Number of pages: 346
Number of times read (including the time before this review): 1
Rating (out of five stars): 3.75
For the most part, I really enjoyed Out of the Easy. If I were to rank Ruta Sepety’s books, Out of the Easy would be between Between Shades of Gray and Salt to the Sea, with Salt to the Sea being my favourite so far.
The most important ingredient in a good historical fiction book is the characters, so it’s a good thing the characters in Out of the Easy are so well done. Josie’s voice practically jumps of the page off the page, and the side characters all have distinct voices as well. But the best part is the fact that the prostitutes are treated like human beings. I never thought I would see the day where YA, a genre where the popular girls who oppose the beautiful-but-don’t-know-it protagonists are often called whores for no reason, would treat prostitutes like human beings.
I think the reason Out of the Easy is so compelling is that Jo is easy to relate to. At one point in our lives, most of us have wanted “out” of something, just as Jo desperately wants to escape life in “the Big Easy”.
Out of the Easy is also a much lighter book than Sepety’s other two novels. Yes it features murder and all that fun stuff, but it isn’t like Jo is stuck in a labour camp or in the middle of a naval disaster. She’s simply stuck in a less than ideal situation.
While Out of the Easy was emotionally compelling for the majority of the novel, with roughly 100 pages remaining it starts to lose steam. We know who the killer is (in fact we’ve know it all along and it’s not that important to the story), and we know if Josie got into Smith. The story loses the small amount of tension it had and never really gets it back. Without that tension, the emotional scenes aren’t as powerful, and there’s no clear reason as to why you should continue reading.
I also found the story to be missing an indescribable “something”. I was laughing and tearing up, but there was just something missing that was stopping me from loving it.
Overall, Out of the Easy was an enjoyable and relatable novel, despite it losing steam near the end, earning it 3.75 out of 5 stars.