Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Back Track

I've been kept busy by quite a bit recently, which is something I wouldn't necessarily expect from the end of the school year. However, seeing as though I'm a graduating senior in high school, I shouldn't be so surprised that my schedule is in such an upheaval.

Prom is over. Final projects are being completed as we speak. The last issue of our school newspaper - of which I have been the Editor in Chief for two full years now - was delivered to classes last Thursday (sob). Senior Awards night was on Monday; I was awarded the Paul Healy Scholarship - for excellence in literature, poetry, and writing. And at this exact time, next week, I will officially no longer be one of the multitudes in the sea of backpacks, heaving textbooks in my high school.

Am I excited to graduate? Absolutely. But I can't help but get all introspective and reflective, looking back at how much I've changed in these past four years. My high school experience directly affected my growth as a human being, and I have to acknowledge how much I've learned in those hallways, whether they were applied to the fields of reading, 'riting, and 'rithmetic, or how to talk to people, and how to make friends.

However, this sounds just like the sort of thing I'd like to avoid thinking about, lest I lose all of my tears before graduation. So, instead, I'll tell you a little about what I've been reading.

It hasn't been that great.

Spurred on by the immense amount of excitement I experienced upon first viewing the trailer for Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby, I decided to reach for something with a decidedly Roaring flavor. However, unable to approach Fitzgerald with the right mindset (ie. I needed a little bit of easy lifting in a time of so many heavy thoughts), I headed directly to the teen section of my local library to pick up Anna Godberson's Bright Young Things

I've referenced this series on my blog already, in relating them to the Flappers series, from Jillian Larkin. However, I didn't quite realize exactly how similar they would be: both involve sets of similarly-aged girls, in the bright spotlights of New York City, all with paths that connect and secrets that don't stay secret. They all live for the fashion of the era, and the books utilize similar connection pieces for the time period: namely, slang terms, clothing styles and options, and the most ideal hangout spots (the delicious local speakeasy, of course). In fact, both series prominently include main characters whose biggest dreams are to sing on the bright stage of such an establishment! Bootleggers and bombshell blondes galore... in both. In some respects, it almost felt like I could be reading the same book twice.

However, Godberson made some writing efforts that I will not let go unrecognized: unlike Larkin, she focused on varying aspects of a Prohibition-era NYC (from the country clubs to the city stages) - making the change more drastic when one of our main girls flip-flops between the two - and even drew the main characters from one of the overlooked regions of that time period, the Midwest. Furthermore, one of the main problems I had with the Flappers series was that the male lead characters were, while not quite transparent, pretty much comparable to an ottoman or a clock: they simply furnished the novel, without any real emotional growth or impact. In the Bright Young Things series, Godberson brings the men distinctly into the foreground, and the dynamic leading studs are some of the driving forces within the plot.

So, while I didn't necessarily enjoy it as much as the Flappers series, it was still a decent fluff read, and there are plenty of things that Godberson is doing really right. However, maybe the Great Gatsby trailer simply raised my expectations too high. All I know, is that Fitzgerald will definitely be making a resurgence on my summer reading bookshelf this year.

#26. Bright Young Things, by Anna Godberson.

#27. Beautiful Days (a Bright Young Things novel), by Anna Godberson

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