Out of the Easy

Out of the Easy

by Ruta Sepetys


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“A haunting peek at the life of a teenage girl in 1950s New Orleans.”—Entertainment Weekly

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 skillfully creates a rich story of secrets, lies, and the haunting reminder that decisions can shape our destiny.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780147508430
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date: 03/04/2014
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 42,760
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.10(d)
Lexile: HL590L (what's this?)
Age Range: 14 - 17 Years

About the Author

Ruta Sepetys (www.rutasepetys.com) is an internationally acclaimed, #1 New York Times bestselling author of historical fiction published in over sixty countries and forty languages. Sepetys is considered a "crossover" novelist, as her books are read by both teens and adults worldwide. Her novels Between Shades of GrayOut of the Easy, and Salt to the Sea have won or been shortlisted for more than forty book prizes, and are included on more than sixty state award lists. Between Shades of Gray was adapted into the film Ashes in the Snow, and her other novels are currently in development for TV and film. Winner of the Carnegie Medal, Ruta is passionate about the power of history and literature to foster global awareness and connectivity. She has presented to NATO, to the European Parliament, in the United States Capitol, and at embassies worldwide. Ruta was born and raised in Michigan and now lives with her family in Nashville, Tennessee. Follow her on Twitter @RutaSepetys and Instagram @RutaSepetysAuthor.

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Excerpted from "Out of the Easy"
by .
Copyright © 2014 Ruta Sepetys.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Young Readers Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

**STARRED REVIEW**  Step right onto the rough streets of the New Orleans French Quarter, circa 1950…and meet 17-year-old Josie Moraine, a feisty young woman whose mother, a prostitute in a Conti Street brothel, offers her nothing but scorn and abuse. From the tender age of 12, Josie has made her own way in the world, working in a local bookstore in exchange for a safe place to sleep and cleaning the brothel to earn money toward her planned escape from the Big Easy. Equal parts book smart and street smart, Josie’s dream is to attend Smith College, and she will go to extremes, even blackmail, in her desperation to be accepted. But just when her plans start to gain some traction, her mother strikes again, putting Josie in the middle of a murder investigation and saddling her with a mob debt. There are some meaningful messages here: that love can come from the unlikeliest of sources—the rough-and-tumble brothel madam is much more supportive of Josie than her mother ever was—and that we are all in control of our own destinies if only we choose to be. With a rich and realistic setting, a compelling and entertaining first-person narration, a colorful cast of memorable characters and an intriguing storyline, this is a surefire winner. Immensely satisfying.—Kirkus Reviews, starred review

