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Gossip Girl (novel series)

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Gossip Girl
The first in the series of Gossip Girl novels
GenreYoung adult novel
PublisherLittle, Brown and Company
Publication date
Publication placeUnited States

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 socialite 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 the author'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 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.


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 Hyekyung Baek 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 feature original stories with the same characters. It was serialized in the company's anthology magazine Yen Plus, from August 2010 to December 2013.[10]

In October 2011, a parody of the series Gossip Girl: Psycho Killer written by von Ziegesar was released.

Unlike the show, Gossip Girl's identity in the books is not known. Von Ziegesar said of the character, "She was the omniscient narrator. Gossip Girl was me".[11]


  • Blair Waldorf – a beautiful and active student of her elite high school. Blair uses money and scheming to get what she wants. Blair attends Yale University, the school of her dreams, after graduating from high school.[12] 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 – an angelically attractive and charming it-girl who returns to the Upper East Side after getting expelled from boarding school.[13] Nate's interest in Serena causes conflict between her and her frenemy, Blair, who is also Nate's girlfriend. In the end, Serena settles in New York City. She is an heiress to a billion dollar Dutch shipping empire and a socialite who later becomes a successful Hollywood actress.[14]
  • 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 relationships have 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 sexy, 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 attracted to Serena when he saved her from walking into a car when she was drunk one Thanksgiving. They officially meet later at school and briefly date. Dan had experimented with homosexuality, before he began dating Vanessa Abrams (whom he had known at his old state school). 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 dated Serena van der Woodsen and Mystery Craze before settling down with Vanessa Abrams.
  • Jenny Humphrey – the younger sister of Dan, a fan of Serena but has major insecurities with her huge chest.[15] She later gets her own spinoff series, The It Girl.
  • 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. Notes for a planned prequel to the series revealed that Chuck was originally called "Chip Wiskers", but the name was later scrapped in favor of the more substantial sounding variation of the "wood word + animal name" themed moniker applied in the final draft. Plans to depict "Chip" as a Rhythm Gymnast were also cut, due to the overtly feminine nature of the sport. 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.[16] 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 (first edition) ISBN
Gossip GirlApril 1, 2002[2]224 pp978-0-316-91033-0
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 Serena's shadow, 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, but is rejected. Later she tries out for Vanessa Abrams' short film, War and Peace, in Central Park. However, Vanessa grows jealous when her best friend and secret crush, Dan Humphrey, who is in love with Serena, seems infatuated with her. Vanessa chooses another girl for the part. 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. During a benefit organized by Blair, which Jenny has been trying to get into, Chuck Bass attacks Jenny, but Dan Humphrey and Serena rescue her.
You Know You Love MeSeptember 1, 2002[17]256 pp978-0-316-91148-1
Eleanor Waldorf's upcoming wedding with Cyrus Rose 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, and Jenny falls madly in love with him. Serena and Blair reunite as best friends again. Nate eventually two-times Blair with Jenny at Eleanor's wedding, bringing Serena and Blair closer.
All I Want Is EverythingMay 7, 2003[18]240 pp978-0-316-91212-9
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 ItOctober 1, 2003[19]256 pp978-0-316-90968-6
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 ThatMay 5, 2004[20]224 pp978-0-316-73518-6
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 WantOctober 6, 2004[21]256 pp978-0-316-73516-2
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 irritated with Vanessa's new friend Tiphany and her ferret.
Nobody Does It BetterMay 11, 2005[22]256 pp978-0-316-73512-4
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 TogetherOctober 5, 2005[23]240 pp978-0-316-73509-4
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 apart again.
Only in Your Dreams written by ghost-writerMay 10, 2006[24]256 pp978-0-316-01182-2
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-writerOctober 4, 2006[25]224 pp978-0-316-01183-9
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-writerMay 1, 2007[3]304 pp978-0-316-01184-6
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 YouOctober 2, 2007[4]417 pp978-0-316-01768-8
This prequel to the Gossip Girl series reveals how Serena left Constance Billard School for Girls after falling in love with Nate. The story also explores Blair's obsession with Audrey Hepburn, and how Nate came between best friends Serena and Blair.
I Will Always Love You written by ghost-writerNovember 3, 2009[6]400 pp978-0-316-04361-8
The original cast returns to New York. Blair is studying law at Yale and has a boyfriend there. However, 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, who is now an A-list movie star, 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. Dan is overwhelmed with sorrow until Serena reads one of his poems and they start dating again. Chuck returns straight, penniless, and full of wisdom. Vanessa leaves Hollis angrily.
Psycho KillerOctober 3, 2011[26]320 pp978-0-316-18509-7
A slasher parody reworking of the first book of the series, turning Blair and Serena into serial killers.

