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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Can't Put It Down
The characters in Gossip Girl are like real people. When you get to know them you realize there's still a lot to learn, so you want to keep reading about them.
These kids drink a lot and some of them smoke pot, but the story isn't about alcohol or drugs, it's about growing up. These teenagers could be your friends.
The best part of the book is how well-written...
Published on April 16, 2002 by E. Paolo

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139 of 178 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not really recommended
When I picked up this book I was eager for another Cruel Intentions. What I got was much different. Gossip Girl tells the story of teenagers living a privileged life in NYC. Blair Thinks she has a perfect life, she's rich, her boyfriend Nate is wonderful, and she's looking foreword to going to Yale next year. Unfortunatly for Blair, everything changes when Serena comes...
Published on July 15, 2002 by Nancy E.


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139 of 178 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not really recommended, July 15, 2002
This review is from: Gossip Girl #1: A Novel (Gossip Girl Series) (Paperback)
When I picked up this book I was eager for another Cruel Intentions. What I got was much different. Gossip Girl tells the story of teenagers living a privileged life in NYC. Blair Thinks she has a perfect life, she's rich, her boyfriend Nate is wonderful, and she's looking foreword to going to Yale next year. Unfortunatly for Blair, everything changes when Serena comes back to town. Serena is Blair's "best friend" and biggest rival. She's seemingly prefect in every way and out shadows all of her friends. But now that she's back, rumors are flying. She's gotten kicked out of boarding school and according to NYC's rumor mill she's done some pretty dirty things to get expelled.
Sound interesting? Well, it's not. Unlike other people I was not "shocked" or "appalled" at the dirty nature of this book. Personally I've read far worse and have not been offended. The thing that really got me about this book was the sheer bad writing. The characters, which should be the backbone of any novel, are shallow and far too two-dimensional. They're popular, dress in fabulous clothes (which the author can't help but describe, the only real detail you'll get in this book), get drunk, have sex, get high, and spread rumors. Each one of them are the stereotypes of every character you'll find in any trashy teen novels. We have the "popular girls" the "deep poet" the "former popular girl with the bad reputation" the "theater geek" and the infamous "shy naieve girl who wants to be popular."
Recent great YA novels like Speak, and Love and Four Letter words have shown the world that teen books don't have to be shallow. In fact they can have some heart. Gossip girl falls back on the stereotypes that all teens are shallow and have nothing better to do in life than to worry about popularity. I gave it 2 stars instead of one because I'm not naieve, I know that there are people that like books like this, but I'm not that kind of person. If you want a good YA novel read Sloppy Firsts or Feeling sorry for Celia, they focus on the lives of real teens of all different shapes and sizes and are much better written.
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50 of 63 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Hollow as the characters' heads, October 3, 2002
This review is from: Gossip Girl #1: A Novel (Gossip Girl Series) (Paperback)
Cecily Von Ziegesar must be credited with this much: She never pretends that "Gossip Girl" is anything but vapid, vitriolic fluff with no real plotline and no real end. It is possible to produce books like that that are also funny and even enlightening, but "Gossip Girl" is essentially a plodding, repetitive attempt at a "real" teen book.
The beautiful Serena has returned from a sojourn in a ritzy private school and some time in France. Pretty bulimic Blair is dismayed by this, as Serena has unconsciously usurped the position that Blair had been occupying. Even worse, Blair's boyfriend Nate once slept with Serena and is still interested in her, but Serena is not really interested in Nate. Dan is besotted with her, and Jenny looks up to her.
Rumors begin to fly about Serena -- that she's slutty, that she has enough STDs for several people, that she had a baby in France, that she was thrown out of her boarding school, that she's had several abortions, and just about every other kind of vicious rumor. And presiding over all of this is Gossip Girl, a mysterious omniscient observer who reports online about the tangled lives of her friends and peers.
It seems that readers will never tire of the antics of too-rich Manhattanites, especially if they live depraved, empty lives. Like Nick McDonell's "Twelve," this book is filled with shallow, obnoxious characters who do drugs, sex, alcohol, and mourn the problems of their privileged lives. The drugs, sex, alcohol, bulimia and angst serve no actual purpose in the plot; they are merely attempts to shock. The problem is that they are handled in such a haphazard manner that they don't shock at all -- they are merely diversions to spice up the lack of plot. Strip them away, and there's pretty much nothing left. And while McDonell managed some poignant moments and character insights, Von Ziegesar never makes any such attempt. We are never given a reason to react to anyone in this book, either to be interested or repelled by them. I, personally, was only bored by them.
Those characters are also stereotypes, in a fictional world where the elite rich are all gorgeous. The scheming insecure girl, the mystery beauty, the shy naive girl, the weak handsome guy, the promiscuous guy, and dozens of others are devoid of any originality. They are part of the stereotype that teenagers are intrinsically shallow and can't be bothered with anyone who is not of interest to them.
Admittedly, the "Gossip Girl" website extracts are amusing. There's a certain wit to them, and they are also the only parts of the book that show some genuine originality. I only wish there had been more of them, and fewer repetitive rumors about Serena's past. The writing style lacks detail or any sort of wit or spiciness. And, like, the dialogue is so, you know, like, stupid, right?
Perhaps the worst part of the book is the finale, which fails to produce a climax or wrap up any loose threads. The book simply stops. Perhaps this is an effort to get readers to read "You Know You Love Me," if they aren't too disgusted by the plodding storyline and grating characters. Not recommended for anyone whose IQ is higher than their dog's.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Can't Put It Down, April 16, 2002
By 
E. Paolo (Sun Valley, Idaho) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Gossip Girl #1: A Novel (Gossip Girl Series) (Paperback)
The characters in Gossip Girl are like real people. When you get to know them you realize there's still a lot to learn, so you want to keep reading about them.
These kids drink a lot and some of them smoke pot, but the story isn't about alcohol or drugs, it's about growing up. These teenagers could be your friends.
The best part of the book is how well-written it is. It's about teenagers, but it isn't "written down" to their level. The author obviously knows what she's talking about. Is she the Gossip Girl?
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20 of 25 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Dreadful in Unexpected Ways, August 9, 2007
By 
This review is from: Gossip Girl #1: A Novel (Gossip Girl Series) (Paperback)
I read this book because I'm getting a Masters in writing YA fiction, and I know that this series is hot right now. I thought, Hey, it'll be a fun, guilty pleasure (which seems to be the publicist's catch phrase).

