Monday, 10 January 2011

Review: Bright Young Things - Anna Godbersen

Published: January 6th 2011, Puffin
Pages: 389 pages, paperback
Series?: Yes, Beautiful Days is due out in September 2011 (US release date, I think)
Acquired: Sent for review

Summary (from Goodreads): 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.
Across the vast lawns of Long Island, in the illicit speakeasies of Manhattan, and on the blindingly lit stages of Broadway, the three girls' fortunes will rise and fall—together and apart.

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Luxe comes an epic new series set in the dizzying last summer of the Jazz Age.

My review: I was excited to read Bright Young Things as the Jazz Age is something that’s always interested me but I’ve never learned much about – to be honest my main knowledge of the 1920’s is concealed within the vintage flapper dress I bought a few years ago! I immediately fell in love with the gorgeous cover and I’d heard a lot of my fellow bloggers raving about the Luxe series so I started this one with high expectations.

I was sold on Bright Young Things as soon as I read the prologue and saw Godbersen’s glorious use of one of my all time favourite ones ‘effervescent’ in the opening line. What a brilliant word. From then on, I was hooked.

Bright Young Things is additive. It draws you in and wraps itself around you. I found myself thinking about it at work, while I was walking the dog, in the shower. From beginning to end it was in my thoughts and, for me, that’s the sign of a really great story. I genuinely cared about Letty, Cordelia and Astrid (all gorgeous, gorgeous names) and thought all three of them were great, fleshed out characters.

Each of the girls has their own subplot that unfurls as the novel progresses and they each had individual traits that stopped them blurring into one. I did have a bit of soft spot for Letty and her quest to stand out in a city already filled with shining stars.

The detail in Bright Young Things is exquisite and really made the book great. As I said before, my knowledge of the 1920’s isn’t all that vast but I really felt like Godbersen created a rich, real world that it was so easy to be enchanted by. I could hear the husky voices in the jazz clubs, I could smell the cigarette smoke and I can’t wait to get lost again when Beautiful Days comes out later this year!

First line: ‘It is easy to forget now, how effervescent and free we all felt that summer.’

Read if you liked…: The Luxe series – Anna Godbersen

Plot: 4/5
Writing: 4/5
Characters: 4/5
Cover: 5/5 (I really love this cover!)
Total: 17/20 (A)

Author’s website
Goodreads page


  1. I really liked this book, glad you did too :) I wasn't a fan of the Luxe series *cough* but this one is a lot better in my opinion

  2. I loved this one - and agree the names are all great!


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