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...
This book was pretty terrible. The only reason it got 1.5 stars instead of 1 is because I actually finished the entire book and will likely read the next two in the series because I hate not knowing what happens in books. But, really, it was bad.
The reason I actually finished the book was because I found all the 1920s slang and descriptions of places and clothing really fun. I don't often read books set in this era. If any of the historical stuff is accurate, then I learned a lot and thank Jillian Larkin for it. The rest of the book, though, can burn in firey hell, for all I care. It was so bad. Just so. So. Bad.
The way it was written was incredibly cheesy. There was a lot of talk about "broad shoulders" and "strong arms" and "sexy smiles"; It felt like a cheap, trashy romance without the graphic sex scenes. Thank goodness for that. Checked out from the library or not, if this poorly-written book had gone into gratuitous sex scenes I would have thrown it in the trash. That said, though, the first-kiss scenes were handled so poorly I almost did want to throw it in the trash, anyway. There had chapters of buildup to these kiss scenes and all we get is a, "He cupped her face with both hands and moved in." End scene. I mean, really? Talk about a let-down. Could have been waaaaaaaaay more fun than that. 'S all I'm sayin'.
There was also a lot of explaining going on: "She felt bad doing this bad thing to her friend but her friend needed to learn a lesson, didn't she? Or maybe she could just do this other not-so-bad thing and her friend would still hate her. No, no, she would definitely do the first bad thing because it would make the most dramatic impact on this very-predictable story."
The plot followed three teenage girls going out to clubs and having illegal drinks and meeting scary-yet-exciting men (who probably shouldn't be hitting on teenage girls). Yeah, I understand those girls. I've been there, more or less. But they were just so dumb. Everything about them. From the way they overanalyzed every little detail to the way they explained exactly what they were feeling in dialogue, I just didn't like them very much. It felt like Gossip Girl (which I don't actually like) but worse. And the men in this book did not act like men. They acted like girls. I got the impression that the author hadn't exactly had that much interaction with men, based on the way her characters acted and reacted. And based on the fact that her bio didn't mention anything about her life, really. I don't know of a single man, let alone the two from this novel, who would open up and divulge his feelings in the completely-open, no-holds-barred, over-explainy, sappy-romantic-language these guys used. Nope. Did not for a second buy into these "men".
The gangsters in this book were laughable. There was nothing that told me they were scary other than all the characters who said it. Mostly they were comedic. And stupid. It really was kind of embarrassing to read. The whole interracial couple thing... I don't even know where to start with this one. On one hand, yes: It would have been a HUGE deal in 1920s Chicago to see an interracial couple. On the other hand, way to drag that idea out, Larkin. There was so much inner debate and thinking and feeling and blah, blah, blah. And, honestly, their romance felt a little rushed. Which would have been super weird for an interracial couple in 1920s Chicago, anyway. But I thought it would have been weird for any couple.
I should just stop now. There's a lot more I could rant about. Like the friggin' cliffhangers all over the friggin' ending! But I won't. Unless I do end up reading book 2, which I would hope to be less bad but will probably be more bad.
Sexual Content: Moderate (lots of talk, no scenes)
Violence: Mild (and when there is, it's not at all believable and super cheese-fest)
Drugs/Alcohol: Heavy (and it's made to seem really cool, like it would have been in the '20s)