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Bright Young Things (Bright Young Things #1)

3.66  ·  Rating Details ·  11,244 Ratings  ·  1,371 Reviews
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
Hardcover, 1st Edition, 389 pages
Published October 12th 2010 by Harper (first published October 1st 2010)
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Bright Young Things by Anna GodbersenRevolution by Jennifer DonnellyVixen by Jillian LarkinAnastasia's Secret by Susanne DunlapA Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray
New YA historical fiction in 2010-2011
1st out of 102 books — 437 voters
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Best Book Covers for 2010
74th out of 346 books — 3,248 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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I just finished binge-watching Peaky Blinders, and I just re-read, and was once again disappointed by, The Great Gatsby. I picked this book up because I wanted to read something, anything, set in the 1920s. It didn’t even have to be well-researched or well-written; it just needed to prolong my foray into the world of bootleggers and speakeasies.

I have to admit that I was a bit dubious when I first spied the cover. I mean, come on, a beautiful flapper girl in an ephemeral dress, wearing a Mona L
Carol Storm
Nov 03, 2014 Carol Storm rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Spoiled rich girls, masochists, zombies
It Sucks! It Sucks! My God how this book sucks!!!!

The Twenties are my favorite time period, and F. Scott Fitzgerald is my favorite writer. So I totally get the idea of setting a fast-paced, sexy story in New York City in the Twenties, and focusing on the schemes and dreams of three "flappers" who are each chasing a different desire.

But . . . but . . . you need to have warm, likable characters. And a believable plot. And sexy boys. And you need a setting that's realistic and fascinating and deta
Jan 11, 2011 ALPHAreader rated it it was amazing
On the up and up...

‘Bright Young Things’ is the first book in Anna Godbersen’s new four-book series, set in 1929 Manhattan. The series will revolve around three young women...

Cordelia Grey leaves behind the small town of Union, Ohio and her new husband for the bright lights of New York City and an inkling that her estranged father can be found in the big apple.

Letitia Haubstadt is Cordelia’s best friend, and another Union-native leaving her indifferent family and small-minded town for the bright
Nov 05, 2010 Kristi rated it really liked it
I've been anticipating this novel, since I first heard the rumors of it's existence. Bright Young Things did not disappoint! I'm a huge fan of Godbersen's Luxe series, but Bright Young Things now tops it.

The story revolves around three young girls. Letty, Cordelia and Astrid. You will love them! One of the things that I loved most about this novel was how very well written each character was. They all had very distinct qualities. Qualities that led them down very differing paths! I would even go
Jan 26, 2011 Gemma rated it really liked it
I kind of hate liking Anna Godbersen's books as much as I do.

I mean, they're just not... good. No depth, no substance, no character development. Nothing, really. And yet, somehow I'm drawn into all of them, and can't put them down...

Bright Young Things was written in the same style as the Luxe. Starts out with a forboding prologue, then alternating between several characters who are each screwing up their sparkling, carefree lives in different ways. One of them could be considered 'poor' but she
After tackling a graphic horror novel, I was in the mood for something easily digestible. Combine that with a recent binge at Borders' liquidation sale, & presto -- the perfect chance to start Ms Godbersen's new series.

The plot is fairly straight-forward; in fact, the tidiest summary comes courtesy the cover blurb, so read that if you're still in the dark. :P But for those who are familiar with THE LUXE series, BYT's style & overall flavor are similar. I was hoping for a cameo from some
Crystal Starr Light
That is what I want to tell you about: the girls with their short skirts and bright eyes and big-city dreams. The girls of 1929

Cordelia Grey and long-time best friend, Letty "Larkspur", flee their boring, sleepy Ohio town and head to New York City. Their reasons for leaving differ: Cordelia longs to meet the father she never knew and Letty wants to see her name in lights. Meanwhile, Astrid Donal is a sparkling socialite, but not everything in her life is perfect, particularly when it comes to he
Stacia (the 2010 club)
For most of the book, I was bound and determined to give it 3 stars. I was alright with the story but not overly impressed. The characters were fine, but I'm still partial to Diana and Henry from this author's other series The Luxe.

Then, the last 75 pages hooked me from out of nowhere. I should have known that Godberson was going to pull the rabbit out of the hat. After all, nothing should shock me now after the complete emotional rollercoaster that Luxe took me on.

Who is Thom? Is he good or bad
May 22, 2012 Ariana rated it it was ok
Well, I agonized over giving this 1 or 3 stars, and eventually settled on 2. The book has serious pros and cons. While I wasn't expecting much to begin with, I WAS expecting something compulsively readable, soap opera-ish, glam. Bright Young Things was that, but I was also expecting better heroines.

