Out of the Easy by Ruta Septys
I did not expect to get sucked into this book. I hadn't paid any attention to the cover, or read the blurb. I did know several of my students loved it, and it was on my Gateway read-down. But—once I started, I savored it. Lauren Fortang, the narrator of the audio-book, has the perfect voice for Josie. When Ms. Fortang’s voice changes for the other characters, the differences are there to recognize each individual person. As I got closer to the end, I gave up and read the last chapters, in a physical book(!) because I could read faster than it was being read to me and I needed to know what happened!
Josie’s character comes off as very naive occasionally, even though she was not sheltered at all by her background. Her need to do everything for herself frustrated me, even as I realized I really liked Josie. I wanted her to succeed to be happy, to get out of the Big Easy, and to have her happy ending. One of my friends who also read this thought things wrapped up in too nice a bow at the end—but I liked that, and wasn't disappointed.