Kate's Reviews > Gossip Girl

Gossip Girl by Cecily von Ziegesar
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's review
Aug 09, 07

bookshelves: ls583, city-reads, guilty-pleasures, library-school, pop-culture, ya-fic
Recommended for: Masochists bent on understanding Kids Today
Read in July, 2007

I really wanted to like this book. In fact, I expected to devour it. I heard the author speak on a panel at ALA this year and found her articulate, charming, and thoughtful about her series. Many of my co-workers at a suburban library hated the Gossip Girl books because of their vapid influence on already spoiled readers, but I wanted to give the books a chance. I’m sorry to say that I have to agree with my colleagues, even as someone whose guilty pleasure is reading highly speculative celebrity scandal on PerezHilton.com.

I found most of the "gossip" about Serena, Blair, and the gang tedious and completely without humor, and the voice of the Gossip Girl irritating and intrusive rather than wickedly funny (which seems to be what the author was going for). The writing was uneven and confusing, with the narrator switching POV on a dime, at times representing the Gossip Girl through catty editorial comments and otherwise relying on bland, third-person omniscient. The characters themselves are completely despicable (example: Chuck, who nearly rapes several of the girls, is routinely described as sleazy but harmless – "well, that’s just Chuck!" – for about three-quarters of the book), and those who show a glimmer of intelligence or creativity are patronized.

I think a series that examines the truth and consequences of high school gossip could be delightfully controversial and titillating, but Gossip Girl misses the mark. I would never disparage a teenager for reading it, but I might also encourage her to try well written – but still very fun – books like Lola Douglas’ Hollywood Starlet series.
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