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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 7 May 2014
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? I was really looking forward to reading this but some of the characters kept lapsing into a cliché before finding their own voice again. It also was not helpful that the story suddenly torpedoed towards a sudden tidy neat ending. As ideas go I thought this had loads of potential, or maybe this one just wasn't for me.
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27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on 31 October 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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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 29 November 2012
Bought this book as it was not expensive, At first seemed ok as it was detailing the characters, then once on the island it got more and more confusing. Have to admit I skimmed through most of it and it did seem to go on a bit in places. As for the end, it seemed to finish just as it was getting interesting.... If anyone can explain the ending to me and the point of it please do so!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 17 July 2013
I've just ploughed through this book having been given it by somebody who "thought I might enjoy it"... and sure enough, as a concept (6 bright young things trapped on a remote island) it sounded interesting . It starts well enough, characters are given good back-stories, the plot is set up and then the arrival on the island makes for a couple of good chapters.. Sadly after that it meanders off into self-indulgent drivel and a particularly boring game of "truth or dare" that goes on for page ..after page ...after page , until you could scream with inanity of it all. By the time something interesting finally does happen (I wont say what in case you're daft enough to read this book) you really couldn't care less. After 240 pages of this nonsense it finishes and you have no more idea of what it's meant to be about than you did 240 tedious pages ago. At one stage in the book the characters talk about burning books to light the fire. I suggest they start with this one.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 19 January 2013
Bright Young Things is well written, but it is a bit slow, not much happens and I was very disappointed by the ending. All in, I thought it was pretty pointless.
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40 of 47 people found the following review helpful
on 21 July 2001
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. Their preparation for life has been through television, their values & judgements have been predigested for them by the media. For the agencies who produce advertisments aimed directly at their needs - the cool life-style - they are ripe for exploitation. Regardless of the best education the system can provide, they've been wired to spend & feel entitled... I think this is a very disturbing book.
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on 16 April 2013
I bought this for twenty whole English pence for my Kindle because it sounded alright - I didn't have any strong feelings either way about it, but I thought for 20p, I couldn't really go wrong. The book began with an introduction from the author which to be honest, nearly put me off reading the entire book. It was a load of pretentious waffle about how she had thought up the idea for Big Brother/Castaway first and so on, and so on, and what her book really MEANS. It might be the case that she dreamed up these things first - I have no idea - and I don't much care - I certainly don't want to be told what to make of her book. She's done her bit in writing it - it's up to me now to interpret it as I see fit. I can never understand why writers always want to tell their readers what to think - readers are perfectly capable of making up their own minds about the story; and this was just one further example of why authors should never introduce their own work, but just leave well alone.

So I got through the introduction and onto the story - at this point I was prepared not to like it at all - so it was a wonderful surprise when I found that, actually, I loved it. This is an entirely original story with strong characters each of whom have unique and individual voices. I loved pretty much everything about this book (excluding the introduction by the author). I loved the set up, the characters, the island, and the way the story progressed to its rather unique ending. I even loved Sebastian the spider (and I'm a bit like Thea where spiders are concerned).

This is really a very good book. I'm going to read some more of this author - I'm just going to stay away from her introductions.
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on 16 January 2013
I have found all of Scarlett Thomas's recent novels thoroughly engaging and would rate "Our Tragic Universe" as one of my all-time favourites. Consequently I had very high hopes for "Bright Young Things".
My initial response was mild disappointment as she took us through introductory pen portraits of the six characters, but once the story got properly under way these were completely dispelled.
The six characters are indeed all bright young things but they are all drifting through their hitherto entirely separate lives, finding themselves notably unfulfilled. Each individually responds to an advert in the "Situations Vacant" section of the Guardian asking for "Bright Young Things" and attends an interview in Edinburgh. The next thing they know they are all on an unidentified small island, with an empty house stocked with enough food and supplies for several days, but no explanation as to how they got there or what they are expected to do.
The novel was originally published more than ten years ago, before the plethora of the "Big Brother" type of reality television programmes, so the participants are ompletely unaware of what might be happening to them or how they should react towards each other.
As usual with Thomas there are some hilarious stories and a refreshing frankness in the characters' attitudes to sex and relationships in particular and life in general. She explores the contrasting backgrounds and expectations of life of the six characters expertly and combines them adroitly to provoke some dazzling exchanges.
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on 7 October 2012
OK so I really wanted to give this novel 4 stars but it's more like 3 1/2 for me..don't get me wrong the whole concept works
really well but thought the ending was rushed a bit & hate this in novels when it feels like the author could have gone back, done some more editing and character expansion, but then again maybe she didn't want to but it's simple things like this which turn okay-ish novels into memorable ones I think! I loved all the characters, even idle Thea. I felt towards the end though
that Bryn and Thea were neglected a bit like they didn't really matter which was a shame. Would have been funny to see Bryn finally crack under the strain & was looking for more arguments and backstabbing especially since paul was a cyber hacker! But apart from this it really is worth a read..so it might not blow you away, but feels so 90s that you're transported to a life
where technology was so limited they're discussing stuff like sega,pokemon & chums on sm:tv..brings it all back!

The sexual tension thing got a bit annoying, and in a few days it seemed everyone liked each other with Anne considering them all her friends, a bit unrealistic but maybe not for Anne whose weirdness dominates the novel along with paul's secret desire for her. Emily is flawed yet she seemed the most sane of the girls & would have loved to see her character develop more after she develops shock..it's like her character along with bryn's just fizzles out into the background. I'm probably being too picky about this though, it's totally personal & I'm sure Thomas thought through everything and did most of it intentionally! however if the plot carried on instead of drifting off into the horizon like some of the character's it would have been an
enthralling read. It seemed pretentious, but has such a British 'feel' to it perhaps it was intentional. Lastly I think Thomas is a worthy,clever writer and want to read her other books so Hope mr Y is better.
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From someone who was (judge me as you will!) quite excited by the Castaway series (remember Ben Fogle??) or at least the idea of it, I was equally excited at the prospect of this novel. But I had to try rather hard to overlook the typos. I write too, so I know how hard it is but was Thomas trying to be ironic with her 'grammer school'?? If so, then why was there also an 'application from' (form) and sayd (says)? Typos just make it look as if the author has stopped caring.
I also struggled with the lack of character development. To me, only Anne seemed to be anything approaching 'real' and I felt she was more a reflection of the writer than any of the other characters.
I did get rather bored by the lists of computer references; personally I don't think novels should automatically exclude people because of their content. I did some skim-reading here. Sorry Scarlett, just not my bag! I agree that novels stand in a certain time but disagree that even if one is not 'of that time' the reading experience should be any less satisfying.
I felt that there was massive potential here to create something extraordinary - the idea in itself was a great one and I wanted it to run and run.
Sadly it didn't. I was left disappointed. I know that what wasn't written was almost as important as what was but even so, I needed to care more about these bright young things.
Let's face it - a lot of us have been there!
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