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Author Interviews
March 14, 2011 posted by Christina

Interview with Lorraine Zago Rosenthal

Lorraine Zago Rosenthal is the author of the incredible new novel, Other Words For Love. If you haven’t already got a copy, you must, must check it out. Lorraine was nice enough to let us steal some of her time for an interview (as well a great guest post which you can read here).

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You have a B.A. in Psychology, (which is very impressive!) what made you opt to take up writing as opposed to a career in that field?

Thank you! I began writing at a young age and had initially planned to major in English in college, but instead chose to study psychology because it was also a subject that interested me. I really enjoyed studying psychology, and this knowledge assists in fiction writing. To create believable characters, you have to consider their background, experiences, and everything else that affects them emotionally. I never planned to work in the field of psychology, and I later went on to earn graduate degrees in education and English. Throughout my education I was always writing and hoped to become an author.

Other Words For Love is incredibly heartbreaking but also moving and a story a lot of people can learn from and relate to – what inspired you to write it?

I’m a character-driven writer, and the characters were what came to me first. Ari and her family were in my mind for quite a while before I fully understood Ari’s story and began to write it. When that story crystallized, I just wanted to tell it and to share it with readers. Ari was my inspiration all along.

Most reviews I’ve read for OWFL have been incredibly positive, many with a 5 star rating, were you surprised by the response?

I was hoping for a good response but because fiction is so subjective, I knew that not all readers would give my novel five stars. I have therefore been pleasantly surprised and very grateful for the immensely positive response.

It was so interesting reading a book set in the 80s which has barely been touched on in YA Fiction, why that decade?

There are a few reasons why I chose to set the story during the 1980s. As you mentioned, the 1980s are a neglected era in YA fiction. The only other YA novel I know of that is set during this decade is The Carrie Diaries. There is YA fiction set in the 1800s, 1920s, etc., so why not the 1980s? This decade is as valid historically as any other, and I believe that no time period should be restricted from the YA genre. There are stories to tell from the viewpoint of young people in every era.

I thought that if teens could identify with historical fiction—time periods with cultures and values so different from now—then they could easily relate to a time period that they didn’t live through but wasn’t all that long ago. The ideals of the 1980s weren’t exactly the same as today, but they weren’t completely different, either. I also thought that adults who read YA fiction and lived through the 1980s might connect with the story.

But the main reason I set Other Words for Love in the 1980s is that the story wouldn’t work in the present day. As I mentioned, culture and values weren’t radically different then, but they weren’t exactly the same as today. For example—in the novel, Ari’s sister has a baby when she is seventeen years old, and although teen pregnancy isn’t encouraged now, I think it has less of a social stigma than it had during the 80s. There was no “Teen Mom” on MTV back then! Ari is more embarrassed about her sister having been a teen mother than she might be today, and Evelyn’s choices are extremely disappointing to her parents.

Also, the issue of AIDS is prevalent throughout the novel. Although AIDS unfortunately still exists, it is better understood than it was during the 80s, when it was new and many people didn’t fully comprehend how it could be contracted. There was an undercurrent of hysteria when AIDS first appeared, and this is present in Other Words for Love.

Finally, although Ari is intelligent and mature, she’s also more innocent than most girls her age would be today—for various reasons. For example, the internet didn’t exist during the 1980s, so teens didn’t have as much access to information as they do now. The 1980s were more conservative than the present time—just take a look at how teens were represented in the media back then as opposed to now.

What’s your favorite thing about the 80s?

I would say my favorite thing about the 1980s is the music. There was a lot of great music back then, especially from English artists who had a very distinctive sound.

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Thanks Lorraine!  You can follow Lorraine on twitter – @lorrainezr

Check out our review of Other Words For Love here.

Other Words For Love is available in store in the U.S. and online via Amazon or Book Depository for international readers.

Book of the Month
March 5, 2011 posted by Christina

Delirium – Lauren Oliver

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There was a time when love was the most important thing in the world. People would go to the end of the earth to find it. They would tell lies for it. Even kill for it.

Then, at last, they found the cure.

Now, everything is different. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the government demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Haloway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable and happy.

But then, with only ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable…”

Last year, everyone fell head over heels in love with Lauren Oliver’s debut novel, Before I Fall which meant the February release of her dystopian novel, Delirium, was high on a lot of people’s “Can’t wait! Can’t wait!” lists.

