Gossip Girl
by Cecily von Ziegesar
Book Review by Amy Coffin

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Ever wonder what the lives of the chosen ones are really like? Well, I am going to tell you, because I am one of them. I'm not talking about beautiful models or actors or musical prodigies or mathematical geniuses. I'm talking about the people that are born to it--those of use who have everything anyone could possibly wish for and who take it completely for granted.

It's a luxe life, but someone's got to live it.

Who is Gossip Girl? Nobody knows for sure but she's the queen of a tell-all web site devoted to secrets of New York City's junior elite.

This week's gossip focuses on a handful of privileged teens. Everyone's abuzz with the news that Serena van der Woodsen has mysteriously returned from boarding school in New England. Rumors fly regarding her sudden arrival, and all of them are horrible.

Serena's former best friend, Blair Waldorf, is less than happy to see her. With Serena gone, Blair has been in the spotlight. She's not ready to give up the attention or her boyfriend Nate, who runs to Serena like a puppy.

Gossip Girl follows several days in the lives of these clique members. The majority of their time is spent drinking, smoking and looking bored. The book's chapters are divided by juicy dish from Gossip Girl's own web page.

There isn't much depth to the novel's cast. Then again, beautiful people are pretty shallow to begin with. Author Cecily von Ziegesar colors her characters with lots of pretty clothes from big-name designers, making this tale sort of like a fashion magazine without the pictures.

The story builds up to the Kiss on the Lips charity fundraiser held by Blair and friends. The usual high school stereotypes are represented: the freshman dying to be like her upper classmates, the goth-like anti-socialite, the unknown boy who wants the well-known girl, and the obnoxious rich jerk who thinks he's God's gift to women. Add to that Blair-Nate-Serena love triangle and you've got yourself a bona-fide trashy novel.

The conclusion is somewhat open. If this were a stand-alone book, the ending would be a disappointment. However, a sequel is already on its way with more secrets and scandals. Goody.

Gossip Girl is billed as young-adult fiction geared toward the Teen People/Cosmo Girl crowd. Younger teens may admire the cast and think the smoking, drinking and promiscuity are part of the fast track to popularity. Parental guidance should be considered. Older teens are more sophisticated and should be able to separate the drama from reality.

However, von Ziegesar's book isn't just for teens. Adult readers can also find twisted pleasure in the woes of the junior elite. The publisher markets this book as a Sex in the City for the younger crowd. Perhaps, but the vindictive nature and scandal give the novel a Melrose-Place feel with characters you'll love to hate.

Gossip Girl is the perfect vacation book. Pack it in your beach bag and go. The dirty deeds of these naughty rich kids make for great weekend reading. Ladies, if you're embarrassed to admit you're buying the book for yourself, just say it's for your niece. Why not indulge your urge? You know you want to read it.

In this series:
You Know
You Love Me

All I Want
is Everything

I'm Worth It

I Like it Like That

You're the One
That I Want

Nobody Does
It Better

Nothing Can
Keep Us Together

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