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Publisher's Summary

It’s 1950, and as the French Quarter of New Orleans simmers with secrets, 17-year-old Josie Moraine is silently stirring a pot of her own. Known among locals as the daughter of a brothel prostitute, Josie wants more out of life than the Big Easy has to offer. She devises a plan get out, but a mysterious death in the Quarter leaves Josie tangled in an investigation that will challenge her allegiance to her mother, her conscience, and Willie Woodley, the brusque madam on Conti Street.

Josie is caught between the dream of an elite college and a clandestine underworld. New Orleans lures her in her quest for truth, dangling temptation at every turn, and escalating to the ultimate test.

With characters as captivating as those in her internationally best-selling novel Between Shades of Gray, Ruta Sepetys skillfully creates a rich story of secrets, lies, and the haunting reminder that decisions can shape our destiny.

©2013 Ruta Sepetys (P)2013 Penguin Audiobooks

Critic Reviews

"Street-smart, literary and compassionate.... Atmospheric and assured...nicely paced novel.” (Wall Street Journal)

“[A]nother taut and charged historical novel.... Sepetys has also built a stellar cast. Readers will find Josie irresistible from the get-go and will devour the sultry mix of mystery, historical detail, and romance.” (Publishers Weekly, starred review)

“A satisfying novel, bringing to life the midcentury French Quarter.... Sepetys writes with rawness and palpable emotional unease.” (New York Times Book Review, Editor’s Choice)

What listeners say about Out of The Easy

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Easy to Love

Josie Moraine, the 17 year old daughter of a harlett, cleans a brothel while living above her employer's bookshop. She dares to dream of a better life, attending Smith College and leaving behind New Orleans' seedy underworld. Caught in the middle of a mysterious murder investigation, Jo's allegiance to her trollep mother, friends, and Willie (the madam who has been more of a mother-figure) is called into question. She must make difficult decisions, putting her in precarious situations in hopes of escaping with her innocence and livliehood.

This YA novel is a wonderful ride through resourceful and bright, Josie, Jo, Josephine's tale. Interesting, entertaining, and just dangerous enough to appeal to adults and no curse words or explicit sex to recommend to my daughter. Wonderful, straight forward writing style. Will definitely check out her first book, Between Shades of Gray.

31 people found this helpful

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Rise Above Without Losing Yourself

The 1950s are usually relegated to stories of the Cold War or the Happy Days. RUTA gives us something much richer to sink our teeth into. She melded the perfect blend of history, culture, mystery and thriller to transport me to another time.

We get to know and love a very eclectic cast of secondary characters through the eyes of Josie Moraine. She is strong, moral, motivated and scrappy. She isn’t afraid to wield a pistol in her attempt to rise of her mother, her past and her surroundings. She was raised a whore’s daughter. She is so tired of how people look at her, prejudging her. She dreams of heading north, starting over and getting an education. Though she has aspirations to escape New Orleans, you never feel that she really regrets her life, the things she has learned and those around her that love her. Yep, Josie has a special quality about her.

Not that life was ever easy for Josie, but her dreams will come at great cost. You are immersed into a world of secrets, lies and murder. Not all will be answered. Not everyone will make it. But it ends rich, messy and perfect.

LAUREN FORTGANG did a most excellent job. All her voices slid me into the past like butter. Her Southern Drawl fleshed out Ruta’s world bringing New Orleans to life. Josie was bright and thinking. Willie is all madam, control and red velvet. The various men ranged from Brando-eque to all business like. Some were protecting and thoughtful, some brought the swoons and a few made your skin crawl. OUT OF THE EASY played out in a vividness associated with watching a play performed in front of your eyes.

Here is to Rising Above without Losing Yourself.

12 people found this helpful

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Listeners Will Savor Every Word!

Would you listen to Out of The Easy again? Why?

When listening to the book, I sometimes played back passages, to appreciate the descriptive language & details. At some points I was very plot-focused, and intent on finding out the next step in character dialogue and actions. Knowing the outcome of the plot now,I would listen again, to have a greater understanding of the writer's craft. I want to encourage anyone who reads this book to listen to Ms. Sepety's discussion of the research and writing process, an unadvertised feature after the music that concludes reading of the novel.

What did you like best about this story?

Hearing a book read out loud is a true test of its quality, as you want to savor every word in a good novel. I only listened to this book when I didn't have any distractions. For most books, I can do the equivalent of skimming, and drive or accomplish some housework. I am an adult, and I think this book stands on its own as an adult read.

