Friday, November 5, 2010

Book Review: Bright Young Things, by Anna Godbersen (Harper Collins, 2010) ISBN 9780061962660

Recommended for ages 12 and up.

Anna Godbersen, author of the bestselling Luxe series, turns her attention to the glittering world of the Roaring 20's in her newest release, Bright Young Things, the first volume in a new series.  

Bright Young Things concentrates on the interlocking stories of three attractive but very different young women, dubbed on the series website "the flapper, the heiress, and the starlet."  Letty Larkspur and Cordelia Grey run away together from their stifling Ohio town to the excitement of New York City.  Letty, a talented singer, dreams of being discovered and having her name in lights, while Cordelia wants to find the father she has never met, an infamous but charismatic gangster and bootlegger.  Cordelia and Letty go their separate ways soon after arriving in New York, but don't worry--twists and turns in the plot that I will not divulge here will bring them together again before the end of the book.

Cordelia's gangster father is delighted when his long-lost daughter walks into his life, and she is quickly enveloped in a life of country clubs, extravagant parties attended by "socialites in feather boas...,gold diggers and gamblers, bankers and bootleggers (what was the difference, really?)", and luxury she could never even have imagined back in Ohio.  Meanwhile Letty gets a job as a cigarette girl, struggling to break into show business.  Alas, her small town innocence makes life even more difficult in the big city, and she must leave her naivete behind her to succeed.  

Cordelia, in the meantime, meets the glamourous Astrid Donal, girlfriend of Cordelia's newfound brother Charlie, who attempts to educate her in the ways of this exciting and dangerous new world she has entered.  In a Romeo and Juliet-like twist, Cordelia meets Thom, an incredibly attractive young man--the son of her father's mortal enemy, and soon she is enmeshed in a forbidden romance.  Godbersen's next volume in the series comes out in 2011, and she leaves us hanging as all three of our young women pursue dangerous paths to their ultimate destiny (which we won't know until the series concludes!)

Godbersen is a master at appealing to her teenage audience.  This new series is filled with the intrigue, romance, and great clothes of the Luxe franchise.  She fills her book with juicy descriptions of this colorful Roaring Twenties period, from luxurious Long Island estates covered with "impossibly green lawns" to seedy boarding houses, to smoky speakeasies filled with flappers.  The book is further complemented by photo essays on each of the main characters on the lively website for her books.  Godbersen's many fans are sure to enjoy this newest series, and it's a good purchase for YA collections at libraries and schools.  

Download sample chapters from the book here.  

1 comment:

Stephanie (Books Are A Girl's Best Friend) said...

I can't wait to read this one as I loved the Luxe. I'm glad you enjoyed it, thanks for the review :)