Allison reviews Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys

When I found out that Ruta Sepetys was going to be signing her book Between Shades of Grey at BEA, I knew I had to be in that line. What I didn’t know at the time was that a certain number of people in line would be receiving a special advanced copy of her next book Out of the Easy. How awesome was that? So awesome!

I have to admit though I was a little nervous as to rather or not this new book would meet my expectations especially with how much I loved Between Shades of Grey. I also wasn’t sure what to think of the plot as it has the potential to be pretty controversial. But it turns out that I really had nothing to fear because my second experience with Ruta Sepetys was just as good as the first one. Maybe even better!

Out of Easy Cover

Set in 1950’s in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Out of the Easy tells the story of seventeen year old Josie Moraine. Josie is the daughter of a local brothel prostitute, and she is desperate to get out of the Big Easy. She wants so much more out of her life than what the town has to offer. Yet before she can even get her foot of the door, she finds herself tangled up in the investigation of a mysterious death of a wealthy visitor where her mother in the primary suspect. Suddenly, Josie can’t ignore her instinct to find the truth, and before she knows it she is caught up in the same world she wants to leave, and the fact that it doesn’t seem to really want to let her out could be her ultimate test.

I could not put this story down for anything, and I always hated to whenever I really had to. I just enjoyed it THAT much!  Honestly, it was really different from anything that I’ve ever read before. I loved the setting. It was nitty and gritty but it was also very real. Everything is so well drawn out, and accurate that it feels as if you have really been transported to the exact location. I mean, I’ve never been to modern day New Orleans before but, in my mind, I truly feel like I’ve been there in the 1950’s (which is pretty extraordinary considering I wasn’t even alive yet).  I also think that the setting made me enjoy the storyline that much more because it was so interconnected with it. Almost everything that happened in the story was somehow related to the setting, and really did happen because things were so messed up in the area.

My heart desperately went out for the main character, Josie through out the entire book. I wanted her to be able to make the right choices, and I wanted her to be able to receive her happy ending. Yet at the same time, I couldn’t help be fearful for Josie. She was so gutsy and smart, and had such a strong ambition, and drive but all that she had ever known in her life was the Quarter. The people within the Quarter never judged her (except for when they thought that she was trying to escape) but people outside the Quarter did. Especially those with a higher social status or those who simply could not understand how someone could live the way that Josie’s friends and family had to (and not necessarily by choice). I loved the comparisons of the rich and the poor within the Quarter (so well done!). I also really liked the way that Ruta Sepetys made Josie’s journey, a journey of self discovery, because I feel that Josie learned so much about herself and about the area that she called home that when it came time for her to decide if she really wanted to leave or not, she was more than capable of making that decision.

Not only did my heart go out to Josie but all the other characters as well. Out of the Easy is packed full of wonderful characters. There really is not a poorly written character in the bunch. All of them are so well fleshed out, even the ones I came to despise, and I felt like I knew them all. Also, all of the relationships and friendships are incredibly fleshed out as well. There is a reason for every connection, and every connection has been built over time. There are really no insta-connections in this book, and the ones that appear to be insta-connections are evenly fleshed out by the end of the book. Josie has an amazing support system in her life (although it does take her a bit of time to realize it), and even when that support system goes against terrible odds, it is still able to stand strong because everyone is standing together. It is also this support system that helps Josie discover who she really is, and who she does and does not want to be.

Out of the Easy is a glimpse into one life but it is a life that can resonate with so many regardless of the time period that you live in. It is beautifully written, heartbreakingly real, and it opens your eyes to a world that you may not have come in contact with before. If you’re a fan of Ruta Sepetys debut novel, or a fan of historical fiction, or are just looking for something new to check out within the realm of YA novels I highly recommend this one to you.

Disclosure: Received advance copy at BEA

Other reviews of Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys:

Confessions of a Book Addict: “Sepetys is a brilliant author and she has wiggled her way into my heart as one of my favorite authors along with Out of the Easy being one of my favorite books. I highly recommend it…

Fiction Folio: “I cannot recommend Out of the Easy enough people!!

Hobbitsies: “Out of the Easy is such a cinematic, visual story and I highly recommend picking up a finished copy for yourself.

Christina Reads YA: “You won’t regret checking it out. Great characters, great writing, great research for her world-building…

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Allison is 27 years old. She is always looking for new books, good music, quality/epic adventures, and a normal sleep schedule. She currently works with the elderly.


  1. A great “support system”– that’s a good way to put it. I just loved all the side characters so much — and I guess that’s why — so many of them were trying to help Josie. Loved this one too.

  2. Thank you for the awesome review. I enjoyed 50 Shades also & was kind of hesitant to pick this one up. It doesn’t make sense. I think it was the cover. I’m definitely looking foward to going back to 50s NO.

  3. Great review, Allison! I also LOVED this book. It really stayed with me and, like you, I didn’t want to put it down. I felt like I was transported to New Orleans as well. Now I’m dying to visit…I’ve never been! Thanks for also linking up to my review. I appreciate it.

  4. Allison, I haven’t read any of Ruta’s work yet (I know, *gasp*), but I’m so intrigued now. I love how different the atmosphere sounds. Every now and then I just need to change things up a bit and this sounds like it would be perfect when I need to do so. Thanks for putting this on my radar!

  5. I think I loved this one more than Between Shades of Grey-the 1950s New Orleans setting was enthralling, the characters were fantastic and I just adored the whole experience.

  6. “I could not put this story down for anything, and I always hated to whenever I really had to.” —> This is so very telling for me, that you liked it this much. I’ve heard such high praise for this book but sometimes it is hard for me to know when a book is just really hyped up or when it is actually really GOOD. THAT sentence tells me you think it is really good.

    I’m reading over and over about great characterization, and I love that!

    I am about to loose all of my credibility and cool points by admitting that I haven’t read this author’s work yet (I know, I know!) but I’m thinking I should probably remedy that soon. Both of her books are so highly recommended and praised, and I really trust the people giving the praise!

    Great review, Allison!

  7. I have yet to read Between Shades of Grey – I tried but it made me sooooo sad :(- but It sounds like this one is pretty good too. I’m glad you enjoyed it.

  8. Ruta Sepetys is a true genius! I was so pumped to get an ARC of Out of the Easy at BEA (and yes, I was first in line haha) and I know that it will be one of those books that I reread again and again in the future. I’m so glad you enjoyed this one and thanks so much for the link back 🙂

  9. I’m really looking forward to reading this book! I’m already excited about encountering the setting, and I love that you were able to say that the characters were fully fleshed out and real. Can’t wait!