Gossip Girl

Gossip Girl

Infobox Book
name = Gossip Girl


image_caption = The first of the "Gossip Girl" series of novels
author = flagicon|United States of America Cecily von Ziegesar
country = United States
language = English
genre = Young Adult Novel
publisher = Little, Brown
website = [http://www.gossipgirl.net]
release_date = 2002 (first volume)
media_type = Print (Hardback & Paperback)

"Gossip Girl" is a series of novels written for teenagers by Cecily von Ziegesar. "Gossip Girl" is also the "nom de plume" of the narrator, and the title of the first novel in the series. It has also been adapted into a TV series airing on The CW and CTV. It spawned two spin-off book series, "The It Girl" and "".

Plot summary

The "Gossip Girl" series revolves around a group of teenagers, four of whom live in the opulent Upper East Side of Manhattan in New York City. The teenagers deal with sex and relationship problems while attending elite private single-sex schools, where their lives are watched by the unseen title character who writes a blog about them. The main characters are Serena van der Woodsen, Blair Waldorf, Nate Archibald, Jenny Humphrey, Dan Humphrey, Chuck Bass and Vanessa Abrams.Throughout the books, the characters deal with problems that stem from the Upper East Side lifestyle.At the beginning of the series, Serena returns from boarding school for an unknown reason.She resumes her "best friends forever" status with Blair and her "normal" life filled with designer clothing and wild parties.The private girls' school of the series, Constance Billard School for Girls, is an exaggerated version of the author's alma mater, the Nightingale-Bamford School. [cite web
url=http://www.abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/Story?id=3628866
author=Susan Donaldson James
accessdate=2008-06-28
title='Gossip Girls': 'Raunchy and Intense'
work=ABC News
date=2007-09-20
]

Books

The books are published by Alloy Entertainment and distributed by Little, Brown and Company and Bloomsbury Publishing. The complete series has been published in paperback with the last book, a prequel, "It Had To Be You", published in hardcover. Books nine, ten and eleven of the main series were ghostwritten. [cite web
url=http://gawker.com/news/gossip-women/gossip-girl-creator-cecily-von-ziegesar-is-pissed-at-her-publisher-309862.php
accessdate=2008-06-28
author=Emily Gould
date=2007-10-11
work=Gawker
title=Gossip Women: 'Gossip Girl' Creator Cecily von Ziegesar Is Pissed At Her Publisher
] [cite web
url=http://nymag.com/nymetro/arts/books/12058/
accessdate=2008-06-28
title=Gossip Girl: The New Young Adult Novel - Adolescence Plus Wealth Equals Big Sales
author=Emily Nussbaum
work=New York Books
date=2005-05-30
]

#"Gossip Girl"
#"You Know You Love Me"
#"All I Want Is Everything"
#"Because 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"
#"Only in Your Dreams"
#"Would I Lie to You?"
#"Don't You Forget About Me"

;Prequel
#"It Had To Be You" The series has two spinoffs, "The It Girl" and "". There is also a television series based on the books.

Central characters

;Blair Waldorf:The series' main character, [McAdam, C. (2008-3-15). " [http://sundayheraldsalon.com/salon/2008/03/chatter_in_classes.html Chatter In Classes] ". "SundayHeraldSalon.com". Retrieved on 2008-8-28.] Blair Cornelia Waldorf is described as 5'4" and slender with brilliant blue eyes and a fox-like face. She is involved in extracurricular activities and is very intelligent and determined. For the first three books, she had long, chestnut hair, but chopped it into a pixie cut in "Because I'm Worth It", before having it extended in "Don't You Forget About Me". She is a hopeless romantic who idolizes Audrey Hepburn and has a sensitive side that contrasts her tendency to be bitchy and controlling. She loves to pretend her life is a movie and watches "Breakfast at Tiffany's" often. She is vain, although her friendship with it-girl Serena van der Woodsen causes her to be insecure at times. In the first book, when Serena returns, Blair is extremely reluctant to let her back into her life because it would mean giving up the "queen bee" position she held in Serena's absence. She also fears losing Nate to Serena since they slept together before Serena left. Blair uses her charm, money and social clout to get what she wants. Her father, once an uptight lawyer, now lives in a French chateau with his boyfriend, Giles, and their adopted Cambodian twins, Ping and Pong. He shares a love of shoes with Blair. He raised Blair under the impression that she deserves everything she wants. Her mother, Eleanor Waldorf-Rose, is a flaky society-hostess who married Cyrus Rose. She has a younger brother, Tyler; a stepbrother, Aaron, and a baby half-sister, Yale (named after the college Blair hoped to attend, making her a good luck charm). She has a turbulent relationship with Nate Archibald throughout the series, losing him to other girls several times, including Jenny Humphrey and Serena van der Woodsen. Blair now attends Yale University. She is portrayed by Leighton Meester in the TV series.

