Author: Ruta Sepetys
Publication Date: February 12th, 2013
Genre: YA - Historical Fiction - Mystery
"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." ~See it on Goodreads
One thing that I love and plays a big part in how much I like a book would be the characters. If a book has really dull “mary jane” type characters, that are poorly developed and just lacking in overall appeal, I’m most likely not going to be a big fan of it. But in this book, I fell in love with the characters from the get go. They were all so unique and different , and all stood out in their own way. I ADORED Josie and Willie! They immediately went on my list of favorite characters! And Cokie was another big favorite! Now, there are two love interests in this book (Patrick and Jesse), but I really didn’t get the feeling that it was a “love triangle”. Yes, they’re both after Josie’s attention but not necessarily in the same way or for the same reason. But I did actually really like both of their characters as well, although, I did feel like Jesse could have used a bit more development.
Overall the writing was good, and the style of it was interesting. But there were times when I did wish that there had been a bit more of the essence of New Orleans captured in it, because for the story to have been set in such a unique place I think the writing/descriptions seemed a little too plain in some areas. I also felt that the story didn’t have a really strong/clear focus, so that might be an issue for some people and it was a bit of a nitpick for me.
As much as I love a god romance I thought it was a nice change to see that the main focus of this book wasn’t the romance element, because yes it is there but the story is more geared towards the mystery. Now, that being said I did feel like the mystery wasn’t very… mysterious or shocking. It was still interesting but I have to admit it was slightly predictable at the same time, and I figured out who the culprit was fairly early on so it wasn’t really surprising when it came to the point in the story.
There was one part of the story I didn’t really see coming, although maybe looking back I would see the signs now. I was extremely shocked by it because I wasn’t expecting it, and I bawled uncontrollably at the end because of it. And when I say bawled, I mean that whole ugly-face-sobbing ordeal…
It definitely wasn’t pretty and I went through quite a few tissues....
So overall I really enjoyed this book, the characters were probably my favorite thing about it. If you’re a big fan of amazing, and strong characters then you’d enjoy this book. But if you’re looking for a real gut wrenching mystery that will keep you on the very edge of your seat and turning pages at a breakneck speed, this book doesn’t really fit that expectation.