Post number twelve is for Cecily Von Ziegesar's Gossip Girl, another required reading assignment for my YA Lit class. I … did not like this book. There were some aspects that I enjoyed, but overall the book made me angry at the characters, who I felt were self-absorbed, mean-spirited and downright cruel at times.
More thoughts follow, including some spoilers.
There are two main narrators, sort of, in this book, Blair and Serena. Serena and Blair used to be BFFs, only Serena went away to a New England boarding school and didn't do too hot at keeping in touch with Blair. While Blair initially missed her, she always felt like she was in Serena's shadow: Serena is prettier, thinner, and more likable than Blair is (even Blair's boyfriend, Nate, thinks so, which annoys Blair as well). However, Serena gets kicked out of boarding school, which sends rumors galore flying around, all of them utterly absurd, but – in true high school fashion – everyone believes them. Blair is resentful that Serena is back, whereas Serena just wants to pick up where they left off. There's also Drama between Blair and Nate which probably drove me more insane than anything else in the book. Blair is petty, unkind, and obnoxious. She's also suffering from bulimia, and while everyone seems to know it, no one seems to care. Nate has a bit of a drug problem – he can't handle problems/stressful situations without getting high. Chuck is a pervert, trying to get into Serena's pants at every possible moment. Blair spends the entire book trying to keep Serena "out of the loop", but in doing so made me completely unsympathetic to her. Serena is the only one I felt any affection or sympathy for, because she doesn't actually do anything wrong, and is just trying to fix her life and her relationships with the people she left behind when she was at boarding school.
There's also a plot line involving Jenny, a young girl who's good at calligraphy. Blair has planned a Function, and needs invitations, but they're too expensive to print, which means she'll have to cut costs somewhere else. Jenny overhears and volunteers her services, as long as she can also attend the party. Blair completely uses Jenny's eagerness to please and her desire to attend the party. There's a line when they're at the actual party that made me roll my eyes in annoyance, when Jenny is waiting for Serena to arrive, and is standing and talking to Blair. Blair thinks something like, "Well I sure hope she doesn't think I'm going to talk to her until Serena gets here," and then very callously sends Chuck over to find her, as Jenny is very well-endowed and right up Chuck's alley, at least physically. She honestly just made me so ANGRY at her throughout that I was glad I finally finished the book so I wouldn't have to read about her any longer.
Also, the high school and lifestyle is so utterly different from my own high school experience. Yes girls are catty and boys are rude, but I honestly didn't experience anything near the level of what's in the book myself. Possibly this was made worse by the fact that the people in this book are rich, live on the Upper East Side in NYC, and attend same-sex private high schools, but I honestly think it was a bit too over-the-top (sort of like my opinion of the world Paul lived in in Boy Meets Boy, fwiw).
The only thing I DO want to know is who the "Gossip Girl" turns out to be. Perhaps I'll wiki it.
Currently reading: Feed by M.T. Anderson [RR], Kin by Holly Black