Saturday, July 09, 2011


In Luxe, 19th century teenagers dress up and pout, try to get laid while maintaining an air of respectability. It's a YA book by Anna Godbersen (Nom de plume? I'm too lazy to find out...) billed as a 19th century Gossip Girl. I read Gossip Girl, or tried to. It is essentially unreadable. At first I thought Luxe was merely painfully readable, but I'm now ready to downgrade that to unfinishable.

I do have to give Godbersen (if that is her real name) props (or snaps) for utilizing a rich vocabulary - I wouldn't be surprised if the average teenager reader had to make frequent trips to the dictionary. It's the plot that killing me, and my own lack of interest in vapidness. But, to each his own!

I grew up on the Sweet Valley High series and find it interesting how influential those books continue to be. If the authors of these new "bad girl" books were not directly influenced by Francine Pascal, her work has just sunk that deep into today's consciousness. For example:
Now, observing her family's ballroom from the mezzanine, her torso cinched beneath her flamenco dancer's red flounces to a perfect eighteen inches, she felt supremely confident that he would come. It was the evening of the Richmond Hayeses' ball, the evening when they reached their apotheosis as a top-drawer family - there was simply no place else to be. She was certain he would arrive shortly. Well, almost certain.
This is a spoiler, probably. I'm not going to finish it but it's pretty obvious that the "good" sister, Elizabeth (He-Llo?!?) is going to fake her own death and move to California with her coachman boyfriend, thus allowing her younger, more daring sister Jessica, I mean, Diana, to marry her wealthy, roguish fiance and save the family from financial ruin because those two are in love anyway.

If I am incorrect, please let me know! Anyone ready any great YA books lately? I would love to know!

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