The Barnes & Noble Review
Dawson's Creek meets Sex and the City in this funky new series narrated by the anonymous and intriguing Gossip Girl. The columnist of www.gossipgirl.net has an inside view of the lives of privileged teens in New York City and tells you how they go to school together, party together, and sometimes even sleep together (or at least try to). Know why she knows so much about this crowd? Well, she's one of them. The question is, which one?
In this first novel, life is beautiful for our teens from the Upper East Side of Manhattan. They're rich, they're beautiful, and they know it. Blair Waldorf is the ringleader of the crew, which includes her handsome but weak-hearted boyfriend, Nate. This femme fatale in training relishes her role and is confident that she and Nate will be together forever. Then the teen every girl loves to hate, Serena Van der Woodson, returns from her Connecticut boarding school, and the young women start fuming. Serena is beautiful and charming, and could unknowingly steal the hearts of brothers and boyfriends -- and she and Nate have a secret history. Of course, ridiculous rumors are abuzz that Serena was expelled for everything from sleeping with half the student body to sacrificing live chickens, but no one knows the real deal because it would be totally unhip to appear too interested in her. She doesn't have time to offer explanations anyway, since she's busy trying to fit in with her old clique, who don't seem to want her around. It may be time for Serena make new friends, but with whom?
Gossip Girl reports on Serena's struggle with the group and more -- their dates, their parties, their crushes, and their secrets -- and she tells it all with such knowledge that you, too, will wonder as you close this page-turner, "Who is she?" (Michele D. Thomas)
In this fluff story of rich New York City teens, readers glimpse inside a world of money, drugs, sex, phoniness, and backstabbing. They meet the beautiful Serena, who has returned recently from a failed stint at boarding school only to discover that her old friends now hate her and that she is the victim of outrageous and reputation-ruining lies. Her friends include the neurotic Blair, who discovers that her boyfriend, Nate, has been cheating on her; wanna-be Jenny, who desperately wants to be liked, no matter what the cost; and outcast Vanessa, the Goth girl, who stubbornly rejects everyone around her. The unnamed narrator runs a Web site, which is a real Internet site at http://www.GossipGirl.net, devoted to the cruel rumors swirling around this group of wealthy private school teens. Be forewarned: The book is loaded with gratuitous sex scenes, teenage drinking and drug use, and plenty of swearing. The writing is mediocre at best, and the characters and situations are so fake that they are funny. Nevertheless, fans of movies such as Cruel Intentions or teens who watch HBO's Sex and the City will be asking for this book, so be prepared. There is likely to be a lot of publicity for this title, especially on the Web site. VOYA CODES: 1Q 4P S (Hard to understand how it got published; Broad general YA appeal; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2002, Little Brown, 203p,
Gr 9 Up-Is Gossip Girl one of New York City's privileged teens with easy access to endless money, alcohol, and drugs? The answer remains a well-kept secret, but her Web page that opens each chapter (and that readers can visit) tells all about the in-crowd. Catty, backbiting, and exaggerated, GG's observations are also candid. The term begins at Manhattan's elite Spenford School for girls and St. Albans for boys. Girls talk about boys, sex, clothes, and friends while boys talk about girls, sex, and parties. Serena is the center of controversy, surrounded by rumors that range from her being a sex fiend to a drug addict. Bulimic Blair, her former best friend, loves Nate, but discovers that he's hooked up with Serena. Ninth-grade Jenny idolizes Serena while her brother Dan has a consuming crush on her. Vignettes of school, social events, shopping, and Web-page entries make this fast, easy reading that's both funny and sad. Truth takes a backseat to rumor, and curiosity is satisfied by gossip, not questions and answers. Von Ziegesar's approach is fresh, although mean and petty comments dominate these teens' world. Characters are somewhat stereotypical: teen sex goddess; handsome, fickle boyfriend; unaffected young teen; and goody-goody brother. Sex seems easy, no one worries about protection or consequences, the alcohol flows like water, and the language is raw. Everything is at one's fingertips in Gossip Girl's world, and even cheap talk and the growing pains of high school don't change that. Fluffy reading, this is likely to have high appeal for older teens.-Gail Richmond, San Diego Unified Schools, CA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Deliciously catty and immediately engrossing, this is the ultimate beach read for teenage girls, offering them a titillating peek into the heady world of Manhattan's well-heeled teens, private-school kids who "have unlimited access to money and booze," and-since their prominent self-involved parents are terribly busy and largely disinterested-"tons of privacy" as well. Appearances reign in von Ziegesar's world, and the kids are free to do as they choose as long as they don't "embarrass . . . the family by puking in public, pissing their pants, or ranting in the streets." Loading it with labels and writing in a breathless style, von Ziegesar amusingly and succinctly sums up her characters. For example, a mother's less-than-classy new boyfriend is described as looking "like someone who might help you pick out shoes at Saks." The plot in this private-school intrigue/slice-of-life drama concerns the homecoming of Serena van der Woodsen, a captivating hottie who "every boy wants and every girl wants to be." Once the undisputed ruler of the reigning clique at the select Spenford School, Serena becomes an instant outcast, as the jealous and ambitious Blair Waldorf, the new queen bee, is not willing to surrender power or her handsome boyfriend. It should be noted that various youngsters smoke cigarettes, have sex, use marijuana, drink alcohol, and throw up after meals, and while these activities are not glamorized, they are presented as business as usual. That caveat aside, girls should find this lightweight novel spicy, entertaining, and their own trashy fun. (Fiction. YA)