Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Bright Young Things (YA)

Bright Young Things. Anna Godbersen. 2010. HarperCollins. 400 pages.

It is easy to forget now, how effervescent and free we all felt that summer. Everything fades: the shimmer of gold over White Cove; the laughter in the night air; the lavender early morning light on the faces of skyscrapers, which had suddenly become so heroically tall. Every dawn seemed to promise fresh miracles, among other joys that are in short supply these days. And so I will tell you, while I still remember, how it was then, before everything changed--that final season of an era that roared. 

I enjoyed Anna Godbersen's Bright Young Things. It's set in the summer of 1929--the novel actually starts in May--and is told through three narrators. Three young women--three very different young women--with different dreams, hopes, fears, and weaknesses.

Letty Larkspur dreams of fame. She can sing. She can dance. She wants to be a star. She has come to New York City with her very best friend, Cordelia, but one little argument separates these two friends. Now, on her own in a strange city, Letty is finding life challenging--but in a good way, mostly. Can she make it on her own? Can she charm her way into the good life?

Cordelia Grey is running away from home. It's a good thing her best friend, Letty, has always wanted to 'escape' to New York, has always dreamed of being a star. But, to tell the truth, she isn't going to New York to support her best friend in her pursuit of stardom. No, Cordelia has dreams of her own. She wants to find her father. She thinks her father is Darius Grey. An infamous character if ever there was one. (He's in the "import" business. He's taking full advantage of the Prohibition to make his fortune.) Will she find her father welcoming? Will he be happy to see her? Will knowing him change her life for the better? And can she ever hope to get along with her older half-brother, Charlie?

Astrid Donal is Charlie's girlfriend. Though, she claims to love him--and he claims to love her--this isn't the perfect relationship. There are jealousies on both sides, friction and tension. Astrid meets Cordelia on her first night at the mansion. And Astrid takes to her right away--true this distraction gets her out of a difficult argument with Charlie--but the two become good friends very quickly. What does Astrid want most in life? Perhaps not to be like her mother. Astrid is tired of her mother's selfishness. How her mother uses men and their money. There's definitely more to Astrid than what appears. Yes, she's a "flapper." But she's so much more than that.

I enjoyed this one. I liked the setting--the atmosphere. I liked the characters too. It was interesting to see the relationships develop, the story develop. There is romance and mystery and fashion.

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
3) I am not promising anyone (author or publisher) a positive review in exchange for a review copy. That's not how I work.
4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
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