Off My Bookshelf

Off My Bookshelf is a new monthly feature where every month I take a book off my bookshelf, one that I've had a for a while and put it on the top of my TBR because it's all too easy to get caught up in the shiny new releases; older books need some love too.

In October that book was Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys.

I don't know why this book took me so long to around to, honestly, because I love Ruta's

 ork. Perhaps it's because I expected it to break me in the same way as Between Shades of Gray did and I've never been quite prepared for that.

I needn't have worried, though, whether that was going to be the case because it turns out that this book is very different to that one. So different in fact that it's hard to believe that they were written by the same person. I mean Between Shades of Gray (and Salt to the Sea, actually) broke my heart, they were deep and they were intense and they were so beautifully written and so detailed and well researched that they left me simultaneously warm and cold. There are not many books that have made me feel the way Between Shades of Grey did. It changed me.

Out of the Easy is a much easier read: it's light, it's fun, part murder mystery and part coming of age story. It's's a nice easy read, that's my overriding thought I think.

And I loved it.

I. Loved. It.

The deal is this, because all reviews are better with a blurb: Jo (who likes to call herself Josephine which automatically gives the whole thing brownie points) is growing up in 1950 New Orleans - extra brownie points for that setting also - where she's known around town as the daughter of a local prostitute and desperate to get out and start over. She works in a bookshop (because all characters with my name are amazing ok) and has this cute little brewing romance that makes you want to smush some faces together. When one of her bookshop customers is murdered she finds herself in this tangled web where she has to decide where her loyalties lie and what it is, really, that she wants.

I LOVED IT. I think I just really love the way Sepetys writes. I love her descriptions, I love her characters, I love the way her stories unfold.

But that's quite general isn't it. Let's talk about Out of the Easy specifically.

I loved Jo, I loved the New Orleans setting, I loved the characters - I don't think there was a single person here that I didn't feel invested in in some way, even the ones I really didn't like, (and I love that there were people I really didn't like). I loved Jo's relationships with EVERYBODY, but especially Willie - the madam of the brothel where her Mum works. I loved the brothel and the girls that worked there and what an interesting take on sex work this was - these girls were (mostly) happy and (mostly) well-adjusted and all well cared for by Willie - Fantine these girls are not -  and I liked that. I loved the murder mystery and Jo's journey to self discovery and really, just what a fun, fast-paced story it was. NOT WHAT I EXPECTED. BUT SO GOOD.

I mean yes, ok, sometimes it made me a bit sad and sometimes it made me a bit mad but mostly, it's's a nice, easy, fun book to read.  I'm so glad that I finally did.

Also if I didn't want to go to New Orleans before, I absolutely do now.