Gossip Girl by Cecily von Ziegesar | Rating: ★★★★★
Gossip Girl was, and always will be, one of my favorite trashy young adult book series. I love that the novels are short and easy to devour and that they sound like actual conversations with teenagers. You get a glimpse into the lives of a group of shallow rich teenagers and the so-called-glamor of it all. I love that it doesn’t take itself seriously and at times is sincerely cringe worthy. How absurd are these characters, right? I’m delirious with love for this light and fluffy read.
I’d say that it is my guilty pleasure except I don’t believe in such a thing.
Needless to say Gossip Girl is my biggest weak point in young adult literature and frankly, I can’t explain why, it’s just so fun and the easiest way to blow off some steam after a long day. I feel like I grew up with everyone’s favorite Upper East Siders and really, there’s no going back from that.
From the moment I picked it up as a preteen exploring Barnes and Noble, I knew I was hooked. Over ten years later, there’s still no going back.
As I said before, the only way to enjoy this series is to understand it isn’t supposed to be serious. It’s soapy, it’s satirical, it’s dramatic and it’s steamy. And another thing you should do, is separate it from the television series of the same name.
There’s no real outstanding plot to the series, just sprinkles of teen angst, romance and fashion set all in a world that is virtually unobtainable to many of its target audiences. It’s easy to let your imagination take over and even without the television adaption, you can see it come to life as you’re reading.
We see a variety of main and side characters who are struggling through their teen years for one reason or another, drowning in parties and a shit ton of money. We’re graced with a stereotypical duo of best friends who border on a love-hate relationship due to power struggles and a tricky love triangle. Next comes the main object of their affection and the third person in their trio of best friends, a cute little rich boy stoner who is so undeniably a teenage boy.
We’ve a younger teenage girl who idolizes this world and has a knack for attracting unwanted attention due to certain, ahem, assets of hers. And her brother, a typical brooding young chain smoking poet (you know the type) and an edgy voice in his best friend.
Lastly, there’s a certain creepy perverted young man who sure loves to make unwanted passes at girls.
Although there’s nothing special about this characters, nothing we haven’t seen before, it’s easy to get attached to each of them. They’re beautiful, they’re young, they’re at times insufferable – but they’re so fun to read about. There’s a sparkle to each of them that makes it obvious why there’s a gossip webpage attached to each of them and boy, are they delicious.
There’s nothing like a group of private school kids and their scandalous lives to make you feel alive. And Gossip Girl, while not the best book in the series, is the perfect start to a book series.
In this first installment we get a glimpse into their glamorous lives and get to know the sarcastic voice of Gossip Girl well as well as the characters subjected to her column. Its main plot is the return of the beautiful Serena van der Woodsen: party girl extraordinaire and all around it-girl, and the fallout of her return when it comes to the best friends she left behind.
Reigning it-girl and queen of their prestigious private school, Blair Waldorf, is not too pleased with the return of her former best friend. While Serena was away, the two barely spoke – and now that Serena is back, Blair has to try harder than ever to keep her place at the top of the social ladder and make sure her boyfriend, Nate Archibald’s bloodshot eyes (what a stoner!) don’t wander.
Blair, Serena and Nate have been friends for so long that it’s obvious that such a connection would form a confusing little love triangle.
Senior year just got interesting, UES. Needless to say, Blair’s claws come out and we see a vulnerable side to both girls you aren’t always expecting…
Blair struggles with her desire for power and love and longs for a life like the romantic ones in old movies. Trigger warning: she is bulimic. Serena, having been kicked out of boarding school, tries to enter the shoes of her old life to find her ‘friends’ are more interested in isolating her and the gossiping behind her back, finds herself more lonely than ever.
Her two best friends seem to want nothing to do with her, her absentee parents aren’t much help and her older brother is away at college. Hell, even the king of all things perv and absurd Chuck Bass seems to lose interest in her as quickly as his lusty advances are rejected. Blair didn’t even invite her to a party/benefit she is throwing. Sure, things could be worse, but you feel awful for her because you can feel her loneliness radiate from the pages, even as she shines on the NYC social scene.
Serena, although feeling left out, certainly has a place in her notorious it-girl fame. Between an at least one girl fan club with Jenny Humphrey (who plays a part in this novel but nothing all that memorable for me – don’t get me wrong, she’s one of my favorites of all time in this world!) leading the pack and a certain campaign of posters hanging across the city, she proves her status as one of the girls to be. Although rumors swirl about her and cast a shadow over her reputation, no one seems to want to stop talking about her return.
Eventually, you see her befriending a certain brooding young poet, Dan Humphrey and his bald-bad ass-in-your-face best friend Vanessa Abrams. S even manages to charm Vanessa's older sister, Ruby, who is known to not always warm up to people quickly. Serena may have just found a friendship in V, much to the surprise of both girls, and a pretty high amount of chemistry with D. But what about N? And B?
We’re left with an idea of what could happen in that department. And after a long does-Nate-really-want-Blair moments, we see the two end this first book as a couple. Nate is an absolutely realistic portrayal of a teenage boy who has feelings for both of his best friends – he’s flaky, he is a bit of an idiot and frankly he is the most realistic of the boys so far.
Biggest trigger warning comes near the end with the kiss on the lips party Blair throws. Chuck Bass, creepy as can be, makes unwanted advances on Jenny Humphrey leaving your skin crawling. I mean, how gross is he?! We get an idea of other past actions on his part, but nothing as in detail as this. Chuck is easily the type of slime ball we all avoid and it’s known that while he is in the inner circle, he is only there because of the Bass name.
Overall, for me, Gossip Girl is an enjoyable read that leaves me scrambling for the next book even all these years later. It’s the perfect way to blow a summers day and get lost in a world so ridiculous and cheesy. Gossip Girl is a delicious train wreck that you cannot look away from and I’m the first to admit I am utter GG trash.