;Serena van der Woodsen :One of the series' main characters, Serena is described as 5' 7" with long, pale blond hair and huge, navy eyes. She is slim and ethereally beautiful, often described as "perfect" in the books. She is extremely smart, but is often told that she is not working to her full potential. Her personality is not always as well regarded as her physical attributes. Like her sometimes-best friend Blair Waldorf, she and her family are prominent in New York society. Serena dabbled in modeling before landing a starring role in "Breakfast at Fred's", a remake of "Breakfast at Tiffany's". Serena has kept a steady string of admirers, including Nate Archibald, Dan Humphrey, Aaron Rose, and an entire a capella group at Yale. Despite the attention she receives from the opposite sex, Serena longs for true romance. She seeks this in Nate. She has fallen in love many times, but nothing has been too serious. Serena is much less demanding and uptight than Blair; however, she has a tendency to be self-centered. She gets what she wants with very little effort which causes a lot of people to dislike her. She is practically worshiped by freshman Jenny Humphrey who aspires to be just like her despite their physical differences. Serena is often criticized by her classmates who find her an excellent source of gossip, but resent her effortless good looks and her ability to get the attention of any male. Her brother, Erik, attends Brown. Her parents rarely appear in the series. At the end of the book series, Serena decided to stay in New York City, instead of attending one of the many Ivy Leagues schools she got into, because she wanted to discover her life for herself. She is portrayed by Blake Lively in the TV series.

;Nate Archibald : Nate is a wealthy, good-looking lacrosse player from St. Jude's school for boys. He is described as having wavy golden brown hair and sparkling, emerald-green eyes. His mother is a French socialite and his father is a former Navy captain. He smokes lots of marijuana and was once caught and sent to rehab after buying a dimebag in the park. He has dated a number of girls including Serena van der Woodsen, Jenny Humphrey, Georgina Spark, L'Wren from L'Ecole and Tawny from the Hamptons, but his only serious relationship has been with his on-again/off-again girlfriend, Blair Waldorf. After stealing his lacrosse coach's Viagra, he relied on Blair and her alumnus father's connections to get accepted to Yale, although he eventually left to sail around the world with his father's Navy mentor because he is unable to choose between Blair and Serena. He is portrayed by Chace Crawford in the TV series.

;Dan Humphrey: Dan is a thin, sensitive, caffeine-addicted poet who often sees the darker side of things. Dan is a romantic whose imagination runs off wildly at the worst times. He is over-analytic and easily frustrated. He is romantically linked to Vanessa Abrams, who appears to be the love of his life, but he hasn't always been the best boyfriend. Prior to his relationship with Vanessa, he spent two years in love with Serena van der Woodsen. He has held several writing-related roles, including having a poem called "Sluts" published in the "The New Yorker"; an internship at Red Letter, a prominent literary magazine; and a short stint as songwriter/lead singer for indie-rock sensation The Raves. He has a close relationship with his sister, Jenny and his father Rufus. Before realizing he loved Vanessa, he was confused about his sexuality and experimented with a guy named Greg. His absentee mother returns in the final book because she believes that he is gay. Dan is now attending The Evergreen State College in Washington. He is portrayed by Penn Badgley in the TV series.