Gossip Girl: The Carlyles[edit]

Title Publication date Length (first edition) ISBN
Gossip Girl: The Carlyles written by Baby AnnabelleMay 6, 2008[27]256 pp978-0-316-02064-0
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 VestryOctober 7, 2008[28]240 pp978-0-316-02065-7
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 VestryMay 12, 2009[29]256 pp978-0-316-02066-4
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 VestryOctober 1, 2009[30]240 pp978-0-316-02067-1
The Carlyles go on vacation to The Bahamas with Remington, their mom's fiancé, his daughter, Layla, and her boyfriend, Riley. They are joined by Rhys, Owen's friend, and Jack. Baby feels alone, until she realizes that she and Riley have a real connection. But she and Layla make a great team too... Rhys is being pressured by Hugh and the swim team to hook up with a girl, so Owen decides to set him up with an aggressive British girl. But the only girl Rhys has eyes for is Avery... Owen's sister. Jack realizes that her feelings for Owen run much deeper than she thought, but she can't bring herself to tell Avery. Amidst all of the secret drama, Remington and Edie Carlyle decide to get married.


The Gossip Girl series has received a mixed reception.

The American Library Association selected the Gossip Girl series as Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers in 2003.[31] In 2008, it was also named Booklist Editors' Choice: Adult Books for Young Adults.[32]

Despite the above, the Gossip Girl series has frequently been the center of controversy due to homosexuality, offensive language, drugs, being sexually explicit, and being unsuited to age group.[33] The series appears on the American Library Association's list of the one hundred most banned and challenged books from 2000 to 2009,[34] and 2010 to 2019 (56).[35] The series also appeared in the top ten list in 2006 (2), 2008 (7) and 2011 (9).[33]

The criticism of the Gossip Girl series primarily revolves around whether the events depicted in the story are appropriate for the teenage audience the books attract.[36] American author and feminist Naomi Wolf in 2006 called the books "corruption with a cute overlay." Wolf also 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."[37]

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."[38] Confident that young girls will move onto more respected literature, Holley 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."[38] 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.'"[39]

Television adaptation[edit]

The television adaptation of the novel series, also titled Gossip Girl, was picked up by The CW.[40] Josh Schwartz, the creator of The O.C., is executive producer for the project.[41] 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.[42] 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; with Chuck not being one of the main characters.

In 2021 the show got a soft reboot with the series by the same name.


