Pretty girls in pretty dresses, partying until dawn.
Irresistible boys with mischievous smiles and dangerous intentions.
White lies, dark secrets, and scandalous hookups.
This is Manhattan, 1899.
Beautiful sisters Elizabeth and Diana Holland rule Manhattan's social scene. Or so it appears. When the girls discover their status among New York City's elite is far from secure, suddenly everyone-from the backstabbing socialite Penelope Hayes, to the debonair bachelor Henry Schoonmaker, to the spiteful maid Lina Broud-threatens Elizabeth's and Diana's golden future.
With the fate of the Hollands resting on her shoulders, Elizabeth must choose between family duty and true love. But when her carriage overturns near the East River, the girl whose glittering life lit up the city's gossip pages is swallowed by the rough current. As all of New York grieves, some begin to wonder whether life at the top proved too much for this ethereal beauty, or if, perhaps, someone wanted to see Manhattan's most celebrated daughter disappear...
In a world of luxury and deception, where appearance matters above everything and breaking the social code means running the risk of being ostracized forever, five teenagers lead dangerously scandalous lives. This thrilling trip to the age of innocence is anything but innocent. (from back cover, Harpercollins Publishers, September 15, 2008, Trade Paperback)
The Luxe was recommended to me awhile ago but I put off reading it, not sure if I would really like it. It's a little different from what I usually read, being YA without a paranormal slant. I wasn't sure if I was interested in a bunch of teenagers in 1899 Manhattan.
While I didn't know what to expect, The Luxe wasn't what I thought it would be. It actually starts off during Elizabeth Holland's funeral. Here we meet all of the characters for the first time and get a glimpse into their personalities. Seeing how they act and behave at Elizabeth's funeral gives us a few hints about the story to come.
The main plot them picks up a few weeks earlier, and we follow the events leading up to Elizabeth's death/funeral. We follow different characters in each chapter and learn about their place in society and what they want out of life.
For me, while I really enjoyed the plot I had a hard time liking the characters. I cared what happened to them but not because I cared about them but because they are so well drawn that they feel real enough to inspire genuine interest in them. At the same time, I can't actually say that I really liked any of them.
There is a Gossip Girl element to The Luxe that makes every story told interesting for the possible scandal that might unfold and the gossipy feeling the book evokes.
The Luxe is the first in a series and I'm looking forward to reading more. I can see growing to care more about the characters as I read more about them, but either way I want to know what happens.
great characters make this book memorable!
some sweet & romantic elements, some sexual content