Review Detail

Out of the Easy FeaturedHot
Young Adult Fiction 3463
Brilliant setting, lacking in characterization
Overall rating 
 
3.0
Plot 
 
3.0
Characters 
 
3.0
Writing Style 
 
3.0
When you read a book by an author whose writing you’ve already experienced before, you automatically have expectations. As a reader who found Ruta Sepetys’s debut novel to be a mostly mediocre attempt, I think my expectations for Out of the Easy were kept realistically low. I already knew that I found her prose to be enjoyable but not spectacular, that her characters tended to be (in my opinion) rather flat. I was pretty sure that if I wound up loving this book, it would be because of vivid setting and engaging plot. All in all, I think that particular set of expectations was well-founded and served me well while reading the book.

Out of the Easy is about Josie Moraine, the daughter of a prostitute who’s desperate to get out of New Orleans and make something of herself. After running into a rich girl from Massachusetts, she sets her sights on Smith College, and goes to great lengths to get accepted. She’s also dealing with the mental deterioration of her elderly employer. And Josie has to deal with her prostitute mother’s issues with the law, which could jeopardize everything. Obviously, there’s a lot going on in this book, and I think the story could have done well, had Sepetys done a better job of integrating the various conflicts and subplots. I didn’t feel that she did, however, so I found the text to be clunky. Because of the way the story was told, Sepetys only focused on one problem at a time. For a few chapters, Josie would deal with her college application, and then for a little while she would try to figure out what was going on in her mother’s life. I didn’t find the way Out of the Easy focused on one thing at a time to be realistic or particularly engaging; the novel would have worked much better if all of the problems, which were going on at once, had been dealt with together in the narrative, instead of separately.

I also felt that this book read something like a fairytale. Even though Sepetys talks about the mob and sex workers, the recurring theme of Cinderella kept me from feeling that this was realistic. Likewise, I found that all of the characters were fairly flat, especially Josie. I found Josie to be rather naïve, considering she grew up in a brothel in a seedy part of town. She was very much portrayed as the “pure” child born in bad circumstances, who was so much better than all of her friends. Ana’s review at The Book Smugglers does a very good job analyzing and discussing that issue. Needless to say, I was not impressed with Josie.

Sloppy plot and stale characters aside, I was still enchanted by Sepetys’s portrayal of little-seen places and times in historical fiction. In the first few chapters, Out of the Easy does a great job setting the stage for the story, and I felt like New Orleans in 1950 was a very real, palpable place throughout the remainder of the text. Of course, the entire book did feel a tad bit sugarcoated, but I was satisfied with what I got.

I think Ruta Sepetys is a good author. Both Between Shades of Gray and Out of the Easy are well-written, captivating stories. But they aren’t without their faults, as much as I’d like to say otherwise. Out of the Easy in particular was problematic, but not to the detriment of my overall enjoyment. I think that readers of historical fiction—or readers looking for something outside the YA norm—would enjoy this book.
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

Kamala and Maya's Big Idea
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Meena Harris debuts with an empowering picture book about two...
Harvey Holds His Own (The Harvey Stories, #2)
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
The West Highland Terrier that brought Harvey Comes Home to...
Everything I Thought I Knew
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
A teenage girl wonders if she’s inherited more than just...
The Morning Flower (The Omte Origins, #2)
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
New York Times bestselling author Amanda Hocking returns to...
The Hunt
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
Death marked her from her very first breath. Being...
Swallowed by a Secret
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
One dead father. One lying mother. ...
Circus of the Dead Book One
 
5.0 (2)
 
0.0 (0)
There are many ways to die at the Circus...
Roaring
 
3.0
 
0.0 (0)
Colt Clemmons is an agent in a specialized division...
Court of Lions
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Court of Lions is the long-awaited second and final...
More Than Just a Pretty Face
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
For fans of Becky Albertalli and Jenny Han, a...
The Adventurers Guild: Night of Dangers
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
After the events at Llethanyl, city of the elves, Zed...
And Then I Turned into a Mermaid (And Then I Turned into a Mermaid, #1)
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
For fans of Emily Windsnap and Maybe A Mermaid, And...
After the Worst Thing Happens
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Left reeling after her thoughtless mistake causes a terrible accident,...
Hirana's War: Book Two in the Eloia Born Series
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Praise for Eloia Born “Loved it! A well-written narrative...
Hans Christian Andersen: The Journey of His Life
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
"If you like, I’ll tell you the story of a...
Sheep Dog and Sheep Sheep: Baaad Hair Day
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
If you've ever wanted a perfect reason to say: You've...

Latest Member Reviews

The Night Country (The Hazel Wood #2)
 
4.0
"Alice Proserpine thought she was mostly back to “normal” life after breaking from her story in the Hinterland, but when..."
Everything I Thought I Knew
 
4.3
"What worked: Intriguing plot of Chloe, a seventeen-year-old super achiever, who ends up collapsing during her senior year in high..."
The Adventurers Guild: Night of Dangers
 
5.0
"THE ADVENTURERS GUILD: NIGHT OF DANGERS by Zack Loran Clark and Nick Eliopulos is the culmination of a Middle Grade..."
The Pros of Cons
 
4.0
"WHAT I LOVED: I genuinely can't imagine four different events happening simultaneously in the same complex, but it happens..."
BRB I'm Going to Disneyland
 
4.0
"'BRB: I'm Going to Disneyland' by Courtney Carbone is a cute, quick read. As a novel written in texts, emails,..."
He Must Like You
 
5.0
"'He Must Like You' by Danielle Younge-Ullman is an intensely provocative look at the various ways in which consent, upset,..."
How the Stars Came to Be
 
5.0
"Reviewed for YA Books Central Beautiful in every aspect. The book: This is a story about how the..."
Unscripted
 
5.0
"A book so real it can be u comfortable at times. The story: Zelda doesn’t have a..."
The Dark Tide
 
5.0
"THE DARK TIDE is an enthralling and atmospheric YA fantasy read. We follow Lina, a townsperson, and Eva, the witch..."
Where Dreams Descend
 
4.0
"What worked: Beautifully written tale where a girl performer breaks away from her cage and enters a competition of magicians..."
The Black Kids
 
5.0
"THE BLACK KIDS is a really poignant read that ties history to the present. Ashley is a senior in high..."
What Goes Up
 
3.3
"'What Goes Up' by Christine Heppermann is a quick read, as it is a novel-in-verse, a format that can be..."
They Wish They Were Us
 
4.3
"THEY WISH THEY WERE US is an engaging YA thriller reminiscent of GOSSIP GIRLS. The book follows Jill, who had..."
Roaring
 
3.0
"ROARING takes place in the 1920s- with a twist. Monsters, sirens, minotaurs, basilisks, and more, exist, and they are woven..."
More Than Just a Pretty Face
 
5.0
"MORE THAN JUST A PRETTY FACE is a fantastic YA contemporary romance that follows Danyal during his senior year of..."
You Say It First
 
3.3
"'You Say It First' is easily one of those books you will either love or hate. My feelings fell somewhere..."
Court of Lions (Mirage, #2)
 
5.0
"COURT OF LIONS finishes the MIRAGE duology with aplomb. This YA fantasy series takes us to another planet and the..."
The Unleashed: The Haunted, Book 2
 
4.0
"Creepy, suspenseful paranormal where some friends learn that a summoning might bring back something unexpected and evil. ..."
The Year of the Witching
 
5.0
"Immanuelle lives in the town of Bethel where the Prophet's word is law and the highest honor for a woman..."
By the Book
 
5.0
"'By the Book' is a charming ode to both romance and literature. Mary Porter-Malcolm sees life as points..."