Monday, June 25, 2012

Bright Young Things

Bright Young Things (Bright Young Things, 1) by Anna Godbersen, 2010; 389 pages. Published by Harper Collins. Source: Won.
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.
First Sentence:
It is easy to forget now, how effervescent and free we all felt that summer.
I admit, after reading Bright Young Things I'm finding that my feelings on it are kind of mixed. So I'll try to be as clear as possible on what I did and did not like about it.

There are two things that drew me to wanting to read Bright Young Things: the fact the it was set in the 1920s, and that it was written by by Anna Godbersen whose writing I really enjoy.

One of the things that kept me reading Bright Young Things till the very end was the writing of Ms. Godbersen. With every book of hers I read, I am always very impressed with her ability to completely pull the reader into the world that her characters are dwelling in. You can also tell by her descriptions and how vivid they are that she does her homework on the time periods for which her books are set in.

While I did enjoy the writing I was not a fan of the characters and that them to be rather dense. Which I guess would work out well for Cordelia and Letty since neither one of them would be city savvay. Though I must admit, one of the most vexing points of this book would have to be the "love' interests of the girls. Frankly, they sure picked some losers to fall for. I am sorry if that sounds harsh, but I cannot think of anything good to say about the guys because one was violent and cheated and the other caused the death of one of the girls family members.

Astrid, was- amazingly enough- my favorite of the three girls in this book. I actually didn't think I was going to like her at first because she seemed a bit like a pushover in that she was dating a loser who cheated on her, but as the book progressed you came to see that she had a core of steel.
    Cordelia, was actually a pretty decent character. I was prepared to not like her, but could resist wanting to see her achieve her dream of finding the father she never knew and maybe even finding happiness there. What I didn't like about her though was that she tended, when it came to a certain guy, to let her heart lead her astray even when reason should have told her to run as far and fast as she could away from him.
    Letty, was my least favorite character for many reasons. She was too focused on breaking out of the mold that her father wanted her to be and chasing her dream of being a singer that completely lost sight of what really matters- friends and family. I don't think she would have gotten into nearly as many scrapes as she did if she had not gone off on her own.

While Bright Young Things may not have been exactly up my alley, I did enjoy Ms. Godbersen's writing as usual. Her writing style is one of my favorites to read because she always does such a brilliant job of describing the time periods in which she sets her books and BYT was no exception to that. If the characters had been a little smarter, I would have definitely enjoyed this book a lot more than I did.

The biggest thing that turned me off from truly enjoying Bright Young Things would have to be the characters. They were, to be frank, rather dense and entirely too naive and lacking in worldly experience to be able to survive the "freedom'" that they were chasing in NY.

Final Verdict: Bright Young Things pretty writing, although I'm not too sold on the characters.

Bright Young Things earns 3 out of 5 pineapples.

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