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Bright Young Things

(Bright Young Things #1)

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  12,527 ratings  ·  1,454 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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Average rating 3.64  · 
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 ·  12,527 ratings  ·  1,454 reviews

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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
Jan 09, 2012 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
Sep 13, 2010 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
Feb 13, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
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
Sarah Mac
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 of the (
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 11, 2012 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
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
Briar's Reviews
I have been yearning to read Bright Young Things for YEARS. I saw this cover and fell in love (yeah, yeah... don't judge a book by it's cover... but it's so PRETTY) and knew I had to read it. If you add in all the other factors of this book: 1920s, New York, Gatsby references and some excellent YA nostalgia, you've got me!

This book felt like a YA through and through. Love triangles, overly dramatic characters, daddy issues, mommy issues, lost friendships and more! All of this was packed in and t
Aug 13, 2010 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 05, 2011 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
Jan 15, 2011 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.") ...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. :)
Jessica (The Psychotic Nerd)
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 a
Jul 01, 2010 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
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
Aug 10, 2010 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.
Oct 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
4.5 rating. This book was so good! I love the 20s and enjoyed visiting the magical era through this book!! It is about three very different girls living in New York during last summer of the Jazz Age.
I think Cordelia was my favorite character, even though she made some foolish decisions. Actually, all of the girls were foolish and sometimes childish...but I think that was fitting and just because they weren’t mature yet or had the leisure of being lazy and silly.
I felt like Mr. Grey was basica
Jul 22, 2011 rated it it was ok
Bright Young Things Review
Full formatting of this review at link above.

What can I say about BRIGHT YOUNG THINGS...

I guess I should start with the fact that it isn't horrible, per se. There just isn't any substance, nothing to keep you interested or nothing to make you really care.

It is, like Godbersen's other books, fluffy and light, holding no real purpose or moral of the story. It is unlike her other novels in the fact that th
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 16, 2011 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Emily Crow
I love reading books set in the Jazz Age. I've often thought if I found a time machine, the first thing I'd do is set it to the 1920s so I could be a flapper. So when I came across this book on Good Reads, I immediately requested it from the library, not realizing until I was a few chapters in that it's YA. Not that I mind reading young adult books--I've read more than my fair share, probably--but in this case, the setting seemed a bit sanitized. The characters were all in their late teens, hang ...more
Victoria Wilde
May 31, 2013 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Liz Wahba
Dec 22, 2020 rated it it was ok
On the positive side, the writing was good and the story flowed well. The perspectives jumped a fair amount but with the right pacing, I felt. However, these three girls, especially Cordelia, are awful human beings. There’s only so much you can excuse to naïveté - most of that selfishness and apathy is personality. When hearing about tragedy befalling each other, or anyone, they think about how it will affect their next chance to hook up with their latest love interest. Whenever anyone tries to ...more
Feb 02, 2021 added it
Shelves: february-2021
I DID IT! I'm going to spoil the hell out of this, but I can't imagine it's on anyone's tbr lol.

I have owned this book since it came out in 2010 and when I was fifteen and this book was the kind of thing I like to read. I'm no longer 15 and don't enjoy this kind of book anymore, but I was determined to banish it from my physical tbr forever. AND I FINALLY DID IT.

All in all, it wasn't that bad, but it had some ridiculous moments at the end that all happened together and caused me to laugh at the
Pickle Rick
Nov 15, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: absolute-poop, ya

Falling off a cliff.



All I wanted was a light summer read for the heat wave that's not leaving New Jersey right now.

That's not too much to ask, right?


Everything about Bright Young Things was bad. I'm not even lying to you when I say that. This is the epitome of a bad book. Epitome because the cover looks gorgeous, but the inside is death itself.

I really, really enjoyed The Luxe and I went into this book expecting great things, so what exactly happened????!!

The characters were o
Beverly Duffy
This was an okay story it did have all 1920 themes but couldn’t get into the characters.
YA Reads Book Reviews
Sep 15, 2010 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
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Anna Godbersen was born in Berkeley, California, and educated at Barnard College. She currently lives in Brooklyn with her husband.

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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