Wow, was I ever disappointed. It wasn't the drinking or the sex or the pot smoking, or even the utterly wretched ideals this book puts forth that shocked me: it was how incredibly dull the book was. I could hardly finish it. The characters aren't characters, they're just names. I found it difficult to tell them apart, since they had no personalities. The dialogue was pathetic, the plot was non-existent, and even the vices were boring and unoriginal. For a "story" about people who are supposed to be so interested in art and fashion, there was a shocking lack of actual style in this book, and the omnicient narrator was just irritating. Every time she signed off with, "You know you love me," I couldn't help rolling my eyes. I had quite a headache by the time I finished.

Luckily, the boredom put me right to sleep.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you know what's right or wrong, you'll love it., July 3, 2006
This review is from: Gossip Girl #1: A Novel (Gossip Girl Series) (Paperback)
Ok, here's the deal: I know what's from right to wrong. I'm a 17 year old teen, I don't drink, smoke, or do drugs like these girls in Gossip Girl does. Why? Because I know what's right and wrong. This is a horrible book for teens who are just being their lives and eager to try everything. It makes those things look cool and hip, but it's not. However, it's a good FICTION book to read. The characters are catty, and fun to read about. Blair is an annoying twit who's jealous of Serena, and loves Nate, a total pothead. Serena just came back from boarding school, now people make up lies about her getting kicked out, having a baby, doing drugs, having sex. Serena isn't that innocent, but I don't think she's as bad as people claim. There's also Veronica, Dan (who's in love with Serena), and Dan's sister, Jenny (my favorite character). It's a fun book to read, but not recommended for younger people, in my opinion.
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Ridiculous book, and a waste of time!, February 24, 2006
This review is from: Gossip Girl #1: A Novel (Gossip Girl Series) (Paperback)
This book is completely unrealistic. The teenagers live reckless, irresponsible lifestyles that are without consequence. The author is redundant and cliche. These books are often labled as "guilty pleasure novels", but I found no enjoyment in these bland books whatsoever. Reading it was a waste of my time. I enjoyed reading a 500some-page book on the United Nations and international politics TEN times more than this book. And I'm fourteen years old. That should tell you something.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars An "insider"'s perspective, March 19, 2005
This review is from: Gossip Girl #1: A Novel (Gossip Girl Series) (Paperback)
May I intervene? I've read many reviews blasting Gossip Girl for its unrealistic portrayal of teen life. This is all nice and good, except for that in many respects, it's dead on. I go to an Upper East Side private school in the heart of what I like to call the Pleated Skirt District, and while I'm not exactly the hard-paryin' type, I still know what goes on around me, and Gossip Girl is not that far off. Anyway, Gossip Girl is the bible of many girls in my high school, but I found it ridiculous. I only gave it the extra star for its all-too-accurate portrayal of its subject matter (mind you, its subject matter, which is not all teens by any stretch of the imagination). I have never been impressed with these hotbeds of sin and debauchery, and maybe that is why I was so unimpressed with Gossip Girl. I have to give the author, along with the writers of the OC, credit for making so many people care about the plight of these poor little rich kids. On the other hand, there is a group noticeably missing from these books that can be found even in the worst of the Pleated Skirts- the innocents. Jenny, the closest thing you'll get, it patently dumb and by the end is on the verge of being intiated into the Club. They must exist, so I suppose that the author simply doesn't care about anyone who doesn't look like a model and have dysfunctional CEO