“Deliciously catty and immediately engrossing.” - Kirkus
“A nasty, guilty pleasure. The book has the effect of gossip itself - once you enter, its hard to extract yourself.” - Publishers Weekly
Before starting Gossip Girl, I had just finished re-watching (for the third time) Gilmore Girls seasons 1-7 on DVD. The show revolves around single mother Lorelai Gilmore (Lauren Graham) and her daughter, Rory (Alexis Bledel). Having committed the unforgivable sin of getting pregnant at 16, Lorelai flees home, leaving behind a life of unmet upper-class expectations. She was running from the silver-spoon in mouth concept only to find herself entering her daughter into a world of just that through private school and Friday night dinners with her eternally disapproving grandparents . The plot is focused on Lorelai and Rory’s struggle to prove that you don’t have to come from wealth to make a difference and their fight against trust fund kids, cotillions, etiquette classes, and all things privileged.
Gossip Girl, however, derives its plot from the very life that Lorelai and Rory fought so hard to rebel against. Set in New York City, main characters Blair Waldorf and Serena van der Woodsen embrace their privileged teen hood, and their endless supply of daddy’s money, with no morals behind their frivolous lifestyle. At first I despised the self entitled “poor little rich kids” and their following of admirers who wished to be them but never would. I found myself reading page after page only to be able to say I finished it and also to further criticize the fantasy of throwing caution to the wind, consequences be damned. However, as I got deeper into the book and allowed my heart to soften for the characters and their background stories, I found myself turning the pages with an ease that soon turned into an addiction.
Blair Waldorf is shallow and her boyfriend Nate, though hot, would rather get stoned than pay attention to her never ending list of needs. Throughout the course of their relationship, Blair has held onto her virginity, not for a sense of purity but as a tease to keep Nate intrigued. Blair finally decides tonight is the night only to find out that her former best friend (Nate’s secret lover) has returned to NYC after getting kicked out of boarding school in New Hampshire. Blair’s newfound hatred for Serena only deepens as the two battle for Nate’s affection. Rumors run wild of exactly why Serena got kicked out and her reputation is ruined as she unsuccessfully tries to meld back into her old clique. Expensive booze and illegal drugs come easy to minors and are overlooked by the adults as long as no one makes a scene. Sex is just as common a past time as shopping for designer clothes, or in Blair’s case shop lifting. Do these teen’s scandalous life choices come back to bite them? Will Nate stay with Blair and allow her to consummate the relationship or will he return to his true love Serena,? Or maybe there is someone else in the cards for him.
I recommend this book but only if you are in the mood for mindless entertainment. No offense to Cecily von Ziegesar, but if you are looking for a thought provoker this series is not for you. If you are the type of person that will judge the characters, get frustrated when they choose their own selfish desires despite better judgment, and secretly hope that they all grow a conscience and donate money to world peace, then please don’t even glance at the cover much less read what’s inside. However, if you are looking for a book that allows you to let go and enter into a life that, though stereotypical, will inevitably take you on a rollercoaster ride of emotions, dirty language and thoroughly scandalous gossip, then by all means read on!