Just finished reviewing this book today. It was a fun read!
Bright Young Things
Harper 2010 978-0-06-196266-0
$17.99 Grade Level: S Number of Pages: 389
VOYA Rating: 4Q 4P
The story begins in small town Ohio, with two girls having a dream of living in New York City. They make the decision to run away and try their luck in New York. Cordelia is on a mission to find her father and Letty wants to make it big as an actress/singer. Prohibition is going strong, but the availability of alcohol and speakeasies seem endless. Upon arrival by train to New York, the girls are in awe of the sprawling big city. They take a room at the Washborne Residence for Unmarried Women and are promptly kicked out for accidentally breaking the rules. Cordelia and Letty get into an argument and go their separate ways. Cordelia makes her way to her father’s house, the famous bootlegger Darius Grey, and quickly climbs the social ladder. Meanwhile, Letty gets a job as a cigarette girl at a speakeasy and keeps pursing her aspirations as a singer. Both girls are now on their separate paths. Both meet boys that they like and deal with various tragedies that befall them. Whether or not their paths cross again makes the reader want to keep reading the story.
The book was an enjoyable read. Fans of historical fiction will like fast pace of the story. The dialogue is fun to read and despite the character flaws, they are likable. The story brings to life the glamorous life of flappers, speakeasies and high society during prohibition. Bootleggers quickly climbed the social ladder because of their newfound wealth. There are elements of history, romance, action, intrigue and glamour. There are a few sex scenes, not really any detail. Alcohol plays a large part in the story, but it seems to be historically accurate.
I think that the average high school girl would enjoy this story. I also think that young adults interested in the Prohibition Era would love this book. It would be a good teacher recommendation to students while studying the 1920s-30s. It would also make for an enjoyable book club selection. The choices that the characters make are good starting points for conversation.