The Outsiders and Out of the Easy

Recently I finished reading Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys and I really loved it! The novel will be released in February 2013 so I can’t post a review up on here just yet but I don’t think they will mind me mentioning a few non-spoiler things. While reading the book I couldn’t help but also think of The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. While both of the books have very different stories, once you get down to the root of it all they both teach the same lessons.

The most obvious similarity between the two main characters, Ponyboy (The Outsiders) and Josie (Out of the Easy is their social standing, their place on the social ladder of life, if you will. Ponyboy is an orphaned greaser trying to make it in a world that is ready to spit in his eye and throw him in jail at any moment. Josie is the daughter of a prostitute in the French Quarter of New Orleans fighting to not fall down the same path as her mother.

Throughout Out of the Easy it is made very clear that Josie has the ability (but not the money) to make a life for herself outside of New Orleans and away from the world that she was brought up in. It is amazing how the people in her life rally around support her dream of going to Smith College. Even the people in her life that think she can’t make it out of New Orleans still support her dream of going to college. Like Pony her parents are essentially gone. Her father is unknown and her mother spends most of her time forgetting she has a daughter or trying to use her for her own gain.

Similarly in The Outsiders everyone in “The Gang” knows that Ponyboy is the only one of them with a real chance in life. Darry gave up his chance at going to college so that he could keep his two younger brothers out of a boy’s home. Ponyboy, for the most part, likes school and is good at it. Darry pushes him to get good grades (a point which often makes the two brothers butt-heads) because he knows that Pony can have a better life than they did growing up. Ponyboy has a chance to make it out of “the neighborhood”. One of my favorite moment’s at the end of the novel is when Pony starts school back up again and goes to lunch with Two-Bit and Steve. While Steve and Two-Bit are inside flirting with the ladies some of the Soc’s start messing with Pony. Pony pulls the bottle on him and the Soc’s leave. Two-Bit and Steve come out and mention how Pony is not like them and he shouldn’t turn into the rest of the Greasers.

Both stories have the characters dealing with major deaths. *Note* No, this is not giving away any spoilers! It’s already in the book descriptions *End Note* Between Shades of Gray, Ruta’s first novel, was practically a bloodbath so I shouldn’t have been surprised that Out of the Easy had a few deaths too. I won’t tell you (because I promised this would NOT be a spoiler post) whether or not these were named characters or the significance they play in the story. Nope. Sorry, promised I woudn’t tell, but you can buy the book when it comes out in February. The Outsiders as we all know (and seriously if you haven’t read The Outsiders then you need to hop on that immediately!) Both characters face hard deaths, deaths that make them face the world as it is and try and find a way to continue living. Both characters take tremendous strides in life because of those deaths.

Each story starts with a death. Ponyboy gets into a scuffle with the Socs and one is killed. Josie’s world changes with a mysterious death in the Quarter. (I feel like I’ve been saying this too much but…*that was not a spoiler!*) The entirety of both of these stories is how each of the characters, and the communities around them, react to those deaths. All of their previous choices in life are challenged, both by themselves and, of course, by outside sources.

To conclude this long post, both of these stories have such great endings. They are great because they are real. That is also such an amazing quality that both authors possess, writing real fiction not making it glamorous, but instead telling the truth.

Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys (Cover Reveal)

Last week Marla, my co-admin at RutaFans, and I received a very excited email from Ruta Sepetys informing us the cover reveal for her next novel, Out of the Easy, was going to be on There is a really great interview you guys can all check out! Now for the actual cover!

The colors are all amazing, I love the cracks and the roughness in the wall behind her. They put her head behind the cage too which was a really great fit to the story! I LOVE it! I hope you all love it too! I can’t wait to read it!


Covers I Love

I was wondering what else besides reviews I could put up here and then I thought why not show you some book covers that I love!

The first one is from Victoria Schwab. The Archived. Doesn’t that look amazing you guys!!!! Its beautiful and mysterious all at the same time! The book isn’t released until 2013 but I am so excited to read it when it comes out! Victoria is such a talented writer and I know this book will be amazing!
Victoria Schwab Website


There is something about this cover that I insanely adore! There is such a simplicity behind it but it also has a larger meaning. Remember when we were all kids and you blew dandelions to send their seeds into the wind. How many wishes did you make to the flying seeds? Send Me a Sign by Tiffany Schmidt comes out October 2, 2012 and I cannot wait to read this book!
TIffany Schmidt Website

This cover is so cool! I haven’t read Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi yet but I have heard great things about it from other bloggers so this is on my to be read list! I love how the first tagline is scratched out and then rewritten next to it. I love it! I love how it includes the clouds, the birds, and the trees. There’s even a waterfall! The fading at the bottom of the cover is awesome and I love how the title is in two different colors. Lets be honest, I am just in love with this cover!
Tahereh Mafi Website


I haven’t gotten a chance to read Shift or Exiled by M.R. Merrick yet either but look at those covers! I would seriously have this framed and hung on my walls because they are amazing! If I ever have a book published I would want it’s cover to look as amazing as these two!
I love how Exiled shows two completely different sides, fire and water, with the baron tree in the middle! There is something so ominous about that tree and I love it!

