Emily Ann Teegarten, or Baby, is a teenage singing sensation. All she wants to do is make a living singing jazz music. But in the time of prohibition, speakeasies aren’t the best place for young girls just becoming women. After suddenly being orphaned and shipped off to an aunt that things jazz music is from the devil, Emily finds ways to sneak over the river to New Orleans to get her start.
But things are never that simple, are they? Awash with whorehouses, gangs, and drugs, New Orleans offers Emily more problems than it solves. And soon, she’s embroiled in a mess that leaves her fighting to stay alive.
Jazz Baby is written from Emily’s point of view, and is an excellent first person narrative complete with the lingo of the time. Real problems and dirty solutions surround a girl who doesn’t always make the smart decisions, as she’s trying to live of dream of singing in New York. You really feel like you’re there, in Emily’s shoes, and just trying to figure out how to be an adult in a messy world.
PS: for picky readers, this book does touch on topics like rape, girl-on-girl touching, murder, and drug use. Nothing too explicit, but its there.