Gossip Girl (novel series)

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This article is about the novel series by Cecily von Ziegesar. For the television adaptation based on the novels, see Gossip Girl (TV series).
Gossip Girl
Gossip Girl 1.jpg
The first in the series of Gossip Girl novels
Author by Cecily von Ziegesar
Country United StatesUnited States
Language English
Genre Young adult novel
Publisher Little, Brown and Company
Publication date
2002–2011
Media type Print Paperback

Gossip Girl is an American young adult novel series written by Cecily von Ziegesar and published by Little, Brown and Company, a subsidiary of the Hachette Group. The series revolves around the lives and romances of the privileged teenagers at the Constance Billard School for Girls, an elite private school in New York City's Upper East Side. The books primarily focus on best friends Blair Waldorf and Serena van der Woodsen, whose experiences are among those chronicled by the eponymous gossip blogger. The novel series is based on von Ziegesar's experiences at Nightingale-Bamford School and on what she heard from friends.[1]

The first novel, Gossip Girl, was released in April 2002; the eleventh novel of the series was released in May 2007, with a prequel novel following in October 2007. Another follow-up novel, in which the characters return home from college for the holidays, was released in hardback format in November 2009. The original novel became the inspiration for the Gossip Girl teen drama television series, created by Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage, which premiered on The CW Television Network on September 19, 2007. There are now 13 novels.

In May 2008, a follow-up series, Gossip Girl: The Carlyles, began publication, following the Carlyle triplets as they begin moving to the Upper East Side. As of October 2009, four novels have been released in this series. Ziegesar created a spin-off series, The It Girl, which began publication in 2005, and Yen Press has adapted the series into a manga series titled Gossip Girl: For Your Eyes Only.

History[edit]

The novel that started the series, Gossip Girl, was published in paperback format in April 2002.[2] Two new novels were released annually until the final novel, Don't You Forget About Me, was released in May 2007, showing the main characters graduating from high school and moving on to college and other pursuits.[3] A prequel novel, It Had To Be You, was released in October 2007 in hardcover and electronic book format. It detailed the events that occurred a year before the first novel.[4] A box set containing the eleven novels of the series and the prequel novel, in paperback format, was released November 1, 2009.[5] Two days later, a sequel novel, I Will Always Love You was released. The hardcover book tells the story of the main characters returning home from college for the holidays.[6] Hachette Group re-released all of the original novels in electronic book format between 2008 and 2009.[7]

Books nine, ten and eleven of the main series were ghostwritten.[8][9]

In December 2009, Yen Press announced that it was working with Korean artist Baek Hye-Kyung to create a manga adaptation of the series titled Gossip Girl: For Your Eyes Only. Rather than adapting the original novels, however, the graphic novels will feature original stories with the same characters. It will be serialized in the company's anthology magazine Yen Plus, with the first chapter appearing in the January 2010 issue.[10]

In October 2011 a parody of the series Gossip Girl Psycho Killer was released. It is written by Cecily Von Zeigesar. The identity of Gossip Girl has not been released to the public.

Characters[edit]

