Author: Ruta Sepetys
Year published: 2013
Josie Moraine was a daughter of a prostitute named Louise. She had never known her father and her name was based on a popular madam's name. But not like her mother, Josie was a smart and strong-willed girl so that when her mother decided to join Willie's brothel in French Quarter, New Orleans, Josie easily caught Willie's eyes and quickly became the apple of her eye.
Ten years after, Josie had transformed to become a beautiful, clever and independent 17-year-old young woman. She lived in a bookstore owned by the Marlowe family and worked there while in the morning, she did cleaning at Willie's. However, Josie's dream was to leave New Orleans and pursue a higher education--a dream which everyone laughed at.
One day, she met a guy named Forrest Hearne, a star football player. Surprisingly, Mr. Hearne understood Josie's dream and encouraged her to pursue it. The encounter left deep impression to Josie
so that she was very surprised when she found out that Mr. Hearne had been killed not long after that. What surprised Josie more was the fact that she found Mr. Hearne's watch in her mother's room. Josie thought that maybe her mother and her boyfriend, a mafia named Cincinnati, had something to do with the murder.
Josie was now caught between the murder investigation which could ruin the business in French Quarter, the possibility that she herself would be suspected, and her dream of going to college and leave New Orleans.
This is the second book by Ruta Sepetys that I read and, really, I LOOVVVE the way she writes a young adult historical fiction. She has become my favourite historical fiction besides Jennifer Donnelly. As in her former book, Between Shades of Gray, her description of setting is very realistic. It's like you are there too. But not as gloomy as Between Shades of Gray, in Out of the Easy, the story is more colorful and dynamic--because it took place in New Orleans, of course.
The main character, Josie, is a type of heroine whom I love the most. She is very independent, determined, and also very smart. She really knew how to defend herself, she knew what to do with boys. And, most of all, she loved books! I actually kinda feel sorry for what happened to her. I mean, she's such a smart girl but what happened surrounding her made her life very difficult. But as I read, I believe that she would absolutely get through it and find her own path to reach her dream. Because she's really able to do so.
And about the plot, I think I can say that it is such a complete package. There are historical part, mystery, friendship, women empowerment and a slight bit of romance and all of the aspects blend well. However, I think it would be much enjoyable if Ruta Sepetys could add more about the solution of Forrest Hearne mystery. And about Willie... I don't like what happened to her. She's my favorite and I hope she could do more for Josie!
Although this book doesn't leave impression as deep as Between Shades of Gray to me, it is still a good book and I recommend you to read it, especially if you want to read YA historical fiction. Her writing is something you can't miss.