Published: 2013, Philomel Books
Rating 4 stars
There's one girl who I work with who I can talk books with. Unfortunately, we rarely work together because we're in different departments and tend to have opposite work schedules. So whenever I do see her one of the first things we ask each other is if we've read any good books lately. I was in the middle of reading Out of the Easy the last time I saw her, and since she had never heard of the book, asked me to describe it in one sentence. I said it is, "a coming of age story and a murder mystery all in one". I think that's a fairly good description of the book and she added it to her to-read list (bonus: I also talked her into picking up Code Name Verity).
Josie, is seventeen years old and growing up in New Orleans in 1950. She lives in the Quarter and her mother is a prostitute. Josie is determined to go to college and not follow in her mother's footsteps. She works two jobs, one in a bookstore and the other is a less glamorous job as a maid, cleaning the rooms in the same brothel her mother works in. One day a man comes into the bookstore while Josie is working and for some reason she becomes almost obsessed with him. The following day she finds out he has been murdered.
I really liked the murder mystery aspect of the plot. I'm not usually one for mystery books, probably because I watch too much Law & Order SVU. When I read I want something different, and this book delivered. While the mysterious murder did impact the story it wasn't the focus of it. That was refreshing to me.
Willie. My favorite character in this novel. She is the madam of the brothel Josie's mother works for. Willie is strong and tough. No one pushes her around and she is fiercely protective of Josie while letting her make her own mistakes (there was one mistake that Josie made and I wanted to scream, "WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?!").
I was a huge fan of Sepetys first novel, Between Shades of Gray. I was not disappointed by her sophomore novel!