;Vanessa Abrams: Vanessa is a budding filmmaker. She is the polar opposite of her Constance Billard School for Girls classmates. Her parents are hippie artists who live in Vermont, while her sister Ruby is bassist for the band SugarDaddy. She's described in the books as pale, and she shaves her own head. She has a shaky relationship with Dan Humphrey. After Ruby comes back from a world tour with her new fiance, Piotr, Vanessa moves in with the Humphreys, further complicating her relationship with Dan. She is attending NYU at the end of the book series. She is portrayed by Jessica Szohr in the TV series.

;Jenny Humphrey: The younger sister of Dan Humphrey, fourteen year old Jenny is the youngest of the "Gossip Girl" characters. She is 4'11" and has dazzling brown eyes and curly brown hair, is an aspiring artist and holds a secret desire to be a model like Serena van der Woodsen, whom she eventually befriends. She often tries to fit in with the rich girls at her school, even though she does not hold a place in their social sphere. She often goes on wild and embarrassing escapades to set an image for herself and once accidentally starred in a photo shoot for an article entitled "Does Breast Size Matter?" She also allowed a scandalous video of her and Nate Archibald to circulate on the Internet and spent a lot of time with a popular indie rock band called the Raves. After Jenny gets kicked out of Constance Billard School for Girls, she ends up going to a boarding school, Waverly Academy, to reinvent herself as the "It Girl", a la Serena. She is now the main character in a spin-off series of books called "The It Girl". She is portrayed by Taylor Momsen in the TV series.

econdary characters

;Chuck Bass: Chuck is a rich, handsome, lust-driven, perverted antagonist whose list of the finer things in life is short: sex, alcohol, and rock and roll. He almost took advantage of a vulnerable Jenny Humphrey in a bathroom and tried to sleep with an inebriated Serena van der Woodsen. Chuck has an obnoxious pet monkey named Sweetie, who can often be found perching on his shoulder and wearing coordinated outfits. He is largely despised by other characters, but never ostracized due to his wealth and power. After he was not accepted to any of the colleges he applied to, he ends up going to military college. Chuck is largely a secondary character in the books, but in the TV series, he is portrayed as a primary character by Ed Westwick.

;Kati Farkas and Isabel Coates : They make up Blair's former clique before Serena returned to New York City. They are two alumna socialites and Blair's loyal sidekicks of Constance Billard School for Girls. Isabel was admitted to Princeton University, but she turned the Ivy down for Rollins College in Orlando, Florida because she wanted to attend college with her best friend, Kati. They are portrayed by Nan Zhang and Nicole Fiscella in the TV series.

;Erik van der Woodsen: The older brother of Serena van der Woodsen. He once had a fling with Blair Waldorf. He is portrayed by Connor Paolo in the TV series as Serena's younger brother.

;Aaron Rose: The herb cigarette-smoking and vegan stepbrother of Blair Waldorf and son of Cyrus Rose. He drives a red Saab, and had a unrequited crush on his stepsister, Blair. Later on he dated both Serena and Vanessa, and was accepted to Harvard University. He is portrayed by John Patrick Amedori in the TV series.

;Tyler Waldorf: The younger brother of Blair Waldorf and a student at St. George’s. He was a constant joke when Serena and Blair were best friends, even dropping him off and making him walk home from the Lower East Side.

;Elise Wells: Jenny's best friend and a student at Constance Billard. She discovers homosexual attractions - which will prove to be fleeting - and embraces Jenny. She falls in love with Dan who rejects her, but she eventually accepts his feelings and even encourages him to return with Vanessa, although she still loves him. Her dad, Owen Wells, is a Yale Interviewer, and interviews Blair. The two were attracted to one another until Blair found out that Owen was married and Elise is his daughter. She is portrayed by Emma Demar in the TV series.