  • Blair Waldorf is described as having chestnut brown hair, sky blue eyes, a foxlike face, a small physique and being widely involved in extracurricular activities and having a tenacious attitude towards studies. She is considered quite intelligent and very pretty by her peers and elders. Blair uses her charm, cleverness, money and social status to get to where and what she wants. Blair attends Yale University after graduating from high school.[11] Throughout the series, she has an on-off relationship with Nate Archibald, whom she always imagined marrying. At the end of the series, Nate admits he loves her, and always will. Gossip Girl herself says that the two are just meant to be together. Blair's style and attitude portrays her as being quite preppy.
  • Serena van der Woodsen is described as being slim, ethereally beautiful, and "perfect". 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 cappella group at Yale University. Serena longs for true romance, and initially seeks this with Nate, despite his relationship with her friend Blair. In spite of this, she is easily bored by men in general and does not often pursue committed relationships, preferring to play the field. 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. Often, she seems sad with her beauty, as she has no "incentive" to do anything. At the end of the book series, Serena decides to stay in New York City, instead of attending one of the many Ivy Leagues schools into which she was accepted, so that she can discover her life for herself. After a break from college, she attends Yale. Serena and Blair have a love-hate relationship with Serena being caring towards Blair every book.
  • Nate Archibald is a wealthy, good-looking lacrosse player from St. Jude's School for Boys. He has dated a number of girls in the series, but his only serious relationship has been with his on-again/off-again girlfriend, Blair Waldorf and her close friend Serena. After stealing his lacrosse coach's Viagra, he relied on Blair and her alumnus father's connections to get accepted into Yale. Nate eventually left to sail around the world with his father's Navy mentor because he is unable to choose between Blair and Serena. In the sequel, he attends Deep Springs recommended by Chuck Bass, and then Brown University. Eventually, he professes his love for Blair over Serena, which leaves Serena heartbroken and Blair overjoyed. He and Serena got into every college that they entered for.
  • Dan Humphrey is a skinny, sensitive, caffeine-addicted poet who often sees the darker side of things. A romantic whose imagination runs off wildly at the worst times, he is also over-analytical and easily frustrated. Dan was in love with Serena for years before they met and briefly dated. Dan also experimented with homosexuality, before he began dating Vanessa Abrams. He is a published writer of poetry and songs. At the end of the series, he is attending Evergreen State College in Washington. In the sequel he transfers to Columbia University. He has had a variety of girlfriends, Serena Van Der Woodsen and Mystery Craze before settling down with Vanessa Abrams.
  • Jenny Humphrey is Dan's younger sister and an aspiring artist who wishes to be more like Serena, 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 is eventually kicked out of the Constance Billard School for Girls and sent to a boarding school where she reinvents herself as the "it girl", à la Serena. Her move to the boarding school and her life there became the topic of a spin-off of the series, The It Girl. She admires people such as Blair Waldorf and Serena Van Der Woodsen.
  • Vanessa Abrams is a budding filmmaker and the total opposite of most of her classmates, sporting a shaved head and always wears black. She has a shaky relationship with Dan Humphrey, particularly after she ends up living with the Humphrey family for a short time. At the end of the series, she is attending New York University. In the prequel it is revealed she shaved her head in front of Blair
  • Chuck Bass is the series' handsome, lust-driven antagonist who tries to take advantage of several girls, though it is eventually revealed that he is quite possibly bisexual. He is largely despised by other characters but due to his wealth and power he is tolerated. At the end of the series, he is not accepted into any college that he applied to and claims he is going to military college. However, he never arrives at the school and his whereabouts remain unknown. He later returns to New York as a changed, respectable man, albeit somewhat dependent on his wealth. In the books, Chuck is a secondary character.[12] However, he is elevated to a primary role in its television adaptation, in which he holds an intense relationship with Blair, and is best friends with Nate and Serena.

List of novels[edit]

Gossip Girl[edit]

