Monday, June 18, 2012

YA Historical Fiction: Flappers Series by Jillian Larkin

Title: Vixen
Publisher: Delacorte
Date: 2010
Format: paperback
Source: Random Buzzers
Read: as part of the pre-college TBR cleanout
Pages: 420
Reading time: two days

From GoodReads: Every girl wants what she can’t have. Seventeen-year-old Gloria Carmody wants the flapper lifestyle—and the bobbed hair, cigarettes, and music-filled nights that go with it. Now that she’s engaged to Sebastian Grey, scion of one of Chicago’s most powerful families, Gloria’s party days are over before they’ve even begun . . . or are they?
Clara Knowles, Gloria’s goody-two-shoes cousin, has arrived to make sure the high-society wedding comes off without a hitch—but Clara isn’t as lily-white as she appears. Seems she has some dirty little secrets of her own that she’ll do anything to keep hidden. . . . 

Lorraine Dyer, Gloria’s social-climbing best friend, is tired of living in Gloria’s shadow. When Lorraine’s envy spills over into desperate spite, no one is safe. And someone’s going to be very sorry. . . . 

My review: Vixen in one word: mediocre. Character-wise, everyone felt one-dimensional and superficial. I had little empathy for or connection to any of them. Gloria was confused and unsure of what she wanted; Clara's true identity and past felt underdeveloped; Lorraine was unintelligent and needlessly jealous of her best friend. It seemed like people weren't making smart choices or thinking things through, which at times made the plot incohesive and fragmented. The author had some great ideas for the story, but her writing just didn't back them up. The romance(s) also bugged me; attraction and love were always stated, but they never felt truly developed. Additionally, the characters often seemed very naive, even whilst their actions made me forget that they're not any older than teenagers. And with 420 pages, the plot was slow and plodding. The only thing that really encouraged me to read the sequel was the dramatic ending.

Title: Ingenue
Publisher: Random House
Date: 2011
Format: hardback
Source: Random Buzzers
Read: as part of the pre-college TBR cleanout
Pages: 350
Reading time: two days

From GoodReads: In the city that never sleeps, Lorraine Dyer is wide awake. Ever since she exposed Clara Knowles for the tramp she was—and lost her closest confidante in the process—Lorraine has spent every second scheming to make her selfish, lovesick ex–best friend pay for what she did. No one crosses Lorraine. Not even Gloria. 

True love conquers everything—or so Gloria Carmody crazily believed. She and Jerome Johnson can barely scrape together cash for their rent, let alone have a moment to whisper sweet nothings in the dark. And if they thought escaping Chicago meant they’d get away with murder . . . they were dead wrong.

Clara was sure that once handsome, charming Marcus Eastman discovered her shameful secret, he’d drop her like a bad habit. Instead, he swept her off her feet and whisked her away to New York. Being with Marcus is a breath of fresh air—and a chance for Clara to leave her wild flapper ways firmly in the past. Except the dazzling parties and bright lights won’t stop whispering her name. . . . 

My review: Okay, so I enjoyed Ingenue a smidge more than the first book, mostly because the plot was faster-paced and more exciting. Other than that, though, I found the book mediocre for all the same reasons as I thought that about Vixen. Clara had more personality, but I thought Lorraine was a very poorly-written villainess: easily distracted, still needlessly caught up in the whole jealousy/hatred thing, and not really terribly intelligent despite how her character is supposed to be smart. The plot was, again, choppy and at times inconsistent. I was utterly baffled by some of the characters' decisions that seemed to not take into account the immediacy of acting to stop problems or how they would affect relationships. But of course, the book ends with another lead into a sequel that makes readers want to continue with the series.


  1. It's a shame Vixen was mediocre for you. I have it in my TBR pile but I don't know if I can be bothered with mediocre!

    1. If you're really considering reading the series, I'd recommend checking out others' reviews. I seem to be the only person who didn't at least enjoy, if not love, the books.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  2. I enjoy reading Anna Godbersen and have been told that I would love this series. I am not so sure. Anna Godbersen thoroughly develops her characters, plot and romance. Those dramatic endings make it tough to decide whether to go on with a mediocre book, so I may have to think twice about starting it. Thank you for your insight.