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Gossip of the Starlings

3.26  ·  Rating details ·  1,360 ratings  ·  210 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 ...more
Hardcover, 276 pages
Published June 10th 2008 by Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill (first published May 28th 2008)
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Average rating 3.26  · 
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 ·  1,360 ratings  ·  210 reviews

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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 ...more
Elise Russell
Jun 09, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Jun 12, 2008 rated it did not like it
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
sarah gilbert
Jun 04, 2009 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 25, 2008 rated it really liked it
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. ...more
Aug 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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, ...more
Sep 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Sep 26, 2008 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Terri Milstead
Dec 17, 2018 marked it as did-not-finish  ·  review of another edition
This is definitely in the "not for Terri" camp. I bought this probably based on the description in my book-a-day calendar years and years ago. IF that had mentioned the nonchalant teenage cocaine use that starts in, oh, paragraph five, I would not have put it on my list, much less purchased it.
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
Mar 18, 2012 rated it did not like it
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 ...more
Sep 07, 2009 rated it it was ok
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
Jul 22, 2012 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.
Jun 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
I read this book a few years ago. Underrated in my opinion. I enjoyed it thoroughly.
Kelly Krucki
Oct 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
There's something dangerous about the boredom of teenage girls. This book def embodies that and my one critique is that Skye could've been more developed as a character. I still very much enjoyed the drugs and the boarding school and the intense friendship.
Nov 03, 2016 rated it liked it
3.5 stars, de Gramont's fluid writing style makes this an easy and engaging read. Don't know why I was surprised that the entire story is about prep school...but it is certainly not a YA novel. Prefer to read about flawed adults than risk-taking, immature kids, I guess.
Holly Vancourt
This is a 3.5. Once I got into this story it is an easy read. I had a hard time forgiving the very random point of view story changes. They were never consistent. There also was only one character I felt any empathy for, and he was far from a primary. Maybe that was the point?
Allie Demoe
Sep 02, 2018 rated it liked it
2.5. This book was fine. Skye was too much of a manic pixie dream girl for me to really enjoy.
Nov 27, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book. A good cold fall weekend read about adolescence of the rich, famous and rebellious in the 90s. Which is why I only gave it 3 stars.
May 04, 2010 rated it it was ok
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 ...more
Madeline Knight-Dixon
Mar 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Tammy Dahle
Nov 19, 2010 rated it liked it
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
sir rickman
Apr 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Andrea Braun
Jan 21, 2017 rated it liked it
As I opened this book and started reading, I groaned audibly. Could this plot and these characters be any more of a cliché? Girls' boarding school full of girls from very rich families (even a senator!) with parents who ignore them, who have endless available funds, empty vacation homes and a VERY endless stream of alcohol and drugs available to them?

Sky Butterfield, for real? Is it only me that remembers Jade Butterfield (played by Brooke Shields) of Endless Love? I know the circumstances were
Jul 13, 2008 rated it liked it
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
Jun 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
May 04, 2009 rated it liked it
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 ...more
Jennifer Arnold
May 26, 2008 rated it liked it
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
Jun 28, 2008 rated it liked it
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 ...more
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