Saturday, 8 January 2011

Bright Young Things by Anna Godberson

6th January 2011, Razorbill 
389 pages, Paperback
Review copy

Young Adult

Teen romance (occasional moderate description), runaways, New York's underworld, elite criminals, family lost and found, friendships forged and broken, wealthy lives, deception, lies, deceit, compassion, life lessons learned

Summary from Penguin 

It's 1929 and Letty Larkspur and Cordelia Grey have escaped their small Midwestern town to chase big dreams and even bigger secrets.
Amongst the glittering metropolis of New York City, they meet Astrid Donal, a flapper who has everything she could ever want, except for the one thing Letty and Cordelia have to offer-true friendship.
Set in the dizzying summer before the market crash, against the vast lawns of the glamorous Long Island mansions and on the blindingly lit stages of Broadway, three girls will find scandal, intrigue, and romance. . .

Nayuleska's thoughts
This looked like a fun book. I thought 'some of the girls will be spoilt, do silly things but end up okay because someone will bail them out.' I was both right and wrong. I now see why a fellow reviewer got extremely excited when I said I was reading it. This is awesome! I've never read The Luxe series, and will now add it to my to read list. 

The story follows the girls lives as they cross paths, veer away, then cross again. Initially I thought Cordelia wasn't a nice girl, not since she left her husband hours after they were married. She wasn't the most modest of girls. However, she had a heart of gold when it came to Letty, born of a conservative family, who also ran away. 

That heart of gold disappears when the girls have an argument once their new life in New York takes a downward spiral. I was angry at Cordelia for leaving Letty alone. Letty was very naive. She was cruelly deceived and had her high morals torn away from her. I felt awful when that happened, I felt so ashamed for what she'd lost. She had few street smarts and needed someone to look after her. She only realises the truth too late. Don't worry, the end is more than satisfactory for Letty. 

Cordelia goes on to find her father. I was interested in this part of the story. I loved how she found him, how she used that confidence to get her way into a well guarded party. I admit I had expected there to be obstacles, that she wouldn't be believed or would be imprisoned until her father realised who she was. I was disappointed in this until right at the end of the book, where it made sense why it was so easy. I think in a lot of ways Cordelia ends up being as naive - perhaps more so than Letty. I was shocked at the ending for her - because it wasn't what I expected at all. I had thought that what was in the prologue would happen by the end of the book. It didn't, which has me wondering what will happen next, who will marry, who will die and who will be famous. I thought I'd figured it out, but now I'm not so sure. 

Astrid - reminds me of Cordelia. She is spoilt, gets her own way, does whatever she wants. She's also very lonely, which is why she takes kindly to Cordelia. She helps Cordelia settle into her new life. I think her character grows stronger over the story. All the girls grow in some way or another, but I think Letty grows the most. She learns about life the hard way, but it'll give her a good standing for whatever the future holds. The girls were so bright and vibrant before life hit them with danger. I hope their lives brighten up again some time. 

I love this book :) I love learning about life as a gangster's daughter, how beneath all the smiles and fancy clothes there was the darker side to life. I love learning about a different time era. I loved the huge plot twists which made me cry, I love all three girls (even when I don't like them) because they each have a vibrant personality. I'm definitely looking forward to the sequel.

Final conclusion 
Get a world away to another life with Cordelia, Letty and Astrid's different and entwined lives. The lives of the rich and privileged can be ridden with sadness. 

Be sure to check out more info about Bright Young Things and Anna's other books on her official site.

Suggested reads: It's a different era, but has a similar feel and I love it -The Deception of the Emerald Ring by Lauren Willig  


Vicki said...

There's so many mixed reviews about this book! I'm going to read this sooner I think as I'm so curious about what I'll think!

Nayuleska said...

Really? I haven't seen/heard anything about it, if I'm honest :) I hope you enjoy it!

The Slowest Bookworm said...

I too have heard lots of mixed reviews on this one. I do have it on my bookshelf so I guess I'm just gonna have to read it myself :)

GMR said...

Great review Nayu! As for mixed reviews, to be honest the ones I've heard have all been good, but you each their own. The teaser booklet I read from the book was AWESOME....can't wait to read the rest. Happy reading!

Nayuleska said...

I'm lending it to a colleague to read tomorrow :)