Sunday, October 21, 2007

Gossip Girl: A Novel, by Cecily von Ziegesar

I have to say, I think this is seriously a really good book.
It is well written. Exceptionally well written. I have been reading a staggaring amount of YA stuff this year, and this is one of the few books I have really enjoyed the style of. It is fast, glittery, gossipy, catty, clever, and fun. The characters are well drawn- I would recognize them on the street. The New York details are dead on- perfect, in fact. The exerpts from the web site are fun and drive the story.
There's more. The books in the series cover the senior year of Blair, Serena, Nate et al and the trials and tribulations of their college applications and acceptances- the pressure they feel to go to Ivy League schools. It is really nice, I mean, shockingly nice to read about teens who want to go to college. I feel like I read heaps of YA stuff every week and hardly ever see characters who even think about that. The arts and the classics are daily parts of the characters lives. They play a drinking game that involves Latin conjugations. This too is refreshing.
Naomi Wolf attacked these books, calling them "corruption with a cute overlay", but I think she missed her target on these. The only character who might be 'corrupt' is Chuck Bass, and he is the clumsiest of the characters, von Ziegesar's only major misstep, and only later in the series does his character start seeming off.
Much has been made of the 'sex'n'drugs' in the book (and now in the tv series) but again, it seems silly. There is sex, as there often is in high school, or so they say, and yeah, that Nate sure is a stoner, but really, I think there are kids in America who smoke some pot and turn out ok. Nate's girlfriend Georgina, who has a serious drug problem, is painted as having a serious drug problem, and he calls his rehab advisor to get her help. Blair's bulimia is a serious problem.
These books are fun and worth reading, if only to see what the fuss is about. The first is the best, but they're all pretty great.
Quality: 9 Popularity: 10 Overall: 19

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