Bright Young Things
by Anna Godbersen
Rating: PG-13; 3 ½ stars
Summary: Cordelia Grey and Letty Larkspur are leaving boring Union, Ohio for the glitz and glam of New York City in 1929. Astrid Dolan is already living a life of ease in NYC, and is in no great hurry to leave it. Once in New York, Cordelia sets off to seek her long-lost father, and winds up befriending Astrid in the process. Letty seeks for fame on the stage. Before the end of that summer, all three girls will find themselves in over their heads and in need of each other more than ever.
Opinions: First of all, the writing in this book is really well done. Godbersen has quite a bit of skill in crafting beautiful sentences. I just wish that could have carried more into the plot. Now, don't get me wrong—I really did enjoy this book, but it was almost more of a guilty pleasure. Everything seemed to come too easily for the thee main characters. SPOILER: The day they arrive in New York, Cordelia finds her father, who it turns out is a fabulously wealthy bootlegger. END SPOILER That being said, I found the book really hard to put down by the end. The book really drew me into the time period, although I have always felt like I was a flapper in a former life. :) I enjoyed the nods to Romeo and Juliet, as well as the possible nods to The Great Gatsby. I really wouldn't hesitate to recommend this book anyone who wants a light read, and I would really recommend it as a good beach read. But, for the reader looking for more substance, this isn't really the book. It has its moments, but I just found a lot of the plot to be really convenient, from a writer's perspective.
I have a feeling that this book is part of a series, or will at least have a sequel. This is partly due to something from the prologue that is never wrapped up, and also partly due to the note the book ended on. It didn't have the finality I was looking for, although perhaps that's what Godbersen was aiming for. It's possible that there is no sequel or series, and Godbersen just wanted an open-ended, unsatisfying ending. The nature of the book is such that it could go either way.
I gave this book 3 ½ stars, because although I really enjoyed it, I couldn't get over the ease with which her characters arrived at their circumstances. Though it definitely didn't stop me from reading, the convenience of it all bothered me. As for PG-13, I'd say this is a light PG-13. It has no swearing that I can recall, but there is some sexual content. It's nothing graphic, but characters are having sex, and the reader is aware of it. There is also some violence towards the end.
In general, this was an enjoyable book. It has its weaknesses, but nothing so glaring that the book can't be enjoyed anyway, particularly by someone who is just looking for a light read.