Title Publication date Length ISBN
Gossip Girl April 1, 2002[2] 224 pp (first edition) ISBN 978-0-316-91033-0
Teenager Blair Waldorf sneaks away from a party to have sex with her boyfriend Nate Archibald, however they are interrupted by the return of Blair's old friend Serena van der Woodsen, who was away at boarding school. When Serena was around, Blair felt as if she were lost in the blue, so she is not thrilled that Serena has returned. She is also unhappy to find out that Nate and Serena had sex the summer before Serena left. She tries to keep Serena out of the loop and encourages others to ignore her. Not understanding why she is getting the cold shoulder, Serena decides to try new activities and tries out for the school play, and is rejected. Later she tries out for Vanessa Abrams' short film being in Central Park, however Vanessa grows jealous over her best friend, and secret crush, Dan Humphrey's reaction to Serena and chooses someone else. Undeterred, Serena decides to make her own film and enlists the help of Jenny Humphrey, Dan's younger sister. Throughout the story, the various characters regularly visit "Gossip Girl," a popular, anonymous blog that spreads rumors and gossip about them. Chuck Bass attacks Jenny Humphrey and Serena rescues her. 
You Know You Love Me September 1, 2002[13] 256 pp (first edition) ISBN 978-0-316-91148-1
Eleanor Waldorf's upcoming nuptials threatens to overshadow Blair's birthday. College interviews bring out the best and worst in the seniors, as Blair hangs out with her new stepbrother-to-be Aaron Rose, and Dan finds out how just not into him Serena is. Nate starts hanging out with Jenny. Serena and Blair reunite as best friends again. Nate eventually two times Blair with Jenny bringing Serena and Blair closer. 
All I Want Is Everything May 7, 2003[14] 240 pp (first edition) ISBN 978-0-316-91212-9
Christmas time in New York City has arrived and Serena moves from dating superstar Flow to vegan Aaron when they all end up on a Caribbean vacation with the Waldorfs. Jenny gets stalkerish with Nate, while Nate realizes who he truly loves. Blair learns that her mother is pregnant and decides that Nate isn't worthy of being her leading man. Jenny paints a number of portraits of Nate. 
Because I'm Worth It October 1, 2003[15] 256 pp (first edition) ISBN 978-0-316-90968-6
Vanessa and Dan's romance comes to a halt when he turns into an overnight literary superstar with her help. Serena makes her modeling debut during Fashion Week, inadvertently pushing away her boyfriend Aaron. Nate is sent to rehab where he meets Georgina Spark. Dan two times Vanessa with Mystery Craze while Vanessa watches crying silently. 
I Like It Like That May 5, 2004[16] 224 pp (first edition) ISBN 978-0-316-73518-6
Spring break arrives. Serena, Blair, Nate and Georgina are off to ski in Sun Valley where Blair nearly sleeps with Serena's brother Erik. Jenny finds out her boyfriend is keeping a secret from her. Dan interns at a pretentious literary magazine, while Nate realizes just how crazy Georgina Spark can be. Serena and Georgina become friends before Chuck and Georgina send Serena snow boarding in close to nothing. The board capsizes and Serena falls in a ditch. 
You're the One That I Want October 6, 2004[17] 256 pp (first edition) ISBN 978-0-316-73516-2
College acceptance letters are arriving and Serena and Nate get in everywhere she applied while Blair is waitlisted for her dream school,Yale. Jenny becomes a model with S's help and realizes she wants to be more like Serena. Dan and Vanessa decide to live together -- briefly. Dan becomes irratated with Vanessa's new friend Tiphany and her ferret. 
Nobody Does It Better May 11, 2005[18] 256 pp (first edition) ISBN 978-0-316-73512-4
After briefly living at the Plaza, Blair unexpectedly decides to move in with -- Vanessa. Racy pictures of Jenny surface, landing her in trouble at Constance, which she loves. Jenny wants to go to boarding school. 
Nothing Can Keep Us Together October 5, 2005[19] 240 pp (first edition) ISBN 978-0-316-73509-4
As graduation approaches, Blair moves out of V's apartment and into the Yale club where she meets Lord Marcus. A filmmaker is casting talent for a remake of Breakfast at Tiffany's. Jenny scouts boarding schools setting up her exit from the series for her spin-off series, The It Girl. B and S audition for the lead in Breakfast at Fred's but Serena lands the role tearing her and Blair's friendship again. 
Only in Your Dreams written by ghost-writer May 10, 2006[20] 256 pp (first edition) ISBN 978-0-316-01182-2
Nate dates a Hamptons townie named Tawny and Dan two-times Vanessa with yoga-loving Bree. Blair returns from London and lives with Serena. Not surprisingly when Nate and Tawny meet Blair and Serena, the two girls reaction is not impressed. 
Would I Lie to You? written by ghost-writer October 4, 2006[21] 224 pp (first edition) ISBN 978-0-316-01183-9
Blair and Nate reunite just as Serena realizes she's in love with him. Dan starts an experimental literary salon and thinks he's gay after making out with his male co-worker. 
Don't You Forget About Me written by ghost-writer May 1, 2007[3] 304 pp (first edition) ISBN 978-0-316-01184-6
As summer winds down, Blair learns that her family is relocating to California. Dan finally figures out whom his heart really belongs to. Nate is forced to choose between Blair and Serena. Dan's mother returns and gives him presents for being gay. 
It Had To Be You October 2, 2007[4] 416 pp (first edition) ISBN 978-0-316-01768-8
In this prequel to the Gossip Girl series, we learn how Serena left Constance Billard School for Girls after falling in love with Nate; Blair's obsession with Audrey Hepburn; and how Nate came in between best friends Serena and Blair. 
I Will Always Love You written by ghost-writer November 3, 2009[6] 400 pp (first edition) ISBN 978-0-316-04361-8
The original cast returns to New York. Blair and Nate have a whirlwind romance for several days and Nate realizes Blair is the one he was meant to be with. That is until he lays eyes on Serena and is more confused than ever. Dan leaves Evergreen and transfers to Columbia so he can be close to Vanessa. Vanessa is overwhelmed with all of Dan's ideas of living together and starting a life causing her to cheat on him with Hollis her TA. Chuck returns straight, penniless, and full of wisdom. Vanessa leaves Hollis angrily. 
Psycho Killer October 3, 2011[22] 320 pp (first edition) ISBN 978-0-316-18509-7
A slasher parody reworking of the first book of the series, turning Blair and Serena into serial killers Gossip Girl rewritten 

