Bright Young Things by Anna Godbersen
|Bright Young Things by Anna Godbersen|
|Reviewer: Robert James|
|Summary: While it seems to be being hyped as Gossip Girl 1929, this is a gorgeous novel which would be better described as a young adult version of the Great Gatsby. Three intriguing central characters, great descriptions of New York in the Roaring Twenties, and Anna Godberson's beautiful writing style mean this is one to savour.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 400||Date: January 2011|
Right from the fantastic prologue, which tells us this is the story of the girls with their short skirts and bright eyes and big-city dreams, this is a book which had me completely and utterly hooked straight away. Cordelia Gray and her friend Letty Haubstadt run away from their small hometown in Ohio just after Cordelia's wedding, Letty determined to become a star in New York while Cordelia seeks the infamous bootlegger Darius Grey, convinced he's her father. Meanwhile, in the Big Apple itself, flapper Astrid Donal wants to get her boyfriend Charlie to commit to her but isn't sure if she can trust him. This first book in the Bright Young Things series follows the three girls over a few weeks which will change all of their lives.
The first thing that hit me about this book is the quality of the writing, which is even more seductive than the stunning cover. In the very first paragraph of the actual story, after that wonderful prologue, Godberson describes Cordelia's eyes as the sweet translucent brown of Coca-Cola in a glass and continues throughout with vivid descriptions that bring the three heroines to life sparklingly and really capture the feel of the Roaring Twenties perfectly. As you'd expect from a book set in this place and time, there are plenty of speakeasies, bootleggers, grand parties, and socialites, and with the forbidden love that one of the main characters finds, the circles they move in, and the way events spiral out of control to an inevitably sad ending, it really did remind me of a Great Gatsby with teenage protagonists.
But while it's the writing and setting that drew me in, it's the storyline that held my attention brilliantly. Or, rather, the three separate storylines, as we alternate between the three different girls chapter-by-chapter, with Cordelia and Astrid meeting quite early on and Letty's tale standing by itself for much of the novel. All three are great stories, packed with excitement, and told at a breathtakingly fast pace – if anything the events may be coming a bit too quickly for some readers, but I got so caught up in reading that I didn't really notice how much was packed into a few short weeks until I'd finished the book. We also get to see two different sides of New York, the grand circles Astrid and Cordelia mix in and the sleazier side of life that Letty finds herself wading through.
All in all, a fantastic start to a new series and I really can't wait for the follow-up, especially since the prologue to this one tells us that long before the Thirties roll around, one of our heroines will be famous, one will be married, and one will be dead – I have my thoughts over who will meet which fate but am on tenterhooks waiting to find out if I'm right. Really strong recommendation!
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.
Further reading suggestion: Even though it's set firmly in the present day, I think that I'd Tell You I Love You But Then I'd Have To Kill You by Ally Carter is another series that fans of Bright Young Things would probably love - there's a similar mixture of action and romance and more hugely appealing central characters.
You can read more book reviews or buy Bright Young Things by Anna Godbersen at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
You can read more book reviews or buy Bright Young Things by Anna Godbersen at Amazon.com.
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