Friday, July 5, 2013

Out of the Easy: a review

Author: Ruta Septetys
Info: Philomel Books, copright 2013, 346 pages

A review in 10 words (or thereabouts): Life in the Big Easy is anything but easy, especially for a young girl trying to get out.

It’s 1950, and as the French Quarter of New Orleans simmers with secrets, seventeen-year-old Josie Moraine is silently stirring a pot of her own. Known among locals as the daughter of a brothel prostitute, Josie wants more out of life than the Big Easy has to offer.

She devises a plan get out, but a mysterious death in the Quarter leaves Josie tangled in an investigation that will challenge her allegiance to her mother, her conscience, and Willie Woodley, the brusque madam on Conti Street. Josie is caught between the dream of an elite college and a clandestine underworld. New Orleans lures her in her quest for truth, dangling temptation at every turn, and escalating to the ultimate test.

With characters as captivating as those in her internationally bestselling novel Between Shades of Gray, Ruta Sepetys
creates a rich story of secrets, lies, and the haunting reminder that decisions can shape our destiny.

~Amazon Description~

The Breakdown
Josie Moraine is a tough egg.  You have to be when you start living by yourself at twelve.  Every morning she trudges across town to clean for the local madam, during the day she works at a bookstore, and by night she loses herself in books.  Anything to stay away from her mother, a prostitute who as a tendency to fall in with the wrong crowd.  Josie wants more than what the Easy has to offer her.  When an out-of-towner makes her believe she could make it in the real world, as a college girl, Josie will do anything to make it out of the Easy.  But leaving can be hard, especially when a speckled past and a mob boss is standing in your way.

The Awesome
Sepetys knows how to spin a tale.  She grabs your attention from the first line, "My mother's a prostitute," and keeps you reading as she introduces an endearing cast of characters, the seedy-underside of a historical city, the captures and troubles of wealth, and the dream for something more.  This story is beautifully written and captivating from page one.

The cover is absolutely stunning as well.  No pretty dresses.  No dramatic poses.  Just a girl dreaming of more than a life in a bird cage.

The Not So Awesome
Not applicable.  Because it is just awesome.

This might be a hard sell for teens.  Maybe just saying it's a story about prostitutes, a brothel, and murder will catch attention, but it's more than your average historical fiction novel.  I think teens could really relate to the story of a girl with a horrible home life who wants more, who deserves more.  It is most definitely worth the read, and one of the best books I've read this year!

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