokie, Willie... all for different reasons. There were characters I felt indifference toward, and characters I despised. In fact, if I met said character on the street, I may take a page out of the mob's book and make that person disappear. Just a thought. That being said, all the ups, all the downs, I was right there, feeling them right along with Josie. Her frustration and uncertainty, her hopes and wishes, her sadness and anger. There seems to be something different lurking behind every shadow in New Orleans, just waiting to jump out and put a damper on Josie's life.

No matter how many times those shadows try to smother her, we get to be alongside her as she grows and discovers strengths she didn't know she possessed. She accepts herself, her past, and comes to realize that she decides her own fate; it's not decided for her.
"I could see the ugly just pouring out of her."

"Sometimes we set off down a road think' we're goin' one place and we end up another. but that's okay. The important thing is to start."

"Everything was in pieces, displaced, and would never fit back together."

Have you read it? Want to read it? Share your thoughts with us!!!  :)

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