As seen in many dystopias, there is something completely terrifying about a society that takes away your freedom, where you must conform to what the government dictates to be acceptable. In Delirium there is the added horror of a society that not only believes that love is a disease, but they have found the cure. A cure which all citizens must submit to, just after their eighteenth birthday. This is the world Lena Haloway knows.

Lena wholeheartedly believes in the cure and is counting down the days until her procedure. Love to her is wrong and unnatural and the cure equals stability and safety, away from the disease that drove her mother to take her own life.

But amor deliria nervosa has a mind of its own when Lena meets Alex. From there the disease starts to take over, but is it really a disease or is this the way things should be? How can something that feels so right be considered deadly wrong?

When I first heard the concept of love being a disease I was definitely curious. But when the symptoms of love, or amor deliria nervosa are explained – sweaty palms, difficulty focusing, loss of appetite, obsessive thoughts and actions, to name a few, it really does sound like a disease.

I found the story a little slow to start but it felt a lot like a rollercoaster  – you creep upwards and you know you’re building up to something big, then when you hit the top, and speed all the way down, and you don’t get off until it’s over, and that’s exactly what reading it was like. Once I hit the part where you’re hooked, I sat there and couldn’t put it down till I finished the whole book.

The main difference between this book and a rollercoaster though, was that this book had a BIG finish. It had one of the most intense, amazing and heart wrenching endings I ever read.

The writing itself is both thrilling and hypnotizing. Lauren Oliver does an amazing job at pin pointing the feelings of love which, for Lena, are not only new and wonderful but conflict with eighteen years of brainwashing that have told her that those feelings are sick and wrong.

Lena and Alex’s romance will definitely steal your heart. Their affair is powerful and tragic and you find yourself desperately hoping they’ll find a way to be together.

The dystopian world built up in Delirium is believable, with its underlying sense of terror – an almost robotic world without freedom and love which is cleverly illustrated by the pieces of propaganda at the beginning of each chapter. The only flaw I can mention is that the reason for why the cure came about isn’t really discussed (at least not in this book). I hope we do get to find what would trigger a whole country (with the exception of those who escaped to the Wilds) to agree to something as crazy as a cure for love.

Delirium is riveting, unforgettable and unputdownable. If while reading it you start to feel your heart racing, that’s the deliria taking over, and you’re feeling it for the book. Welcome to the club.

Pages: 441
Publication Date: February 2011
Publisher: Hachette (Au)/Harper Teen (US)
Challenge: n/a
Rating: : ★★★★★

Teaser quote: “They say the cure for love will make me happy and safe forever. And I’ve always believed them.

Until now. Now everything has changed.

Now I’d rather be infected with love for the tiniest sliver of a second than live a hundred years suffocated by a lie.”

Book Reviews
February 21, 2011 posted by Christina

Other Words For Love – Lorraine Zago Rosenthal

“Ari Mitchell feels invisible at her Brooklyn high school. Her hair is too flat, her style too preppy, and her personality too quiet. And outside school, Ari feels outshined by her beautiful, confident best friend, Summer. Their friendship is as complex and confusing as Ari’s relationship with her troubled older sister, Evelyn, a former teenage mom whose handsome firefighter husband fills Ari’s head with guilty fantasies.

When an unexpected inheritance enables Ari to transfer to an elite Manhattan prep school, she makes a wealthy new friend, Leigh. Leigh introduces Ari to the glamorous side of New York – and to her gorgeous cousin, Blake. Ari doesn’t think she stands a chance, but amazingly, Blake asks her out. As their romance heats up, they find themselves involved in an intense, consuming relationship.

Ari’s  family worries that she is losing touch with the important things in life, like family, hard work, and planning for the future. Meanwhile, Summer warns her that what she feels for Blake is just an infatuation. No real love. But Ari’s world is awash with new colors, filled with a freshness and an excitement she hasn’t felt in years.”

———–

For this review, we’re doing things a little differently. Never has a debut novel been so sought after by almost every member of the yaReads team and had us all in a flutter, so it seems fitting that we bring you a joint review of Lorraine Zago Rosenthal’s Other Words For Love.

Ivy: Holy Guacamole!  Two days after, I’m still thinking about Other Words for Love.  It was one of the best books I’ve read in a long time.  For an urban fantasy lover like me, it’s a breath of fresh air to have read something as real and believable as this book.  It could be your sister, friend, or neighbor’s story.

