About the book
Out of The Easy by Ruta Sepetys is a young adult novel. It was published by Puffin on 7th March and the book is 352 pages long. Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a copy for review.
Synopsis (Taken from Goodreads.com)
Josie Moraine wants out of The Big Easy - she needs more than New Orleans can offer. Known locally as a brothel 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.
What I thought
The synopsis for this book had me the moment I read it. Set in New Orleans in the '50s, Ruta Sepetys has created a novel which is instantly intriguing and mysterious. The setting alone is a magical thing, with all sorts going on all over the place. The descriptions of New Orleans, although sometimes a little scary and creepy, were wonderful and the whole place was given life. What I loved the most about the setting was how many different varieties of people it brought into the story. At a time when there was a lot happening, the characters in this book all have something very different to offer and all are extremely unique.
Protagonist of the novel is Josie, the daughter of a (somewhat high-market) prostitute. She hates what reputation her mother has and how other people see her because of who she is. Josie is nothing like her mother and never will be. She wants to escape New Orleans and dreams of going to college. I really admired and respected Josie because she had such big dreams. Her life could have been a lot different, and maybe easier, had she followed in her mother's footsteps which was a big possibility in some ways. Josie is also a really strong and determined character, who isn't really afraid of anyone and just wants to go about her own life in peace and quiet.
While Josie was a great protagonist, I do feel as though maybe some secondary characters overshadowed her. Namely Willie, the brothel's madam along with the women who worked there. Due to the line of work, there are so many strong personalities but again, all are fantastic in their own way. It was strangely exciting to see how a brothel could and would have been run during the '50s (or at any time really) because it is a subject so far away from the society we live in today. Yes, there are still prostitutes but back then, it was more of a done thing and not as frowned upon.
What is really different about this novel, apart from the prostitution aspects, is the murder mystery. Sepetys has created a world that really does have something for everyone. I really enjoyed the murder mystery aspect though as it didn't overpower the rest of the story but there were some great exciting moments. Along with this, there is a soft romance, there is the wonderful literary mentions - something that all book lovers will enjoy and then there is the amazingly written characters who melt your heart and make you want them to achieve everything they desire.
This is the first of Sepetys' books that I have read and now I want more!