by Jillian Larkin
Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: December, 2010
List Price: $17.99
Review: Sometimes when it is least expected, a book can completely change the way history is viewed. Jillian Larkin's debut novel, Vixen (the first book in the Flappers series), will have readers looking at the 1920's in a completely new light. In Chicago during the Jazz Age, the role of women is changing as the rich hop from party to party ignoring Prohibition and engaging in one scandal after another. Gloria Carmody is entranced by the flapper lifestyle, and at age seventeen she'd much rather be visiting a speakeasy than spending another dry moment with her fiancé - even if he is Chicago's most eligible bachelor. But, things are more complicated than they seem in Gloria's little privileged circle.
As Gloria prepares for her impending wedding, she is experimenting with a completely new lifestyle - the life of a flapper. Sneaking out of the house, accompanied by her best friend Lorraine and handsome Marcus, to immerse herself in smoke, alcohol, and other clandestine activities becomes essential to her happiness. To spoil her fun, however, her cousin Clara comes to visit and help prepare Gloria for her high-society wedding. In Gloria's eyes, Clara seems like a stick-in-the-mud, and Gloria is determined to make her visit miserable. But, Clara is nothing like she seems. She comes with a suitcase full of secrets and an allure that entrances Marcus - which only infuriates Lorraine. As Gloria delves deeper and deeper into the life of a Vixen, she finds out this life has more to it that she's bargained for, and Jerome Johnson, a sexy jazz musician, is only the beginning.
Vixen is a highly entertaining and historically accurate book. Why can't textbooks be this interesting? Life in the 1920's is told through the eyes of three young ladies - Gloria Carmody, a socialite who seems to have everything, Lorraine Dyer, her envious best friend who will risk everything for attention, and Clara Knowles, Gloria's cousin who isn't nearly as "goody-goody" as she seems! Each character exhibits a witty persona, intriguing sex-appeal, and most importantly, each character harbors secrets - secrets that might just be better off kept secret! Larkin will change the way teens view one of the most fascinating times in history. A once "boring" topic in school comes to life in her story of these young socialites, and readers can't help get absorbed in the social barriers, double standards, and addictive lifestyles of the Roaring Twenties. Larkin does an excellent job of jump-starting the reader's imagination - "Bastain (Gloria's fiancé) had yet to say a word. He just glowered as if he were going to lunge across the table, knock aside the Venetian glass vase of white tulips, and strangle her with his bare hands. Weirdly, that thought was kind of exciting - she had never seen him this heated before. In the past, he'd always been so stable, so predictable. So dull." Her descriptive and fluid prose leaves readers anxious to learn more about Gloria's exploits, as well as this exciting time in history. Fortunately, they won't have to wait long since the second installment in the Flappers series, Ingénue, will be released in September 2011 as they follow Gloria and her friends to New York City.
Review written by Margo Nauert (6th grade teacher).
We would like to thank Random House for providing a copy of Vixen for this review.
Have you read Vixen? How would you rate it?