Bright Young Things by Anna Godbersen (2010)
One of my favorite YA trilogies was Anna Godbersen's The Luxe, and I've been wanting to check out her follow-up series for a while and I can't help but compare the two. As with The Luxe, the first few pages of Bright Young Things foretell of the ending - one of these girls will be famous, one will be married, and one will be dead. In The Luxe it began with a character's funeral and the story worked its way towards that funeral. But here, the promised outcomes apparently are at the end of the series. In that way, I found this story a bit lacking. Sure, there are romance and scandals and danger, but somehow it all seemed a bit less dramatic than I had hoped.
I liked Cordelia with her fake sophistication and devil-may-care attitude. Letty seems to be the naive one, Astrid world-weary and suspicious. They were all fairly likeable and distinct enough, though I didn't find them especially well-developed. They're probably similarly developed to the characters in The Luxe, but I think I preferred that series because of the time period and the types of social interactions and scandals. There was a time when I was totally enthralled by the 20s, but I think that era just no longer has the same appeal to me as others do.
Although I'm left hanging by the promises at the beginning of the book, I don't think I'll read the later books in this series. I'm sure I'd enjoy them well enough, as I did this one, there are just so many other books I'm looking forward to even more. But if you're looking for a young adult book that captures the spirit of the 1920s, look no farther; from the cigarette girls to the lavish parties to the organized crime, Bright Young Things captures the feeling of life in this bygone era.