I *loved* this book. I have no regrets over buying it. I imagine it having a long life span on my shelf, with others having the opportunity to love it just as much as I did. I've said it before, but it's becoming rather apparent to me that I can't really say it with any truth. I am not a huge fan of historical fiction. The lack of truth in that statement is glaringly obvious when I look at some of my favorites: Code Name Verity, Revolution, Out of the Easy... lol. I'm starting to love it. ;)
I picked this book up in my local bookstore and read the first page. I had to have it. Any book that starts with "My mother is a prostitute." as it's first sentence deserves to be owned. I don't know why, exactly, it just does. Kind of like when you see a coin lying on the ground - you just have to pick it up. Must. Be. Done.
I dove into this book not knowing what to expect. 1950's New Orleans? Doesn't really seem like my type of setting. It was so well done, though, that I didn't even realize I had been transported to a different time and place until I was already there.
Even though the writing drew me in, it was the characters who made me stay. Sepetys created characters that jumped out of the story, filling my mind, my world. There were characters I loved ~ Josie, Jesse, Cokie, Willie... all for different reasons. There were characters I felt indifference toward, and characters I despised. In fact, if I met said character on the street, I may take a page out of the mob's book and make that person disappear. Just a thought. That being said, all the ups, all the downs, I was right there, feeling them right along with Josie. Her frustration and uncertainty, her hopes and wishes, her sadness and anger. There seems to be something different lurking behind every shadow in New Orleans, just waiting to jump out and put a damper on Josie's life.
No matter how many times those shadows try to smother her, we get to be alongside her as she grows and discovers strengths she didn't know she possessed. She accepts herself, her past, and comes to realize that she decides her own fate; it's not decided for her.