Review: Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys

out of the easySynopsis from Goodreads
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 to 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.

Every time I read a historical fiction book, I always make myself promise that I HAVE to read more. But then I don’t because I’m quite clearly stupid.

I truly loved this book. I’ve had it on my bookshelf for ages but just never got round to reading it and I have no idea why. Between Shades of Grey is one of my favourite historical YA books but I kept putting this off and I am stupid because this book was glorious and it was stunning.

I’ve always enjoyed reading about New Orleans, stemming for my teenage obsession with voodoo (is that charming yet or is it still a bit bizarre?) and my grown up love for the television show Treme (seriously, that programme is sensational), so I am always actively looking for books and films set in New Orleans. If you’re the same, look no further than Out of the Easy.

Ruta Sepetys is the mistress of writing excellent setting and choosing interesting and different historical background to portray in her books. The setting was so vivid and wonderful it became a character in itself. The seedy streets and the hot muggy weather was a perfect companion to this twisty and intriguing story and I love how Sepetys never overlooks a single detail. Everything is so immaculately plotted and words aren’t just flung anywhere in hope they make sense.

My favourite part of this book, however, was the colourful array of characters in Out of the Easy. They were magnificient. I loved Josie (let’s call her Jo because of… reasons) and she was such a rich character. She was feisty and wild and determined, the latter a trait that often gets ignored when it comes to YA heroines. She knew what she wanted and she damn well was going to get it. I also love how, when the world kicked her down, she brushed herself off and got back on her feet. Because you have to, don’t you?

Willie was also a firm favourite but I’m finding it difficult to talk about her because it’s all a bit too much. Waah.

And also? Jesse was one of the coolest YA cats I’ve read recently. I adored him and his motorbike.

Excellent setting, gorgeous story, brilliant characters, strong female character? What else do you want in a YA novel?

I can’t say anything else. Just read this book. Inhale it. Celebrate it. Demolish it. Don’t make the mistake I made: just read it.

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