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Bright Young Things [Paperback]

Scarlett Thomas
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (308 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
Price: 6.29 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

6 Sep 2012
'Bright Young Things wanted for Big Project.' They're in the prime of their lives but our bright young things are all burnt out. Six sparky twenty-somethings just out of university and working dead-end jobs, they are all bored to tears with their lives and looking for a way out. When a mysterious job is advertised in the newspaper, they all apply. What they least expect is to find themselves prisoners on a deserted island. There's food in the fridge and they have a bedroom each, but there's no telephone, no television, and no way to escape.

Frequently Bought Together

Bright Young Things + Going Out + Our Tragic Universe
Price For All Three: 19.77

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  • Going Out 7.19
  • Our Tragic Universe 6.29

Product details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Canongate Books Ltd; Reprint edition (6 Sep 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0857863800
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857863805
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.7 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (308 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 137,453 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Scarlett Thomas was born in London in 1972. Her other novels include Bright Young Things, Going Out, PopCo and The End of Mr.Y, which was longlisted for the Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction 2007. She teaches creative writing at the University of Kent. Her website is at

Product Description


A generation defining masterpiece - Matt Thorne

Book Description

An edgy suspense story of the Y2K generation --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bright Young Things 11 Mar 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I first read this when it was first published, having enjoyed Scarlett Thomas's early crime novels (I know she doesn't rate them much from the introduction to this edition, but it would still be nice to have them on kindle) and remembered enjoying it. When it was released so cheaply on kindle, it seemed a good idea to re-read it and, although I do fully understand why other people did not like it, I found it as enjoyable as I did previously.

The idea is a simple one. Six 'Bright Young Things' are lured by a newspaper ad to apply to a job. To be fair, perhaps they should have been warned by the application form which asked them what their greatest fear was; but, as one of the characters points out, you simply fill in forms and you don't really think about them. Either way, the book first gives an introduction to each character - each with their own issues, problems and need to get away or find a job. The last thing each person recalls is drinking coffee at the interview and then they wake up on an island. It has a house, a source of power and lots of supplies, but no discernable way to make contact outside the island or to escape.

There is a plot, but mainly, the characters simply interact. For those of us who were young in those days, pre Big Brother and the horror of what was to become reality television, this was a fascinating read and an interesting idea. Now, perhaps, we are overloaded on such images, but, for what it was and for when it was written, this book works really well. I enjoy Scarlett Thomas's novels, her style and the way her writing flows. There is a lot to enjoy in this novel, but I suspect you have to be over a certain age - that of the authors perhaps - to understand it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By R. A. Davison TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Ah, Bright Young Things, I don't know what I make of you. You are no "The End Of Mr Y" and you don't match up to "PopCo" (both by the same author) despite its flaws either; but yet there is something to say for you.

At the beginning of the novel we are introduced to the eponymous Bright Young Things : Anne, Thea, Emily, Jamie, Paul and Bryn all of whom have their own back story - most of whom are recent graduates, and what leads them all to apply for a small job advertisement in The Guardian about which little details are given. Just that it's an "exciting project" for "Bright Young Things"

After arriving to their interview, they all suddenly wake up on a remote island with no idea how they got there and no way off, and no clue as to the 'project' they are supposed to be involved in.

So they end up living a Big Brother/Castaway type hybrid in which they must entertain themselves and to read it is almost like reading a novelisation of one of those reality shows, like a Geordie Marcus voice over set to the page.

In some ways this proves quite dull, as it basically consists of popular culture discussions revolving around the late Eighties into the 90s, basically what people my age (31) were into as teens.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Pretentious waffle with no ending 31 Oct 2012
It starts out ok with an interesting idea but is contrived, hard work and after plodding through it I was really annoyed about the stupid non ending, I would have rather lost 20p than the time it took to read this book.
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38 of 44 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I thought it was an allegory. . . . 21 July 2001
By A Customer
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Like several other readers, I had bought all of Scarlett Thomas's other books & expected a well plotted, well written thriller. The first chapter concentrates on brief biographies & character details of six highly educated top graduates from British universities.They all answer an advertisement for "Bright Young Things wanted for Big Project". Short-listed, they attend an interview & remember nothing more until they wake up on an island - kidnapped. It was an intriguing start to a plot especially when the house is well-stocked & equipped with a generator. There is a library & many comfortable bedrooms. The characters apart from their first class degrees, have an extensive knowledge - & extraordinary interest in - television series, serials, soaps, cartoons & computer games. When one girl suggested using books from the library to light fires with, I realised the book was a clever allegory. The denoument to their plight came & went without much fuss, but the characters didn't explore the island, Instead they explored their mutual obsession with films they have seen, the videos, American TV series, American TV celebrities, chat-show hosts - & all the Australian soap operas. In between, they played truth or dare with each other - paired off - talked about sex. The trivial chat is interminable. Nobody went near the library - they talk in cliches. Then I read an article by Linton Weeks in the Washington Post (13.6.2001), about aliteracy - people who can read but don't. This is the deeper despair behind Ms Thomas's novel I thought, that six high-flyers are not only emotional retards from being educated by television, it has made them identical like robots. Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A good book, worth reading
Published 14 days ago by jimbo
4.0 out of 5 stars Unusual
This book follows a short time of six bright young things. They all consider themselves different to others the same age, although they are all basically alike. Read more
Published 24 days ago by louise milburn
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
Not my cup of tea!
Published 26 days ago by Christine Creasey
3.0 out of 5 stars Meh
100% ending ruins how good this book is
Published 1 month ago by nicola walker
5.0 out of 5 stars but I enjoyed it.
This book was quite strange, but I enjoyed it.
Published 1 month ago by Margo
2.0 out of 5 stars Not bad !
The story did not grip my imagination, bit was an ok easy read. Just not my cup of tea,but not terrible. Worth a read though. Might try another.
Published 3 months ago by Julie Bonney
4.0 out of 5 stars Ending!
Tense towards the end! Unsure what may happen next, completely unexpected ending! Hope there is another one! Suspense is painful!
Published 3 months ago by Leanne
2.0 out of 5 stars Interesting idea
For me the best thing about this novel was the author's intro, it was frank, honest and I thought entertaining, then I started reading the novel and well, what can I say? Read more
Published 3 months ago by sww
3.0 out of 5 stars Could be so much more
One of those books that seems like it's going to get really exciting but nothing really happens. So much repetitive thoughts and conversations but nothing really goes anywhere,... Read more
Published 4 months ago by C.W
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic read
I enjoyed this so much, really well written and the characters are so real and you can understand them and their actions. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Paula_87
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