Now that "Gossip Girl" is upon us, what will be the next Young Adult book series to be made into a megahyped TV series? Our money's on The Luxe, by Anna Godberson. Harper Teen's going out with an enormous first print in December, aiming to duplicate the success of high-concept vampire young adult smash Twilight. The Luxe has no vampires, but it does feature another bestseller-bait ingredient: rich, spoiled Manhattan teenagers. The twist? It's 1899.
Genius, right? "This thrilling trip to the age of innocence is anything but innocent," is the tagline, and the book, so far (we're about halfway in) is totally credible Edith Wharton lite. There's a highborn beauty at the center of a murder mystery, a caddish lover, a thwarted servant who dreams of a life outside class constraints, and a lot of heavy-breathing scenes at balls and in stables. Oooh, stables!
And, a la Gossip Girl, every chapter is introduced by a primary source document —except, instead of emails and blog posts, the snippets are from ball invites, calling cards, and society columns. In the world of "one from column A, one from column B" book publishing, this idea ranks right up there with, like, "cryptological mystery + Jesus arcana."
And with an epigraph like "It was the old New York way of taking life 'without effusion of blood': the way of people who dreaded scandal more than disease, who placed decency above courage, and who considered that nothing was more ill-bred than 'scenes,' except the behaviour of those who gave rise to them," you really can't go wrong.