Reviews for Gossip Girl
Booklist Monthly Selections - #1 June 2002
Gr. 10-12. "Ever wondered what the lives of the chosen are really like? Well, I'm going to tell you because I'm one of them." Gossip Girl is the anonymous narrator of this campy, scandal-hungry glimpse into the lives of privileged teens in Manhattan's Upper East Side. In between pages made to resemble Gossip Girl's Web site, with updated gossip about the characters, the novel follows its central characters through a few months of private school, drinking, shopping, pot-smoking, and sex (described in relatively non-explicit scenes). When "tall, eerily blond" Serena is kicked out of boarding school, she encounters rumors, ostracism, and romance with a boy from the other side of the tracks (the Upper West Side) as she tries to find her place again. The characters and their interactions have the depth (and parental guidance rating) of a raunchy teen movie, with the usual stereotypes, cat fights, and designer labels. And that's just why the book may attract eager readers. A sequel is expected in the fall. ((Reviewed June 1 & 15, 2002)) Copyright 2002 Booklist Reviews
Kirkus Reviews 2002 April #2
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) Copyright Kirkus 2002 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved
Publishers Weekly Reviews 2002 January #3
At a New York City jet-set private school populated by hard-drinking, bulimic, love-starved poor little rich kids, a clique of horrible people behave badly to one another. An omniscient narrator sees inside the shallow hearts of popular Blair Waldorf, her stoned hottie of a boyfriend, Nate, and her former best friend Serena van der Woodsen, just expelled from boarding school and "gifted with the kind of coolness that you can't acquire by buying the right handbag or the right pair of jeans. She was the girl every boy wants and every girl wants to be." Everyone wears a lot of designer clothes and drinks a lot of expensive booze. Serena flirts with Nate and can't understand why Blair is upset with her; Blair throws a big party and doesn't invite Serena; Serena meets a cute but unpopular guy; and a few less socially blessed characters wonder about the lives of those who "have everything anyone could possibly wish for and who take it all completely for granted." Intercut with these exploits are excerpts from www.gossipgirl.net (the actual site launches in February), where "gossip girl" dishes the dirt on the various characters without ever revealing her own identity amongst them. Though anyone hoping for character depth or emotional truth should look elsewhere, readers who have always wished Danielle Steel and Judith Krantz would write about teenagers are in for a superficial, nasty, guilty pleasure. The book has the effect of gossip itself once you enter it's hard to extract yourself; teens will devour this whole. The open-ended conclusion promises a follow-up. Ages 15-up. (Apr.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal Reviews 2002 June
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.
VOYA Reviews 2002 June
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.-Rebecca Vnuk. 1Q 4P S Copyright 2002 Voya Reviews