  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. Archived from the original on October 1, 2012. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
  3. ^ a b "Gossip Girl #11: Don't You Forget About Me". Hachette Group. Archived from the original on October 5, 2012. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
  4. ^ a b "Gossip Girl: It Had To Be You". Hachette Group. Archived from the original on July 13, 2009. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
  5. ^ "Gossip Girl The Complete Collection". Hachette Group. Archived from the original on September 29, 2009. Retrieved September 19, 2009.
  6. ^ a b "Gossip Girl: I Will Always Love You". Hachette Group. Archived from the original on October 18, 2009. Retrieved September 19, 2009.
  7. ^ "Bibliography — Cecily von Ziegesar". Hachette Group. Archived from the original on December 8, 2009. Retrieved September 19, 2009.
  8. ^ Gould, Emily (October 11, 2007). "Gossip Women: 'Gossip Girl' Creator Cecily von Ziegesar Is Pissed At Her Publisher". Gawker. Archived from the original on June 28, 2008. Retrieved June 28, 2008.
  9. ^ Nussbaum, Emily (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. ^ Pressler, Jessica (November 16, 2020). ""Gossip Girl Was Me": Cecily von Ziegesar Talks Manhattan vs. Cobble Hill". Vanity Fair. Retrieved May 21, 2024.
  12. ^ Malcolm, Janet (October 3, 2008). "The Wicked Joy of the Gossip Girl Novels". The New Yorker. Retrieved September 7, 2009.
  13. ^ "Gossip Girl: The Novel vs the Series". Digital Spy. May 22, 2008. Retrieved January 9, 2019.
  14. ^ "13 Times Serena Van Der Woodsen Was The Ultimate NYC It Girl". August 26, 2015. Retrieved January 9, 2019.
  15. ^ "10 Gossip Girl Problems Only True Fans Will Admit". September 19, 2016. Retrieved January 9, 2019.
  16. ^ "'Gossip Girl' Official Book Site". gossipgirl.net. Retrieved 2009-2-15.
  17. ^ "Gossip Girl #2: You Know You Love Me". Hachette Group. Archived from the original on October 5, 2012. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
  18. ^ "Gossip Girl #3: All I Want is Everything". Hachette Group. Archived from the original on October 6, 2012. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
  19. ^ "Gossip Girl #4: Because I'm Worth it". Hachette Group. Archived from the original on October 6, 2012. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
  20. ^ "Gossip Girl #5: I Like It Like That". Hachette Group. Archived from the original on October 6, 2012. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
  21. ^ "Gossip Girl #7: You're the One That I Want". Hachette Group. Archived from the original on October 7, 2012. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
  22. ^ "Gossip Girl #7: Nobody Does It Better". Hachette Group. Archived from the original on October 7, 2012. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
  23. ^ "Gossip Girl #8: Nothing Can Keep Us Together". Hachette Group. Archived from the original on July 13, 2009. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
  24. ^ "Gossip Girl #9: Only in Your Dreams". Hachette Group. Archived from the original on October 8, 2012. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
  25. ^ "Gossip Girl #10: Would I Lie to You?". Hachette Group. Archived from the original on October 8, 2012. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
  26. ^ "Gossip Girl: Psycho Killer". Hachette Group. Archived from the original on October 23, 2012. Retrieved March 17, 2012.
  27. ^ "Gossip Girl, The Carlyles No. 1". Hachette Group. Archived from the original on September 13, 2009. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
  28. ^ "Gossip Girl, The Carlyles #2: You Just Can't Get enough". Hachette Group. Archived from the original on September 24, 2009. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
  29. ^ "Gossip Girl, The Carlyles #3: Take a Chance on Me". Hachette Group. Archived from the original on September 13, 2009. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
  30. ^ "Gossip Girl, The Carlyles #4: Love the One You're With". Hachette Group. Archived from the original on November 7, 2009. Retrieved September 19, 2009.
  31. ^ "Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers". Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA). September 29, 2006. Retrieved June 20, 2021.
  32. ^ "2008 booklist editors choice adult books for ya | Awards & Grants". American Library Association. Retrieved June 20, 2021.
  33. ^ a b Office of Intellectual Freedom (March 26, 2013). "Top 10 Most Challenged Books Lists". American Library Association. Retrieved June 20, 2021.
  34. ^ Office of Intellectual Freedom (March 26, 2013). "Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books: 2000-2009". Office of Intellectual Freedom. Retrieved June 20, 2021.
  35. ^ Office of Intellectual Freedom (September 9, 2020). "Top 100 Most Banned and Challenged Books: 2010-2019". Office of Intellectual Freedom. Retrieved June 20, 2021.
  36. ^ Stoever, Liz (June 15, 2009). "What Affect Will Sexually Explicit Gossip Girl Books Have on Young People?". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Archived from the original on June 20, 2009. 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?
  37. ^ Wolf, Naomi (March 12, 2006). "Young Adult Fiction: Wild Things". The New York Times. Retrieved September 1, 2009.
  38. ^ a b Shrieves, Linda (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.
  39. ^ "YALSA Recommends Books For Young Adults Who Enjoy 'Gossip Girl' Series". Ala.org. April 11, 2006. Retrieved August 10, 2010.
  40. ^ "CW Gives Go-Ahead to 'Gossip Girl' Pilot". TVWeek.com. Archived from the original on September 30, 2007.
  41. ^ Schneider, Michael; Adalian, Josef. "CW gives Schwartz some good news: 2nd pilot picked up for show creator". Variety. Archived from the original on November 14, 2007.
  42. ^ Soll, Lindsay (October 24, 2007). "'Gossip Girl': Going Off the Books". Entertainment Weekly.

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