Shift is beautiful because it has so many things going on but it all fits together perfectly. And look at that doorway! The doorway sits in a foggy forest and yet beyond its doors is a baron land. Makes you wonder what else lays beyond that door.

M.R. Merrick Website


And of course, you guys all know me so I can’t have a list without Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys. I love both of the covers but the paperback is definitely my favorite. I remember sitting in the library in Nashville in December and Ruta showed us the cover and my breath caught in my throat. It’s beautiful! It’s beautiful if you haven’t read the book and you stumble across it in the store and its even more beautiful once you’ve read it. You all know that I think this book is amazing and the beauty of the story is how people band together in times of horror to survive. People can be pushed to their limit and do things they never would have done before but they do it together. Lina suffers in this story and I think the snow and ice on her face really shows that. I love how her eye is closed too! I think it speaks to the things that she went through, she was strong but the best thing that she could do was survive. To me if her eye was open it would be a challenge and Between Shades of Gray is not about the challenge, its about bringing awareness to an event in history that people have largely shut their eyes too. Maybe Lina is sad about that and that’s why she isn’t looking at us.

Ruta Sepetys Website

Obviously I am not analyzing any of these just saying what I thought about them. Let me know what you think about them and feel free to include any others you guys love.


Review “Between Shades of Gray” Ruta Sepetys

Title: Between Shades of Gray
Author: Ruta Sepetys
Publisher: Penguin Group
Publication Date: March, 22, 2011
Source: Purchased


It’s 1941 and fifteen-year-old artist Lina Vilkas is on Stalin’s extermination list. Deported to a prison camp in Siberia, Lina fights for her life, fearless, risking everything to save her family. It’s a long and harrowing journey and it is only their incredible strength, love, and hope that pull Lina and her family through each day. But will love be enough to keep them alive?

Over the summer I was introduced to the novel Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys. Detailing the life of a fifteen-year-old Lithuanian girl on Stalin’s extermination list this novel reaches into the hearts and souls of all who read it.

During WWII the Baltic nations of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia disappeared from maps and did not reappear until the late 20th Century. What happened to citizens of these nations has been largely kept secret, both overshadowed by the horrors in Europe and the fear these citizens lived in. Even after returning to their homes and lives in the Baltics they were shunned by those not on the extermination list. These victims were held prisoners of war; some for well over a decade, in the coldest regions of Siberia. Stalin labeled the victims Thieves and Prostitutes knowing that they were not. They were the educated, they were the portion of the population Stalin believed most likely to resist and oppose him. These victims were military officials, doctors, teachers, and even librarians. Between Shades of Gray is an amazing and harrowing tale of what happened behind the Iron Curtain.

The story will keep running through your mind long after you are finished reading. There are moments in the story and memorable qoutes that will never leave your mind. “They took me in my nightgown” and “Have you ever wondered what a human life is worth? That morning, my brother’s was worth a pocket watch.

Between Shades of Gray does a wonderful job of describing the horrors and daily struggles that happened while in the work camps, Ruta Sepetys did a lot of research while writing the book including traveling to Lithuania to speak with survivors, but there is also one other element that the novel touches on. Hope.

When inscribing books Ruta writes “Love leads us to freedom” and “Hope. Love. Freedom.” and THAT is what this book is about, yes these books are about the horrors that the victims faced but it is also about the extraordinary measures it took to survive.

Ruta and I both hope that this book will raise awareness about what happened in the Baltic’s. What happened in the Baltic’s and Siberia with Stalin is just as horrific as what happened in Europe with Hitler, only somehow one of these stories is ignored. Read this book, it will open your mind, it will show you to appreciate your life, and remember those who have lost their lives.

Honor their memory.

This was an amazing book that tells and amazing story and it most definitely deserves five stars!


Extra Links:

You can check out more of Ruta’s message that I heard first hand in December here

You can also check out RutaFans: The Official Ruta Sepetys Fan Website be sure to keep checking back there is going to be a HUGE and very exciting announcement as soon as Marla and I get the okay from Penguin to announce!

You can keep up to date with Ruta on her Facebook