Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys: Book Review

Title: Out of the Easy
Author: Ruta Sepetys
Publication details: February 12th 2013 by Philomel Books
Genre: Historical fiction

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.

A beautiful read about family, friendship, and identity.

Buying this book was not planned. I read Ruta Sepety's Between Shades of Grey and really liked it. So upon seeing this book at a sale (50% off the original price!), I immediately grabbed it.

I had no idea what the book is about when I read it. I was actually expecting a war historical fiction just like Between Shades of Grey, but I got a different kind of historical fiction- a good one too.

The story is set in the 1950's New Orleans. It follows Josie as she tries to break free from her old life, and all that it entails for her future. Life is difficult as it is but Josie will soon find herself in a much more challenging situation that will surely test her character.

In the beginning of the book, there's the usual introduction of the main character and her dreams. Then follows the meeting of various characters who will play big roles in Josie's character development.

Since I went in blind, I was expecting action but as I read through it became clearer that Out of the Easy is a character-driven book. I liked how Josie, despite her struggles, continues to fight for her dreams, and for the change she wants in her life. Even her loyalty to her guardian, a brothel's madam, was tested. I liked how it reminded me that sometimes people are not who they seem to be, and at the end of the day, the ones who truly love us, will always be there for us no matter what.

Another central theme of the book is that we are the choices we make. Josie has a lot of decision-making throughout the book. With that, I liked how I was able to relate to her. Her decisions aren't always good, but it's normal. Emotions get us, personal biases get us. We are humans and we make wrong decisions. Yes, we are the choices we make. Good ones and bad ones, we grow because of them.

Another thing I was reminded of is the goodness in people. That no matter how some can be heartless, there are still people with goodness in their hearts. People with good intentions.

There's a little romance element, but thankfully it does not overpower other themes. Small as it is, it also helps in the main character's development of overcoming her insecurities and seeing herself as a person worth pursuing.

There are a lot more themes going on in this book- trust, friendship, hope. There's also a little mystery going on. And though they may seem a mishmash of things, the author was able to weave them together creating an inspiring and thought-provoking read.

Overall, I really liked Out of the Easy. The author, Ruta Sepetys, has made it into my auto-buy author list.

I love the deckle edges!

If you're up for a historical fiction that is self-empowering, and that is strong in relationships, I suggest you read Out of the Easy.

Ruta Sepetys was born and raised in Michigan in a family of artists, readers, and music lovers. As an author of historical fiction, Ruta is drawn to stories of strength through struggle. Her award-winning debut novel, "Between Shades of Gray" was inspired by her family's history in Lithuania and is published in 45 countries. Her second novel, "Out of the Easy" is set in the French Quarter of New Orleans in 1950, and her third novel "Salt to the Sea" exposes one of the greatest hidden disasters of World War II. Ruta lives in a treehouse in the hills of Tennessee.


  1. Great review! I really liked Between Shades of Gray, and I have Salt to the Sea sitting on my TBR shelf. I need to find a copy of this one.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

    1. Yes you do need to find a copy of Out of the Easy. And I need to find a copy of Salt to the Sea! :)

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Happy reading!


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