Out of The Easy Named HCR 2013 Book

Trip to New Orleans, Murder Mystery Fundraiser, and Other Programs Related to the Book Being Planned


The Kokomo-Howard County Public Library, Greentown Public Library, Indiana University Kokomo Library, and Symposium have announced that Out of the Easy, a Young Adult novel by Ruta Sepetys, is the Howard County Reads 2013 book.


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 much more out of life than the Big Easy has to offer. She devises a plan to 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. 


Just released in February this year, Out of the Easy is already a New York Times bestseller and was an Editor’s Choice in the New York Times. In addition, it’s a Spring 2013 Kids' Indie Next List Top Ten Pick, and A Bookspan Book Club’s Top 13 New Books of 2013.


“If you loved Between Shades of Gray, Sepetys’s debut YA novel, Out of the Easy is a must-read,” said Trisha Shively, head of KHCPL’s Adult and Teen Department.


Each year KHCPL, GPL and IU Kokomo work together with the Symposium as a sponsor to select a book for Howard County Reads, the annual community-wide reading program that began in 2004. Patrons nominate their favorite books. Then a committee of librarians and library employees, a Symposium representative, and community volunteers evaluates each title and narrows the list to the top 10 to 20. The committee selected 15 for 2013.


“One criterion for the Howard County Reads book is that it needs to appeal to readers of various ages,” said Margi Bontrager, Director of the Greentown Public Library. “Both of Ruta’s books are YA novels, but they’re so widely read by teens and adults that they’ve become books for all ages.”


In addition, the committee looks for the book that is the most well-written, character-driven, not too long, and available in paperback, Shively said.


Thanks to funding from the Symposium, Sepetys will be coming to Kokomo on Nov. 7. IU Kokomo is hosting the Author Event at Kresge Auditorium. The Author Event is free, but you must have a ticket for admission. Tickets will be available at the IU Kokomo Library, Greentown Public Library, and all KHCPL locations beginning Oct. 7.


Sepetys’s book Between Shades of Gray is also among the top 15 Howard County Reads books. Released in 2011, Between Shades of Gray takes place during World War II. The YA novel is about the genocide of the Baltic people after the Soviet occupation. Lina Vilkas is 15 when the Soviet secret police arrests and deports her family to Siberia. Every day is a fight for survival. She vows to honor her family and the thousands like hers by burying her complete story in a jar on Lithuanian soil. 


Sepetys has received awards and kudos for Between Shades of Gray: 2012 William C. Morris YA Debut Award Finalist; YALSA Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults 2012; YALSA Readers' Choice Nomination 2012, Realistic Fiction; ALA Notable Children 's Book 2012, Older; Booklist Top 10 First Novels for Youth, 2011; Booklist 2011 Editors' Choice, Books for Youth, Fiction, Older Reader; Top 10 Books for Youth, Historical Fiction: 2011; Kirkus Reviews Best Teen Books of 2011; Publishers Weekly Best Children's Books 2011, Fiction; SLJ Best Books of 2011, Fiction; Amazon.com Best Books of 2011, Young Adult; The New York Times Notable Children's Books of 2011, Young Adult; 2012 CCBC Choices; and 2011 Cybils Awards, Young Adult Fiction, Finalist. It’s been translated into more than 22 languages.


“It’s great that this year’s Howard County Reads author also has another book in the top 15,” said Ria Lukes, IU Kokomo Technical Services Librarian. “It increases the number of people who will enjoy coming to the Author Event: those who love Between Shades of Gray and those who love Out of the Easy.”


“With the Symposium as a partner, KHCPL, Greentown’s library, and IU Kokomo are able to bring truly talented authors to Kokomo,” said KHCPL Director Faith Brautigam. “KHCPL is proud of this partnership because it enriches and educates the entire community.”


“The community enjoyed meeting and hearing Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet author Jamie Ford in 2011 and Saving CeeCee Honeycutt author Beth Hoffman in 2012,” said Symposium member Sue Murrell. “We can’t wait to hear Ruta Septys in November and to learn more about the libraries’ related programs. Last year, the community supported the My Sweet Savannah event and the proceeds went to making 2013’s programs even greater.”


The other 13 books in the top 15 are as follows: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, YA Fiction; For One More Day by Mitch Albom, Fiction; The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Fiction; Illuminations: A Novel of Hildegard Von Bingen by Mary Sharratt, Historical Fiction; Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai, Juvenile; Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey by the Countess of Carnarvon, Historical Fiction; Last Good Man by A.J. Kazinski, Mystery; The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman, Fiction; Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline, Fiction; Round House by Louise Erdrich, Fiction; The Shoemaker’s Wife by Adriana Trigiani, Fiction; Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce, Fiction; and Wine to Water: A Bartender’s Quest to Bring Clean Water to the World by Doc Hendley, Nonfiction.


Starting Aug. 1, Shively said, check out www.HowardCountyReads.org for more information about the various events and programs.


PHOTO CREDITS: Ruta Sepetys photo by Magda Starowieyska; book covers from rutasepetys.com.