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Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys

The year is 1950, and Josie Moraine is tired of living in New Orleans. She’s tired of the way people look at her because of what her mother does for a living, and she wants more than what the Big Easy has to offer her. She has dreams of attending college in New England, but every day those dreams seem more unreachable, especially when there’s a mysterious death in the French Quarter. Josie isn’t so sure why she’s so curious, but she wants to—no, has to—know more about this dead man. But what she learns will only further unbalance her already unsteady world, challenging her allegiance to her mother and the only other people Josie can reasonably call family.

Out of the Easy is a novel that completely blew me away. I’m not sure I can even begin to express how, but I’ll definitely try. Sepetys has created such a layered, complex story in Out of the Easy, with so many complicated relationships and frightening new plot developments; in almost any other book, the sheer amount of important details and goings on would feel overwhelming, but Sepetys pulls all of this together remarkably well to the extent that all of these details and events feel completely natural. More than anything, I was impressed by how Sepetys managed to make a story that is so steeped in historical detail feel so contemporary and relevant to the modern day; Josie’s struggles, fears, and wants, though particular to her situation and the setting of her story, felt truly akin to the same emotions of any girl nowadays. It’s hard not to get swept up into the passion, intense emotions, beautiful detail, and truly gorgeous writing of this novel—Out of the Easy is so superb that it feels real.

Out of the Easy is sure to be enjoyed by fans of A Northern Light by Jennifer Connolly, Ten Cents a Dance by Christine Fletcher, and What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell, but I recommend this book to any and all readers interested in a spectacular story.

Rating: 5.0

Review copy from publisher Penguin

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