Review Detail

Out of the Easy Featured
Young Adult Fiction 2998
Sepetys Delivers Once Again
Overall rating 
 
4.7
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
What I Loved:
Yet again, Sepetys writes about a section of history oft-ignored in YA fiction, and, really, fiction in general. Set in New Orleans in 1950, Sepetys focuses on the city's seedy underbelly and the colorful characters that inhabit it. So much of our idea of the 1950s comes from television shows, but Out of the Easy is nothing like those. Her depictions of historical periods, accurate and so well-drawn you feel like you're there, are my very favorite part of her fiction.

Now, I know historical fiction scares some readers, but, if you were considering branching out, Sepetys' would be a really great choice. The time period isn't too far removed from our own for one thing. Perhaps more importantly, Sepetys sets the scene so well that it feels like a contemporary. You're seeing through Josie's eyes and this is your world.

So much of YA fiction focuses on well-off characters, and I love that more books are starting to come out that deal with characters in straitened circumstances. Jo's mother works as a prostitute, and, from a young age, Jo has essentially taken care of herself, earning money working in a bookstore and cleaning the whorehouse. Jo has so much strength, and works so hard everyday all for the hope of something better in her future, even though she cannot really grasp what that might be.

The central theme of the novel deals with the mother-daughter relationship, between both her actual mother, Louise, and the woman who's perhaps had more influence on her coming of age, Willie, the madam of the house. Louise gives Jo just enough affection to keep her useful, but does not actually care for her at all. Jo has so much promise, obviously worlds more intelligent than Louise, but Jo wants so much to please her mother. This often works to Jo's detriment, her mother taking advantage again and again.

Willie, on the other hand, appears at first to be a villainous figure. Certainly, she has a temper and lashes out a lot, but her bark is worse than her bite. She loves Jo, in her own messed up way, and really has her back when the chips are down. Their relationship speaks to the way families you build can be so much stronger than those you're born into. Sepetys also depicts all of the prostitutes in such a fair light, not endorsing the lifestyle but not condemning them for it either.

Unlike most YA, Sepetys spends little time on romance, focusing more on world building and characterization. What romance there is I found quite satisfying, but I'm glad Sepetys keeps it to a minimum. The ending, with the bit of romance, adds a hopeful feel to an otherwise quite bleak novel, and, while I normally kvetch about such things seeming too optimistic, I think it really fits here.

What Left Me Wanting More:
Sepetys' use of the word spicy was a bit odd. I know how ridiculous that sounds. Josie describes Jesse's hair as spicy, and much later uses the same descriptor about Willie in a childhood photograph. While I get what she meant in the latter instance, I really don't in the former. This threw me out of the narration in both instances, because it didn't really fit the flow of Jo's narrative. However, that's just two words, which could be changed before publication, since I read an ARC.

The Final Verdict:
Sepetys' sophomore novel shines just as much as her debut. I expect that Out of the Easy will be one of those books I will love more on a reread than I already do. It's a safe bet to say that I will read anything Sepetys writes.
Report this review Was this review helpful to you? 0 0

Comments

Already have an account? or Create an account
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

Prophecy Untold (Shadow Realms book 3)
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Finding out my mother was taken by the demons was...
Sick Kids in Love
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Isabel has one rule: no dating. It’s easier―...
Pawns (The Wielders of Arantha)
 
5.0 (2)
 
0.0 (0)
Seven hundred years in the future, a powerful alien...
Perfectly Oblivious
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
Cameron Bates (Cam) could have almost any girl at...
By Any Means Necessary
 
3.7
 
0.0 (0)
Heart-wrenchingly honest, fans of Brandy Colbert and Nicola Yoon...
Fireborne (The Aurelian Cycle, #1)
 
3.3
 
4.3 (1)
Annie and Lee were just children when a brutal...
Into the Crooked Place (Into the Crooked Place, #1)
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Into the Crooked Place begins a gritty two-book YA...
The Rift
 