Expectation: spunky, tough-yet-beautiful, street-smart, forward-thinking flappers

Reality: whiny deluded DUMB AS FUCK teenagers who continually get themselves (and anyone and everyone who is so unfort
Oct 29, 2010 Jen rated it it was amazing
Wow. WoW. WOW.

I want to be a flapper. Right now. With the fringe and the headbands and the pearls and the feathers. I want to smoke (candy) cigarettes out of impossibly long holders and attend late night parties with jazz bands and not wake up 'til 2pm.

That would be an awesome life. But it's not mine, so I'll opt to live vicariously through three fictitious beauties--Cordelia, Astrid, and Letty.

I adored this book. I've not read Godbersen's Luxe series, but you're darn straight that I'm gonna
OK, so I've gotta be totally honest here. I didn't really like this nearly as much as I thought I would. Not that it was bad, but I've been loving on the Luxe series, so I had high hopes for this one, set at the peak of the roaring '20s. All the detail is there: the speakeasies, the drinking, the dancing, the music, the naivete, the ennui, the glamour, the grime, and...did I mention the drinking? Yeah, there's a lot of drinking. And sleeping til the wee hours of the afternoon. So that's all fine ...more
Jul 06, 2011 Reynje rated it did not like it
Expectations: I thought this would be an entertaining read. A consuming piece of escapism. I like historical fiction and I was really looking forward to Godbersen’s take on the 1920s.


Reality: Honestly, I struggled with the writing in this book. The idea was fine, I just don’t feel like it was executed as well as it could have been. I frequently found myself stumbling over awkward turns of phrase and clunky descriptions, to the point where I would stop reading to think, “Wait, what?” and have
Jessica (Goldenfurpro)
This and other reviews can be found on The Psychotic Nerd


After reading Rumors, the second book in The Luxe series by the same author, I was worried about this book. What I learned from Rumors was that Anna Godbersen isn't afraid to tear apart your heart. I went ahead and picked it up, knowing what may come, and I actually ended up enjoying this book a little bit more than The Luxe series.

This book is from three perspectives: Cordelia, Letty and Astrid. Cordelia and
May 13, 2012 Kristy rated it liked it
Shelves: historical
From the moment I started this, I could 100% tell it was written by the same author as the luxe series. I'm not saying that is a bad thing, anna godberson knows her niche. I would have liked to see her write a book from just one point of view. This book along with the luxe novels have too many similialarities. i.e. 2-3 young society girls telling the story, a ton of the story revolves around a boy, her writing style, the lack of emotional depth, etc. I know it sounds like I hated the book, I rea ...more
Wendy Darling
FREE for Kindle right now as a pre-order, with bonus materials that include (hah!) flapper fashion tips. Looks like the deal is over.

Visit my blog for the link to the free download. :)
Mar 11, 2012 Katya rated it it was ok
I'm sincerely perplexed by all the stellar reviews this book is getting... perhaps some people need to read Fitzgerald for comparison. Once again I'm glad that I get new books from the library and don't just snap up every novel that gets a little buzz. I'd have been angry if I'd spent any money on this book.

The idea isn't bad. It's The Great Gatsby for 21st century YA readers. Unfortunately, it's been watered down for modern palates, rendering the luscious Jazz Age tinny and cheap. Cordelia and
Jan 16, 2011 Janssen rated it it was ok
Nowhere NEAR as good as The Luxe. This book made me want to strangle someone. Preferably all the willfully stupid female characters ("What's that Dad? Don't date the son of your most dangerous business enemy? But he's nice. Also, there can't be any harm in showing him our very secret tunnel out of the mansion.")
Aug 10, 2010 Laurie rated it it was amazing
SOOOOOO excited to find out that Anna is releasing a new series. I LOVE reading about the past and times before me!!! Im sure this series will be just as great as The Luxe series.. hopefully with a better ending this time.
"The parties were bigger. The pace was faster, the shows were broader, the buildings were higher, the morals were looser and the liquor was cheaper."- F. Scott Fitzgerald

Setting:Union, Ohio and New York City, New York; 1929

Coverly Love?:Yes! The whole "girl wearing a pretty dress" cover has been a bit overdone, but I absolutely love this dress. And I also like the fact that I know who the character is (it's Astrid!).

Plot:Desperate to get out of their sleepy, dull hometown of Union, Ohio, Corde
Anna Banana
Dec 15, 2014 Anna Banana rated it really liked it
Omg after all this time of searching and trying to figure out what book Goodreads deleted off my 'Read' shelf, I've finally found it!!! What the hell Goodreads?! Why would you just randomly take books off my shelves?!

