Cecily von Ziegesar‘s Gossip Girl (2002) was an unprecedented sensation in the publishing world when it first came out. This first book in an eleven book series (eight if you’re only counting the ones von Ziegesar actually wrote) showed publishers that teen paperback series books were still viable–something no one believed possible since the Sweet Valley High books of the 1980s. Since then the franchise has spawned its own TV show, several spin-off books, and the inimitable and insane What Chuck Wore.
On the upper East side, the usual rules don’t apply. Life is a party and Gossip Girl is ready and waiting to tell you all of the scandalous details about every sensational guest. After all, when everything you’ve ever wanted has been given to you on a silver platter what else is there to do?
When glamorous and ethereal Serena van der Woodsen returns to her home from a failed attempt at boarding school, she is ready to return to the fab party life she shared with best friend Blair Waldorf. But Blair has gotten used to being the center of attention in Serena’s absence. When the two girls are reunited get ready for some catty conversations, an uneasy love triangle (or two!), lots of other juicy gossip.
After reading the first book in the series, I find myself torn as to my feelings about the series. On one hand, I find it strange that the author does not own the copyright, enabling the various spin offs written by ghost writers. On the other hand, it was a fun book.
My main problem with the books, and the reason I might not read the rest of the series, is that the characters were all a bit too ambiguous. Serena is adorably dim for most of the book but, really, is anyone ever that clueless? Even if they are insanely rich? I wanted to like Blair and root for her throughout the book but she was such a jerk to Serena that it became frustrating. Why not just explain things to Serena? Then there’s Vanessa who I wanted to like even more than Blair but then she got all petty while casting her movie. Way to compromise that artistic integrity! I’m not even going to waste time mentioning the guys because they were all losers.
Possible Pairings: Truth or Dare by Jacqueline Green; Where I Belong by Gwendolyn Heasley; Confessions of a Not It Girl by Melissa Kantor; Anna K.: A Love Story by Jenny Lee; The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee; Bliss by Lauren Myracle; The Edge of Falling by Rebecca Serle; Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard; Loveboat, Taipei by Abigail Hing Wen; Gossip Girl (television series); What Chuck Wore