Bright Young Things by Anna Godbersen

I don't know what it is about Anna Godbersen's novels, but they simply have the best covers and the best titles an author could ask for. Easily capturing the excess and intrigue of turn of the century New York in her Luxe series, she has now turned her attention to the liberating Jazz Age in her latest, Bright Young Things.

In 1929 hundreds of girls make their way to New York City from all across the nation for different reasons. For small town beauty Letty Larkspur, that means a chance at fame and fortune and hopes of seeing her name in lights. But Letty would have never gotten on that train from Ohio to New York if her best friend Cordelia Grey had not planned their escape. Throughout her entire life, Cordelia has lived under the shadow of her self-righteous and overbearing aunt with the one dream: traveling to New York to reunite with her real father. Although once they actually arrive, these naive farm girls find a city full of flappers, booze and men with less than impure intentions ready to swallow them whole. By pure luck, Cordelia becomes fast friends with the stunning yet jaded Astrid Donal who is everything the girls dream of becoming. Wealthy and beautiful, Astrid seems to have it all but in reality this debutante has no ambition beyond the next party or her next beautiful dress. All three possess qualities that could make them into stars of one kind or another yet it remains to be seen where these bright young things will end up.

Oh my word. What incredibly dishy, fun reads Anna Godbersen's novels are! Her books simply are my definition of a guilty pleasure. And what a fabulous way to indulge. The prose of Bright Young Things is breezy yet full of underlying tension and her characters are simply stunning. Even though Cordelia, Letty, and Astrid are three vastly distinct personalities with their own demons to conquer they are what make this book truly shine.

Cordelia (who is by far my favorite) has spent her entire life under the shadow of her disapproving aunt, yet she is determined to get exactly what she wants out of life. Nothing fazes this girl. She's got the nerve to wear red to a white-dress only exclusive country club and never spares a thought for the social consequences. Honestly, I didn't lose any sleep over her ability to come out on top - but I can't say the same for naive little Letty. I truly worry about that girl. She's got a buckets to learn about being an independent flapper and I just hope she figures it out before something truly bad happens to her.

As for Astrid... well, I'm torn. While she does show a few glimpses of being able to take control of her future beyond the selection of her next party dress, girl spends an inordinate amount of time brushing her hair. And sighing. And being bored. Not exactly attractive qualities but that's not to say I'm not curious. She's got an intriguing past with potential galore so she goes on my 'to-watch' list for sure.

Each girl has a complicated history and a definite future. I'm ready the sequel Beautiful Days now, please.

series reading order:
~ Bright Young Things
~ Beautiful Days (September 2011)

Because Everyone Likes a Second Opinion:
The Book Scout review
The Book Smugglers review
Forever Young Adult review
Inkcrush review
The Story Siren review

book source: The Teen {Book} Scene book tour


Sandy Nawrot said...

You know, I brought home the first Luxe book from the library, but my daughter (who is 12) was eye-balling it so I turned it back in before I'd read it. I had read from other reviews that while it was a great read for adults, it was a little over-the-top for young teens. I am wondering if this new series is just as edgy...

Annette Mills said...

Loved the Luxe books, haven't read this one yet, but I can't wait. I saw you mentioned on Angieville's post about top 5 book blogs, and had to check you out. I'm a new follower! Really enjoyed your reviews.

Michelle said...

Sandy - Yeah, the Luxe books might just be a little too much for a 12 year old. This one definitely did not have the same emphasis on sex (only one vague encounter is briefly mentioned), but obviously drinking is a big part of the book. Let me know if you have more questions, I'd be happy to go into more detail if needed.

Annette - Thanks for stopping by! I'm always happy to see new faces around here and couldn't love Angie's blog more.