Saturday, October 18, 2014

A View from Page Thirty: Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys

The Great Reading Slump of 2014 continues on into October for me, so I’d say that means I should take another stab at The Slumplist. This View from Page Thirty* features a selection recommended by two commenters: Rockyriverteenlibrarian and Incredibraian (I am sensing a theme here). Incredibrarian’s recommendation said, “I haven't had a truly GOOD read since Out of the Easy.” With words like that I say no? Also, Jen reviewed this back in July of 2013 if you want to check out a full review.

The Book: Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys
Release Date: February 2013
Philomel Books
Genres: Historical Fiction, YA
Series: Surprisingly, it’s a standalone!!

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.

The View From Page Thirty:
First thought after reading the summary? Hell yeah! New Orleans! A setting I can vividly picture since I was there recently and the French Quarter has such an old world feel that I doubt much has changed since the 1950s aesthetic wise.

And I just got the title. It’s late, whatever. I mean, they even call it The Big Easy in the summary. Wow. Anyway, this book starts off with a powerful first paragraph. 
“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.”
Nice. I like this. I like knowing where she is coming from. The whole first chapter is a flashback to arriving in New Orleans in 1940 and how her mom got her prostitute job.  Josie isn’t a conventional kid in this chapter which make me believe that the bulk of this story we won’t be dealing with a conventional 17 year old.

The rest of the first five chapters are setting up the main plot and setting up Josie as an adult. She’s not had the easiest childhood and is trying to figure out how she wants to forge her future. One thing she does know is she wants out of the Easy (ha. See that? Now that I got the reference, I had to use it again. I wonder if this is a metaphor for her growing up and “out of the easiness” of childhood as well as the literal out of New Orleans thing. Probably. I like this title a lot if you haven’t noticed).

What I am Loving:
I am really liking the turns of phrases that just keep popping up. It is really easy to get lost in the words of this story. I am liking Josie so far. It’s easy to get attached to her. I don’t know much really about the other characters yet to make any sort of assessment on them.

What I am Unsure Of:
Damn it. I think this is a love triangle. We’ve already met the boy who has all the girls following him around but could never like me. Then there is the shop owner’s son who is that bff who probably has a secret crush on her but is like her brother or whatever. Sigh. I hope I am wrong about this one. I don’t think I am. I am so over this.

I hope that this book focuses more on her growth into adulthood and the amazing New Orleans 50s vibe that I am getting.

Final Verdict:
I am definitely continuing on with this one. The prose has some beautiful turns of phrases already and it’s easy to get lost in the story. Josie, our lead, is someone that is easy to get attached to and someone who you want to see succeed. I am holding judgment on our two male love interests, but other secondary characters have already leaped out of the pages of history and into my mind. The setting is so vivid and rich in my mind is it easy to picture every location. I haven’t read much set in New Orleans, and nothing set in a historic New Orleans, so I am looking forward to this quite a bit. Let’s hope that it lives up to what I am hoping is going to be an enjoyable ride back in time into the 50s French Quarter.

EDIT: This isn’t really an edit, since I haven’t posted this yet. But I wrote this entry after chapter 5, but I didn’t stop reading. Now I am on page 147. Remember when I was gushing over that beautiful turn of phrase? I just came across this gem and it made me laugh “God I need that coffee. I feel like a bag of smashed assholes” Ha!

EDIT 2: Again not really an edit since I haven't yet posted it. But I read this book through the night and finished at four in the morning. It was one of those stories that you just get sucked into and doesn't let you go. Sine I didn't have anything to do this morning, I figured, why not stay up and read? Anyway my fears were not realized. It was a love triangle but it wasn't a normal love triangle. I really liked how it was played. Also the story doesnt focus on her love triangle. The focus is on Josie and on Josie growing up. This was a great read and it really transported me into New Orleans. I would highly recommend this to anyone who likes historical fiction and wants to read something set in a time period you dont normally read much about. Great book! I'd give it 4.5 stars! Thanks for the recommendation guys!

*For those not familiar with a View from Page Thirty, basically it is me giving my thirty page first impression of a book. I have a personal rule that every book I start gets at least thirty pages. If I am not feeling it by then, time to move on. So I figured it would make a fun feature. 


  1. Wow sounds really good! I love the edits. You started off all, "Oh, it could be really good" and then it seemed like your excitement grew exponentially. :p I'm in a slump right now and I'm just waiting for a book to help get me out of it.Maybe I'll consider Out of the Easy!

    -P.E. @ The Sirenic Codex

    1. It was surprisingly engaging and easy to read. I like that I found a YA book that focuses more on the heroine and less on the love triangle piece. It's more like historical fiction with a teen protagonist. I say give it a shot!

  2. I absolutely loved this book!! Your review was really interesting.

  3. This is one of my favorite books. Couldn't stop reading it. I love how rich and captivating the flow of the story is.

    Haha. Love your review. The last portion made me laugh. Especially the "Edit" part.

  4. This sounds great! I will go ahead and look for a copy of this. Great recommendation! :)


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