Out of The Easy by Ruta Sepetys
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This was, to me, a much better book that Between Shades of Grey (I know I'll be in the minority here). I enjoyed meeting Jo/Josie/Josephine and spending some time in her world - New Orleans in the 1950s. It's a seedy world she inhabits, with a mother who is (let's be honest) a whore and being taken care of by the madam and her various employers. She's also part of the slightly literary world, working for a bookstore and living above it; the bookstore is owned by a writer.
Josie has aspirations - not big ones, admittedly - to leave New Orleans and be something other than her mother's daughter. Then one day she meets two people who change her life: Frank Hearne, who sees something in her that is somewhat noble, and Charlotte Lockwood, a Smith College student who assumes that Josephine is of her class and will easily get in to Smith. Suddenly, that's Josie's goal, to go to Smith. Standing between her and her first day on campus are her mother, the question of who murdered Frank Hearne, actually getting admitted to Smith and finding the money for tuition and board. Nothing comes easy, of course.
It's the ending that cost this the fifth star: a little too predictable. Satisfying, but predictable.
ARC provided by publisher.