Monday, January 21, 2013

ARC Book Review: Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys

Title: Out of the Easy
Author: Ruta Sepetys
Publisher: Philomel
Release Date: Feb 12, 2013
Rating: 4/5

Cover Impressions:
Pretty Pretty.  Love the antique birdcage and the imagery of Josie peeking out from behind/within.

The Gist:
Josie Moraine is the daughter of a prostitute.  She has lived her life in the shadow of the most popular brothel in New Orleans.  Josie is determined to escape The Big Easy and to make a life for her herself beyond the grasp of her greedy and conniving mother.  When a murder in the quarter threatens that dream, Josie must find a way to hold on to her dreams without compromising her morals. 


Out of the Easy is a very character driven novel.  Which is great, because it has great characters.  Josie is the daughter of a prostitute the *almost ward of a madam and has been cared for by a cast wonderful cast of well written characters.  She is strong willed, but is very vulnerable.  Josie is constantly being tossed into difficult situations and it is compelling to watch as she tries to dig herself out and emerge with her dignity intact.  Her mother is a truly despicable character who selfishly preys on anyone whom she feels she can exploit - including her daughter.  As a mother, I found her actions all the more deplorable but could understand Josie's feelings of obligation towards her.  The other characters, the ones who truly cared for Josie, were fun and interesting.  Willie was easy to imagine as the tough as nails madam who is generous and loyal to those who deserve it.  Cokie's love felt kind and genuine and the prostitutes added some comic relief. 

The novel did have it's faults.  The mystery is not particularly strong.  It was easy to tell who was behind the murder and the big reveal was more than a little predictable.  There were also a few elements with one of the love interests that came as no surprise and I was only able to convince myself that Josie was honestly not able to see the truth by remembering the time period in which this was set and the difference in societal ideals.  Towards the end of the novel, an additional problem was introduced which interrupted the flow of the storyline and the resolution was a little too clean and easy. 

Overall, Out of the Easy was a fun read and a fast one.  Sepetys paints a beautiful picture of New Orleans and writes with rich detail that will draw in any reader. 

Teaching/Parental Notes:

16 and up
Gender: Female
Sex: Kissing, Prostitution
Violence: Gunplay, Knifeplay, Self-Harm
Inappropriate Language: Whore, Asshole, Bitch, Queer
Substance Use/Abuse: Smoking, Drinking,


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