Gossip Girl

by Cecily von Ziegesar
Overall: 3 out of 5 stars

Personal Evaluation: I was prepared to absolutely hate this book, but I only found it mostly annoying. There were some well-developed characters and I could see the appeal for kids, especially middle-schoolers. I did like how the narration switched between characters so we could see exactly what they were thinking and why they acted the way they did, and then how and why someone else reacted to them, and what that person thought was going on. It could be a really valuable lesson in communication. What was annoying was that “Gossip Girl” was only occasionally a character in the narration and kept popping up at weird times in the middle of someone else’s thoughts. Also different characters said “You know you love me” which is GG’s tag line, and it felt very contrived to me. I am glad that I was made to read this book because it’s good to know what it’s about and it’s not something I ever would have read on my own.

What might interest children: What in here wouldn’t interest tweens and teens, especially girls? I think ultimately the device of this anonymous narrator spying on everyone is extremely appealing and exciting to kids. Also getting a peek at the world of high school for kids who aren’t there yet. However, I thought the content was mostly disturbing – kids being left alone (or worse, encouraged by their parents) to drink and do drugs and have sex and be bulimic and sexually assault each other – it wasn’t what my high school experience was at all. I recognize that it was the experience of some kids, and actually I thought that the author dealt with Blair and Nate’s decisions regarding sex in a great way, but still. What would be great is if parents would read these books along with their kids and use them as a springboard for conversations about these issues that teens grapple with and how to make smart decisions. In the meantime, it can be a good way to live vicariously through rich, pretty people.

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