This novel offers an intimate (but not sexually explicit!) view into the struggles of rich and poor, living in New Orleans in the 1950s. We gain insight into the idiosyncratic culture of New Orleans, class distinctions in the south & northeast, and the struggles of women trying to be independent before the women's lib movement. We understand the complexity of each character, driving his or her motivations for acts of acts of selfishness & generosity. The author's description of New Orleans and many other historical details weaved throughout the story are fascinating.

The colorful characters and dialog are a real strength of the novel, and the reader captures the dialect and personality of each character. The reader sounds like a 17-year old girl, which is the narrator's age. Yet she seamlessly switches between the characters. Josie's emotional development, in environment of hardship/social shame, is unique-- but not in gimmicky way.


Have you listened to any of Lauren Fortgang’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

This is my first Lauren Fortgang read.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Won't say, as I've tried not to include spoilers!

Any additional comments?

Do not be put off by the concept of the brothel. The book feels like a 1950s classic, as the narrator is more aware of sexual & criminal baseness than most other girls of her age, but she doesn't see behind closed doors. Fans of The Help may want to read this book. While classifying in a genre & comparing to another book is too simplistic, Out of the Easy is a coming-of-age story in the same era. Through the 17 year-old girl's search for her adult identity, we gain insight into the social complexities of an era.

I have listened to hundreds of audiobooks, and I have given only a few a triple five-star rating.

6 people found this helpful

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Easily enjoyed

Josie is a girl who lived part of her childhood in a New Orleans brothel. I love going to New Orleans, so the idea of reading a book in which the main character lives there sounded fun. I'm not going any further about the plot so no spoilers. This book was an easy listen and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The narrator did a great job. I was sorry to see it end!

4 people found this helpful

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A great book.

I loved this book, me being fascinated by the 1950s this was an excellent read, also the narration was perfect creating a realistic voice and capturing emotion. I rate this 10/10

3 people found this helpful

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Love it!

Wow! Great read. The characters were so well rounded, interesting and well put together. This story is not a common one, high morals set within a brothel. This author has the ability to take ordinary words and weave them into something beautiful. The narrator was so amazing. Not only changing her voice for different characters, but becoming the character. Super listen.

3 people found this helpful

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Perfect voice

What did you like best about this story?

I did not expect to get sucked into this book. I hadn’t paid any attention to the cover, or read the blurb. I did know several of my students loved it, and it was on my Gateway read-down. But—once I started, I savored it. Lauren Fortang, the narrator of the audiobook, has the perfect voice for Josie. When Ms. Fortang’s voice changes for the other characters, the differences are there to recognize each individual person. As I got closer to the end, I gave up and read the last chapters, in a physical book(!) because I could read faster than it was being read to me and I needed to know what happened!

Any additional comments?

Josie’s character comes off as very naïve occasionally, even though she was not sheltered at all by her background. Her need to do everything for herself frustrated me, even as I realized I really liked Josie. I wanted her to succeed to be happy, to get out of the Big Easy, and to have her happy ending. One of my friends who also read this thought things wrapped up in too nice a bow at the end—but I liked that, and wasn’t disappointed.

2 people found this helpful

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A Visit to New Orleans, 1950

What made the experience of listening to Out of The Easy the most enjoyable?

The narration by Lauren Fortgang was excellent. She gave life to the diverse characters. This is an engaging story, well written, interesting characters, and an upbeat ending.

2 people found this helpful

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new author for me- glad i chose this!

If you could sum up Out of The Easy in three words, what would they be?

fascinating, compelling, sweet

Who was your favorite character and why?

Josie- protaganist and newly 18 with experience beyond her years yet also innocent

Have you listened to any of Lauren Fortgang’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

not listened

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

growing up wise yet still new to the world

Any additional comments?

well narrated, some nail biting moments- all infused with well developed characters you can see and feel. well written- LOVED this book

2 people found this helpful

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Beautiful

What did you love best about Out of The Easy?

I loved the characters, each had it's own accent, it's own story.

What did you like best about this story?

The story captured so much more than 1950's New Orleans. It captured a coming of age girl in a rough situation, it captured first loves and first pains.

What does Lauren Fortgang bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

The accents were beautifully done! I loved her interpretation of Willie and Jesse.

2 people found this helpful