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Out of the Easy Paperback – March 4, 2014


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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Amazon Best Books of the Month, February 2013: The French Quarter of New Orleans in the 1950’s calls from the pages of Out of the Easy, beckoning readers to enter a society of madams and debutantes, secrets and desires. “Sometimes we set off down a road thinkin’ we’re going one place and we end up another.” So it is for Josie Moraine, the daughter of a prostitute rooted in the underworld of the Quarter. Josie wants, more than anything, to trade in the dangerous hand of jokers and pimps her mother laid out, for one filled with books and a life away from the Big Easy. Populated by complex characters you come to love or loathe, but either way can’t stop thinking about (even months later), Sepetys beautifully delivers romance and menace in equal parts and what looks to be a predictable ending turns out to be anything but. --Seira Wilson --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up-Against a vivid 1950s New Orleans backdrop, 17-year-old Josie Moraine is caught between the harsh reality of her negligent, prostitute mother's lifestyle and her desire to escape to a new life. Josie is smart, resourceful, and determined. Her support group includes Willie, the shrewd brothel madam who recognizes Josie's potential; Cokie, Willie's kind and devoted driver; Patrick, who runs the bookshop where Josie works; Charlotte, an upscale acquaintance who encourages Josie to join her at Smith College; and Jesse, the handsome motorcyclist neighbor who has eyes only for Josie. When a mysterious death leads police to Josie's mother and abusive boyfriend, the teen is drawn into the investigation and into an underworld of threats, violence, and retribution. After her mother skips town, Josie is targeted to repay her debt to a powerful criminal boss. As she tries to handle mounting adversity on her own, she struggles with fear, desperation, and her conscience. Stealing from Willie or hooking up with a wealthy john seem her only choices for survival. Overwhelmed, she reveals her predicament to Willie, who saves her in a final act of generosity. Josie's narrative features a Dickensian array of characters; the mystique, ambience, and language of the French Quarter; a suspenseful, action-packed story; and a coming-of-age realization that personal decisions ultimately shape one's future. With dramatic and contextual flair, Sepetys introduces teens to another memorable heroine.-Gerry Larson, formerly at Durham School of the Arts, NCα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Speak; Reprint edition (March 4, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0147508436
  • ISBN-13: 978-0147508430
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (270 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #20,416 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ruta Sepetys was born and raised in Michigan in a family of artists, readers, and music lovers. Her award-winning historical novels are published in over forty countries. "Between Shades of Gray" was inspired by her family's history in Lithuania. Her second novel, "Out of the Easy" is set in the French Quarter of New Orleans in 1950. A historical tale of secrets and lies, "Out of the Easy" is a story of identity, family, and the haunting reminder that decisions can shape our destiny. Ruta lives with her family in Tennessee.

For more information on Ruta please visit her websites:
www.rutasepetys.com
www.betweenshadesofgray.com
www.outoftheeasy.com

Customer Reviews

Josie (Jo) is a very well written character.
Jamie E.
I loved her first book between shades of gray, one of those books you can't put down.
nan
Sepetys depicts New Orleans and this story's characters richly and vividly.
YA Book Queen

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Jamie E. on September 16, 2014
Format: Hardcover
This is the second book I have read by Ruta Sepetys and I must say she is quickly becoming a favorite author to me! This is a well researched, beautifully written 1950's historical. You really get the feel of being in New Orleans in 1950.

Josie (Jo) is a very well written character. She is strong, intelligent and very realistic. She is an extremely believable character with a good blend of strengths and flaws. She is a teenage girl who lives on her own, and wants desperately to get out of New Orleans and go to college. With a prostitute for a mother and no known father her goal seems to be a pipe dream. A sick friend, and a murder mystery just adds to her troubles.

Her mother is an evil piece of work. I loathe her. One of the most self-centered ladies ever! What she does to Jo in this book buts the word awful to shame! Then there is Willie who runs the whorehouse where Jo cleans and her mother sells herself. It took the longest time to make up my mind about her. I like her no nonsense attitude but I always felt that she was hiding something. Then there is Cokie. I loved Cokie. He is the driver for Willie and acts like a uncle and friends to Jo. I think I could have a great time hanging out with him, sweet and fun as he is!

There is a bit a love triangle between her, Patrick and Jesse. Jesse is the ladies man mechanic of the Quarter with a bit of a 'bad boy' edge. Patrick is the son of the owner of the bookstore where she lives and works. The smart intellect, caring for his ill father. Now while I say love triangle it is very mild through a lot of it. It is not drawn out like so many other books these days. Very simple and plausible.

The way everything is written out is perfect. From the clothing, the whorehouse, the Quarter in general....
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Evie Seo TOP 1000 REVIEWER on February 13, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Out Of The Easy is a gloomy yet - in many ways - inspiring book that explores themes such as poverty, prostitution, mental illness, abandonment, murder, abuse and making one's own destiny. It's a story of a girl who dreams of a normal life - a life that doesn't involve cleaning brothels, sleeping in a book store and constantly trying to appease her abusive, Hollywood-star-wannabe prostitute mother. An engaging, thoroughly captivating tale full of phenomenally depicted settings and masterfully fleshed-out characters that you'll never forget.

17 year-old Josie Moraine has never had it easy. Her mother, a self-absorbed and thieving prostitute in a Conti Street brothel, has made it clear to her that she was nothing more than a burden and a mistake. Her father is unknown, he could be any one of her mother's many clients. Despite being abused, neglected and unloved, Josie's determined to get away from the filthy streets of French Quarter and make a good life for herself. She dreams of attending Smith College in Northampton. She's saving every hard-earned penny, hoping to one day escape from the Big Easy. When her mother leaves for California with a brutal criminal, Cincinnati, Josie is worried, but also relieved. But before long, she learns that her senseless mother managed to make a mess out of her life yet again, leaving her with a dead-man's watch, a mob debt and entangled in a high-profile murder case.

Well-read, street-smart and strong-willed, Josie is a phenomenal lead character. Her story really pulled on my heartstrings. She's the kind of girl you can relate to, even though your lives and personalities are worlds apart. She's kind, understanding, giving, but she can also be fierce and unstoppable. She's gone through so much!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By kayhiggs on April 24, 2013
Format: Hardcover
'Out of the Easy' by Ruta Sepetys is a fantastic read about a young woman who not only learns the ins and outs of the streets of New Orleans, but about herself. This is a murder mystery that gives the reader a sense of suspense with every turn of the page. Each chapter is filled with suspense and a certain amount of intensity that makes it hard to put the book down. I really enjoyed reading this book because it is not very often that you read a good murder mystery. Young adult literature often times strays away from mysteries and I like that this book gives the reader something different and interesting to read about. I also love the main character, Josie. She is a strong, young, and determined woman that will not take no for an answer. In the book, you will read the struggles she deals with every single day. Her mother is a prostitute who does not show any affection. Her mother is embarrassed to even have a child. She does not care about Josie or what she does.Josie never even met her dad. She has no one to look up to but herself. I love that this book depicts such a strong female character. So many young adult novels show weak women who need a man in their lives (ex. Twilight). I can breath easy knowing that there are young women out there who will read this book and see how strong and determined the main character is.
In regards to the book itself, it is a very easy read. I would recommend this to anyone!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By bookworm1858 VINE VOICE on July 5, 2013
Format: Hardcover
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.
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