Review: Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys

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Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys

Published February 12, 2013.

Josie knows that she wants to leave New Orleans behind.  She wants to leave her mother, a prostitute who works in a brothel.  Josie wants to leave behind her job of cleaning the rooms of the brothel.  But it’s not so easy to leave The Big Easy, especially when a wealthy man just turned up dead soon after meeting Josie in the bookstore she works in.  Josie is also caught up in lying about the mental condition of the bookstore’s owner so that he won’t be committed.  And there may just be romance flying with not one handsome young man but two.  Yet Josie has one specific dream and that is getting into Smith College.  The question is just how many people she may have to step on to get there and how she will have to compromise herself.  This vivid portrayal of a 1950s New Orleans takes us into the seedy world beneath the shiny beads and lovely architecture.

The setting of this novel is such an integral part of the story that it simply would not have worked anywhere else in the world.  Beautifully captured, readers get to really see the time period reflected as well as the city herself.  Add to that the wonderfully charged atmosphere of the story and you get a book that is impossible not to fall for, just like New Orleans.

Sepetys has created a complex heroine in this novel.  Josie is both ashamed of her background and yet defensive and proud about it as well.  As she gets deeper and deeper into the secrets and troubles of the storyline, her character is tested and Josie does not always react the way one might expect a heroine to.  Instead she is genuine, making wrong choices, correcting and then making others.  Often there is no right answer, just not the worst one. 

Well-written and compelling, this glimpse of New Orleans features a striking heroine and a tumultuous storyline.  Appropriate for ages 15-17.

Reviewed from ARC received from Philomel.

2013 Rainbow List

The 2013 Rainbow list selects books for youth, aged birth through 18 years old, that speak to the GLBTQ rights and lives.  Sponsored by ALA’s GLBT Round Table and Social Responsibilities Round Table, the list includes a top ten (which I have listed first) and has a total of 49 books from 31 publishers.   All of the books were published between July 2011 and December 2012.

This is a marvelous list for librarians to ensure that they are forming an inclusive collection for their communities:

 

TOP TEN

Adaptation (Adaptation, #1) Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe Ask The Passengers 

Adaptation by Malinda Lo

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

Ask the Passengers by A. S. King

Beautiful Music for Ugly Children Chulito: A Novel Drama

Beautiful Music for Ugly Children by Kristin Cronn-Mills

Chulito by Charles Rice-Gonzalez

Drama by Raina Telgemeier

The Letter Q: Queer Writers' Notes to their Younger Selves The Miseducation of Cameron Post The Song of Achilles 10194183

The Letter Q: Queer Writers’ Notes to Their Younger Selves edited by Sarah Moon

The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

Starting from Here by Lisa Jenn Bigelow

 

RAINBOW LIST

37 Things I Love (in no particular order) Avengers: The Children's Crusade Batwoman, Vol. 1: Hydrology

37 Things I Love (in No Particular Order) by Kekla Magoon

Avengers: the Children’s Crusade by Allan Heinberg

Batwoman, vol. 1: Hydrology by J. H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman

Between You & Me Bitterblue (Graceling Realm, #3) Boys of Summer

Between You & Me by Marissa Calin

Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore

Boys of Summer by Steve Berman

11699212 Dirty One Don't Let Me Go 

The Difference Between You and Me by Madeleine George

Dirty One by Michael Graves

Don’t Let Me Go by J. H. Trumble

Gone, Gone, Gone Happy Families If I Told You So

Gone, Gone, Gone by Hannah Moskowitz

Happy Families by Tanita S. Davis

If I Told You So by Timothy Woodward

12814609 Kevin Keller Kiss the Morning Star Lola and the Boy Next Door

It’s Our Prom (So Deal with It) by Julie Ann Peters

Kevin Keller by Dan Parent

Kiss the Morning Star by Elissa Janine Hoole

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Mariposa Gown My Mixed-Up Berry Blue Summer My Two Moms: Lessons of Love, Strength, and What Makes a Family 

Mariposa Gown by Rigoberto Gonzalez

My Mixed-Up Berry Blue Summer by Jennifer Gennari

My Two Moms: Lessons of Love, Strength and What makes a Family by Zach Walls with Bruce Littlefield

October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard OMG Queer: Short Stories by Queer Youth One in Every Crowd

October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard by Leslea Newman

OMG Queer edited by Kathleen Radclyffe

One in Every Crowd by Ivan E. Coyote

Personal Effects Roving Pack See You at Harry's

Personal Effects by E. M. Kokie

Roving Pack by Sassafras Lowrey

See You at Harry’s by Jo Knowles

Silhouette of a Sparrow Sparks: The Epic, Completely True Blue, (Almost) Holy Quest of Debbie Street Dreams

Silhouette of a Sparrow by Molly Beth Griffin

Sparks: the Epic, Completely True Blue, (Almost) Holy Quest of Debbie by S. J. Adams

Street Dreams by Tama Wise

Tessa Masterson Will Go to Prom The Thunder in His Head Tilt

Tessa Masterson Will Go to Prom by Emily Franklin and Brendan Halpin

The Thunder in His Head by Gene Gant

Tilt by Ellen Hopkins

Wandering Son: Volume Two Wandering Son: Book Three Way to Go

Wandering Son, Volume 2 by Shimura Takako

Wandering Son, Volume 3 by Shimura Takako

Way to Go by Tom Ryan

When We Were Outlaws Willie and Uncle Bill The Winter Garden

When We Were Outlaws: A Memoir of Love & Revolution by Jeanne Cordova

Willie and Uncle Bill by Amy Schwartz

The Winter Garden and Other Stories by Hayden Thorne