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Gossip of the Starlings

3.25  ·  Rating Details ·  1,231 Ratings  ·  203 Reviews
When Catherine Morrow is admitted to the Esther Percy School for Girls, it's on the condition that she reform her ways. But that's before the beautiful and charismatic Skye Butterfield, daughter of the famous Senator Butterfield, chooses Catherine for her best friend. Skye is in love with danger and the thrill of breaking rules, taking risks, and crossing boundaries, no ma ...more
Kindle Edition
Published (first published May 28th 2008)
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to be fair, this book doesnt specifically claim to be like secret history the way so many others do, but one review i read did compare it. it is in no way like secret history - oh wait - its new england and its a school setting. fair enough. it is more like a separate peace, which i have not read, but know all about thanks to greg stahl, king of all spoilers. the book is good; its not chick lit, its that range of womens fiction that is above chick lit but that doesnt quite reach the stellar rang ...more
Aug 08, 2008 Elise rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I waffled between 3 & 4 stars on this one, because the book really grew on me. Gossip of the Starlings illuminates the friendship of two wealthy & pampered students at a prep school in the 1980's. I guess since I never went to one, I have always been fascinated with stories about boarding schools - John Knowles' A Separate Peace is one of my all-time favorites. The narrator, Catherine, explains - "In my mind, there were three worlds. The world outside - lofty and compelling, the whisper ...more
Jul 15, 2008 Kelly rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2008
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This is just another example of how I get sucked in by covers alone, despite the fact that I shouldn't. Just look at that cover though: understated, elegant, stark. It's beautiful. Unfortunately, I should have looked a little more at what the book was about before delving into it--it would have tempered my unrealistically high expectations based on artwork.

The Gossip of the Starlings focuses on a group of coke-snorting, precocious New England prep students. Enter the beautiful daughter of a mave
sarah gilbert
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 25, 2008 Jeanette rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Adolescence is a time of questioning rules, testing rules, breaking rules and creating one s own rules. Catherine, a sixteen-year-old equestrian and prep-school student, has worked all her life toward showing in the National Horse Show in Madison Square Garden. In regional summer circuit shows, she places first or second, but each year fails to rank in the fall indoor show, the one that would qualify her for the National show. It s now Catherine s next-to-last year to qualify. [return][return]Af ...more
Sep 27, 2008 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When a book starts out with a couple of boarding school girls cutting lines of coke on their toaster oven, I'm so in. Rebellious teen girls, an R-rated coming of age story, prep school AND self-destructive but kinda glamorous debauchery? That's sort of a "you had me at hello" kind of beginning for me. And the rest more or less lived up to the setup, with some lovely, lyrical writing. If it didn't QUITE live up to some of my favorites in the misbehaving-disallusioned-rich-kids-at-fancy-school gen ...more
Sep 05, 2011 Jennifer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-book
At first glance, I figured this book was yet another story about rich kids run wild at their New England boarding schools. Which is not necessarily a bad thing - I do enjoy those types of books.[return][return]But this one was different. Even though the main characters were rich and privileged, it wasn't in an annoying way - more like it was just a fact that was secondary to the story. The main character, Catherine, had many layers that made her more than just a cookie-cutter rich teen. Her rela ...more
Mar 18, 2012 Janice rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book has an interesting plot and premise-- rich prep school girls break every rule in an effort to be treated normally--but the writing is uneven and the point of view shifts are distracting and ineffective. Some of the writing is well done, but the point of view problem is serious. de gramont has Catherine, the main character, narrating but writes a number of passages from other characters' POVs, told as Catherine recounting them as memories. Multiple points of view with an omniscient narr ...more
Sep 07, 2009 Erica rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I purchased this novel based on two separate reviews in People Magaizine. Sadly, I did not love this novel as much as People did.

The only character that I had any feelings for was John Paul. After finishing this novel more than a day ago, I am still unnerved about his "ending". Being that he was the only character with a moral compass, I feel like he deserved more. In John Paul's case, I would have appreciated a triumph over tradgedy.

