Thursday, October 23, 2014

Series Review | Flappers by Jillian Larkin [No Spoilers]

Vixen / Flappers #1 / December 14, 2010 / 432 Pages / Goodreads / Amazon / B&N 
Ingenue
Flappers #2 / August 9, 2011 / 351 Pages / Goodreads / Amazon / B&N
Diva / Flappers #3 / July 10, 2012 / 320 Pages / Goodreads / Amazon / B&N

I decided to read this series on a whim after browsing my library's digital shelves and noticing that there is an audiobook format available. Interestingly enough, I only made it part of the way through the first book in via audiobook and decided to finish the series in print alone. 

Things I liked about The Flappers Series

1. The time period. Flappers are fun, right? I remember when this series began, actually, and I remember seeing reviews about it - everyone was all "Flappers!" - YES, the historical fiction portion of this series is a load of fun. There are speakeasies and there is the infamous gangster activity that is associated with them. There are flappers and the glamorous lifestyles of these people is carried throughout the series very well. These books are easily visualized which is something that I always love in a story.

2.  Alternating POV. All three books in this series are told in multiple points-of-view, which is kind of neat because we are able to see the same events and people in three very different perspectives. After the first book, more POV's are added -- This did not bother me because after finishing Vixen, I knew these particular characters enough and had connected with them enough that I want to hear their perspectives too. 

Things that I didn't love about The Flappers Series


1. The language. Even with the vivid imagery of the time period and the knowledge of the language of the day, I think the little phrases throughout the series were just too much. This is the one thing that caused me to switch from audiobook to print, and that is sort of a big deal for me. These are memorable phrases, things like "posilutely" and "cat's pajamas" and "bee's knees" - and I feel like it almost took away from the story. I realize that people talked this way back then, but once I realized these words were in abundance, I felt like they were just everywhere. Then once I began reading in print, my enjoyment of the series unfortunately decreased. 

2. The behavior. I know that speakeasies and all things associated with this time period were about being rebellious and daring, but I had a hard time wrapping my head around exactly how much and how often all of these teenagers indulged in drinking, partying, sneaking around, and illegal stuff. I am not a prudish person, but the excess was as much a distraction at times as the language was. 

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Gloria, Lorraine, and Clara are three friends that tell this story - one is rich and wants the more-exciting flapper lifestyle so bad that she has been willing to lie to make people believe she already has it; one is rich but wants a life that is different from the flapper-like and rebellious lifestyle that has already given her a poor reputation; one is caught in the middle and wants to make a name for herself outside of her friend's popularity. These young girls have engagements, taboo love affairs, double lives, tons of drinking and partying, exciting jobs, and glitz and glamour. There is love, heartache, betrayal, jealousy, and murder. I think there is a little bit of everything in this series, to be honest. I believe that the first book does a pretty good job of developing the major characters and one or two of the secondaries. 

Vixen started out exciting and I was invested! I loved the differing personalities of these girls and how they were so sneaky with each other and everyone else, and I loved the visual image of this book in my head. I loved how the book ended, which made me check out the second book in the series right away from the library - in print, like I mentioned, because I really wasn't attracted to the excessive use of the "Aaannnnd how!" talk. In spite of switching up formats, and even though I had a few problems with it, I still hung with Ingenue. It took me a long time to get thru the second book. I think it may have been a little more in the way of action and excess and behavior. Such drama! By the time I got Diva, I was trudging through and considering putting the series to rest due to lack of excitement. 

Why, you ask? 

In Vixen, I was invested in each perspective and story line so even with my annoyances, it was an easy decision for me to continue with the series. It became apparent as I read Ingenue that I just was not as invested in all three of the leading ladies and some of the new plot threads - there was really only one main story that I was following, and this is how it remained through the rest of the series. It was Gloria's overall story (even though she was not my favorite character) that kept me the most invested and by the time I got to Diva, her plot line/romance was the only one I really cared about. 

Also, I'm not sure that the character development that occurred in the first book continued throughout the series to any degree, which is a little unfortunate. I know that development cannot continue at the same rate that it does when we initially meet each character, but I love it when a character is able to continue to find ways to improve on him/herself (that's how life is, hopefully). For many readers, this non-progression is totally okay, but I think I was really rooting for these young people to buckle down a bit. Or perhaps I had too many expectations of this series when I went into it. 

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IN SUMMARY: I love the covers for these books. They caught my eye, and the idea of a YA historical fiction series is what reeled me in. Ultimately, however, I lost excitement about the stories as I made my way through the series. It is clear that the author has a love for this time period because it is captured well and so easily imaginable, but the rebellion and the back-stabbing and the full-on party-hard-1920's-style attitude of these characters made it hard for me to connect after a certain point. I found myself failing to care about the story when I saw that there was very little character change for the better. I think that big, big fans of this period of time may enjoy this series but than again they may not. I did enjoy one of the three perspectives more than the others, which is ultimately why I stuck with this series until the end. 

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The Flappers Series will appeal to fans of:


YA Historical Fiction 
Romance:  Multiple romances in each book, across the series. Some are already established, some are not. 
Flappers
Completed Series

The Flappers Series by Jillian Larkin
is currently available for purchase. 

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Have you read this series or any of these books? 

Don't you love these covers? 

4 comments:

  1. Ooh, sounds interesting. I don't usually read 20's stories (why? Not sure. But maybe that needs to change!). Phrases that are era-specific really need to be used sparingly, more for emphasis and reinforcing the timeframe.

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    1. The phrases were just over the top. For the most part, the STORY was fun. But the excessiveness of everything was just...excessive. But I like the general idea. I want to try a couple other series from this era, but I think I will wait a little while.

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  2. Aw, I'm sorry that this series got worse for you over time! I always hate it when that happens. I remember seeing a few mentions of this series and being vaguely interested, (cause YA historical fiction about flappers sounds great in theory) but in actuality I guess it isn't quite as good?
    I remember the jargon throwing me off a bit in Libba Bray's The Diviners, but I ended up enjoying it ultimately. I'm not sure if you've read that one, but perhaps that would be more agreeable to you?

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    1. I have read The Diviners and honestly, it isn't as bad. Or at least, from what I remember! I need to re-read that one, but there was so much about this series that was overdone that it spoiled the story for me, and I think that the story was pretty good (at least in the first two books). By the time I got to the third book, I was ready for the series to be finished and I very rarely feel that way. I wonder if I had read these in a more spaced-out fashion instead of back-to-back, perhaps I would like them more? Probably not, but I will probably always wonder.

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