Wednesday, October 20, 2010
YA Wednesday: Bright Young Things by Anna Godbersen
Hello Loyal Servants of the Lit Castle!
Welcome to my meme, YA Wednesday!* This particular book that I am going to review, Bright Young Things by Anna Godbersen,is special to me, because I won it in a Goodreads contest.** And, to tell you the truth, even though it was exciting to win it, I initially wasn't all too thrilled with the book that I received. BUT, you can not always judge a book by its cover, or even its synopsis-you have to soak your mind into the pages in order to note either its beauty, its ugliness, or that murky place in between. This book was a beauty, and I will tell you why after the synopsis:
"The year is 1929. New York is ruled by the Bright Young Things: flappers and socialites seeking thrills and chasing dreams in the anything-goes era of the Roaring Twenties.
Letty Larkspur and Cordelia Grey escaped their small Midwestern town for New York's glittering metropolis. All Letty wants is to see her name in lights, but she quickly discovers Manhattan is filled with pretty girls who will do anything to be a star. . . .
Cordelia is searching for the father she's never known, a man as infamous for his wild parties as he is for his shadowy schemes. Overnight, she enters a world more thrilling and glamorous than she ever could have imagined—and more dangerous. It's a life anyone would kill for . . . and someone will.
The only person Cordelia can trust is Astrid Donal, a flapper who seems to have it all: money, looks, and the love of Cordelia's brother, Charlie. But Astrid's perfect veneer hides a score of family secrets.
Across the vast lawns of Long Island, in the illicit speakeasies of Manhattan, and on the blindingly lit stages of Broadway, the three girls' fortunes will rise and fall—together and apart. From the New York Times bestselling author of The Luxe comes an epic new series set in the dizzying last summer of the Jazz Age."
Although a good summary, it didn't pique my interest at first glance. This is probably because I usually don't prefer historical fiction, and this one sounded somewhat cliche. But, once I got into the book, I loved it. I would define it as a vague cross between Gossip Girl and Pretty Little Liars set in the Jazz Age, with some unique aspects thrown in. We have Letty Larkspur, the sweet, shy girl who fantasizes about stardom; Cordelia Grey, a virtual orphan until she happens upon the father that she has long searched for; and Astrid Donal, whose lifestyle is luxurious and seemingly perfect. The way that these girls' lives intertwine bring scandals and thrills, and it made for a great story.
Of course, much of the content in this book wasn't anything new-themes of aspiring stardom and dark secrets and such, but what set it apart was Anna Godbersen's exquisite, sophisticated prose that was believably old-fashioned (I have read a number of historical novels where the voice faltered into a more modern tone) and interesting characters. Even though the characters aren't exactly role models (for example, Astrid has no problem flirting with other guys even when in a relationship with someone else, and maybe even cheat), but they were fascinating on the whole, and forced my fingers to keep turning the pages. There were also sharp, exhilarating plot twists that made my heart race, something that I did NOT expect. And the CLIFFHANGERS! I adored them-it makes me crave the next novel in this series so that I can learn a bit more about the secrets that were strongly hinted at in BYT. It was also incredibly interesting to learn more about the 1920's-it seems like it was an exciting time to live in, laden with secrets and mystery. I was bewitched by this novel, and I can't wait until the sequel.
Overall: 4 Stars
Question: Did you read Bright Young Things? What is your opinion? I would love to hear about it!
And, one more thing. You heard me mentioning the sequel; well, I have discovered a bit of information about it; it's not much, only little pieces to whet your appetite. The sequel is called Beautiful Days, and here is the cover (sorry, I could only find one that's super-tiny):
It's supposed to be depicting Cordelia Grey. Aren't you excited? I am.
Until the next review,
The synopsis was taken from Harper Teen's official website, and the cover from the book's official website.
*Feel free to take part in my YA Wednesday meme, as long as you link it back to Lit Castle in the Clouds!
**Even though I received this book from Goodreads, I was in no way influenced or compensated by them. My thoughts are entirely my own.