This is an easy 5 stars.  Outstanding debut Ms. Rosenthal!

Rating: : ★★★★★

Kiona: Other Words for Love is an emotional roller-coaster. Throughout the book, my opinion of Ariadne was ever-changing. In the beginning, I like her. She’s the relatable underdog: a pretty girl often overlooked due to the beauty of her best friend. She’s a hard worker, gets good grades, and is passionate about art. She also pretty much takes care of her out-of-control older sister’s son, which is very altruistic of her considering her sister, Evelyn, treats her like crap. I admire Ari’s inner-strength and ability to look past others’ flaws.

But then she meets Blake and he essentially eclipses the sun of Ari’s world. To me, Blake is a decent enough guy, but I was annoyed by his constant use of the word, “ nice” Anytime she considers doing something he doesn’t like, he makes her feel guilty by saying, “That wouldn’t be nice”. And while Ari is blinded by love, it’s easy to see how much control Blake’s father has over Blake’s life, which just shows how weak Blake is. I understand that that’s the point Rosenthal is trying to convey – that Blake isn’t actually the picture-perfect guy Ari thinks he is. Love interests don’t have to be likable for a story to be likable. But I was disappointed in Ari – who is such a smart girl – for not being able to recognize the signs of Blake’s imperfection and weakness. So halfway through the book, I began liking her less and less.

The middle is also when the story stops being relatable. I lost all respect for Ari when she dropped her friends and focused her entire world around Blake. I know first loves can be all-consuming, but Ari doesn’t have a particularly thriving social life. Yet she still drops Summer, a friend since childhood, and Leigh, a girl who could really use a friend, and she never really repairs these friendships. When Blake dumps her, Ari stops caring about school, her appearance, her nephews, SATs, and even considers suicide. While I’ll admit this happens to some girls, I definitely don’t feel like that it’s the norm. I had to put this book down several times so I could collect my emotions. While I admire that the author can illicit such emotions, I think she did so at the cost of alienating the reader from the protagonist. The ending makes me feel slightly better, but it’s not enough to redeem Ariadne in my eyes.

That being said, I think the writing is superb and Rosenthal clearly knows New York City very well. The descriptions of the city sound genuine and really ground Other Words for Love in the specific time period Rosenthal chose (1980s). I really enjoyed the detailed glimpse in the city and Rosenthal’s exploration of a dysfunctional family is very intriguing. I definitely enjoyed the psychological aspects of this novel, but while I think this is an interesting take on first love, I don’t think it’s a story many girls will be able to relate to.

Rating: : ★★★☆☆

Christina:  There are so many different ways to promote books these days. The one way that I completely trust is when everyone (with nothing to gain for doing so) is buzzing about a book as enthusiastically as they were for Other Words For Love. So I’m with Ivy on this one – I completely loved it.

The characters in this book were incredible. Each character was unique, so well fleshed out and had these realistic personalities with both virtues and flaws. Some characters you’ll completely hate and others you’ll grow to understand. Some of them were even quite cruel at times like Evelyn and Summer, who would say certain things that would make me go – GAAAAAASPPPPPPPPPPP! OHHHHH, she did not just say that!  I wanted to dive into the pages, step beside Ari and serve them a swift kick to head for how they acted. This just goes to show how invested you become in these characters and Ari’s story.

What really hit me was just how authentic I felt the emotions expressed in the book were. Everything Ari felt, from her elation at being with Blake, to her eventual heartbreak just felt so so real. Her feelings in the end might seem dramatic but if you’ve ever been heartbroken that’s exactly what it’s like – the colors fade to gray, food seems pointless and you’re stuck in a rut you don’t bother to get out of. I loved how the way Ari felt meant that she perceived the statue of Saint Anne differently – it was very clever and so true.

The part that particular struck me the most me while Ari’s world was falling apart, she felt like all the hard work she’d done up to that point, not just in school but in life, had counted for nothing because of a slip up right at the finish line. For me that was the part where I raised my hand and said “Oh I have been there” Which I think a lot of girls will feel the same about quite a few sections of the book.

If there was a flaw in this book I can only say it was the blurb – it gives too much away. I’ve omitted the last paragraph of the blurb in this review because it basically gives half the story away and I was able to have a good guess about what would happen in the rest. BUT! Despite that, the story’s execution was superb and even though I’d already been told what would happen it didn’t make it any less interesting or heartbreaking or amazing, which proves just how great this book is.

