12:46 PM

cum laude Cum Laude (Class) by Cecily von Ziegesar | Rating: ★★☆☆☆

“To her surprise, college was even lonelier than high school.”

I’m a bit torn on what rating I’d like to give this novel because I feel as though I am judging it a bit too harshly. Cum Laude is meant to be the first adult novel that Cecily has done but it reads far too similar to her young adult style of writing we come to find in the Gossip Girl book series. It’s shaky, at best. But the story itself is by no means the worst thing I’ve ever read, so perhaps my rating of two stars will raise to three.

I’m unsure.

Off that note, I’ve been a fan of Cecily for years and years. Aside from Harry Potter, and more recently the Hunger Games and the Darkest Minds, I’ve never really had a big obsession with a series of books like I did with Gossip Girl and its spin-off series The It Girl. I can proudly say that she is one of the authors that not only got me reading, but she also got me writing.

And she’s so sassy and stylish, her narratives are often hilariously sarcastic.

For somebody who watched Gossip Girl and decided against reading the books in the series, but still wanted to check out something written by Cecily, this probably wouldn’t be the book for them.

As I said, it is her first big jump into writing an adult aged book and it’s a weak one at that.

As for me, it felt as though I were reading another version of Gossip Girl. One that had similar characters, mannerisms and other things that seemed a bit more watered down and tired than what we saw in other novels by her. Only this time, instead of having a glimpse at teenage private school students we are able to be in a more mature setting: university.

Which in some cases, wouldn’t be a terrible thing. In this case? I’m not terribly sure what to say or think of it. It felt dull and familiar and just a bore.

Perhaps, it’ll be better if I decided to reread the novel. But for now, I have to say Cum Laude is lacking something for me on the first read and remains unmemorable in my mind.  I've genuinely forgotten so much of what happened in the chapters. What were the characters names again? Where's that spark she had in other works?

It's so disappointing.  

However, if you’re looking for something in the style of Gossip Girl, The A-list, The Clique, Private, Pretty Little Liars, etc etc — this novel is for you. Just keep your expectations low. It’s simple enough that it wouldn’t take you much of a day to finish it, if you should find yourself with 24 hours of free time. Requires little to no focus and gives you a fill of the drama you come to expect from Cecily.

For some, this novel is the next great beach read -- a surefire way to spend your summer.

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