Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys
Set in the New Orleans of the 1950’s, this book tells the engaging story of seventeen-year-old Josie Moraine. Although she’s known around the French Quarter as the daughter of a well-known prostitute, Josie works in a bookstore and has lived on her own since she was eleven. Even though she tries to distance herself from her mother, she still loves her and has come under the protection of her mother’s Madam, the beloved Willie Woodley. Josie has secretly been saving money for college, but her plans go out the window when a handsome tourist is murdered, and her mother is implicated.
This book captured my interest from the outset. The story is fast-paced and Sepetys draws her characters with a lot of complexity, making them come alive for her readers. The readers will feel as if they are caught up investigating the crime right along with Josie as she tries to connect the dots of the murder while avoiding the Big Easy mobsters, who evidently gave her mom and her nefarious boyfriend an alibi. I highly recommend this to all YA readers, those who love mysteries and fans of Sepetys’ wonderful first book, Between Shades of Gray.