Title: The Luxe
Author: Anna Godbersen
My grade: C
There’s this new formula in teen lit nowadays. It goes like this: Gossip Girl, but with ______.
Gossip Girl, but with vampires = Blue Bloods
Gossip Girl, but with the 19th century = The Luxe
Granted, I haven’t read Gossip Girl, but I’ve been watching the show, and these characters sound awfully familiar. Serena Elizabeth is the rich socialite whom everyone loves, but who is struggling with the expectations her upper-crust society is placing on her. Mainly, she has a thing for the lower-class dreamboat Dan Will, but she has to get married to the bad boy bachelor Chuck Henry to save her family from poverty. Chuck Henry, meanwhile, is being forced by his overbearing father to marry Serena Elizabeth so he can stop embarrassing the family with his bad boy ways. Unfortunately, though, Serena’s Elizabeth’s best friend Blair Penelope is determined to have Chuck Henry for herself. Added to the mix are Serena’s Elizabeth’s free-spirited and flighty younger sister, Jenny Diana, and her sulky, rebellious maid Vanessa Lina.
Okay, so it’s not exactly Gossip Girl, but you could’ve fooled me.
That’s basically it by way of plot. Everyone is in love with the one person they can never have (woe!), and there are lots of parties and social gatherings where they can angst over this predicament while wearing beautiful gowns that are described lovingly for your benefit.
With a book like this, where the plot is thin and fluffy, everything depends on the strength of the characters. If maybe a single one of these characters were likeable, that character could carry me through to the end. But unlike their Gossip Girl counterparts, these overly dramatic teenagers are too shallow and/or catty for any lasting affection from me. Diana is probably the most interesting character in the book, but even she ends up becoming tiresome.
And that’s the main problem I had with the book—I got tired of it. It’s just more of the same for over 400 pages. I was entertained for a little while, but then I stopped caring about what happened to any of these people, least of all our main character, Elizabeth.
Where’s Blair Waldorf when you need her?