Ari’s life in New York in the 1980s was completely fascinating to read about, in particular to note what has changed and what is still the same. Even after finishing it I couldn’t stop thinking about this story for days after. I was so proud of Ari and what she managed to accomplish in the end, her experiences made her so much stronger. Sign me up for every thing Lorraine Zago Rosenthal writes next. Highly, highly, highly, recommend it.

Rating: : ★★★★★

Two out of the three of us loved it, the other, not quite feeling it. Which side of the fence are you on?

Pages: 354
Publication Date: January 2011
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Challenge: Historical Fiction/Debut Author
Average Rating: : ★★★★½

Teaser Quote: “I was looking out the window, checking for neighbors and hoping to give them something to see, when I felt Blake’s hand on my chin. I looked at him, at his straight nose and his perfectly carved lips, and felt his finger move back and forth on my skin. Don’t ask me, I thought. Just do it.”

Book Reviews
February 8, 2011 posted by Christina

Unearthly – Cynthia Hand

“Clara has known she was part-angel ever since she turned fourteentwo years ago, but only now is her purpose – the crucial rite of passage for every part-angel – becoming clear to her. Clara’s purpose leads her family to Wyoming, where amidst terrifying scenes of a bush inferno, she finds a boy of her visions, Christian. He’s everything she could wish for – so why does she also have feelings for her enigmatic classmate Tucker?

Clara discovers that her purpose is only a small part of a titanic struggle between angels and their destructive counterparts, the Black Wings. And when the fire of her visions erupts and both Christian and Tucker are in danger, who will she choose to save?”

Under normal circumstances it would only take Richelle Mead’s praise of a book on its front cover for me to say “Well, enough said, I’m reading it!” But it wouldn’t be much of a review if all I wrote was “Richelle Mead says so, READ IT.”

Till now, most of the books I’d read about Angels had been lackluster to fairly decent but nothing that I completely loved, Unearthly changed all that.

Clara has known she was part-angel for two years now and finally, she has begun having visions which are the clues to her ‘purpose’. These visions are cryptic and her purpose isn’t quite clear, only that she sees a boy standing in a forest area that’s about to be engulfed in flames. Who is this guy? Where is the forest? Why is he there? What’s she even meant to do once she’s there? That’s all up to Clara to figure out.

If I could use just one word to describe this book it would be refreshing. Everything from our main character Clara, to the love interests, to the use of angel mythology were so well done it makes this book a stand out amongst its genre.

The storyline was artfully done, with a perfect blend of realism with the supernatural. The writing is easy to read and amazingly captivating – just when you plan on reading one more chapter, you find yourself reading another hundred pages instead.

Some moments were quite suspenseful and I found myself gasping out loud or yelling at the characters hoping in vain that they’ll hear my warnings, but of course, that’s as useful as when your Dad is yelling at players during a football match on tv – they can’t hear you.

I loved that this wasn’t one of those, anti hero, I’m-coming-to-terms-with-these-new-powers-which-by-the-way-I’m-awesome-at-but-waaaa-my-life-will-never-be-the-same-kind-of-books. Clara’s known about her angel abilities for two years already so has had time to adjust to the idea and all the extras that go with being a part-angel, but she still has a lot to learn.

I was also very glad that her family was not only well aware of Clara’s purpose and part-angelness but that they were also part-angels. It was nice that it wasn’t some secret that she had to tip toe around and make lame explanations to cover up.

Clara herself is a completely likeable, down to earth and strong character. Her angel blood means she can naturally excel at things most people have to try very hard to master, but there are other things she really has to work for, especially when it comes to her own angel powers. She’s witty, especially her banter with Tucker, she’s not rebellious but definitely has a mind of her own.

The characters in Unearthly are so well done, each of them being much more than just props to Clara’s story.  They have their own minds and their own issues and goals that they’re working towards so that within the story they’re living with Clara not for Clara and her story.

From the blurb we gather that there are two guys who could be potential love interests. When I saw that I groaned because I’m soooo tired of love triangles. The way the story pans out in Unearthly though is quite unique and though it seems it, it doesn’t conform to what we think of as a normal love triangle. In this case it’s like the characters are just as unhappy about how it as we are.

