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Gossip Girl #1: A Novel (Gossip Girl Series) Paperback – April 1, 2002

3.9 out of 5 stars 426 customer reviews
Book 1 of 14 in the Gossip Girl Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

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.

Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 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, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Series: Gossip Girl (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 199 pages
  • Publisher: Poppy; 1 edition (April 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316910333
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316910330
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (426 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #129,517 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: 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.
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Format: 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.
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Format: 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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A Kid's Review on August 9, 2005
Format: Paperback
It's going to be a very, very sad day when the only books teens will pick up are Gossip Girls. A series of soap opera-type tragedies concerning drunk boyfriends, designer clothes and Mean Girl attitudes make up this disappointing, sick bunch of reads. Some extremely rich girls with manicured lawns, fingers, and flirtation go to school at a Ritz-type place and struggle with questions such as: He's drinking, he's slept with someone else, and he's ignoring me. Should I dump him? Nah, he's too hot.

Furthermore, the descriptions get way too flowery for the emaciated storyline. When a new person comes into the room, we get a two-paragraph description of what they're wearing, what company it's from, how their hair is arranged, what their countenance looks like, how they walk, what their voice sounds like when they speak, etc. Another spurt of inspiration could have led this author to go on describing whether their eyes were too far apart, if one shoe had a lopsided tie, and if a button had a speck of dirt on it.

The characters are the biggest disgrace of all. Sluts, drunks and flimsy boyfriends compose the sorry cast. Blair, Serena, Jenny--basically, all of the girls--lead nearly flawless lives ruined just a bit by the fact that they can't find the perfect dress for that party...The boys are cliche, and aggresive drinkers who cheat, snub and befuddle their unsuspecting girlfiends. The author is too busy matching up him with her and her with him and divorcing random couples to remember that this is indeed a book and not high school reminiscing.
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