Book Review: Bright Young Things by Anna Godbersen

Series: Bright Young Things, #1
Publication Date: October 12th 2010 by HarperCollins

Summary: The year is 1929. New York is ruled by the Bright Young Things: flappers and socialites seeking thrills and chasing dreams in the anything-goes era of the Roaring Twenties. Letty Larkspur and Cordelia Grey escaped their small Midwestern town for New York’s glittering metropolis. All Letty wants is to see her name in lights, but she quickly discovers Manhattan is filled with pretty girls who will do anything to be a star… Cordelia is searching for the father she’s never known, a man as infamous for his wild parties as he is for his shadowy schemes. Overnight, she enters a world more thrilling and glamorous than she ever could have imagined—and more dangerous. It’s a life anyone would kill for . . . and someone will. The only person Cordelia can trust is Astrid Donal, a flapper who seems to have it all: money, looks, and the love of Cordelia’s brother, Charlie. But Astrid’s perfect veneer hides a score of family secrets. Across the vast lawns of Long Island, in the illicit speakeasies of Manhattan, and on the blindingly lit stages of Broadway, the three girls’ fortunes will rise and fall—together and apart. From the New York Times bestselling author of The Luxe comes an epic new series set in the dizzying last summer of the Jazz Age.

Review Overview:

  • Rich, fascinating characters
  • A lot less dramatic than the Luxe series

Reading the summary again, I have to say that it is a little bit exaggerated – and thank god it is. Coming into this story, I felt like it was going to be the Luxe series all over again. Lots of drama, a surprise ending that will leave you waiting in vain for the next book, catty characters… And you know, I didn’t know if I had it in me to go through that experience all over again. I did read one review that said BRIGHT YOUNG THINGS would be a lot better than the Luxe, but I still couldn’t shake off the feeling.

So right from the beginning, I gave myself the 100-page mark. I vowed not to quit this book until I got at least that far. And you know what? I’m so glad that I stuck it out.

Letty, Cordelia, and Astrid are fascinating characters to read about. I loved Cordelia’s story the most, as I cannot resist the idea of star-crossed lovers. My first impression of Astrid: she’s the kind of girl that I can quickly hate. She could easily have been turned into a mean girl, but surprisingly Anna Godbersen has created such a darling character. She’s sweet and friendly and despite my harsh first impression, she’s immensely likeable. Letty, of the three, is my least favorite mostly because I just found her too naive. I guess it’s not so much of a bad thing, considering she is from the countryside, but her chapters were my least favorite to read.

I never much liked the flapper age before reading this book, and I left with a new sense of appreciation. New York City is indeed painted rich and glamorous from all three perspectives.

The ending is somewhat shocking but it doesn’t compare to the tragedy in the Luxe series. I will continue reading on the series and I hope it only gets better from here! BRIGHT YOUNG THINGS is a fantastic historical novel that will take you back to the Roaring Twenties. Letty, Cordelia, and Astrid’s experiences will have you hooked from beginning to end.

Fans of Anna Godbersen’s Luxe series will enjoy this one tremendously, as well as fans of historical novels.


  1. I CAN NOW SAY I OFFICIALLY SUBSCRIBE, YEEEESSS! And thank you for fixing it :). I’ve been meaning to read the Luxe series, but have been reluctant to pick up the first book; falling plots and flat characters are a dismay to hear, but I actually really adore the Roaring Twenties and reading your positive review for Bright Young Things, I will now make a dash for the library asap.

  2. I never picked up the Luxe books since the rather girly/luxurious covers turned me off… but I’ve been SO curious about Bright Young Things. Sounds like it’s something special! Thanks for the review ;)

    1. Haha, well I think it would be very hard to top the mess that became Luxe. Then again… this one IS a series. But the first one was still good. (I am being positive here… crossing my fingers that it will not go downhill after book 1).

  3. Hmm I don’t think I would be a fan of the Luxe series because I find catty, selfish characters unlikable but looking at your review for this series I think I’ll give this book a try. I do enjoy historical novels and the flapper era does interest me.

    -Sandy @ Scribing Shadows

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