Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys

out of the easy

How much does your upbringing affect your ability to follow your dreams?

For a young woman like Josie Moraine, her dreams have been limited by circumstances out of her control. Growing up deep within the French Quarter during the 1950s, Josie Moraine seeks more than what her setting offers. She dreams of education, friendship, social status, and money, but is restricted by her life’s harsh realities. Josie cannot escape her upbringing; in New Orleans, she will always be the daughter of a prostitute.

Rita Sepetys’ Out of the Easy is a gripping read that follows Josie’s struggle to her achieve her dreams and rise above her expected life path. Despite its complicated nature, Josie is determined to overcome her mother’s reputation and influence, and ultimately make a name for herself. Through her passion for reading, Josie is exposed to stories that highlight the possibilities of life beyond the French Quarter. She also is highly aware of the danger that exists within the Quarter, particularly within the brothel she was raised in.

One of Josie’s greatest aspirations is to attend college. After a chance encounter with a wealthy college student named Charlotte, Josie feels deeply inspired to achieve higher education and break out of her sleazy reality. Through Charlotte’s influence, Josie becomes obsessed with the idea of attending Smith College alongside her new, elitist friend. However, Josie needs resources she does not have in order to make it happen. Now more than ever, Josie is faced with morally challenging decisions that could significantly change her life for the better or the worse.

Out of the Easy grapples with relevant themes surrounding sacrifice, morality, family ties, and aspirations, which makes the book likable to many. Despite Josie’s unique upbringing, she continues to face relatable teenage social problems. Josie’s character experiences love interests, bullying, and pressure to fit in. Young adults reading Out of the Easy will relate to many of Josie’s feelings and reactions, but also be intrigued by Josie’s out of the ordinary lifestyle. Readers who have a fascination with New Orleans’s French Quarter will also greatly enjoy the book. Sepeteys’ historical research provides the story with details that increase the book’s accuracy and enhance the plot. Overall, Out of the Easy is a fascinating read that highlights important themes, while also telling a compelling and unique story.

By Anna

Sepetys, R. (2013). Out of the easy. London: Penguin Books.

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