Release Date: 7th March 2013
Edition: UK paperback, review copy
Other Titles by this Author: Between Shades of Gray
Josie Moraine wants out of The Big Easy – she needs more than New Orleans can offer. Known locally as a brothel’s prostitute’s daughter, she dreams of life at an elite college, far away from here.
But then a mysterious death in the Quarter leaves Josie caught between her ambition and a clandestine underworld. New Orleans is luring Josie deeper in as she searches for the truth, and temptation beckons at every turn.
Out of the Easy didn’t immediately appeal to me; I put it to the side thinking that it wasn’t really for me. Then the reviews came flooding in and I felt left out so I decided to give it a try with no expectations. Man, was I wrong!
I was immediately captured by 1950s New Orleans. Sepetys’ description of Josie’s home is so evocative that I swore I could smell the dank streets of the Quarter and the reek of the Mississippi feel the cloistering heat of a Southern summer and hear the giggles of Willie’s girls. I’ve always wanted to go to New Orleans, but now I want a time machine as well. I loved the contrast between the rich, blank area of the city’s bankers and the dangerous streets of Josie’s life.
Josie is a brilliant heroine and I championed her from the very beginning. Her desire to get out of New Orleans and go to college even after being thwarted by her mum (who I detested, by the way) several times broke my heart. Her single-mindedness in improving her situation was admirable and I honestly think that most people wouldn’t go to such lengths to get what she deserved. I hated that so many people just assumed she’d end up like her mum and that she wouldn’t ever be able to get away from her life in New Orleans. It really made me appreciate just how lucky I am.
Out of the Easy faces many, many issues in throughout the novel: prostitution, mental illness, money, loyalty and social class, but it was the beautifully wrought tension that stayed with me. I spent the last forty or so pages gripping the book ridiculously tightly, anticipating would happen to Josie. The stakes were incredibly high and I didn’t think that Ruta Sepetys would simply let Josie off easily. It’s endings like that that you remember.
I was surprised by how much I ended up loving Out of the Easy and I’m going to make sure I get hold of a copy of Between Shades of Gray to devour while I wait for Ruta Sepetys’ next offering!
Thank you to Puffin for providing me with a review copy.