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20 December, 2010

Cholle's Bookshelf: A book review of Gossip Girl, book #1 in the Gossip Girl series by Cecily von Zeigesar

Evening, people! I've been completely lazy lately! But I am back. And what's more, in my laziness, I have been reading. Yay me!

Now, if you haven't heard of the Gossip Girl show on the CW network, you must be living in a hole. It's everywhere. The show stars Chance Crawford as Nate, Ed Westwick as Chuck, Penn Badgley as Dan, Taylor Momsen as Jenny, and of course Blake Lively and Leighton Meester as Serena and Blair.

Now, I completely admit.... When I saw the commercials, I thought it looked shallow, drama filled, and kind of boring. I ended up watching it recently (right before the beginning of season 4), and let's just say I watched the first three seasons in about two weeks. And... Well. I was right. It is kinda shallow and drama filled, but in oh the best way.

So like I usually do, when I was paying attention to something OTHER than the show (and that took a while) and I finally noticed that little note at the bottom of the screen that said "Based on the book series by Cecily von Ziegesar", I immediately rushed to my library website and put in a reserve, and picked it up not long afterwards.

Okay, I picked up the first five.

Now, onto the book. I was totally and completely.... kind of... DISAPPOINTED. You know, it wasn't a BAD story necessarily. But.... Ahhh. Okay. Here's the problems I had with it. The first book is basically the first episode of the show. BUT there are some major differences. First and foremost, the characters have no, well... character.
In the show, Serena had a lot of awful things in her past, but she was trying to improve her life and herself. In the book she's just a dirty whore who shows no remorse for anything she does. 
TV Blair is sneaky and catty, but she had definite charm, You can't help but like her. Book Blair is boring and pathetic, just hunting for everyone's approval and only thinking about sealing the deal for the first time, the only reason being a failing relationship. Yeah, sure, that's 'waiting for the right time' BOO.. 
Chuck is disgusting, with an amazing soul underneath... though the soul is shown later, so I'm not too terrible with his book character. 
Vanessa... Vanessa. If you've seen the show, you know the very pretty Jessica Szohr who plays her, with her tan skin, stunning blue eyes, quirky style, etc. Though, you know... pretty annoying. You just want her out of the story. Now in the book, she's trying so hard to be indie, she just comes across as pathetic. A girl who shaves her head because she's going to a private school, and pouts when she can't wear plain black, all the time? Really, how cliche poser is that? Down with fake indie, up with the real stuff!
And Jenny. oooooooh Jenny. They turned Taylor Momsen's cute and fiery little blond character who finds some edge into a boring little brunette with Shirley Temple girls and a size DD chest, and what she gains in chest size, she looses in charm. HATE. 
Even Dan looses his likability when he's portrayed as the sex-crazed pompous jerk. 
It's like the only one that is the same is Nate, the self conscious hot guy who's afraid of making decisions and is in love with someone other than his main squeeze. How fitting they picked the gorgeous Chance Crawford to play the part. Loooove.

Yes, I know that von Zegesar wrote the characters first, but I'm telling ya Cecily: THE CW DID THEM BETTER. I don't know if I would like the characters at ALL if I had never seen the show.

So to say the least, I was disappointed with the characters in general. But the book itself was kind of just... boring. Nothing really happened. Nothing that you wouldn't expect from a group like this.

BUT. like I mentioned, I got the first five. So I'm reserving judgement until I get a little further in the series. I guess miracles do happen, right?

Parental Guide: 
Language: There is a lot of language including... well. everything. And it's all through the book. 
Social Behaviors: Constant drinking and smoking, skipping school (skipping the country to be groped by old Frenchmen). The majority is done by minors.It also includes some parental almost-abandonment, as the parents are pretty distant from their children as they take on the assumption that if they let their kids to anything they want, they wont go out of control and crazy. WRONG. There is also talk of homosexuality, as it's revealed that Blair's father left her mother to be with another man. Also through Blair's story, there is talk of Bulimia. 
Sex and Nudity: An almost-sexual part that gets somewhat explicit, explaining her nudity, and his well... urge to get to the actual sex part. There is also some rather explicit dialog throughout, and some very loose mindsets when it comes to sex. Families that encourage families to think of sex as a marriage-only practice, or at least as special, etc (as I think it should be), would probably not find it appropriate. To finish up, there is a near rape. 
Violence and gore: None, really. Most of the damage is done through poor choices, and most of it is emotional.

Never knew all that would fit into a book that's only about 200 pages long, didja?

For those that would like to read it, it's very simple. I read it in a few hours, only half paying attention.

I would say only appropriate for (tentatively) ages 17+ (yeah, it's kind of overkill, but I think that just because so many teens know so much about sex doesn't mean it's good to be immersed in it. I still believe in innocence!!)

Do I recommend it?: Withholding judgement until I've made it through a few more books.

"You know you love me, XOXO"

~Cholle <3

Live, let live, be happy.

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