On My Bookshelf: Out of The Easy by Ruta Sepetys

December 04, 2017

In Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys, Josie, the protagonist, is a fierce character. Because her mother thinks only of herself, Josie learns to fend for herself at a very young age. She has a passion for books and education, and is determined to create a better life for herself despite the many obstacles in her way. Read on for more of my review and ideas for classroom application.
The basic plot from Amazon: 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.
In Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys, Josie, the protagonist, is a fierce character. Because her mother thinks only of herself, Josie learns to fend for herself at a very young age. She has a passion for books and education, and is determined to create a better life for herself despite the many obstacles in her way. Read on for more of my review and ideas for classroom application.

Why I liked it: I've been a huge Ruta Sepetys fan and Out of The Easy might just be my favorite of her novels so far. I loved that Between Shades of Gray and Salt to the Sea focused on lesser known parts of World War II history, but not as much as I loved the characters in Out of the Easy. 

Josie, the protagonist, is fierce. Because her mother thinks only of herself, Josie learns to fend for herself at a very young age. She has a passion for books and education, and is determined to create a better life for herself despite the many obstacles in her way. While Josie has a variety of friends who support her, it is still heartbreaking to see her own mother turn against her and take advantage of her over and over.


Classroom application: Because it deals with the issue of prostitution, this would be a novel I would add to a high school classroom library, but not a middle school one. Adultery, homosexuality, and (mild) sexual fetishes are also topics present in the book. 

New Orleans is such a colorful city and makes for a rich backdrop for the story. Parts of the novel could be used as mentor texts to help students develop setting in their own narratives or to help students understand how setting can affect plot.

If you are interested in purchasing a copy of Out of The Easy for yourself, you can find it on Amazon here.

Note: The Literary Maven is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

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