Beautiful Days is the sequel to Bright Young Things. At the end of Bright Young Things, the three girls (Lettie, Cordelia, and Astrid) have all met up together for the first time and are embarking on the remainder of their summer. They spend their days sleeping in and lounging around, and they spend their nights at glittering parties with all of New York’s finest and most infamous people.
Cordelia is heartbroken after the man she foolishly fell for betrayed her and her family with disastrous results. The big break Lettie thought she was getting turned out to be much more casting couch than not, and she’s feeling sorry for herself. Astrid remains the same – aloof, fun, and desperately in love with Cordelia’s brother Charlie, who is no good for her.
These three girls are VERY seventeen. They want to be viewed as adults so desperately (and, considering it’s 1929, they basically are) but they do some exceptionally stupid things. They’re impulsive, vengeful, lusty, lazy, silly, and unsure.
The first half of the book was rather slow. There was a lot of lounging and boredom, both on the part of the girls and for me. Then, things started picking up. Cordelia’s brother decides to open a speakeasy, and decides that Cordelia will run it. Astrid spreads her wings to see just how much she can get away with. Lettie finds that the kind boy she’s mostly ignored is really the boy she wants, as soon as she can no longer have him. Everyone has secrets, and the world of 1920′s New York bootleggers is a good place to keep them. Feuds continue, with each side getting its own victories. Hearts are broken.
And I still want to know WHO IS GOING TO DIE. So there. But, as middle books of a trilogy go, this one was pretty good. Yes, it’s setting readers up to continue into the third book, but it has multiple story arcs across multiple characters, and some of them wrap up while others continue. I can’t complain about that.