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Out of the Easy Hardcover – February 12, 2013
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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.
Top customer reviews
This novel's plot is as meticulously crafted as its many characters, and readers will be captivated by the complex world Ms. Sepetys has brought to life. Highly recommended!
This book was very different from her other two books I've read: Between Shades of Gray and Salt to the Sea. It is from a completely different setting, but it still features the strength of the human spirit to battle against life and overcome adversity.
This story is about a young woman, Josie Moraine, trying to find her place in the world. In the first chapter, Josie is 7 years old and has moved to New Orleans. We are introduced to the owner of a brothel and Josie's mom who is a prostitute. Both characters play critical roles in Josie's outlook on who she is and what she can become. The next chapter Josie has aged 10 years and is a young woman. By this time Josie believes the circumstances of her life have already determined her future.
Josie works two jobs cleaning the brothel were her mom works and in a bookstore where she has lived since she was 11. Two customers come into the bookstore making Josie question her beliefs that her future has already been set. The first is an out of state architect who tells her "Decisions, they shape our destiny". The second person is a young woman, a student at Smith College, who befriends her. Josie starts thinking about going to college in particular Smith College. As the story evolves Josie starts to act on her plan to attend Smith.
What I really like about this story is Josie's journey. Josie transforms before our eyes from seeing herself as worthless and believing her future is defined by one's circumstances to a confident woman who goes after her dreams. There are so many well developed characters in this book. Characters that both help and hinder Josie's progress in attaining her dreams.
There is one thing that I disliked about the book and that is the author, in a relatively short period of time, throws every kind of bad Josie's way to where it distracts from the story.
I highly recommend this book and will definitely read more of this author's work. About the rating system I've used. I have read many excellent books which I would rate 3 or 4 stars saving 5 stars for something truly extraordinary.