Back in the late 2000’s, a friend of mine let me borrow her copy of Cecily von Zigersar’s book, Gossip Girl. I read it, and over the years forgot most of it, but I remember that I read it before the new Gossip Girl TV series premiered. In 2020, I heard the TV series would get a reboot. I wanted to reread the original books from the series, but I couldn’t because I borrowed them from my friend and, thanks to the pandemic, I didn’t want to bother her in order to borrow her books. Instead, I decided to purchase my own copy of the first book in the series, Gossip Girl, and, if I liked it enough, I would buy the other books in the series.
Gossip Girl is the first book in the Gossip Girl series by Cecily von Zigersar. The book follows a group of affluent teenagers in New York City as they navigate life after one of the most popular girls, Serena van der Wooden, returns to New York City and school after a year away at boarding school. Serena’s arrival back at the school caused a lot of gossip around why she left, what she did while she was gone, and why she left the boarding school. Although Serena’s return was not greeted with warmth or joy, Serena discovered that while she was gone, her friends moved on and began lives without her.
The book is told from the prospective of Gossip Girl, a member of the affluent teenage crowd that started a blog that spread the gossip surrounding Serena’s return. The identity of Gossip Girl is never revealed, but they do have insider knowledge of the inner workings of the main characters in the book. Throughout the book, there are posts by Gossip Girl about what happened to the main characters and answered questions asked by the readers of the blog. As the book progresses, Gossip Girl’s opinions about the events they witness become more obvious as they narrates what happens to the characters.
The book is an interesting read and, even though I forgot most of the book, I began to remember what I read as I continued to read. As a teen, I liked to watch movies and read books about affluent teens, but Gossip Girl is not the kind of book I enjoyed reading. Even as an adult I can understand why it was so controversial when it was published in 2002. It is very matter in fact about how the teens live their lives and how they were allowed to do things many parents, affluent and not, would never let their children do. The characters have sex, drink, do drugs, and do many other things most people would be upset by.
There are many books that talk about everything Gossip Girl talks about, but the way Gossip Girl talks about everything they do is something that, as an adult, I find the most unsettling about the book. Gossip Girl talks about everything the teens do as though it’s not a big deal and it’s normal. Gossip Girl also has cynical options about serious events in each of the character’s lives. This could be written in order to show Gossip Girl really doesn’t know as much as they believe they do, but then again it may not.
I should note the book, which was published in 2002, does talk about things that are now considered dated. For an instance, Serena goes home after school and watched Total Request Live on TV. In 2021, the show is no longer on MTV. Another instance is some of the fashions. In the 2000’s, army and camouflage patterns were the rage, and in the book it mentions these fashion trends. Even though these are dated and aren’t part of affluent teenage lives anymore, Millennials would probably recognize this as a part of affluent life from the time period.
This book is not for someone who wants to read a cute teenager slice of life novel. It is not clean, there are many curse words, and descriptions some (Such as myself) may find upsetting due to events that happened in their lives. It is hard, edgy, and sometimes hard to contemplate why people would act the way they do, except for the fact they may just be narcissistic. Even though this is not a clean book, it is a book that is a well known book for a reason, so it is worth a read. Fans of the original series will like the book because it gives them a different perspective on the books the TV series, both the original series and the reboot, are based off from. Just be mindful about the dirty parts and curse words.