As far as Skye was concerned, I could not wait for her to die
Jun 03, 2016 Erin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nina de Gramont is a true poet and the master of the tragic novel. Her characters are realistic and flawed and beautiful, as well as entirely relatable. She captures the feel of the 1980s and its cocaine use perfectly, without having to rely on overused pop culture references. However, it is far more than just a teen angst and drug use novel. It is about an adult woman looking back at her youth and describing one of the most influential parts of it. The bad reviews you see here are mainly from p ...more
sir rickman
Apr 22, 2014 sir rickman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Everything about this book suggests that I wouldn't like it. It's about a collection of attractive, (mostly) white, rich boarding school students, horse competitions, drugs, affairs, and recklessness. For me, oftentimes it's hard to be sympathetic with characters like this, whose circumstances are so unlike my own, and so unlike anything which I perceive to be realistic. This novel pleasantly surprised me.

I went into it expecting a mindless (or mind-numbing) read following catty girls fighting
Jul 23, 2012 Ange rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the story of privileged New England prep school girls, coming of age in 1984. Not only is this a book about the social lives of teens, it's about the pressures and coping mechanisms they employ: sneaking to the Cape, cutting classes, snorting coke, interactions with other friends, boyfriends and teachers. This is one of those books that seems more like 3 1/2 stars, rounded up to 4 for being a quick read with good writing.
I loved the sense of time and place that the author conveyed - I could almost feel the New England autumn breezes and smell the woodsmoke in the air - but I had a hard time with the central relationship between Catherine and Skye. I have no doubt that someone like Skye could be that enthralling, but it was painful to watch the way she slowly unravelled Catherine's life. Perhaps as you get older it gets harder to step back in time and put yourself back into that state of intensity that only ever ...more
Tammy Dahle
My thoughts:
Nina De Gramont is an amazing writer. Gossip of the Starlings is pure poetry. This story is so beautifully written that I found myself rereading pages so I could take it all in.
Skye and Catherine are two wealthy teens attending a prep school in New England. Catherine longs to walk to straight and narrow but her friendship with Skye keeps pulling her into dangerous situations. Not that Catherine isn't a willing participate of drunken nights and cocaine binges-in fact Catherine is the
Julie Failla Earhart
Draped against the background of the Regan years, first-time novelist, Nina De Gramont, delivers a cautionary tale of teenage rebellion in Gossip of the Starlings.
Catherine Morrow was supposedly expelled from Waverly after she and her boyfriend John Paul were caught in bed. Upon her arrival as the Esther Percy School for Girls, Catherine will try to make her affair with John Paul work via long-distance. Catherine has a few other issues also: she loves her cocaine.
When she arrives, another new st
Madeline Knight-Dixon
This book has the depth and gravity that I wish all books about young adults could hold. Youthful adventures with shocking consequences, love that ends up broken and forgotten, wild night parties that turn terrifying. There’s so much truth in this book it’s almost unbareable. The entire time I found myself cringing because (even though I did not go to a prep school or do an abudnence of cocaine in high school) I feel what they’re feeling so much.

The story centers around Catherine. In a strangely
Aug 17, 2010 Iahc rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book for a number of really different reasons. The prose is beautiful and it was a pleasure to read just to read some of the incredible sentences. But the plot was also truly exciting. I knew someone was going to die from the opening but wasn't sure who or why. I won't spoil the plot by divulging too much, but let's just say, a group of high school students get over their heads into trouble--testing the limits of their friendships, their relationships with their parents, drugs, brea ...more
May 04, 2010 Sarah rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is a good book for someone. It's well written and articulate, and even though the author telecasts from page one what will happen through out the whole book, you still want to read all the way through, maybe just to see if the ending is really telecasted, and maybe you don't actually need to test that theory and are positive it's telecasted, but just to want to see the how and why, if not the what. And I'm ok with that, as a device- I'm basically of the school of thought that there are 6 ba ...more
Dec 13, 2008 Alea rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-for-review
The back cover says it all. Prep school, drugs, friendship, tragedy. Already knowing that, there was nothing left for me to be engaged by.

Gossip of the Starlings is the story of two girls (Catherine and Skye) and their friendship while attending an all girls boarding school. Catherine is a new student leaving her old school for her "bad girl" ways and Skye is the daughter of a senator with a constant spotlight on her.

