A couple months ago there was a pile of free books lying around at work. I looked through them and nothing really looked appealing, but they were free so I took one: Vixen by Jillian Larkin.
Vixen is a teen novel about 17-year-old Gloria who is growing up in high society in 1920s Chicago. She begins a secret life as a flapper and lounge singer at a notorious speak easy and the scandal gets even better when Gloria, who is engaged to a Chicago society big-shot, starts a star-crossed love affair with a Black piano player.
I recommend reading this book for a couple reasons. First, all of these books came straight from the publishing companies and they were not even in their final editions. They even had the letters to the publisher inside the book. It was cool to get a glimpse into the process of trying to get your book out there. As a writer of sorts, I feel like I’ve stumbled upon something and it’s my duty to support this aspiring author. So I looked a little bit into Jillian Larkin and I found an interview with her on the website for her book. It doesn’t say how old she is but she looks very young, and this is her first attempt at writing a novel. It’s the first in a series ingeniously entitled The Flappers (whatever, give the girl a break she’s targeting 13-year-olds). The second book is called Ingenue and it comes out in August.
The second reason I would recommend reading Vixen is because it’s just a fun book to read. It’s written for young girls by a young author, and you can tell. The writing is not the best, and it has a lot of very “teen” elements including a brief history on prohibition and every teenage girl’s fantasy of being discovered and becoming famous. So, needless to say, while it does have some elements of social commentary, this is not the next The Great Gatsby. It’s just a fun, easy-to-read novel by a girl who loves The Great Gatsby and all things 1920s. I will probably read the next book, and I am not ashamed to say that I will probably read it. Ever since Twilight I have a new found appreciation for teen novels. Sometimes after a day of working and dealing with your own problems, you just need to indulge in a completely ridiculous fantasy or love story without looking for hidden subtext or delving deep into the human condition. No matter how old we get, girls love love. And I would argue that love sells just as much as sex does. Case in point: my mom is a huge Twilight fanatic and Nicholas Sparks is actually a horrible author.
So, in conclusion, if you’re looking for something fun to bring to the beach try Vixen and once in a while give in to the young adults section at Barnes and Noble….or on your Kindle or whatever the kids are using this days….
Youtube commercial for a book? Weird: