Daughter of a prostitute in the New Orleans’ French Quarter in the 1950s, Josie Moraine has always dreamed of getting out of Louisiana. When a murder happens a little too close to home, Josie’s future is threatened in a story about family, love, and inner strength.
Ruta Sepetys instantly become a must-read author when I read her breathtaking novel Between Shades of Gray. Like Between, Out of the Easy is a historical fiction that focuses on three-dimensional characters in a setting that is practically a character in itself. It’s a difficult book to describe because it doesn’t have a plot so much as it portrays a period of time in a character’s life. While I haven’t read must historical fiction since my pre-teen years when I went through a real princess faze, Sepetys makes me want to delve into the genre once more.
Out of the Easy has some of the most believable characters I’ve ever read. They all have their own quirks and backstories and aspirations, but that information shimmers beneath the story just enough to bring these characters to life. For example, Josie has a habit of humming when she’s nervous: this is something you discover early on in the book. It’s not until later that you discover exactly why she hums, and the information is provided so smoothly that you don’t feel like you’re being told the information at all: it’s like you knew it all along. You get to meet characters from various backgrounds and social statuses. I loved all of the secondary characters (even the ones you’re not supposed to like), and Sepetys somehow made it so I was satisfied with whatever amount of time I got to see the characters, but also left me wanting more. It should be impossible, but she managed it.
The setting of New Orleans during the 1950s is something I never thought I’d want to read about, but now it’s basically all I want to read about. You don’t witness the regular tourist attractions of the city (Josie actually sleeps through Mardi Gras), but you feel as if you get to see the city as it really is: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Willie’s brothel was one of my absolute favourite aspects, and if there was a book purely about say Sweetie (my second favourite prostitute in the story) or Willie (the brothel’s Madame) or Sadie (the woman who cleans the brothel) I would snatch it up in a second.
You may have noticed that my summary was very bare bones. This is a difficult book for me to summarize because the plot is so natural it doesn’t feel like a plot at all. Instead, I felt as if I was reading the story of someone’s life with all of its natural turns and pacing. It didn’t grab me and keep me on the edge of my seat. I never felt like I had to read what happens next or I would die of anticipation. I read it because I wanted to because the characters and prose made me want to read. I think this proves just how amazing of a writer Sepetys is: she doesn’t have to hide between the cheap plot twists in order to keep her readers.
Between Shades of Gray was not a one-shot wonder for Rita Sepetys. Out of the Easy was equally amazing in its own right, and I will certainly be reading whatever she comes out with next.
Don’t just take my word for it!
“If you enjoy reading YA historical fictionnovels, I’d definitely recommend Ruta Sepetys’s Out of the Easy!” – MidnightBloomReads
“The depth of each character, the intricate plot, the gorgeous prose…there is nothing about this novel I didn’t like or would change.” – Molly @ Wrapped up in Books
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