Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Book Review: Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys
*I received this book from Around the World ARC Tours for review**
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.
My Thoughts: Ruta Sepetys' Shades of Gray was an unbelievably amazing book! I wasn't sure how any book would stand up to it but she has done it again. The thing I like most about Sepetys is that she writes about things no one else writes about. We have all read about Hitler during WWII but in Shades of Gray Sepetys wrote about Stalin. In Out of the Easy she writes about prostitutes and brothels. But it is done is a classy and historical way.
Josie is 17 and lives in New Orleans. She is the daughter of a prostitute and everyone knows it. However, since Josie was 12, she has been taking care of herself and living above the bookstore that she works at. She both loves and hates her mother for numerous (good) reasons.
Josie life changes when a man comes into the bookstore from out of state. He doesn't know Josie's history and just assumes she attends college. The small assumption gives Josie hope that maybe she can attend college. However, when the man is found dead and it turns out to be murder, Josie finds out she is in over her head.
I loved Josie! She was strong, independent and ambitious. She has had a tough life but she is making it work for her. She is loyal to those who are her friends and help her out. She is even loyal to her mother. I just loved her strength and how much hope she had. I loved how she made things in life work for her and made the best out of the worst. She absolutely did not want to follow in her mother's footsteps and even when things got extremely bad, she resisted (just barely).
Willie was the madame that Josie's mom worked for. Willie was strong and appeared to be mean and brusque on the outside but you could tell Josie held a special spot in Willie's heart. Willie had Josie clean the brothel in the morning hours but always made sure Josie was out of the house before the "guests" came to visit. While Willie wanted Josie to have a better life than her mother, Willie didn't want Josie to leave New Orleans.
Cokie is Willie's driver. He was awesome! He looked after Josie as well as Willie did and he loved her like a daughter. He wanted Josie to succeed and he did everything in his power to help Josie get into the prestigious college that she wanted to get into. I just loved Cokie and wanted the best for him.
Jesse and Patrick are the love interests but there is no serious love triangle. There is a small one, don't get me wrong but it hardly takes up any of the story. Jesse is a quite guy from the "wrong side of the tracks". He is very good looking and a great mechanic. Patrick is the book store owner's son and works with Josie. Josie and Patrick have known each other for a long time and Josie feels comfortable with Patrick. Patrick was sweet as well and I liked how Josie and Patrick interacted.
I loved the girls at the brothel! Dora was hysterical and Sadie was so sweet and caring. Sweetie was also...well, sweet. All the girls, except Evangeline, loved Josie and took care of her as best they could.
I hated Josie's mother! Oh, I wanted to wring her neck. She was selfish, self-centered, dumb...I mean, I could go on and on! Sepetys did a great job in created a villain in Josie's mother. I felt no sympathy for her at all. Cincinnati, her mob boyfriend, and her deserved each other.
This book was amazing! Sepetys captured New Orleans in all it's glory. I have never been there but I want to go so badly and this book made me want to go even more. She captured my attention from page one and kept it throughout the book. I hated to see it end and cannot wait for more from Sepetys! She is quickly becoming a favorite for me!