The plot isn't that unique or stunning. Josie's mom is a prostitute in New Orleans. Josie has been on her own since she was eleven years old. She lives above a book store where she works, and she also cleans the house where her mother lives and works. It's 1950, so there's corruption and the world isn't easy for a poor young woman.
Willie, who runs the house, is like a mother to Josie. Many assume Josie will have to turn to the life her mother lives, but Josie will do anything to avoid it -- and she really wants to go to college. But, not just the local college. Josie wants to go where no one knows about her past. She wants to go to Smith College in the East. She comes up with a clever plan to make it happen.
See? It just doesn't sound like much is going on when you describe it, but there are so many colorful characters in Out of the Easy. Some want to help Josie, some want to be romantically involved, and some just want her to be a prostitute. Josie is shrewd, thank goodness, because life throws her several curves. Josie's mother is unbelievably heartless. Thank goodness she has other people in her life that she can rely on. I felt myself rooting for Josie, and wanting to jump right in the story to help her right along with all the other characters.
I'm not giving specifics about the plot, but just let me say this is a book you need to experience. I appreciate that the ending isn't all unrealistically perfect, but it is hopeful. Whether teen or adult, and even if you aren't a big historical fiction fan, Out of the Easy has something for everyone. Sepetys is a wonderful writer, and I'll read anything she comes up with.
Published by Philomel, February 12, 2013
Copy obtained from LibraryThing Early Reviewers
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