Gossip Girl: The Carlyles[edit]

Title Publication date Length ISBN
Gossip Girl: The Carlyles written by Baby Annabelle May 6, 2008[23] 256 pp (first edition) ISBN 978-0-316-02064-0
Get out your Montblanc pens, Chloe satchels, and cashmere cardigans: it's a brand-new season on the Upper East Side, and the irresistible Carlyle triplets are taking Manhattan by storm. You know it's going to be another wild and wicked year, and I'll be here to whisper all the juicy secrets. 
You Just Can't Get Enough written by Annabelle Vestry October 7, 2008[24] 240 pp (first edition) ISBN 978-0-316-02065-7
It's September – time to put away your white eyelet sundresses and platform espadrilles and say goodbye to the East End. But say hello to Manhattan's newest residents, the scene-stealing, heart-stealing Carlyle triplets. Lock up your boyfriends and throw away the key, because B and A are hotter than NYC during a sultry Indian summer. 
Take a Chance on Me written by Annabelle Vestry May 12, 2009[25] 256 pp (first edition) ISBN 978-0-316-02066-4
Baby Carlyle breaks up with J.P., Avery and Jack become good friends, and Owen dates Kelsey for a while and then dumps her, as he realizes that they don't really know each other and their only attraction is lust. Rhys is heartbroken over Kelsey, but gets over her and forgives Owen. 
Love the One You're With written by Annabelle Vestry October 1, 2009[26] 240 pp (first edition) ISBN 978-0-316-02067-1
The Carlyles go on Vacation to the Bahamas with Remington, their mom's fiance, Rhys, Owen's friend, Riley, Layne's boyfriend, and later joined by Jack and the swim team comes later for the wedding. Baby Carlyle falls in love with Riley, Avery and Rhys maintain a secret relationship so that Owen doesn't get mad, and Jack and Owen fall in love with each other. Rhys is pressured by the swim team to lose his virginity to some girl, Baby doesn't know whether or not she should see Riley, Avery wonders whether or not Rhys likes her back, and Owen can't stand the idea of a stepfather. 

Reception[edit]

The criticism of this series primarily revolves around whether the events depicted in the story are appropriate for the teenage audience the books attract.[27][28] 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."[29]

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."[30] 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." She went on to say, "Nobody complains about the adult women who read Harlequin romances."[30] 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....'"[31]

Television adaptation[edit]

