Review: “Beautiful Days” by Anna Godberson

Book Reviews

Beautiful Days: A Bright Young Things Novel by Anna Godberson

  • Reading level: Ages 14 and up
  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (September 20, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • Source: Library Copy

For the bright young things of 1929, the beautiful days seem endless, filled with romance and heartbreak, adventure and intrigue, friendship and rivalry.

After a month in New York, Cordelia Grey and Letty Larkspur are small-town girls no longer. They spend their afternoons with Astrid Donal at the Greys’ lush Long Island estate and their nights in Manhattan’s bustling metropolis. But Letty’s not content to be a mere socialite. She is ready at last to chase her Broadway dreams—no matter the cost.

Cordelia is still reeling from the death of her father at the hands of Thom Hale, the man she thought she loved. Now she is set to honor Darius Grey’s legacy . . . and take her revenge.

Promised to Cordelia’s half brother, Astrid is caught up in a world of dazzling jewels and glittering nights—and the sparkle is blinding. Charlie Grey is a gangster playing a dangerous game; and for Astrid, Cordelia, and Letty, the stakes could be deadly.

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Luxe comes the second book in an epic series set in the dizzying last summer of the Jazz Age.

—Summary Courtesy of Amazon.com

I love the premise of this series: the roaring twenties, booze, jazz, and flappers in New York City. It’s a refreshing view of a time gone by and one that isn’t addressed to often in Young Adult fiction. What I didn’t like, however, was something that could have been avoided:

I get the story lines of the Bright Young Things series mixed up with The Flappers series by Jillian Larkin. Why? The story lines are so similar, I don’t know which character was disgraced and humiliated at which party or who was the daughter of a bootlegger or which one is an aspiring night club singer. Because the story lines from the two series are so similar, I don’t feel each one will get the due that they deserve.

Beautiful Days could have used more of a climactic ending than the one that was written, but the characters are interesting in all of their 1920s glory. The character voices would be more realistic if they evolved into individual voices, because the alternating chapters all sound and read exactly the same. I would love to see how Anna Godberson pursues this series and if so, how differently it will turn out from The Flappers series.

Oz, Wonderland, Middle Earth, and Narnia.

Book Reviews

Oz, Wonderland, Middle Earth, and Narnia. 

These lands, fictional yet completely rich in history and culture, all have one thing in common. For as long as there have been writers of fantastic fiction, there have been readers who would give anything to escape into those worlds. Narnia would be my choice of those four.

 Hello, Prince Caspian!

 

However, even at the end of the Middle Earth conventions, and the Wizard of Oz reruns on television, most readers have to accept the fact that those aren’t real places that you can get to with the GPS in your car.

Today, I’m going to talk a little about my favorite fantasy world.

New York City.

 

The lights of Broadway, the green grass of Central Park, tea at the Plaza Hotel, the street musicians in Washington Square, a night at Radio City Music Hall…

 Eloise.

I miss a city I’ve never been to, a city full of life and mystery, wonderment and intrigue. So in honor of this fantastic city where we will eagerly anticipate ringing in the new year, here are a few titles that are set in New York City that might make me miss it a whole lot less. Or possibly more.

Bright Young Things by Anna Godbersen

Flappers in the roaring twenties…

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.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.

Courtesy of Amazon.com

  

Misguided Angel by Melissa De La Cruz

Although, not mainly set in New York City in this particular novel, the entire series has all the New York high society intrigue you could ever ask for. Vampires included.

 After inheriting the dark Van Alen Legacy, Schuyler fled to Florence–with her forbidden love, Jack. Now the two of them must embark on the mission Schuyler was destined to complete: to find and protect the seven gates that guard earth from Lucifer, lord of the Silverbloods.
 
As the Blue Blood enclave weakens yet further, fate leads Schuyler closer to a terrifying crossroads–and a choice that will determine the destiny of all vampires.
 
Courtesy of Amazon.com
  

 

Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan 

After getting expelled from yet another school for yet another clash with mythological monsters only he can see, twelve-year-old Percy Jackson is taken to Camp Half-Blood, where he finally learns the truth about his unique abilities: He is a demigod, half human, half immortal. Even more stunning: His father is the Greek god Poseidon, ruler of the sea, making Percy one of the most powerful demigods alive. There’s little time to process this news. All too soon, a cryptic prophecy from the Oracle sends Percy on his first quest, a mission to the Underworld to prevent a war among the gods of Olympus. This first installment of Rick Riordan’s best-selling series is a non-stop thrill-ride and a classic of mythic proportions.

Courtesy of Amazon.com

 

Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson


 

  The Hopewell Hotel, 75 years ago a stylish Upper East Side haunt, has fallen on hard times. Its proprietors, the Martin family, have let the last remaining employee go, and now it’s up to the four children, Spencer, Lola, Scarlett, and Marlene, to keep things afloat. Enter one Mrs. Amy Amberson, a flamboyant, mysterious guest, back in New York after a long absence, with some clandestine motives. Mrs. Amberson is to occupy the Empire Suite, just today entrusted to Scarlett as a “present” on her fifteenth birthday (a family tradition), for the entire summer, and keeping her happy will test Scarlett’s ingenious mettle. What follows is some utterly winning, madcap Manhattan farce, crafted with a winking, urbane narrative and tight, wry dialogue. Beneath the silvered surface, Johnson delivers a complex sibling relationship. Like the Hilary McKay’s Casson quartet, first introduced in Saffy’s Angel (2002), these siblings are bound by tender, poignant connections, all the more real for the absurdity of their circumstances. We can only hope that they, too, return for more intrepid adventures.

Courtesy of Amazon.com

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August Rush

Although not a book, this movie has changed so many lives affected by the power of music.