3.3
 
0.0 (0)
As corporate greed is pitted against supernatural forces, two...
The Light at the Bottom of the World (The Light at the Bottom of the World, #1)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
In the last days of the twenty-first century, sea creatures...
Conceal, Don't Feel (Twisted Tales, #7)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
What if Anna and Elsa never knew each other? ...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Bestselling Divergent and Carve the Mark author Veronica Roth delivers...
Bernard Pepperlin
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
The drowsy Dormouse from Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland...
Vicarious
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Paula Stokes weaves together a series of mysteries and the...
The Bookworm Crush
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
This spinoff of The Replacement Crush featuring Amy and Toff...
The Unexpected Everything
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Andie must learn to embrace the beauty in chaos in...
What I Like About You
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Can a love triangle have only two people in it?...

Latest Member Reviews

Fireborne (The Aurelian Cycle, #1)
 
4.3
"I’m going to start out this post by letting it be known by all and sundry that I was provided..."
Sick Kids in Love
 
5.0
"SICK KIDS IN LOVE is a beautiful story about love- as well as invisible illness/disability AND NOBODY DIES! (I do..."
The Light at the Bottom of the World (The Light at the Bottom of the World, #1)
 
5.0
"THE LIGHT AT THE BOTTOM OF THE WORLD is a compelling and atmospheric YA fantasy/science fiction. In the future, the..."
Conceal, Don't Feel (Twisted Tales, #7)
 
5.0
"If you adored FROZEN, you need to get your hands on this Twisted Tale which reimagines the story if Anna..."
 
4.0
"THE END AND OTHER BEGINNINGS is the latest from DIVERGENT author, Veronica Roth. The novel is comprised of six YA..."
The Bookworm Crush
 
5.0
"THE BOOKWORM CRUSH is an absolutely charming romantic comedy with all sorts of booklover homages. Amy McIntyre is @redheadrecs and..."
Scared Little Rabbits
 
3.0
"SCARED LITTLE RABBITS follows Nora (aka Eleanor, Lowercase) as she sets out on a summer camp adventure that resulted in..."
A Constellation of Roses
 
5.0
"A CONSTELLATION OF ROSES is a beautiful story of familial love and healing. Trix has been trying to make her..."
Frankly in Love
 
5.0
"FRANKLY IN LOVE is a surprisingly deep and heartfelt read. Although it is described as a rom-com, this is not..."
American Royals
 
4.7
"What if at the end of America’s Revolutionary War, George Washington was offered a crown and what if he said..."
Take the Mic: Fictional Stories of Everyday Resistance
 
4.0
"This is the type of book I’d like to see included in school curriculums. The stories are like wide open..."
When the Stars Lead to You
 
4.7
"WHEN THE STARS LED TO YOU is quite the emotional YA contemporary. While on the surface it seems like a..."
We Are the Perfect Girl
 
3.3
"'We Are the Perfect Girl' by Ariel Kaplan is a Cyrano De Bergerac style story. There are a host of..."
Stranger Things: Runaway Max
 
4.7
"'Stranger Things: Runaway Max' by Brenna Yovanoff provides an intriguing look into Max's life before and during her time in..."
Crown of Oblivion
 
5.0
"Engrossing and completely thrilling, CROWN OF OBLIVION is a fantastic new YA fantasy that I highly recommend. Dealing with themes..."
 
4.7
"Four very different high school girls plan to spend one month together in GIRLS OF JULY, and they each have..."
 
3.0
"BETWEEN WORLDS: FOLKTALES OF BRITAIN AND IRELAND is a collection of short stories that have been passed down over centuries..."
Forgiven Are the Starry-Eyed
 
5.0
"The story: Sheltered high school junior Andrea Cavanaugh believes she hits the jackpot when Josh McMillan, a..."
All the Things We Do in the Dark
 
4.3
"ALL THE THINGS WE DO IN THE DARK is an intensely challenging and thought-provoking read with some magical realism elements...."
Rules for Vanishing
 
5.0
"RULES FOR VANISHING is a deliciously haunting YA horror perfect for Halloween. Told through collected documents, interviews, and texts, this..."