I read books of all sorts, but mostly kids' lit and young adult literature and speculative fiction for all ages—usually from a feminist perspective.
I've adopted a personalized version of the CHOICE reviews approach to recommendations/star ratings:
***** = Essential, a.k.a. truly love, absolute must-read, buy it now
**** = Highly Recommended, a.k.a. this is a really good book; I would buy it as a gift
*** = Recommended, a.k.a. pretty good; worth reading
** = Optional, a.k.a. meh
* = Not Recommended; a.k.a. this is not a good book
What is there to like?
▪ Though the tough-old-broad madam character is a bit of a cliché, Willie is a likable representative of the type.
▪ Josie's friend Patrick's secret is played at the right level, in terms of how largely it figures in the story and fitting into the sensibilities of the time period.
▪ Strong sense of New Orleans throughout.
▪ A (rather unexpected) theme of the difficulty young people have in the role of primary caregiver for aging parents/grandparents.
▪ Josie's an independent, strong-willed young lady with admirable academic aspirations.
▪ The ending has more than a touch of the fairy godmother, but what Josie ends up doing to reach her goals is more believable than not.
What's not to like?
▪ The plot is quite predictable in a Hollywood-movie kind of way, right down to the will-she-go-through-with-it scene that's inevitable for a story about a girl who works for a brothel but isn't one of the working girls, and the "fight with the boyfriend because he doesn't know about her problems and he thinks she doesn't appreciate him" scene.
▪ Conveniently perfect boyfriend.
What made me pick it up?
It was on my to-read list because of a starred review in PW, and I requested it from the library when I got a notification that it was out.
Overall recommendation: Recommended