I don't remember much about this book and I'm pretty sure I wrote a review but once again, thanks Goodreads for taking that away as well. I've always loved and had a fascination with the Roaring 20s and I remember loving that this book was set during that time period.

I completely
Page (One Book At A Time)
I was super excited for this one. I really liked The Luxe series, so was hoping this would have the same appeal. While, there are some similarities with the stories, I felt this one didn't have quite the same draw to it.

Oddly I had a harder time getting to know the characters. I liked Cordelia in the beginning, although I think that she should have left before and not after the wedding. But once they reached the NYC, it seemed her whole personality changed. I was shocked that she could drop Lett
YA Reads Book Reviews
Jan 18, 2011 YA Reads Book Reviews rated it really liked it
Shelves: christina
Originally featured on

Rated 4.5

If there was ever a book to make you feel glamorous just by reading it, then Bright Young Things by Anna Godbersen is it.

Set in New York in 1929 during the last summer of the Roaring 20s, the story follows the trials and tribulations of Letty Larkspur, Astrid Donal and Cordelia Grey. Godbersen wastes no time in hooking our attention by stating in the first three pages that by the end of the summer one girl will be married, one will be a star and one wil
Kelly Aley
Feb 15, 2011 Kelly Aley rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sab H.  (YA Bliss)
Jan 01, 2011 Sab H. (YA Bliss) rated it really liked it
This was a delightful story to read. Anna Godbersen's writing is poetic and rich, letting the story flow from different perspectives in a carefully descriptive, dreamy way. Set in 1929, during Prohibition, this story will illustrate vividly a historical period marked by parties and glamour. The writing was incredibly atmospheric, I felt myself transported back in time, becoming a part of Cordelia and Letty's adventure.

I did feel sometimes that the story was heavy in details, letting the pace slo
Kat (Lost in Neverland)
Jul 26, 2013 Kat (Lost in Neverland) rated it liked it
Shelves: 1920-s

This was going to be a four star for me, but the last 50 pages just killed it.

It's 1929. Cordelia and Letty live in a sleepy, restricting town in Ohio, where they're either ignored completely or insulted and ridiculed for wanting something different. So the two friends make the decision to run away from it all, to take a train to New York City, where flappers and bootleggers rule the night.
Letty dreams of being a star, to sing in front of large crowds and see her name up in lights.
Cordelia, o
I've never been a very avid young adult reader. The genre bothers me and I feel annoyed when I see young mines burrowed into a book with nothing to teach them. (Hate me if you wish, it's quite alright.) But Anna Godbersen's novels have always made me want to read them, and for many reasons. needless to say when I heard of her release of a new series I was eager to pick it up and eager to read it. Now that I've finished it, I'm reminded once again of her powerful writing style.

First of, Anna Godb
Mar 29, 2011 Amna rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 20, 2011 Lisa rated it really liked it
Shelves: penguin
Originally posted at Read Me Bookmark Me Love Me

With an air of sophistication and grandeur, a mysterious narrator firstly prepares readers for a tale about three young girls. Each have a different dream: one wishes to become famous, one wishes to be married and one wishes to find her family. In the lush 1920's, the roles of women were changing and Bright Young Things is a magnificent telling of the difficult journey three friends take to make something of themselves in the real world.

On the nigh
Kristen "Kirby"
Mar 12, 2011 Kristen "Kirby" rated it liked it
I've always been interested in the 1920s. The speakeasies, the flappers, the liquor-smuggling all sounds so mysterious, so intriguing. So no surprise: Bright Young Things was a must read for me..especially because I adored Anna Godbersen's Luxe series. However, I didn't love this as much as I had hoped...

Bright Young Things was less about the Flapper lifestyle than I had expected. It was more about girls trying to make it in NYC, and they attended a few speakeasies along the way.
Tori Stuckey
Jun 16, 2013 Tori Stuckey rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Free for Kindle! 1 30 Sep 25, 2011 11:47PM  
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  • County Line
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  • Ten Cents a Dance
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Anna Godbersen was born in Berkeley, California, and educated at Barnard College. She currently lives in Brooklyn with her husband.
More about Anna Godbersen...

Other Books in the Series

Bright Young Things (3 books)
  • Beautiful Days (Bright Young Things, #2)
  • The Lucky Ones (Bright Young Things, #3)

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“Love is all right, as things go, but lovers can be a terrible waste of a girl's time.” 133 likes
“It is easy to forget now, how effervescent and free we all felt that summer.” 79 likes
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