Title: Out of The Easy
Author: Ruta Sepetys
Publisher: Philomel Books
Publication Date: February 12, 2013
AR Levels: Book Level: 4.0; Interest Level: 9th to 12th; Points: 11.0
Goodreads Link: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11178225-out-of-the-easy
In a nutshell: On the outside, Josie Moraine appears to be a normal, bright high schooler with a promising future. Josie works at a bookshop in 1950 in New Orleans, and she's saving up to go to college. However, there's more to Josie than meets the eye. She's the daughter of a prostitute and also works part-time cleaning up the brothel her mother lives in. As hard as Josie tries to leave The Big Easy, the more her family secret drags her back. Just when Josie thinks her big break has finally come, tragedy strikes, and her mother is wanted for murder, and like it or not, Josie is pulled into the dark underbelly of the French Quarter once again.
I'd recommend it for grades: 10 and up (for language and subject matter)
I'd recommend it to: Louisianians, murder mystery fans, students who can empathize with Josie's tough family life
What I liked most about this book: Josie is a kick-butt heroine. She's cool, calm, and collected no matter what stressful situation she's put in, and she's incredibly strong considering how quickly she had to grow up. She's definitely a great role model for teens. Personally, I also loved the setting. 1950's New Orleans plays out as equally beautiful and despicable. You see both sides of the tracks from the poorest to the richest as the plot unfolds. It made me miss Louisiana something awful. :) And the COVER! Oh, the cover! Gorgeous.
Single favorite moment (without getting spoiler-y): Josie and Patrick, the bookshop owner, like to play a couple of games that are pretty funny. In one, they ask each other which literary character they'd prefer to marry, and in another, they use hand signals to try to predict what genre of book a customer will buy when they walk in. It provides some much needed comic relief for the book.
Star rating (where 5 stars is awesome and 0 stars is atrocious): 4 stars