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gg5 I Like It Like That (GG #5) by Cecily von Ziegesar | Rating: ★★★★★

I Like It Like That welcomes you back to the scandalous lives of Manhattan’s elite and promises to be the juiciest installment yet as everyone’s favorite filthy rich teenagers are looking forward to a steamy spring break away from school and even their families. Nothing says fun like a weeks break from the lives they lead.

As Nate tries on the clean and sober route; taking on the role of white knight to his current (and completely wild) girlfriend Georgina, whom he met in rehab, Blair and Serena make sure their friendship is solid as ever as they move in with one another after Blair needs escape from her crazy family which is only growing.

Because it is spring break, most of the gang leave the city for a much needed vacation – and as it happens, Blair, Serena, Nate, Chuck and Georgina all wind up staying in Sun Valley while Jenny, Vanessa and Dan stay in he city.

Fortunately for Blair, and unfortunately for Serena, Serena’s older brother Eric van der Woodsen is joining them on their little trip and boy has he grown up nicely. College just really suits some people, you know?

Eric and Blair quickly take on a flirtation and hook up on the trip, thrilling Blair to have a distraction (and to hopefully lose her virginity to) from Nate and his disastrous girlfriend. Eric is more than pleased to be put in this situation as he assesses just how much his little sister’s best friend has grown up since he left. Their scenes are fun, flirty and lead to a steamy moment towards the end.

Along the way, a group of other men join them on the trip. Chuck is thrilled by this. Serena, not desiring the whole third wheel plot, decides it is time to find her own ways to have fun.

Even if it means spending time with Chuck and Georgina, who are equally obnoxious.

We’re hinted that Serena and Georgina were possibly friends during their boarding school days, through Gossip Girl entries, and that’s about as far as their plot goes. And although the two interact frequently, we don’t know much about it.

Realistically, Serena is present through the entire novel and we see she is very gloomy about her best friend and brother spending so much time with each other. Other than that, her plots were pretty boring. Nate and Blair had the better, juicier chapters throughout I Like It Like That and reminded me why I used to ship them so much in the novels.

Just as Blair is about to do the deed with Eric, Nate walks in and the whole thing is called off because the two still obviously love each other. Eric is a good sport about it – how could he not be? – and alas, Blair leaves her vacation with her v-card still present.

Back in the city, Dan explores his options as he takes a new job on at a literary journal. But is this world really for him? And why does his mind keep floating back to a certain ex-girlfriend/best friend of his? Dan reminds us why we love him in this installment and while his plots aren’t the greatest, they aren’t the weakest in the novel.

But can the sudden attention his sister’s best friend gives him distract him from everything? Or are they too different? And is she too young?

His sister, Jenny, has been spending more and more time with her cute but mysterious boyfriend. Jenny’s problem with Leo is she doesn’t quite know him yet – he keeps a lot to himself and the air of mysterious is a bit much for her, so she comes up with a ton of ideas on who is and what kind of family he comes from.

In doing this, we’re reminded just how much younger Jenny Humphrey is compared to the rest of our leads. She is very frustratingly shallow when it comes down to Leo and well let’s just say I rolled my eyes on more than one occasion during her narration.

Lastly, Vanessa has made it her mission to move on from Dan and the fact that he cheated on her. With her parents in town for a visit, she catches the eye of a cute and clean cut boy who happens to be the son of her parents old friends. Their relationship is typical rebounding and frankly, she could do better. It’s fun to read and a nice change of pace to see her having fun but ultimately he isn’t for her and all she knows is she is still in love with Dan.

And spoiler alert: Dan still loves Vanessa too.

We end with breakups and lovers possibly reunited. Can Dan and Vanessa work through their problems? Will Blair and Nate finally, finally, get back together? And what of Serena and Blair's rocky frendship?

Ultimately, I Like It Like That is just as fun now as it was all those years ago for me. Classic Gossip Girl moments are frequently used and it's just a whole lot of shallow fun. It’s aged pretty damn well and I still can’t get enough. I can’t believe it’s nearing 12 years old!

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