I thought I was in for a shocking tragic read, it was more sad and not totall
When Catherine Morrow is admitted to the Esther Percy School for Girls, it's on the condition that she reform her ways. But that's before the charismatic and beautiful Skye Butterfield, daughter of the famous Senator Butterfield, chooses Catherine for her best friend. Skye is a young woman hell-bent on a trajectory of self-destruction, and she doesn't care who is taken down with her. No matter the transgression—a stolen credit card, a cocaine binge, an affair with a teacher, an accident that pre ...more
This novel reads like 'Gossip Girl' or 'Prep' for grown ups. What makes it beautiful and poignant is Gramont's choice to narrate the first person story as Catherine several years later, looking back on the events of her friendship with Skye. This novel is extremely 'readable', but Gramont lost me in the end -- as she veers from depicting a toxic friendship to describing a predictable tragic outcome. What I did love was that the story was set in the 80s, and how much has changed in terms of 'misb ...more
Apr 29, 2016 Jamie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I read this because I loved Curtis Sittenfeld's Prep so much, but this was disappointingly NOT LIKE Prep. I really didn't understand the characters...everything they did and said didn't seem to serve any purpose. They did a lot of cocaine, slept with teachers, had codependent relationships with each other, etc., but there was no point to any of this behavior at all; no theme or message ever emerged. It's like a book full of cliches about rich, white girls at boarding school. Too bad because I do ...more
Jennifer Arnold
Nina de Gramont (a NC writer) has gotten quite a bit of attention for Gossip of the Starlings, a story of the doomed friendship between Catherine Morrow, the kind of rich girl who gets kicked out of boarding school but will still wind up at a good college, and Skye Butterfield, the rebellious daughter of a beloved Senator who will inevitably ruin lives out of her own desperation.

I did like the book (many have noted the similar subject matter with Prep, which I liked better), and thought it was
This book was both good, and not good. The good was that de Gramont does a great job of weaving this story of tragic youth. The story moved easily, and was believable for the time frame (today, I’m sure the drug of choice would be something different). The not good part of the story was that I struggled to connect with either Catherine or Skye, a couple of spoiled rich girls who go through their lives without any real serious thought of the people around them. I was able to sympathize a bit with ...more
Sep 30, 2009 Sarah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This adult novel is due to be published in June and I can't find any other reviews. This is one case where I feel that I might be way off-base on my review. Oh well.[return][return]Catherine is a rich, snooty girl who is always friends with the other beautiful rich people. At her new boarding school, she is instantly befriended by the famous Senator's daughter, Skye, and is befuddled by the relationship. The two of them are instant friends, yet Skye yearns for her old friendship of Susannah at h ...more
Nov 29, 2013 Ranee rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to like this book.

True, the point-of-view changes were strange , but maybe the smug, pretentious style was intentional, to show the insecurity of youth. The arrogant, selfish and self-centered narrator was impossible to like but, as a ‘coming of age’ tale, surely her character should develop.

Throughout the story, the narrator pushes drugs and feels no guilt, only a smug satisfaction at others’ pain. It was sad to finally realize that there would be no growth in this story. The narrato
Jul 17, 2011 Liz rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2011
Nina de Gramont's novel, Gossip of the Starlings, is reminiscent of Knowles' A Separate Peace. It even contains some heavy allusions to the famous coming of age novel. Other similarities include: a prep school setting, a doppleganger-like relationship between the narrator and her best friend, themes of friendship and betrayal, and intensely vivid descriptive language.

Unlike A Separate Peace, I never felt any sort of kindred connection with any of the characters in Gossip of the Starlings. Though
This novel grew on me. It takes place in the 1980s at Esther Percy School, an elite New England prep school, and is narrated by a woman looking back and figuring out her past and her teenage relationship with the wealthy daughter of a prominent politician. There is horseback riding and cocaine; however, it is actually more about character than plot. About halfway through I realized the writing was actually very good:

"I had started prep school at thirteen. Rich, wild girls - the ones who couldn't
Sep 17, 2008 Kricket rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: older teens-- 16 & up
having been caught in the sack with her boyfriend john paul, catherine is withdrawn from one prep school and enrolled in another. here, she tries to start anew, eschewing drugs to focus on her riding. She is befriended by Skye Butterfield, the daughter of a well-known senator, who seems like the perfect role-model: driven, focused, angelic. It turns out Skye has befriended Catherine hoping to become bad, and Skye's side wins out.

Skye is an intense and somewhat frightening character...sort of ma
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