Bright Young Things  - Anna Godbersen 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 her boyfriend, Charlie Grey.

I enjoyed myself immensely with this book. It had soapy drama, it had a sexy Jazz Age setting, it had glittery lights of New York, and, oddly enough, it had a bit of realism to it.

I can't really say if I had a favorite character. I liked how independent Cordelia was, but she almost felt too competent (especially given where she started). Also, SUPER surprised how she slept with a boy, was forced to marry him, and then ran away after the wedding! (TOTALLY would never expect something like that!) Letty, on the other hand, was the complete opposite: I was sure the girl was going to crumple in on herself at the drop of a hat. Astrid was definitely fun, as a spoiled rich brat, but then that also didn't endear her to me. Charlie was a two-timing scuzz-bag...but the emotional scene with him and Astrid threatened to bring a tear to my eye. Paulette was so sweet and big-sisterly to Letty...except when she wasn't.

What I can truly take away from this is: the characters are real people. They have things you like about them...and they have things you don't. They have strengths, and they have weaknesses. And so while I didn't have a favorite character, I also can't say I openly hated or despised any one of them.

(Okay, except maybe for Cordelia's aunt. Seriously, I know religious people can be nutjobs, but some aren't so judgmental. And I *KNOW* that that wouldn't necessarily be time-period appropriate, but I just wanted to throw that out there.)

The story overall was entertaining. Now, I did find Cordelia's "hunt" for her father painfully easy--all she needs to do is go to his home, claim to be Fanny's daughter, and boom, that's it? But I enjoyed Cordelia getting to know her dad and brother, befriending Astrid. And Letty trying to live on her own was good too (even if she was painfully naive and somewhat dense). Astrid's story was probably most interesting though. Having a mother who married and divorced so frequently, the upset her life went through, dealing with her boyfriend issues, and her final decision with Charlie were very compelling.

I was pretty impressed with the setting. I can't say if it is 100% accurate, but it did make me journey to Wiki and do online searching (and listening to 1920's jazz music!). And my very cursory findings agree pretty nicely with how Godbersen describes her setting. Now, I don't know how a more intense study would hold up, but since I wasn't looking for a hard-core historical, I was fine.

After a prologue that introduces an unknown narrator (is it important who that is?), the prose is in third person omniscient, which means we can flip in and out of the girls' heads at any time. At first, it was rather jarring, but then I got the flow of it and actually kinda liked it. Honestly, I feel it is one of the better written stories in third person omniscient that I've ever read.

If you want to read a light YA story set in the Jazz Age, this is a perfect book. The characters feel real, the setting is atmospheric, and the stories are a nice getaway. I'll definitely be checking out the sequels.

Dialogue/Sexual Situations/Violence:
Very mild language.
Cordelia sleeps with John; her aunt forces her to marry him afterwards. Astrid's mother has been married many times; her step-father flirts with other women while married to her mother. Cordelia's father has a girlfriend, and it is hinted they are intimate. Letty is conned into performing at a strip show; she runs off before discarding too many clothes.
Cordelia's father is a bootlegger and surrounds himself with gunmen. There are a few shootouts or discussions of shootouts (nothing too violent).