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Gossip GirlReview - Gossip Girl
by Cecily Von Ziegesar
Little Brown Juvenile, 2002
Review by Su Terry
Apr 17th 2003 (Volume 7, Issue 16)

What is better than being young, rich, pampered, and living in NYC? Being in a position to gossip about those who are! That is the premise behind Cecily Von Ziegesar's Gossip Girl series. In the premier book, the in-crowd must deal with the scandalous resurfacing of one of their own.

Gossip Girl by Cecily Von Ziegesar is set on the Upper East Side of New York City. Another school year has begun for the students of the exclusive Constance Billard School for Girls and its counterpart the equally exclusive St. Jude's School for Boys. Blair Waldorf is convinced that nothing will stand in the way for her plans for the perfect senior year. She is rich, gorgeous, popular, and dating the very desirable and equally rich Nate Archibald. Her agenda for the perfect year includes losing her virginity to Nate, a memorable seventeenth birthday bash, and getting into the college of her choice. Everything is perfect until Serena van der Woodsen, her former best friend, drops back into Constance Billard. Serena is richer, more beautiful, more popular, and unbeknownst to Blair, has already had sex with Nate. Rumors abound about Serena and why she was expelled from boarding school, but the real reason for her expulsion pales in comparison to what Blair and her friends are actually doing at Billard. Blair fails again and again to create a picture perfect scenario for losing her virginity to Nate. In her frustration over her failures she escapes into the bulimic secure of her bathroom. Nate, for his part, is frustrated with what he perceives as Blair's sexual teasing and game playing. He finds solace by smoking a joint in the park with his "stoner" friends. Serena is simply lonely and just wants to have a friend with which to hang out. Now add to this mix – Jenny Humphrey, an overly endowed freshman who idolizes Serena, Dan Humphrey, Jenny's older brother who is secretly in love with Serene and horny Chuck Bass who just wants to get laid. Add a liberal dose of alcohol and drugs. Shake the mix up at the "Kiss on the Lips" dance, the social event of the junior set's calendar and you have the making of a laugh filled social disaster of seismic proportions.

Gossip Girl is Beverley Hills 90210 set on the Upper Eastside of Manhattan. As one reviewer described the novel it is a story of "a clique of horrible people behave badly to one another." But before you dismiss the book, the reader needs to understand that it is just this rotten behavior dolled up in diamonds and fur that makes for titillating reading. No one can dish dirt better than the filthy rich. The bulk of the characters are self-centered and shallow. Their empty lives revolve around shopping, gossiping, guilty pleasures and putting each other down. Even the main event of this novel, the "Kiss on the Lips" Dance that is a fundraising dance, is more about designer gift bags than saving endangered birds.

Who is Cecily Von Ziegesar? Here's the scoop! She attended Colby College, lived in Budapest for a year, studied creative writing at the University of Arizona, there she met and married a "dashing Englishman", moved to London, and now lives in Manhattan. She is the mother of eight-month old Agnes. She has an active social life that includes society parties and fundraisers. It took her four months to write Gossip Girl and is now in the process of writing a series of sequels.

Gossip Girl by Cecily Von Ziegesar is sure to be a bestseller with the junior set. It is Cabot's Princess Diaries with all the scandalous parts left in. Parents should be pre-warned that this book is filled with copious drugs and alcohol abuse and abundant casual sex, albeit not graphically described. Not great literature, but who can resist a hearty dose of lurid gossip now and then. Hey, I enjoyed it! Ages 15 years and up. 

 

© 2003 Su Terry

Su Terry: Education: B.A. in History from Sacred Heart University, M.L.S. in Library Science from Southern Connecticut State College, M.R.S. in Religious Studies/Pastoral Counseling from Fairfield University, a M.Div. in Professional Ministry from New Brunswick Theological Seminary, a Certificate in Spirituality/Spiritual Direction from Sacred Heart University. She is a Licensed Minister of the United Church of Christ and an Assistant Professor in Library Science at Dowling College, Long Island, NY. Interests in Mental Health: She is interested in the interplay between psychology, biology, and mysticism. Her current area of research is in the impact of hormonal fluctuation in female Christian mystics.


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