Out of the Easy, on-line a few times, I encountered it again on Sheila's blog, The Deliberate Reader. She declared it "fantastic." Thus, when it was offered up as our November read for my young adult literature book club, I was eager to dive in.
I completely agree with Sheila. Even if I wouldn't have expected to like a book about New Orleans or one filled with prostitutes, it was a wonderful book of historical fiction and left me wanting to know more of the main character's story. She is off on a new adventure and I'd love to see a sequel so that I could find out how things work out for her. I came to love her just as much as Sheila did.
Josie Moraine lives in the French Quarter of New Orleans in the 1950's. Her mother is a prostitute, working for the Madam Willie Woodley. Despite making her own way in life, living above a bookstore and working there for the owner in exchange for her board, Josie is still tied in many ways to her despicable mother. Josie works cleaning house for Willie after the johns have left in the morning. But her real goal is to get out of New Orleans and head to the east coast to attend an upper class university. She might have the grades, but she certainly doesn't have the connections. While trying to establish some way of getting in and getting there, Josie uncovers information about a murder which might just implicate her mother. She wants to do the right thing, but so often finds herself spouting more and more lies and getting herself caught in the thick of things.
With a little bit of love, a little bit of friendship, and a whole lot of heart, Josie faces her obstacles with grace, dignity, and courage. She is the only one who can chart her course, but she does get by with a little help from her friends. The reader cannot help be cheer her on. By the end of the book, Josie is in a mess of trouble and the reader is desperate to find out how she will get out of the mess and make her way out into the world. Thank you, Ruta Sepetys, for transporting me into another world and making me love the characters within it.