Friday, November 30, 2012

Verdict, No. 18

(find my judgment here)
The Lucky Ones
by Anna Godbersen
I miss it already.

This was a beautiful read. Godbersen is a master of language and moments. She has a way of spinning words together in such a way that you fall into this sort of dreamlike trance where the real world gets hazy and you find yourself right there with all these characters in the gilded world of the Roaring 20s. And I loved every minute.

The thing about Godbersen is she knows how to give unpredictable twists without them feeling unnatural. There were things towards the end where I was like, "Oh, yeah, duh! I totally saw that coming." But I didn't. In fact, I think I was annoyed that, as the writer in me followed along, I didn't think of it playing out that way. So it wasn't predictable, just...believable. Oh, and beautiful. So very pretty.

The thing is, quite honestly, if she was a bad writer, I would hate these books (like I hate this copycat). Because, let's face it, this is melodramatic melodrama. There is kissing, boozing, cheating, murder. And it's kind of jolting to remember that all this juicy drama happened in one summer. You're lazily flouncing along when someone suddenly says "I'm 18!" or "It's the end of one summer." And then you realize, oh yeah, all this crazy, crazy stuff happened to people barely adults in three short months. For a realist like me, that's a fact that's hard to stomach. I mean, 18 year olds shouldn't be married, shouldn't be screwing around with married men, shouldn't be deciding who they'll soar off into the sunset with. But, quite luckily, Godbersen isn't a bad writer. Au contraire! She is definitely one of the most talented YA writers I've ever read, and...for all the frilly silliness, I love everything she writes. Especially this.

After a sumptuous debut with The Luxe, she has found her footing and finalized her voice. This was the perfect combination of witty melodrama and soft moments; of sins and sinners with heart and honesty; of sweet kisses and steamy mistakes; of final decisions and second chances. More importantly, this was the perfect final installment of bitter and sweet. 

Yes, someone dies. Someone's married. Someone's famous. And the epilogue could be one of my favorites ever. Somehow, Godbersen makes this tragic, gilded tale a dreamy one. And then you find yourself lethargic and thoughtful, still sitting, still holding the book open, just staring into space and thinking about it, gauging your feelings until you wish there was just one page more.

At least that's what I did. And then I started over and read all my favorite bits again. Because that's what Godbersen does: she makes me forget reality to slip into a world I never want to leave and never really can. It might sound melodramatic, but it's a dreamy place--the pages of any Godbersen novel. This series is one of my favorites, and this book is the best of them. So read it--but start from the beginning. 

It's a very good place to start.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Judgment, No. 18

The Lucky Ones
by Anna Godbersen
"As summer reaches its hottest peak, these sun-kissed girls will find out if their luck can last . . . or if dark surprises are on the horizon."
You should all know of my literary crush on Anna Godbersen. In my not-so-humble opinion, she can do no wrong. Her books are the ones I'm so glad I didn't write exactly because that means I can just enjoy them. I couldn't make them better in any way, imagine them any more perfectly, or change them for any new purpose. I practically worship them. Hence my pre-ordering, as soon as possible, this latest installment of her latest series. And even though it's senior finals over here in my real world, I know as soon as I get this, I'll immediately drop everything to read it.  But let's get to the judgy part.

You can read here to get my takes on the last one, and here to see how it turned out. Just remember there are three girls bordering on screwing up their lives in various ways: Letty, the starry-eyed actress has ruined her chances with a handsome but normal young man and is now being courted (perhaps for nefarious reasons) by a famous actor; Astrid, the brash and...let's say passionate one has married the cheating, angry bootlegger and expects to live a life of leisure. Which is doubtful considering she's a flirt and there's an attractive body guard in the mix; Cordelia is the unlucky one who found her match in that fellow bootlegger child a long time ago and is now getting it on with a handsome but boring pilot. As promised at the very beginning, one girl will be married, one will be famous, and one will be dead.

I think Astrid is bound to leave her husband. We all knew that wasn't going to last. I hope Cordelia drops the pilot because he really has become pretty boring. And, again, I hope Letty will finally get over herself, somehow go back to the first cute one, and have enough confidence to actually make her dreams happen.

And I know it will all happen--whatever happens--in the most beautiful way imaginable. And while it is melodrama, it will happen in a very believable way, too. Because Godbersen knows her characters, and that makes them that much easier to love. So enough talking. I'm going to get reading.