There's so much to love about this book that I hardly know where to start. The entire reading experience was like I'd hopped in the Tardis and traveled back to New Orleans, circa 1950. Every single detail of the setting and the world was flawless, from the language to the customs to the little details that vividly painted a picture of the Big Easy in 1950. I thoroughly enjoyed the author's world building and wish I had another book set in the same time period so I could continue to live there in my imagination for awhile.
The characters are another strong point in the book. Every character, even the secondary ones, come right off the page. I really loved the attention to little details and unique characteristics that worked to bring each character to life. And I really loved Josie, the heroine. She's a flawed, smart, strong character with a big heart and an inability to see herself clearly. She has goals that transcend her upbringing, and she rises above the tremendous obstacles her neglectful mother keeps putting in her path. Because of Josie's internal journey, this story became much more about the triumph of loyalty and integrity than about a murder mystery.
Finally, I just loved the writing. Fluid prose, vivid details worked seamlessly into a narrative that flowed easily, and a pace that gave me enough tension to keep me reading but didn't forget to include the emotional heart of the story make this book one I'll be putting on my favorites shelf.
What Left Me Wanting More:
Very little, really. I thoroughly enjoyed the story. I will say (not as a criticism, but as a way to help the right reader find the right book) that the world of Willie's brothel and one difficult situation Josie finds herself in with one of the older men in the story should be taken into consideration before handing this book off to a younger reader whose reading level matches YA, but who might not be ready to process those sort of experiences. I found even the most upsetting themes to be handled with discretion, and wouldn't hesitate to recommend the book to eighth grade and up.
With lush historical detail, fascinating characters, and a dark, heartbreaking journey that ends on a lovely hopeful note, OUT OF THE EASY is a story worth reading time and time again.