Sunday, July 10, 2011

Vixen by Jillian Larkin

Book:  Vixen
Author:  Jillian Larkin
Publisher: Delacorte Books
Year:  2010
The reason I read it:  I had to read one historical fiction novel for my YA lit class.  And I love flappers!
My grade:  B

Jazz . . . Booze . . . Boys . . . It’s a dangerous combination.

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. . . .

From debut author Jillian Larkin, VIXEN is the first novel in the sexy, dangerous, and ridiculously romantic new series set in the Roaring Twenties . . . when anything goes.

My Review

How do you spell cliffhanger?  V – I – X – E – N!!! 

I’m trying to figure out how I feel about this book.  It was very slow to start and at first I didn’t really care for any of the characters.  They all seemed shallow, rich and spoiled.  Except for Clara, who wasn’t rich, but didn’t seem very nice either.

Of course, they probably seemed that way because that’s what they were!  So I guess that the author really captured that in the characters.  So, it was sort of hard to read at first because I didn’t like any of the characters.

However, once I got more involved in the story, I started to care about them, one by one.  Except for Lorraine.  I never liked her.  I still don’t.

This story became more and more complex as the novel went on and about 2/3 of the way through, Jillian Larkin dropped a BOMBSHELL of a reveal.  Obviously, I’m not going to spoil that, but wow!  Did it ever blow me away!  Now, some of the things I figured out beforehand, but then I got engrossed in the story and forgot about them, so that when they actually happened, I was all “I knew it!”  That was fun.

In fact, the book was quite fun for me.  I forgot how much I loved the Roaring Twenties!  And to see these society girls turn into flappers was loads of fun.  I liked the atmosphere of the speakeasy and the jazz and everything.  I’m glad that I had to read one novel of historical fiction for my class.  I started 2 books on the French Revolution that just didn’t catch me, so I found this one at my local library (in e-book format, so I downloaded it to my Nook at 2 am!!!).  And, can you say beautiful cover??

Now, there were a few instances in the book that felt slightly anachronistic.  Sometimes, I had a hard time believing that even flappers would act the way some of these girls acted.  After all, women weren’t really liberated at this point in time.  Plus, there were some descriptions of things that didn’t seem realistic—I have a hard time with a particular description of a church with a neon cross.  Really?  In the 1920’s? 

By the end of the book, I was really engrossed in the story.  I have to say I was more than a little perturbed when I had to keep putting it down for the 3 year old.  I wanted to read about the big, bad Al Capone gangster, not play with blocks!  (just kidding, sort of.) 
Then, she goes and hits me with this cliffhanger at a time when I can’t just pick up the sequel and read it!  AGGGGHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!

One caveat:  These are some bad, bad girls!  Lots of sneaking out of the house, lots of drinking and lots of talk about sex.  There's even a murder. I would not recommend this book for a middle school library.  Obviously, it would depend on the kid as to whether or not a middle schooler should read it, but I wouldn't put it out there for just any middle school student.   "Booklist" agreed with me, recommending it for grades 9-12.

Needless to say, I plan on picking up “Ingenue” in August.  I think all of August will be my “sequel catch up” month.  If you are interested in the book series, there is a website called .

I give this book a B.  The story ended up being good, but it’s not an A because it was slow to start and there were moments that didn’t feel right in the time period.  But it’s a darn good read!

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