The love story in Unearthly was so sweet, so beautiful, and once again, absolutely refreshing. It proves that in the supernatural genre you can have a romance that doesn’t happen overnight, or is based on someone just being unbelievably beautiful, or with one of them being stalker obsessed or spineless. I LOVED Tucker….just sayin 😉

Unearthly was extraordinarily fabulous, I’ve used this word a lot so far but I LOVED it. I can’t believe I have to wait till next year for the sequel because a lot was left hanging at the end.  Unearthly proves you shouldn’t give up on the Angels concept by delivering a knock out story that you’ll fall head over heels in LOVE with.

Pages: 432
Publication Date: January 2011
Publisher: Harper Collins
Challenge: Debut Author
Rating: : ★★★★★

Teaser Quote: “I take a step toward the boy, open my mouth to call his name. He hears me. He starts to turn. One more second and I will see his face.

That’s when the vision leaves me. I blink, and it’s gone.”

Did you think Unearthly was amazing too? Team Tucker or Team Christian? Come discuss it on the forum!

Author Interviews
January 27, 2011 posted by Christina

Interview with Beth Revis

Beth Revis is the author of the fantastic new novel, Across the Universe, which is our January Book of the Month! She was nice enough to take time out for a quick Q&A.

Amy and Elder’s life on the Godspeed is incredibly fascinating – where did the idea for the story come from?

The entire story revolves around the ending. I had an idea for that twisty end, and everything else—the setting, the characters, the plot—all of it came about as a way to make that ending happen.

During the early planning stages of the story who came first – Amy or Elder?

Elder. Originally, the first chapter was told in his point of view, and his voice was the easiest for me to write at first. I had to go through rather a lot of revision and rewriting with Amy—it took me awhile to figure her out, but once I had her voice down, she actually became the easier character to write.


There’s a lot of technical info about the way the ship works as well as biology, genes, space travel seen in the book, you must’ve done a lot of research before writing the book?

I had to research mostly in terms of what we don’t have and why we don’t have it. For example, I had to research why cryogenic freezing doesn’t work now (the cell walls burst when frozen) and then invent something that would make it work (the infamous “blue goo” Amy encounters in Chapter 1). In some ways, this made things easier for me—since it’s fiction, I got to do a lot of creative inventing to make the science work, and could use my imagination rather than facts.

During the Plague the ship was cut off from communications with Earth – was that someone’s doing or a computer malfunction?

Oh dear….I’m afraid I’m not going to tell you. That is something that will be addressed in the future books, though!

Most of the reviews on other blogs and on Goodreads are 4 or 5 star ratings, are you surprised by the warm reception?

Happily so! It’s so terrifying to send creative work out into the world. Even though I’m fully aware that writing and reading is an entirely subjective thing, there’s so much of me in my work that to see someone not like it feels like a personal insult when I know logically it isn’t. The wonderful reception AtU has received so far has made me thrilled beyond belief and just confirmed my idea that I have the very best readers in the whole world.

I’m sure it’s still top secret at this stage but is there anything you can share about what we can expect from the next book?

I can only say that at least 2 things you think are true from the first book….are actually lies.


And lastly, let’s finish on a fun one….crunchy or smooth peanut butter? (Would they have that on Godspeed?)

Crunchy for me! Peanuts are a crop that would be easy (and necessary) for the residents to grow, so I imagine there’s lots of peanut butter around Godspeed—and since peanut butter is so easy to make, I’d say that they can have it either way they want, crunchy or smooth!

Thank you Beth! Check out our review of Across the Universe here and Beth’s guest blog here.

There’s still time to enter our Across the Universe giveaway too, click here to enter.

Book of the Month
January 20, 2011 posted by Christina

Guest Post by Beth Revis

Beth Revis is the author of Across the Universe, an epic sci fi and our Book of the Month for January!

As the author of one of 2011’s most exciting releases, we’ve been lucky enough to take a bit of her time as she addresses an often taboo subject – sex and love in young adult literature. Beth can be found on her website here or on her Twitter – @bethrevis. Also, check out the official website for Across the Universe which features the book’s trailer and a link to the first chapter.

Sex and Love in YA Literature

I never meant to write about sex. I meant to write about murders and mysteries and space and tough decisions and life choices and government and control…but not about sex. However, as I was writing Across the Universe, it came to a point when sex became an inevitable topic, and in order to be honest to my readers and true to the story, I had to write the most difficult scene in the entire book–a scene that made me cry as I wrote it–when my character Amy, a girl from Earth, sees how sex is treated on the spaceship in the future.

