Sarah Mac's Reviews > Bright Young Things

Bright Young Things by Anna Godbersen
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's review
Dec 30, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: jazz-age, light-historical, young-adult, zzz-2011, reviewed, soapy-melodrama, keepers-ya

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 (now middle-aged) LUXE socialites...but no. All these characters are new. Unlike the LUXE books, there are only three main focal points, so they have longer scene continuations; Ms Godbersen has also opted against a one-by-one chapter focus, & the reader spends more time with each girl instead of cycling rapidly between p.o.v. I like Letty (the sweetheart) & Astrid (the spoiled flapper); I'm not so fond of Cordelia, but she's interesting enough to follow. (And no, there's no villainess a la Penelope Hayes. ;)) The setting initially threw me for a loop because I'm not well-versed in the jazz period, but everything settled in after the first few chapters.

For all their candy-like melodrama, I'm not afraid to admit enjoying Godbersen's novels. Of course there are overwrought moments -- runaway new brides, bootlegger parties, murders, a mother who consorts with boys her daughter's age, a girl who is unwillingly roped into a striptease...etc, etc. But Godbersen's books do something that precious few 'escapist' YA novels are willing to do -- they take risks with resolution. The author isn't afraid to have her characters do stupid things & suffer the consequences later. She's not afraid to damage those who don't deserve it, whether by accident or the selfish behavior of others. Furthermore, she's not afraid to buck the expectations that ___ & ___ simply MUST end up together!! Sometimes you really DON'T get what you want. Sometimes you DO need to settle for a second choice. Sometimes you really CAN'T have your cake & eat it too...which is a realism that many YA novels don't take into account, whether period melodrama or contemporary paranormal.
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Reading Progress

December 30, 2010 – Shelved
August 2, 2011 – Shelved as: jazz-age
August 2, 2011 – Shelved as: light-historical
August 2, 2011 – Shelved as: young-adult
September 1, 2011 – Started Reading
September 1, 2011 –
page 3
0.77% "The opening chapter finds Cordelia & Letty fleeing small-town Ohio. As a fellow small-town OH girl, I can't say I blame them. :P"
September 1, 2011 – Shelved as: zzz-2011
September 3, 2011 –
page 51
13.11% "I can't wait to meet some sexy bootleggers in waistcoats. >:)"
September 5, 2011 –
page 221
56.81% "And so our gentlest heroine Letty rescues a racing greyhound from execution, then names her new friend "Good Egg." Nice job, girlie. I approve. :D"
September 6, 2011 –
page 389
100.0% "Well, now. That was a very Scarlett O'Hara ending."
September 6, 2011 – Finished Reading
September 7, 2011 – Shelved as: reviewed
April 1, 2012 – Shelved as: soapy-melodrama
September 2, 2012 – Shelved as: keepers-ya

Comments (showing 1-26 of 26) (26 new)

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message 1: by Karla (new) - added it

Karla I want to read this, against all my better judgment. :P

Sarah Mac Her LUXE series was too much fun. It was so ridiculous & teen-soap-opera crack, but I was chomping at the bit for those paperbacks. (Have to get all the matching formats, y'know. *is obsessive like that*)

I will read this one soon & let you know. ;)

message 3: by Kerrie (new) - added it

Kerrie Ooh, I've wanted to read the Luxe series for a while! If I don't think too hard about them, I think I'll enjoy. :D

Sarah Mac Kerrie wrote: "Ooh, I've wanted to read the Luxe series for a while! If I don't think too hard about them, I think I'll enjoy. :D"

That's it exactly. :D They're the dead-tree equivalent of Goldfrapp's Supernature cd -- just enough substance to make them interesting, but candy nonetheless. Heh.

message 5: by Karla (new) - added it

Karla Hey, I'm watching Dallas like it's my lifeline, so I think I can tolerate soap opera crack. :D I've got the Luxe books on my ereader. Yay me.

Sarah Mac It says a lot that the Luxe's resident "hellion" Henry is more of a hellion than most rakes in contemp regencies. At least he admits to gaming & sleeping around. He even *gasp* does selfish things! What a novelty!

message 7: by Karla (new) - added it

Karla I do have a weakness for those dissolute East Coast society types. Actors too. :P

Sarah Mac Indeed. I have much love for Penelope's dissolute older brother Grayson. >:)

message 9: by Karla (new) - added it

Karla Hmm, in the mood for some fluff, are we? Just a guess.... ;-)

Sarah Mac Indeed! :P After Hell House I need to sponge my brain a bit...and I don't trust any traditional 'romance novels' to not piss me off like that Governess bullshit. (Did you see my review for that one? Or were you without power?)

message 11: by Karla (new) - added it

Karla Yes, I saw that one. :D

Sarah Mac Why do I keep trying? :P The only genre-romance books I've genuinely LIKED are gothics; you'd think I'd have enough sense to keep slashing my wrists in agony. But sooner or later I'm bound to find one I enjoy, right? Right?!

message 13: by Karla (new) - added it

Karla You never know. There may be "the One" Regency waiting out there for you...somewhere.

Sarah Mac I suppose it could happen. :P

Oh, but here's something that annoys the piss out of me: a "victorian" setting that feels exactly like a "regency" setting. *headdesk*

message 15: by Misfit (new) - added it

Misfit Karla (Mossy Love Grotto) wrote: "You never know. There may be "the One" Regency waiting out there for you...somewhere."

I've yet to find that regency either :/

Sarah Mac Misfit wrote: "I've yet to find that regency either :/"

We're so optimistic to keep searching. Either that or closet masochists.

message 17: by Misfit (new) - added it

Misfit I have Lord Ruin, that will be the next one.

Sarah Mac Misfit wrote: "I have Lord Ruin, that will be the next one."

I shall try "Claiming the Courtesan" soon. Good luck to us.

message 19: by Misfit (new) - added it

Misfit I'm sure we'll love them. I know we will.

message 20: by Sarah Mac (last edited Sep 02, 2011 02:37PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sarah Mac No doubt they will have places of honor on our keeper shelves.

message 21: by Karla (new) - added it

Karla I worship the ground Anne Stuart walks on.

Sarah Mac You've got a secret Anne Stuart shrine in your living room. Admit it.

message 23: by Karla (new) - added it

Karla I have a neighbor who makes voodoo dolls to order. It's something to think about....

Sarah Mac The possibilities are many. Maybe her next Rohan novel could be titled Legless.

message 25: by Karla (new) - added it

Karla Definitely reading this one, thanks to your review. The last bit makes it too irresistible. :) The character must have been taking the Rolling Stones' advice and found that that sometimes you get what you need. :D

Sarah Mac I hope you enjoy your dose of teenage-soap-opera-crack. ;)

...And don't forget Good Egg!

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