Saturday, November 13, 2010

Book Review: BRIGHT YOUNG THINGS

BRIGHT YOUNG THINGS by Anna Godbersen follows a few weeks in the lives of 1920s teenagers Cordelia, Letty, and Astrid. Cordelia and Letty have fled their suffocating, provincial existence in Ohio to seek happiness and freedom in New York.

Letty hopes to use her talents to become a famous singer, and Cordelia wants to find her long-lost father—the famous bootlegger Darius Grey. When the girls arrive in the city, their paths connect with Astrid—an upper-crust flapper who is dating Mr. Grey’s son, Charlie. The three girls are swept into a whirlwind of romance, excitement, mystery, danger, realized dreams, and heartbreaking disappointments.

This novel is a delicious peek into a long-gone time—one in which a cigarette was a glamorous accessory, secret tunnels were built to transport illegal liquor, and an ordinary gal having a drink in a speakeasy might run into a notorious gangster like Dutch Schultz.

BRIGHT YOUNG THINGS has romance, intrigue, and amazingly accurate historical facts. Socialites breezily say things like “Don’t be a headache, darling,” and talk about the latest diet fad: “…grapefruit and melba toast for breakfast, grapefruit and olives for lunch, grapefruit and grapefruit for dinner.”

This was a fun read, and I admire Anna Godbersen for her meticulous research. I also enjoyed the details about the fashion of the era, and I especially liked the interactions between Astrid and her moody boyfriend, Charlie. I'm sure that readers will look forward to the next book in this new series!