Book Review: Bright Young Things (Bright Young Things #1) by Anna Godbersen

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. 

I've been looking forward to this book ever since I read The Luxe series and heard that Anna Godbersen was coming out with a new historical fiction series.  I just didn't think I could love Bright Young Things as much as I loved The Luxe, but I did.  Godbersen has the ability to immerse her readers in the historical world so completely that I felt like I was right there with her characters.

Cordelia and Letty are best friends in small-town Ohio.  The book starts on Cordelia's wedding day: she has been caught "going too far" with her boyfriend and her domineering aunt forces her to get married.  Cordelia and Letty escape to New York to follow their respective dreams of finding family and fame. 

Like The Luxe, Godbersen excells with description and imagery in Bright Young Things. I felt like I was living in the roaring twenties alongside with Cordelia, Letty, and Astrid.  The pace moves quickly, alternating between Cordelia's, Letty's, and Astrid's stories.  The friends have entirely different experiences in New York and I enjoyed the different roles the three girls played.

The plot moved quickly and the book never got slow for me.  I had a very, very difficult time putting this book down.  If you've never read Anna Godbersen, I would recommend giving her books a try.  They are all excellent!

Just One Gripe: 
The fight between Cordelia and Letty and the consequences of their disagreement happened so fast.  I could not believe how quickly they gave up on their years of friendship.

The Best Thing About This Book: 
The strong, independent females.

Appropriate for a younger audience: 

Characters: 4/5
Plot: 5/5
Setting/Imagery: 5/5
Originality: 5/5
Ending: 4/5
Total Score:  23/25


  1. Ahhhh excellent review! I really love the sound of this one, and I need to pick it up soon! :)

  2. I've yet to read any Anna Godbersen and I think I need to start with this one! I love that the plot moves quickly and that the three main women are strong and independent:) Really fabulous review Kelli!

  3. Glad to hear this book was awesome. I definitely look forward to reading it!

  4. Awesome review! So glad you liked this one, I really need to get around to reading it. :)

  5. I'm getting this one soon to review and can't wait, especially after reading your review!

  6. I really liked this one too. I love Godberson's rich descriptions although they initially bog down her books for me - until the plot starts rolling. I also thought that Letty and Cord's fight was too silly and to quick to be believed. But otherwise I loved the story. are your pregnancies going?

  7. I've read the first three books in the Luxe series (I've yet to read Splendor) and enjoyed them so far. This series is definitely on my TBR list. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on it!

    Also, I got your guys' Christmas card in the mail today. That was so sweet of you! Thanks! :D

  8. So glad you liked it, Kelli. I have this one in my current tbr pile and hope to get to it by next week.

  9. Fantastic review, Kelli. I love all things 1920s so this sounds right up my alley. I look forward to reading it.

    Hope you had a Merry Christmas!

  10. I stopped by your blog today. Thanks for the review.

  11. Ooooooooooooo sounds good! I need to try these.

  12. high score, will have to add to my list!

  13. Kelli,

    I usually struggle to get into historical fiction, but ever since I saw the cover to this one, then read the synopsis, I've wanted to read it. I'm glad to know that the pace in this one moves quickly and really gets you into the feel of the times.

    Great review. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  14. I have to say that I didn't love this one like I thought I would - mostly the characters annoyed me, and I felt that the plot was a little bit of style over substance quite a lot of the time. I will check out the next book though!

  15. Anna Godbersen is so fabulous! I loved Luxe and am anxious to read Bright Young Things. So happy you loved it!!


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