Out of The Easy by Ruta Sepetys.
It’s 1950, and as the French Quarter of New Orleans simmers with secrets, seventeen-year-old Josie Moraine is silently stirring a pot of her own. Known among locals as the daughter of a brothel prostitute, Josie wants more out of life than the Big Easy has to offer.
She devises a plan 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. Josie is caught between the dream of an elite college and a clandestine underworld. New Orleans lures her in her quest for truth, dangling temptation at every turn, and escalating to the ultimate test.
With characters as captivating as those in her internationally bestselling novel Between Shades of Gray, Ruta Sepetys skillfully creates a rich story of secrets, lies, and the haunting reminder that decisions can shape our destiny.
Josie has a mother who is a prostitute. When she was old enough to she moved away and started living and working part time in a bookstore. But she kept cleaning the brothel that her mother lived in. For Willie, who runs the place. Willie believes in Josie much more than her mother ever does. And her mother's drama just won't leave her alone. she's sometimes abusive and always awful, blaming Josie sometimes for being born and taking away her beauty. But the worst part is that this gangster type guy called Cincinnati is back in town. Her mother loves him or thinks she does and he hits her. Last time Josie and Willie drove him away. With guns and such. But now he's back and threatening Josie. Set in the 50s in New Orleans Josie is a girl who has been looked down on her whole life because of her mother. All she wants to do is go somewhere else and escape all that. Go to college in the east or something. But start something new.
Pros: The writing, the story, the plot, the characters, and the ending. Just about everything! This is such a lovely book that makes me think I'm living in that world. it actually felt a lot like 30s though...with all the gangster stuff :P However this isn't all "downtown" (I think that's the right term) there is also some visits to the upper class just a bit. Basically this book is super interesting and very historical. I felt like I learned a lot of the feel for the time period. And the whole 30s thing? Possibly just because New Orleans is a bit out of time, from what I've read of this author she is very well researched so I couldn't believe she got the feel wrong. It felt amazingly right. The characters were very well done. I loved Josie and how determined and confident she was. She is pretty crazy and strong and very well rounded in like, everything :P She's the type that knows how to do everything and is hard to surprise. Which kinda expresses Willie as well. Only more so, she's like the ultimate version who is also harder and older. In some ways she's like a huge mentor to Josie and other times she held her back or was the voice of reason. They were both great characters. Jesse I was always a fan of, he's the perfect picture of a car fixing, sweet guy who is a little reckless. But trust-worthy. Patrick I hadn't been much of a fan for him, but I still was sympathetic to his position and all. Those were the main characters really although there were others, like Cokie and Sadie, Charlie, and Sam (I think?) too. The plot was really interesting and it all starts out with a murder and Cincinnati coming back into town. There are many other secrets that Josie knows or is trying to figure out as well as the cleaning for the brothel and keeping all that stuff under wraps (police and stuff apparently). The ending was really lovely and I didn't want it to be over!
Cons:Content wise there are a lot of mentions of the brothel, the work (not in detail at all), men coming up to Josie and wanting to know if she was "working" yet, Josie thinks about and even tries to get some money for doing her mother's work but in the end just can't do it and pulls a gun on him :P Some violence including murdering, shooting, also stealing and really cruel stuff that happens to Josie from her mom :/ Mention of drinking and possibly/probably smoking. Language was 28 words. (possibly more, but that's all I can think of) There are maybe 3-4 kisses. Apart from the content I had no problems, I just loved the writing and the plot and all!
Overall, I really, really liked this book although I didn't approve of all the content it was "real" and wasn't that big of a deal. I really loved the setting and characters. I would recommend to teen girls (16+ or so) who enjoy historical fiction and are looking for some good writing.