Bright Young Things by Anna Godbersen
Series: Bright Young Things # 1
Description: 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....Review: I love Anna Godbersen. I read the Luxe series (before I started reviewing books) and I fell head over heels with them. The covers were GORGEOUS and the characters were FLAWLESS and BEAUTIFULLY DAMAGED. That was also the first series I ever finished that I was not happy with the ending. (Don't get me wrong, it was a great finish, but my pairing didn't get together and I was so pissed.) Anna also exposed me to good historical fiction. I was fed up with historical fiction. Most of it was too serious and just lame, but when I picked up the Luxe, I died. It was incredible.
I've wanted to read this book forever, but I could never get into it. I read 200 pages of it, and then grew bored. And that's a shame, because it was so exciting the second time I picked it up. Granted, I started re-reading this during Hurricane Sandy, so anything was exciting. (I'm fine, my house is fine, Staten Island is....rebuilding.) What also drew me to this book and series was my fascination with The Great Gatsby. I read it my junior year and was completely enthralled with flappers and the 1920's. If your book has anything to do with the 1920's, romance, and teens, I'm sold. I'm not even joking.
Bright Young Things tells the tales of three girls that contribute to the frivolous lifestyle of New York in the 1920's. There's Cordelia Grey, who is looking for her father, the famous bootlegger, Darius Grey. Cordelia came to New York with Letty, who aspires to be a singer. And then there's Astrid, who grew up in the New York scene and befriends Cordelia.
I can't make up my mind who was my favorite. Cordelia was very ambitious, and she was the more outgoing of the two girls (her and Letty). I supported the decisions she made, but she got too caught up in the drama and the atmosphere of New York, and it got the better of her. Same for Letty. Letty works as a cigarette girl, who later sings one night. And the wrong person noticed her. And she fell for his tricks.
And then there's Astrid, who knows how to work the game, but she's a naive girl. She felt her boyfriend, Charlie, who was also Cordelia's brother, was cheating on her, and a vast majority of the book is spent describing Astrid's distrust of Charlie. I just pity these girls, because they let the world really take advantage of them. The ending, though, was very hopeful, and opened up a lot of doors for the sequel.
I liked Letty the most, though. She had the most struggle between the three girls. She worked throughout the book, and learned the tricks of the New York bars. I liked seeing her small-town reactions to everything- men groping her, making money, putting on red lipstick. It was like witnessing a dog viewing his reflection for the first time.
I liked the interactions between characters. The drama, the suspense, the "uhh mom!!!" moments of the book really reminded me of Gossip Girl and a little bit like Arrested Development (Well, mostly the family issues) .I could feel every smirk, every left-handed comment, every growl. It was lovely.
As for content of the book, I loved it. I was absorbed from page one.I fully expected this, however, because I reacted positively to the Luxe series. The detail in this book was striking because I pictured the chapters as if I was watching it on TV. And it didn't feel forced like some historical fiction novels are. Godbersen wrote this novel as if she lived through this time, and it was so fluid and honest.
The only negative thing I have is the ending, in a way. I liked how all three girls storied connected, but the thing with the pilot was so random. It felt like the ending of Lord of the Flies, like she was rushing it? And then after she wrote that scene, she was like, "Wait, I have a better idea!" and wrote the awesome ending of the book. Or perhaps it was because I skimmed it before my Poli-Sci class this morning and wasn't paying attention to details.
Overall, this was a really short review, but I loved Bright Young Things and will definitely try to pick up the next two in the series. Fans of flappers, romance, and girls getting their dreams crushed will absolutely love this one.
"There was so much of everything- the headlights coming at them and the thousands of windows above, which held little flickering scenes from lives she would never know anything about."-Bright Young Things//Anna Godbersen