Friday, February 8, 2013

ARC Review: Out of the Easy

Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys
5/5 stars
Philomel Books, 2013
346 pages
YA Historical
Scheduled for February 13

Source: Received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

So I knew this was set in New Orleans but I didn't realize it was historical, set in 1950. Other surprises included the setting of a brothel and menacing mobsters. Our heroine is Josie Moraine, daughter of a prostitute, who has pulled away from her mother, earning an honest living at a bookstore and dreaming about a college education away from the town where everyone knows she's a prostitute's daughter. But she also cleans the rooms of the brothel and is deeply reluctantly attached to the madam, the canny Willie and the other women in the house.

When a visiting prominent Tennessean businessman is killed in the French Quarter, Josie mourns, having met the sweet guy at the bookstore. What she doesn't expect is the role that her mother may have played in his murder nor the crooked people who are involved nor the actions it may force her to take.

I don't know how to properly explain my feelings about this book. I'll admit that I didn't enter it with the highest expectations. Yes, Sepetys had already scored with her excellently personal Between Shades of Grey but who thought she'd do it again with such a different story? Plus the South and the 1950s have never been among my favorite reading topics. But this book was absolutely amazing. I kept saying to myself, "I'll just read one more chapter..." until I reached the end and there was no more.

I think most of the credit goes to the delightfully sensitive Josie. Although she's been let down by her good-for-nothing selfish mother and essentially nonexistent father, she has acquired a family of her own including the aforementioned Willie, other workers at the brothel, her bookstore coworker Patrick, and local mechanic and hottie Jesse. I also admired Josie's ambition and drive--she's worked hard for everything she has in life, sometimes against impossible odds without losing her principles and sense of self.

Now I did receive an ARC, which may explain why the chronology of a few scenes felt off. Some pieces of information were explained after when they were actually need earlier. I will need to consult a finished copy to see if this was remedied.

Content warning: Well, it is partially set in a brothel but it's pretty clean actually.

Overall: You NEED to read this book-seriously!


  1. Thanks for sharing your review of this book! I was kind of worried about reading. I loved Between Shades of Gray but wasn't so sure about Out of the Easy because of how different it sounded. After reading your review however, I feel a lot better about picking this book up and giving it a try.

  2. I don't read many historical novels, but my sister would probably enjoy this. She has Between Shades of Grey and needs to read that first, though! I'm glad you enjoyed it and I do like a book with some great characters.

  3. I don't do much HF, but sounds great.
    Happy reading,
    Brandi @ Blkosiner’s Book Blog

  4. Ohhh, what to do, what to do. 5 stars from you, only 2.5 from my co-blogger! Hmmm.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

  5. I can see not expecting much -- that's probably why this one has been on my shelf since BEA. But I love your enthusiasm and I do love New Orleans...

  6. I love her writing and I can not wait to read this. Great review. Next week isn't going to get here soon enough.

    Jenea @Books Live Forever

  7. I'm excited to try this one. I also love historical fiction and I love quirky, atmospheric settings so a brothel seems right up my dark alley! Hope I love it!
    We got a foot of snow so I'm making some tea and tackling my book stack today!

  8. I adored Between Shades of Gray so I've had high hopes for this one. Glad to see it's so good!

  9. I wish I had loved this as much as you did. I still gave it 3 stars and I liked it, but the plot didn't really pull me in like I wanted it to. I loved the characters though, and the ending of this book SLAYED me.

  10. Great review! We haven't read BETWEEN SHADES OF GREY yet, but we really want to. Glad to know her sophomore effort is still strong!

  11. I ADORED this book. The charcters in it are some of the best I have ever read and I love Ruta's humorous writing. I thought the time frame was awesome, 1950s America is often looked over in favor of the wartime 40s or the free-loving 60s. This book had a very Mad Men-ish feel to it which was very cool! And since New Orleans in my neighborhood (just a few hours drive) reading about that city was even more fun:) So glad you loved this one too:)


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