;Charlie Dern, Anthony Avuldsen and Jeremy Scott Tompkison: Nate's friends, who also attend St. Jude's, spend their time smoking marijuana and playing soccer in Central Park. They are not mentioned in the TV series.

TV series

The TV adaptation, also titled "Gossip Girl", was picked up by The CW.cite web|url=http://www.tvweek.com/news/2007/01/cw_gives_goahead_to_gossip_gir.php|title=CW Gives Go-Ahead to 'Gossip Girl' Pilot|work=TVWeek.com|accessdate=] Josh Schwartz, the creator of "The O.C.", is executive producer for the project. [cite web|title=CW gives Schwartz some good news: 2nd pilot picked up for show creator|author=Michael Schneider|coauthors=Josef Adalian|date= |url=http://www.variety.com/article/VR.html?categoryid=14&cs=1|publisher=Variety |accessdate=] Blake Lively plays Serena in the show and Leighton Meester plays Blair. Serena's love interest, Dan Humphrey, is played by Penn Badgley. Nate Archibald, is played by Chace Crawford. Taylor Momsen plays Jenny Humphrey, although her physical attributes differ from the book character's DD breast size, curly brown hair, and 5 foot tall frame. Rufus Humphrey is played by Matthew Settle. Chuck Bass is played by Ed Westwick. Vanessa Abrams is played by Jessica Szohr. Connor Paolo plays Erik van der Woodsen, Serena's younger brother, and Kelly Rutherford plays their mother, Lillian van der Woodsen. Blair's mother, Eleanor Waldorf, is played by Margaret Colin. Nan Zhang plays Kati Farkas and her friend Isabel Coates is played by Nicole Fiscella. Kristen Bell, star of "Veronica Mars", narrates the show as the "Gossip Girl" herself.

On May 14, 2008 the CW announced Gossip Girl would be renewed for the upcoming Fall season, and would return September 1, 2008 and remain in its Monday 8 pm time slot.

Criticism

The criticism of this series primarily revolves around whether the events depicted in the story are appropriate for the teenage audience the books attract.cite web|url=http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=59603|title=Teen-Targeted XXX Books|work=WorldNetDaily.com|accessdate=2008-01-09] American author and feminist Naomi Wolf calls the books "corruption with a cute overlay," and she claims that "sex saturates the "Gossip Girl" books.... This is not the frank sexual exploration found in a Judy Blume novel, but teenage sexuality via Juicy Couture, blasé and entirely commodified."cite web|url=http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/12/books/review/12wolf.html|title=Young Adult Fiction: Wild Things|work=NYTimes.com|accessdate=2008-08-19]

Pam Spencer Holley, former YALSA President with the American Library Association (ALA), presents a different point of view, claiming simply to be "happy to see teen girls reading."cite web|date=2005-08-06|url=http://archive.southcoasttoday.com/daily/08-05/08-06-05/b01li276.htm|title=Racy Reading; Gossip Girl Series is Latest Installment in Provocative Teen Fiction, and It's as Popular as It is Controversial|work=The Orlando Sentinel|author=Linda Shrieves|accessdate=2008-08-19] Confident that young girls will move onto more respected literature, she points out, "'Unless you read stuff that's perhaps not the most literary, you'll never understand what good works are....' .... Besides, she says, what's the worst thing that can happen? 'Nobody complains about the adult women who read Harlequin romances.'" ] Holley created a new ALA book list to encourage teens to consult a list of recommendations for "both avid and reluctant readers, who are looking for books like Cecily von Ziegesar's "Gossip Girl" series. 'The books on this list are perfect for when your readers have finished with every"Gossip Girl" title in your library and are clamoring for another book like the Gossip Girl....'"cite web|date=2006-04-11|url=http://www.ala.org/ala/pressreleases2006/april2006/YALSAYAbooksGossipGi.htm|title=YALSA Recommends Books For Young Adults Who Enjoy 'Gossip Girl' Series|work=Ala.org|accessdate=2008-08-19]

References


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