Customer Reviews

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Out of the Easy 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 49 reviews.
OtotheD More than 1 year ago
Seventeen-year-old Josie can’t wait to get out of New Orleans, aka The Big Easy. It’s not easy growing up the daughter of a prostitute — especially when everyone in town knows who you are. Maybe it wouldn’t be THAT bad if her mother even pretended to care about her instead of the money she makes and her dreams of becoming a big star. Josie’s only solace comes from the bookstore she works and sleeps in and the few friends that she has. The money she makes at the bookstore is her ticket far away from here. But when someone is murdered in the French Corner, Josie finds her dreams of escape threatened. Turns out her mother was involved with a crime boss and he’s come for them, looking for repayment on an old debt. Loyalties are questioned, and personal limits tested as Josie does everything she can to get out of the easy. I love New Orleans, and Ms. Sepetys does a wonderful job of conveying it. Even though the story is set in the 1950′s, it still had the flair that I love and that little hint of danger that threatens to spring out at you from every corner. All of the characters are very rich. I really liked Josie’s strength and determination. She never had much of a life — always at the mercy of an uncaring mother. Heck, she was mixing drinks at the age of seven — umm, yeah! I really wanted her to finally get away and find happiness. The supporting characters (and there are quite a few) are all just as well-rounded. I loved Cokie, the cab driver with a heart of gold, and Patrick, one of Josie’s friends from the bookstore. I also liked Jesse, Josie’s potential love interest, though I did want a little more from him. On the flip side of that, we have Josie’s mother who is a hot mess, and Evangeline, one of the other “girls” at the brothel who was a total hag. I think the most intriguing secondary character had to have been Willie, the madame of the brothel. Willie is sugar and spice all rolled into one. She’s the only real mother figure Josie has and she actually takes care of Josie as best she can, even if she does say in the beginning of the book that she doesn’t care for kids. Ms. Sepetys has a way with words, and this book flowed very well. The imagery is great, and the pace fits the tone of the book. This book is very character driven and not exactly fast-paced, but it’s not meant to be. It’s not a thriller or a mystery (though there is a bit of a mystery involved and several “bad guys”), it’s a historical novel about a young girl trying to find her way. There’s a lot of depth and emotion between the pages which totally pulled me in. I haven’t read Between Shades of Grey, though I’d heard wonderful things about it. People raved about the author’s writing, and I have to say, they were right. This book made me a fan of hers. This one is heartbreaking, hopeful and fully captivating. I highly recommend it. Even if you’re not into historical fiction, I would say you should give it a try. It reads more like a contemporary book. The characters are rich, the story captivating and the writing top-notch.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really loved Ruta Sepetys' first book, so when I saw she wrote a second one, I decided to check it out. Out of the Easy, in my opinion, was even better than Between Shades of Gray, and not as heavy. I loved the main character, Josie. She is a very strong girl and a dynamic character; I have never read about anyone like her. Like Between Shades of Gray, this book is not for younger audiences. There's a lot of prostitution going on, and a couple explicit scenes, but this book is great for teens. Overall, I really enjoyed Out of the Easy, and I look forward to Ruta Sepetys' next book! 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book so much! It was was exiting and it never got boring. The characters where so well written. It is my new number one favorite book! Please read it it's so good for all ages 13 and up! MUST READ!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it. Could hardly put it down.
Sue_G More than 1 year ago
Ruta Sepetys is a gifted author!  Out of the Easy is a wonderful novel about a young woman who has to fight her way out of where she is and into where she wants to be.  Loved it!
majibookshelf More than 1 year ago
Out of the Easy was such a pleasant surprise. I did not expect to enjoy it as much as I did. Even now, I am still thinking about this book and how amazing it is. Out of the Easy is about the life of Josie, the daughter of a brothel prostitute in New Orleans in the 1950s. However all Josie wants is to get out of New Orleans, go to college, and leave behind the life that she never wanted that includes an uncaring and rather heartless mother and the work prospects that seem to be pressuring her into submitting to.  Josie is a very strong willed and confident female protagonist. Not many girls can move away from their own home at the age of 11 and get their own apartment on top of a book shop and hold a steady job there up to now, at the age of 17. This takes a ton of presistance and determination. Josie also never dwelled on how horrible her life is, but thought of ways to get away from it and improve it. Also, having a mother like the one Josie has? my god, I would have disowned myself ages ago. Her mother is not only caring but is obsessing with a dangerous man that has hit her more than once, and actually steals.. from her own daughter. However Josie does have a mother figure in her life and, surprisingly, it is the madame of the brothel, Willie Woodley. From the outside she may seem to be tough as steel, but when it comes to Josie? you know she would do anything for her. The relationship between those two, even if unconventional, was so heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time.  Other secondary characters include Patrick, Jesse, and Cokie. The first is her close friend, the second is the love interest, and the third is sort of like her guardian; he is a driver who works for Willie and is always looking out for Josie. I have to say that romance isn't a prevailing theme in this novel, but I am a fan of romance in my novels and I still ended up loving Out of the Easy, so I would honestly recommend it to all young adult readers. I believe that Out of the Easy is a literary gem. It is one of those books with so many underlaying themes and "morales of the story" that I think everyone should at least try to pick this book up. I know for a fact that if you did, you would be swept up and to the world of Josie and the dreams that she, and you, want to come true. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really great and fast read! Fresh characters, fresh story line!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ruta Sepeteys has done it again...her first book, Between Shades of Gray, was amazing and now Out of the Easy is even better. The characters are believable and written well. I love historical fiction and can't wait for her to write another one...enjoy!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book! I read it in a day, it pulls you in and and surprises you. Really quick easy read, great story line and characters. I wanted to read more! I definitley recommend this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you're interested in strong female narrators, this is a book for you! Jo, constantly torn between what she wants and what's easy, represents a struggle that resonates with all generations. Set in 1950 New Orleans, Sepetys has created a vivid and sometimes gritty background that only illuminates Jo's realities and her desires. Alongside a cast of tough, caring, and sometimes ridiculous characters, this is a book that will stay with you long after you've read the last page.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Outstanding character development, inspiring, and sucked me into the plot.
