Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Book Review: Bright Young Things by Anna Godberson (Blog Tour)


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.


The Short Version:
Elegant and charming, Bright Young Things does a remarkable job of blending a period-realistic setting with an intricate plot and well defined characters. Despite having three central characters, not one girl outshines the others in terms of strength and presence. With plenty of shocking twists, and a very well wrapped up ending, this one is definitely one that can reach a range of readers, even those that aren’t big on historical fiction.

The Extended Version:
Cordelia is the girl we meet first, having a very striking mentality and personality from the start. She holds herself proudly and has an innate bravery that carries her through plenty of situations, both good and bad. She is intelligent and perceptive, while still holding certain naiveties that come with her upbringing on Ohio. As the story progresses, Cordelia makes excellent strides in development without losing the inner roots that shone from the start.

Letty is almost an opposite of Cordelia, her best friend and the person she leaves Ohio with for New York. Their differences draw strength from each other, but the way they really step up when they aren’t together help build both girls’ overall characters. Letty has her moments of weakness, and some flaws, but overall, she is the most likable and relatable character of the three.

Astrid is very different from the other two, given her different upbringing and views. She is very self assured, almost full of herself, while still holding some vulnerabilities that show up at just the right moment to put her on a level the reader can understand. There is a more brash note to Astrid, partly given her flapper ways, and also from something inherent in her.

Notably is the way the story lines for all three girls weave together, while still holding separate notes. The transitions between them are seamless, with some paths crossing and others diverging. No one girl gets too much attention at a time to wash out the others, or make their story lines easy to forget. The supporting cast of characters are also well fleshed out, each with a clear role, rather than simply being there to be there, despite the range in social status and personalities.

The way the three girls push through the events of the book, with some outcomes better than others, is a large driving plot of this book. Close to adulthood but still teenagers, these girls most definitely make some poor decisions, and the sequence of events that comes from them keep the story moving at a steady pace. From forbidden romance to trying to make it in the acting business, there are plenty of things that relate to the current times, even in the 1929s setting. There is mystery and intrigue, and plenty of intensity and emotion, making this book something that can hit across a range of readers.

With settings that range from speakeasies to well to do country clubs, the full experience of the Flapper era is brought vividly to life. The writing is elegant and indicative of the times, but smoothly bridges the gap to hold an element of modernism that makes it easy to read and engaging. Closing out the book is the overall story arc, which well described and intricate, and well paced.

Source: Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review
Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins; 1 edition (October 12, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 006196266X
ISBN-13: 978-0061962660


  1. I'm planning to read this for the YA Historical Fiction challenge. It sounds great - awesome review!

  2. I own this book, but I just haven't gotten around to it. I've heard that it's better that her Luxe series. Great review!

  3. Hi buddy, I want to show gratitude for writing such a good feature article, really will support me out
    in frequent ways…

  4. I really want this book. Especially because she's coming to Houston in January.

  5. Ooh, five stars!!! I LIKE THIS RATING.

    Guess I´ll be buying this book once I come back from vacation ;)

  6. Seems like you had a great time reading it :d

    I'll add it to my wishlist , cuz the cover is gorgeous :D