Monday, 25 June 2012

Review: Gossip Girl by Cecily Von Ziegesar

Welcome to New York City's Upper East Side, where my friends and I live, go to school, play, and sleep--sometimes with each other. 
S is back from boarding school, and if we aren't careful, she's going to win over our teachers, wear that dress we couldn't fit into, steal our boyfriends' hearts, and basically ruin our lives in a major way. I'll be watching closely...

You know you love me, 
gossip girl

I first read this book when it was foisted on me by my best friend with the exclamation that ‘I liked books didn’t I? I’d love this.’

I remember being pretty unimpressed at the time, but after growing up another fifteen years or so and loving the TV series, I decided maybe I’d been a little too judgemental and I should give the books another go.

So I picked up a cheap copy and settled in with a glass of wine and the book and realized a few pages in that my ten year old self really hadn’t been being judgemental, she was right, the book was awful. And I’m kind of impressed that my ten year old self wasn’t scarred for life with some of the content and language bandied around.

I love the tv series, it’s my guilty pleasure, don’t judge me, but they have managed to create some halfway likeable and believable characters that I care about and want to know what happens to them. There is no real character development in the books, they’re all incredibly snobby and incredibly bitchy and there is nothing to actually recommend them or make me like them. It tends to be a bit of a non-starter if I don’t click with any of the characters.

The plot barely manages to string itself along in a coherent fashion, the writing is at best readable and at worst absolutely dire, and I didn’t find most of the scenarios even remotely believable. The tv series has taken the concept and developed it into quite an intriguing premise (yes all right, a little shallow and very little substance, but I still like it!) but it’s quite baffling how they managed to find that much characterization from the books to begin with.

I think what shocked me the most was that my ten year old self had gotten hold of them no problem and read what was supposed to be a young adult book, with language and sex scenes galore. I have no problem with either of those things, but I feel that they should be put in if it’s right for a character or to further the plot, not for the shock value, and particularly not when such young people could be picking these books up.

All in all I really wasn’t impressed. It was a quick read sure, but offered very little in the form of decent writing, plot or characterization. If you’re curious about the Gossip Girl series I recommend trying the TV series rather than wasting time with the books.

1 comment:

  1. Oh I'm with you! I LOVE Gossip Girl, the TV show (no guilt there in admitting that!) but I tried reading this book and I thought it dreadful. There was no way I was going to continue reading the books :(