I knew that the scene would be touchy, perhaps even controversial, and while I don’t want to ruin the surprise of it for readers who’ve not read yet, I will say that I felt like I had something important to say about sex by the time I wrote about that scene. Sex is a powerful thing, and an important thing, and a wonderful thing, and I don’t think it should be done lightly or casually. When sex becomes nothing more than a physical activity, it loses the emotion–love–that should be behind it, and that is deeply disturbing to me. And that is why I had to write about it.

And, of course, that led me to writing about love. In a society where sex is treated like mating, I wanted Amy to be able to talk frankly about love, too, and how there is a distinction between lust and love. I believe that no matter how far away our society goes from where it is now, love will always be present. But it will also often be difficult. One thing I very much wanted to do was show that love is often not the instant love-at-first-sight that is often portrayed in books and movies. Although Elder falls in love with Amy rather quickly, Amy questions his motives and whether or not his feeling is more of fascination (or obsession) rather than love. I think her refusal of Elder, especially at first, leads him to question how he really feels about her, and that is something I hope my readers do as well. It’s important to ask yourself if you love someone, or just lust after them. That’s a very different thing, even though the feelings may seem the same initially.

In the end, Across the Universe isn’t about love or sex–or, at least, it’s not *just* about love or sex. Love and sex are present because they are a part of the story and a part of the character’s lives. My biggest goal was simply to present them as honestly as I could, and I hope my readers agree!

——-

A big thank you to Beth! For our review of Across the Universe click here, or click here to enter our giveaway.

Across the Universe is available in stores and online now.

Book Reviews
January 18, 2011 posted by Christina

Bright Young Things – 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.”

If there was ever a book to make you feel glamorous just by reading it, then Bright Young Things by Anna Godbersen is it.

Set in New York in 1929 during the last summer of the Roaring 20s, the story follows the trials and tribulations of Letty Larkspur, Astrid Donal and Cordelia Grey. Godbersen wastes no time in hooking our attention by stating in the first three pages that by the end of the summer one girl will be married, one will be a star and one will be dead.

Letty and Cordelia have been friends since they were young while growing up in the small town of Union, Ohio. After years of dreaming about it they finally pack their bags and runaway to the big city – New York. Letty is out to realize her dreams of becoming a star on Broadway, while Cordelia plans to track down her infamous father.

Astrid on the other hand is a born and bred socialite and New York City is her playground. She’s got money, looks and charm…..yet why does it not seem to be enough to curb her darling Charlie’s wondering eye?

As the story flutters from the perspective of one girl to the other we get a quite a fascinating picture of what New York was like for a woman in 1929.

Though Cordelia and Letty come to the city with quite different goals, they have naivety in common. It takes them both quite a while to figure out who to trust and what constitutes as a wise decision (in particular with the people they associate with).

On the other side of the social fence is Astrid. Though at times she may come across as fickle or dramatic – she’s really just jaded by her world and the people in it.

One of the things I liked about this book was that even though it was about three beautiful girls it didn’t come across as shallow, insincere or bitchy, pitting the girls against each other over a man etc. Yes, they each have interests in men (hey, doesn’t every girl?) but they had their own moments where their strength, cleverness and independence were on full display.

The fashion mentioned in this book was to die for and created some truly glamorous scenes for us to visualize – everything from the cover, to Astrid’s glittering collection of gowns, to Letty’s dark bobbed hair made the story feel so much more authentic.

The writing in Bright Young Things is rich, atmospheric and artfully done. You’re vividly transported into the sepia toned memories of the 1920s and the story’s dark glamour really shines through.

Though you may get a sense of what might happen next, what actually takes place as the story unfolds can shock you. Since it’s only the first book in the series, and the beginning of the summer, there are still many questions left unanswered.

After reading Bright Young Things you’ll probably feel a strong urge to start calling people Doll Face and Darling and walk around the house with a feather in your hair (but this is not advised if your family is like mine – odd looks will ensue). If historical fiction isn’t normally your thing, this book is a great starting point, plus, the story will charm your socks off.

Pages: 389
Publication Date: October 2010
Publisher: Harper Collins / Penguin (in AU)
Challenge: Historical Fiction
Rating: : ★★★★½

Teaser Quote: “Well, if you weren’t flirting with him”-his voice had now grown a little plaintive-“who was he, and what did you want with him anyway?”

“If you are so determined to bore me, I may just have to go home.” Astrid sighed carelessly, “What a shame, when I am wearing such a pretty dress.”