KateUnger More than 1 year ago
This book was pretty atypical for YA. It's historical fiction. Josie is the daughter of a prostitute living in New Orleans in 1950. She's tried to distance herself from her mother and lives in an apartment above the bookshop where she works. But she also cleans the brothel where her mother works. She has a rather unusual collection of friends - the brothel madam, her colored driver, the bookstore owners son, a motorcycle riding boy, and a collegiate woman down from Massachusetts visiting her aunt and uncle. Josie wants nothing more than to get out of New Orleans and go to Smith College with her new friend Charlotte. She's a strong woman and she's going to make her dream come true even though everything seems to be conspiring against her. It took me about half of the book to really get into this story. I liked Jo right away, but things were a bit slow moving for me. Once things got really crazy though with the murder investigation, I was pretty hooked and routing for Jo to out of there! I enjoyed the characters in this book a lot, and I would definitely read more about them (i.e. a sequel if there ever was one), but I don't think I'd read this book again. http://www.momsradius.com/2016/07/book-review-out-of-easy-ya.html
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really good with descriptiveness and character development, but I wish there was more resolution with the murder investigation.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Name: Please look up idiots. Age: 21 moons. Appearance: reddish-brown she cat with brown paws. Hazel eyes. Mate: None. Anything else ask.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ruta Sepetys is one of a very small number of authors responsible for renewing my interest in historical fiction--thanks in large part to her knack for bringing places to life. Place, to me, is such an important part of history, and it takes a special kind of skill to make a place, or time, that no longer exists seem relevant. In Out of the Easy, 1950s New Orleans is just as prominent a character as Josie, Willie Woodley, or Patrick, and just as captivating. Sepetys's portrayal of the Big Easy and its diverse residents drew me in, and the mystery that entangles them all kept me reading as fast as I could. I highly, highly recommend this one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was really great! Josie is awesome and the book has lots of twists and turns
MissPrint More than 1 year ago
"My mother's a prostitute. Not the filthy, streetwalking kind. She's actually quite pretty, fairly well spoken, and has lovely clothes. But she sleeps with men for money or gifts, and according to the dictionary, that makes her a prostitute." Josie Moraine's mother has been working as a prostitute for the past ten years, since she and Josie moved to New Orleans in 1940. It's 1950 now. Josie is seventeen. And she wants nothing more than to get out of New Orleans once and for all. While her mother is content to tie herself to whichever man comes along, Josie works cleaning the brothel where her mother works and at a bookstore as she works to save enough money for college and her ticket out of the Big Easy. Josie's careful escape plan is put into jeopardy when she becomes tangled in the investigation of a mysterious death in the Quarter. Torn between her allegiance to Willie Woodley, the madame who has been more of a mother to Josie than her own, and her fierce desire to leave New Orleans behind, Josie will have to decide how much she is willing to sacrifice in her search for the truth in Out of the Easy (2013) by Ruta Sepetys. Out of the Easy is Sepetys' second novel and her follow-up to Between Shades of Gray. Josie is a determined heroine but she also has a very reductive view of the world--particularly given her background. While Josie, her family, and many of her friends operate in what can only be called grey areas of the law--Josie's views remain very black and white. She is friends with Willie and some of the girls who work at the brothel. But she also views them at a remove. As the opening of the novel (quoted above) might suggest, there is also always a slight hint of distaste. While this story is an evocative historical novel, the lush setting often serves to emphasize a lackluster plot. A lot of things happen to Josie in the story but despite being self-sufficient in a financial sense, Josie is very short on actual agency. Throughout the novel Josie's fate falls into the hands of others. Eventually she does break free and choose her own path, but it comes very late in the story only after her inaction has dramatic consequences. Yet everything still manages to resolve very neatly and decidedly in Josie's favor. Sepetys once again delivers a well-researched historical novel in Out of the Easy. This novel brings the world of 1950 New Orleans to vivid life with a setting that is as vibrant and evocative as any of the characters found within these pages. Out of the Easy is an engrossing historical novel ideal for readers who want to get lost in a book's vividly described settings. Possible Pairings: Strings Attached by Judy Blundell, Ten Cents a Dance by Christine Fletcher, The Fire Horse Girl by Kay Honeyman, Belle Epoque by Elizabeth Ross, Bowery Girl by Kim Taylor, In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I would highly reccomend this book. With likeable characters and little bit of mystery I couldn't put it down. Like Sepetey's other book this was a time in history that I knew very little about and I was happy to learn more.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is a really good book. When I was a reading it made me not put the book down. It is really good. It is about Josie trying to get of New Orleans. I want to say more but I don't want to spoil the ending. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
LetsBookIt More than 1 year ago
A truly lovely book. I was left feeling uplifted and entertained. The characters were fabulous and I loved them all - even the ones I loved to hate. There is just enough detail and hints at 'taboo' subjects to start young minds thinking without doing damage. Respect for others is a recurring theme and well presented. All in all a book I wish had been around when my kids were younger.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wonderful read; i adore mrs ruta sepetys! Recommend for ages 14 and up due to content.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I first read Between Shades of Gray and absolutely loved it. I could not put it down and it took me no time at all to finish it. I needed to read something dimilar as I really liked the author's style and the plot, so I was thrilled to find Out of the Easy. Both of her books are now two of my all time favorites. I love this one as much as, if not more than, the first one. I would recommend this book to anyone (at least age 13). I will definitely search for more books by this author. Definitely buy it if it sounds at all interesting to you- you will not regret it and it is definitely worth the money.