The television adaptation of the novel series, also titled Gossip Girl, was picked up by The CW.[32] Josh Schwartz, the creator of The O.C., is executive producer for the project.[33] In the show, Blake Lively plays Serena, Leighton Meester plays Blair, Chace Crawford plays Nate, Penn Badgley plays Dan, Ed Westwick plays Chuck, Taylor Momsen plays Jenny and Jessica Szohr plays Vanessa. The show is loosely based on the books and does not follow the same story line.[34] Some key characters from the books, such as Aaron Rose or the Lord, are introduced into the show with different storylines, and some characters undergo changes to their personality and characteristics. For example, Serena's older brother in the books, Erik van der Woodsen is two years younger than her instead of older, and the characters of Serena, Blair, Chuck and Nate have been best friends since childhood compared to the novel series where the story's main friendship was only between Serena, Blair and Nate.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Franklin, Nancy (November 26, 2007). "High-school confidential". The New Yorker. Retrieved January 27, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "Gossip Girl No. 1". Hachette Group. Retrieved September 13, 2009. 
  3. ^ a b "Gossip Girl #11: Don't You Forget About Me". Hachette Group. Retrieved September 13, 2009. 
  4. ^ a b "Gossip Girl: It Had To Be You". Hachette Group. Retrieved September 13, 2009. 
  5. ^ "Gossip Girl The Complete Collection". Hachette Group. Retrieved September 19, 2009. 
  6. ^ a b "Gossip Girl: I Will Always Love You". Hachette Group. Retrieved September 19, 2009. 
  7. ^ "Bibliography — Cecily von Zeigesar". Hachette Group. Retrieved September 19, 2009. 
  8. ^ Emily Gould (October 11, 2007). "Gossip Women: 'Gossip Girl' Creator Cecily von Ziegesar Is Pissed At Her Publisher". Gawker. Retrieved June 28, 2008. 
  9. ^ Emily Nussbaum (May 30, 2005). "Gossip Girl: The New Young Adult Novel  — Adolescence Plus Wealth Equals Big Sales". New York Books. Retrieved June 28, 2008. 
  10. ^ "Yen Press to Adapt von Ziegesar's Gossip Girl Novels". Anime News Network. December 4, 2009. Retrieved December 4, 2009. 
  11. ^ Malcolm, Janet (October 3, 2008). "The Wicked Joy of the Gossip Girl Novels". The New Yorker. Retrieved September 7, 2009. 
  12. ^ "'Gossip Girl' Official Book Site". gossipgirl.net. Retrieved 2009-2-15.
  13. ^ "Gossip Girl #2: You Know You Love Me". Hachette Group. Retrieved September 13, 2009. 
  14. ^ "Gossip Girl #3: All I Want is Everything". Hachette Group. Retrieved September 13, 2009. 
  15. ^ "Gossip Girl #4: Because I'm Worth it". Hachette Group. Retrieved September 13, 2009. 
  16. ^ "Gossip Girl #5: I Like It Like That". Hachette Group. Retrieved September 13, 2009. 
  17. ^ "Gossip Girl #7: You're the One That I Want". Hachette Group. Retrieved September 13, 2009. 
  18. ^ "Gossip Girl #7: Nobody Does It Better". Hachette Group. Retrieved September 13, 2009. 
  19. ^ "Gossip Girl #8: Nothing Can Keep Us Together". Hachette Group. Retrieved September 13, 2009. 
  20. ^ "Gossip Girl #9: Only in Your Dreams". Hachette Group. Retrieved September 13, 2009. 
  21. ^ "Gossip Girl #10: Would I Lie to You?". Hachette Group. Retrieved September 13, 2009. 
  22. ^ "Gossip Girl: Psycho Killer". Hachette Group. Retrieved March 17, 2012. 
  23. ^ "Gossip Girl, The Carlyles No. 1". Hachette Group. Retrieved September 13, 2009. 
  24. ^ "Gossip Girl, The Carlyles #2: You Just Can't Get enough". Hachette Group. Retrieved September 13, 2009. 
  25. ^ "Gossip Girl, The Carlyles #3: Take a Chance on Me". Hachette Group. Retrieved September 13, 2009. 
  26. ^ "Gossip Girl, The Carlyles #4: Love the One You're With". Hachette Group. Retrieved September 19, 2009. 
  27. ^ "Teen-Targeted XXX Books". WorldNetDaily.com. Retrieved January 9, 2008. 
  28. ^ Liz Stoever (June 15, 2009). "What Affect Will Sexually Explicit Gossip Girl Books Have on Young People?". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved August 19, 2009. "It seems odd to place the Gossip Girl series next to books like the Chronicles of Narnia, Harry Potter and Eragon that are supposed to serve teenagers from 12 to 18. Has sex become so rampant in the media that it has become acceptable for 12, 13 and 14-year-olds to read books like Gossip Girls?" [dead link]
  29. ^ Wolf, Naomi (March 12, 2006). "Young Adult Fiction: Wild Things". The New York Times. Retrieved September 1, 2009. 
  30. ^ a b Linda Shrieves (August 6, 2005). "Racy Reading; Gossip Girl Series is Latest Installment in Provocative Teen Fiction, and It's as Popular as It is Controversial". The Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved August 19, 2008. 
  31. ^ "YALSA Recommends Books For Young Adults Who Enjoy 'Gossip Girl' Series". Ala.org. April 11, 2006. Retrieved August 10, 2010. 
  32. ^ "CW Gives Go-Ahead to 'Gossip Girl' Pilot". TVWeek.com. 
  33. ^ Michael Schneider; Josef Adalian. "CW gives Schwartz some good news: 2nd pilot picked up for show creator". Variety. [dead link]
  34. ^ Soll, Lindsay (October 24, 2007). "'Gossip Girl': Going Off the Books". Entertainment Weekly. 

External links[edit]