4.5 stars. Maybe 5. Still trying to decide.--------------Reading the synopsis for Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys, it’s hard to really put a finger on what type of novel this is. It could be an issue book (a mother who’s a prostitute), a mystery novel (mysterious death in the Quarter), or it could be a coming-of-age story (main character who wants to move away and go to college). But which is it? All of the above and so much more.Out of the Easy is a splendid and unique novel with so much going on. The plot is like nothing I’ve ever read before. Josie Moraine has a pretty tough life. As if having only one parent (who’s completely negligent) isn’t bad enough, Josie grew up before her time and now has to deal with the likes of perverted men, angry gangs, personal loss, and so much more. This novel had me twisted up in emotion the entire time I was reading it. I’m sort of wondering how I went so long without it in my life.Josie is my kind of strong character. I feel like there’s a lot of wonderful but far-fetched “strength” going through books as of late. Josie’s character was completely believable.* She crumpled up and cried more than once. She was scared to death a lot of the time, and sometimes I questioned her (actions), but Josie was a fighter. With so much blackness in her life I wouldn’t have blamed her for giving up, but she never did. She always got up and kept going on. THAT’S why she’s strong and why I might have to make a list of “Favorite Characters” just for her.Really, Out of the Easy has a bunch of wonderful, unique characters. Each character had their own personality and history and they were all generally fantastic. I even liked the characters I hated. They were domestic villains of the truest forms and even while I was wishing they would leave I was praising Ruta Sepetys for writing them so well.At the end of the day I really loved Out of the Easy. I was iffy on it at first, but it proved itself as a well written, deep, and emotionally captivating novel. I’m so happy to have not passed this one up and definitely recommend it to everyone. You’ll get invested in it. I promise.--------*I say this with the mindset she’s in realistic fiction (which she is). I’m just saying I know the rules are changed when the world is different and I don’t want people getting mad at me with words about “reality” being different for all books. I know, I know.