The Compulsive Reader: Bright Young Things by Anna Godbersen

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Bright Young Things by Anna Godbersen

It's 1929 and Cordelia Grey is headed straight into a marriage that will effectively trap her in her sleepy Ohio town for the rest of her life. Her dream is to make it to New York City, where she was born, and find her long-lost father. So on her wedding night, she runs away with her best friend Letty, an aspiring singer, to New York. There Cordelia finds glamour and danger, her father, and a new friend in Astrid Donal, a rich and beautiful flapper in love with Cordelia's brother. And Letty finds that fame isn't as easy to achieve as she thought, and becoming a star might take more than she's willing to give.

Like she did with her Luxe series, Anna Godbersen makes historical New York City come alive in Bright Young Things. Alternating between the points of view of her three main characters, she perfectly captures the excitement, glitz, and danger of the Jazz Age. Cordelia seems to be the most prominent character, and she is a fascinating study in her bold words and confident acts, but she is still vulnerable to getting her heart broken and sometimes struggles with guilt. Astrid is glamorous and her relationships are complicated and troubled, but she really doesn't stand out as a character. Letty, on the other hand, may not always be the most likable of the three girls, and she is naive, but she also possesses a surprising amount of courage and strength, and readers will love her spirit and heart.

Bright Young Things has plenty of drama, but it doesn't seem quite as trivial as the problems plaguing characters in The Luxe and other stories about high society girls. The Prohibition era, bootleggers, speakeasies, and shady dealings provide an undercurrent of danger, and the impending stock market crash seems to make this book a little more serious. There is just something about this story and the brave characters attempting to make their way in a city that belongs to men who would take advantage of them that will hook readers and leave them hanging, eager to see how the summer of 1929 will pan out for these three bright young things.

Cover Comments: When I first saw this cover, I was struck by how perfect it was--the model, the pose, the clothes, the font. It's just so late twenties/early thirties! I adore it, and I can't wait to see how HarperTeen will be able to top it in the sequel!

Review copy provided by publisher.


Anonymous said...

I finally got this book last week! I still need to read it but you're right, the cover is lovely (I got the PB edition from UK!!)

I think the cover for the second book has begun to circulate somewhere, at least, I'm pretty sure I've seen it.
I remember a girl with a flower on her hair...

Anyway, thanks for the review, you got me really excited about the book

Katie said...

I just read this earlier this week, and I loved it so much! I haven't read her Luxe series, but I plan to now, for sure.

Unknown said...

I am so excited to read this book it looks so good.