I'm giving away the banned book of your choice--see the bottom of this post for details.
I figured that this week all my reviews will be related to Banned Books Week.
I was never interested in reading Gossip Girl, but when it appeared on ALA's Top Ten Most Banned Books list, I had to see what all the fuss was about. I immediately fell in love with the series. (It's banned because there is sex, drinking, and lots of swearing. These books are populated with not-nice people.)
WARNING: I'm reviewing series books so there will be spoilers for the previous books in the series--it's the nature of the beast.
I really really enjoyed the first 6 books in this series. I did not like the last 6. Well, I guess I didn't like the last 5 and kinda liked the prequel. Sadly, I was too attached to the characters, so I had to keep reading to find out how everything would eventually go down.
There is a marked decline in quality of the books in later half of the series, which spend a lot of time setting up the spin-off series, and then things really get bad in the last two titles, when the ghost writer takes over.
Nobody Does It Better
Blair and Nate spend all their time having sex. Randomly, Blair moves in with Vanessa (WTF?!) Jenny's about to get kicked out of Constance Billiard for hanging out with rockstars and is talking Rufus into boarding school (Hello, we have a new series, The It Girl please buy it!).
Jenny's turned into this major bad girl, which I don't like, because she doesn't even do it well. Dan's gone completely off the deep end in a way I don't understand and... I mean, really? Such a decline! I really thought this was the book where the ghost writer takes over.
Nothing Can Keep Us Together
Graduation Day! Blair's moved into the Yale Club and on with her love life. Nate's just always weeping and Dan just gets weirder. And, OF COURSE they're doing a remake of Breakfast at Tiffany's. Uh-huh. But it is the graduation party to end all graduation parties.
Also, you know things are bad when even I know that your brand-name dropping is messed up. There's a scene where Jenny and Elise are in the lower school bathroom and everything is Hello Kitty, because one of the parents happens to own Hello Kitty. Except, where you could own Sanrio, I don't think you can actually own Hello Kitty.
Also, all anyone ever talks about is how big Jenny's boobs are. As such, there is no way she would be able to wear tops from Anthropologie. Trust me--those clothes are not made for the well-endowed.
Only In Your Dreams
Blair's off to London, where she shops like a fiend. Serena's filming her movie and living Audrey Hepburn's life, all the while hoping to seduce her costar. Meanwhile, Dan has discovered yoga and Vanessa is homeless... and a nanny? And Nate's picked up some skanky town girl in the Hamptons. Hello Summer Vacation!
Would I Lie To You
Everyone's in the Hamptons for the summer, including some sketchy Eastern European Blair and Serena look-alikes. Ok, Dan's not in the Hamptons, but he got drunk and made out with a guy, so he's obviously gay. Yes, obviously. Um...
This is the book where the ghost writer picks up and all the characters get even more weird. Dan, especially, gets really out of character. Also, general quality has gone down as well--typos all over the place!
Don't You Forget About Me
This is the final goodbye. But Serena loves Nate! And Nate loves Blair! And Serena! And given that he ran away, he's not going to Yale because coach is withholding his diploma. And Blair's parents are wackier than ever which leads to the perfect set-up for a brand-new series they want you to read, The Carlyles. But... there's a going away party to end all going away parties... and the curtain falls as our characters scatter across the Ivy League.
It Had to Be You
Cecily von Ziegesar came back to write this prequel and the writing quality is definitely back up there with the earlier volumes of the series but... I still had some problems with it. This takes place the winter, spring, and summer before Serena goes off to boarding school.
Parts are really puke-inducing--oh look! Here's Nate getting stoned for the first time, here's Blair watching Breakfast at Tiffany's for the first time, here's Serena doing her first shot, Dan smoking his first cigarette, Jenny wishing she had boobs, Vanessa shaving her head...
You knew all that was coming BUT here's the big thing...
Serena loves Nate. And almost gets with Nate, but Blair also likes Nate and her life is falling apart (did you know her dad was gay? Because Blair didn't!) and so Serena lets Blair have him and selflessly sits in silent anguish...
First off, if Serena knows she loves Nate NOW, then why is it such a huge revelation when she realizes it two years later? Also, this changes everything in the regular series. Knowing Serena has been consciously lusting after Nate all this time? Really? I feel like I almost have to go back and reread the series with that lens. UGH.
Also, while the book takes place two years before the first Gossip Girl, they forgot to actually set it in that time. The first book came out in 2002, so this book should be taking place in 2000. But... they're watching Marie Antoinette, which came out in 2006.
Usually the series was much better about these details. sigh
Ok, Book Give Away Details:
To celebrate our right to read, I'm giving away banned books. All you have to do is check out the banned book lists on my sidebar and email me (kidsilkhaze at yahoo dot com) with your choice of book (if it's a series, you can choose any volume in the series). If you blog about the contest and email me the link, I'll give you an extra entry. Multiple winners will be selected. The contest ends on midnight on Sunday and is open world wide. GO READ!