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
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.