parents. After a while, these people just get old. They have no interests other than drinking, drugs and sex, and after a while the envy/disgust wears off and it just gets old. These books could potentially be really interesting, as it's quite a fascinating sector of life in an ohthatssoawfultellmemore tabloid sort of way, but rather than mine opportunities for emotional exposition or character growth, the author simply goes into another story of who slept with whom and who everyone's getting their drugs from. This book and the second one are better than the ones following it- I read up to the third one, by which point Serena and Blair have made up and any pretense of a premise is gone. Oh, sorry, did I just give everything away? Lucky you, now you won't have to waste your time reading this trash.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Awful!, July 25, 2005
This review is from: Gossip Girl #1: A Novel (Gossip Girl Series) (Paperback)
A friend of mine told me this book would be great so I dashed out to Borders and bought a copy. I read it in a few days and was absolutely disgusted by the end.

The characters in this book are horrible role models and examples for our youth. These kids seem to believe the law is beneath them (underage drinking, sex and drug use) and their parents don't seem to mind either.

This series may be a bestseller, but it has terribly graphic language that is just too inappropriate for teens. Books should encourage positives and teach morals, not shed light on the ups of being bad.

The Gossip Girl books are nothing but trash; it's worthless to invest any time or money into the stupid series.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars This book wasn't for me, July 5, 2005
This review is from: Gossip Girl #1: A Novel (Gossip Girl Series) (Paperback)
There are so many girls who read these books at my school, and I have no clue how they can actually like it. The writing was on a fourth grade level and the content was on a tenth grade level. The mature content didn't bother me so much, but how the author tried to make it seem like it was soooo outrageous when it wasn't that bad, now that irked me. I tried to find a character I liked, but it was too hard and so I gave up. The characters were too shallow to identify with, even the ones that would be considered the deep outsiders. The plot was too dry and to me it was also very predictable. The only thing that I liked about this book was the idea of an anonymous GossipGirl devulging details. I may have lost brain cells in the process of reading this book. Caution: Read at your own risk, people!!!
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22 of 28 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I don't want to be a stupid girl!, April 17, 2006
This review is from: Gossip Girl #1: A Novel (Gossip Girl Series) (Paperback)
This series is a terrible, terrible thing. Girls should never pick up a book from this series. Teens have a hard enough time getting through school without being pressured by YA LITERATURE for goodness sakes! These books promote all the things that we should fight against in this world, and should try to overcome. The title of the series itself promotes a terrible thing, and something that ruins relationships--Gossip. Gossip is not a fun, innocent thing; it hurts people. I think people should be able to choose what they read, but sometimes teens will read what is popular, so it scares me, as a teacher and writer, that this is what they might pick up in their local bookstore. If parents only knew what their kids were reading, they'd be as concerned about literature today, as they are about tv programs. We should all be encouraging girls to be uniquely themselves, and not to deprive the world of their unique presence. Why be a "gossip girl" when you can be a unique, creative, ambitious, strong, intelligent YOU?
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Gossip Girl #1: A Novel (Gossip Girl Series)
Gossip Girl #1: A Novel (Gossip Girl Series) by Cecily von Ziegesar (Paperback - April 1, 2002)
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