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Literature / Gossip Girl

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Gossip Girl is a series of young adult novels written by Cecily von Ziegesar.

The books follow a cast of rich kids living in New York City and their various exploits. Characters include reformed bad girl Serena van der Woodsen, Determinator queen bee of the Upper East Side Blair Waldorf, stoner Prince Charming Nate Archibald, casanova Chuck Bass, and middle class loser Dan Humphrey.

A number of old friends, new friends and love shapes make things even more complicated, but the biggest wild card is Gossip Girl, a mysterious blogger who seems to be following them around and recording their movements and actions. Naturally, the characters don't like this at all, but Gossip Girl's identity remains unknown despite all attempts to discover it.

The main series was published between 2002 and 2009, with various spinoffs released intermittently throughout. There also exists a manhwa series by Hye-Kyung Baek as well as an Otome Game by Voltage, Inc..

    Books in the Gossip Girl series 

Main series:

  • Gossip Girl (2002)
  • You Know You Love Me (2003)
  • All I Want is Everything (2003)
  • Because I'm Worth It (2003)
  • I Like It Like That (2004)
  • You're the One That I Want (2004)
  • Nobody Does It Better (2005)
  • Nothing Can Keep Us Together (2005)
  • Only in Your Dreams (2006)
  • Would I Lie to You? (2006)
  • Don't You Forget About Me (2007)
  • It Had to Be You (2007)
  • I Will Always Love You (2009)

Gossip Girl: The Carlyles note 

  • Gossip Girl: The Carlyles (2008)
  • You Just Can't Get Enough (2008)
  • Take a Chance on Me (2009)
  • Love the One You're With (2009)

The It Girl note 

  • The It Girl (2005)
  • Notorious (2006)
  • Reckless (2006)
  • Unforgettable (2007)
  • Lucky (2007)
  • Tempted (2008)
  • Infamous (2008)
  • Adored (2009)
  • Devious (2009)
  • Classic (2010)

Other works

  • Psycho Killer (2011) note 
  • Gossip Girl: For Your Eyes Only (2011 — 2013) note 

The books were adapted into a television series of the same name that aired on The CW from 2007 to 2012, which was then followed by a soft reboot continuation on HBO Max premiering in 2021.

Tropes in the novels include:

  • AB Negative: Rufus and Dan, but not baby Milo.
  • D-Cup Distress: A major source of Jenny’s insecurities are her breasts that are disproportionately large for her small body.
  • Flirty Stepsiblings / Not Blood Siblings: Blair and Aaron are depicted as this.
  • Franchise Zombie: Cecily von Ziegesar only wrote the first 8 books of the original series. The last four books, and the two spinoffs, The It Girl and Gossip Girl: The Carlyles, are ghostwritten.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Most of the books are named after or very close to song titles and/or lyrics.
  • Late for School: A notable character trait of Serena's.
  • Military School: Chuck gets sent to one in the book series.
  • No Periods, Period: Averted in the book series, where menstruation is discussed and depicted.
  • Odd Couple: Blair and Vanessa end up becoming roommates.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • In a later novel, Blair’s thoughts make it clear that she recognizes Jenny as the “whore” who “stole” Nate from her (although, unbeknownst to Blair, Jenny hadn’t known he was dating Blair at the time) but also empathizes with her since Nate has since dumped her in a humiliating fashion, and makes an effort to be nice to her. Quite forgiving for a character largely depicted as a Clingy Jealous Girl and an Alpha Bitch.
    • Despite her jealousy over Dan, Vanessa films Serena’s film for her and helps out with the idea.
    • Serena wins the film contest and goes out of her way to credit and thank Vanessa for helping her.
  • Plot Hole: A few in the later books, possibly because a ghostwriter took over partway through the series. The most notable one is regarding a film contest that Serena and Vanessa both enter in the second book, which Serena is explicitly mentioned to have won. A few books later, it's just kind of decided that Vanessa won instead, with no explanation whatsoever.
  • Retcon: Regarding the film contest that Serena and Vanessa both enter in the second novel. Serena enters on a whim and wins, but a few novels later the story instead decides that Vanessa won.
  • The Unreveal: In the books, Gossip Girl's identity is never confirmed. The final novel more or less confirms that it's one of the main characters, but not which one. Contrast with the TV series, where it's ultimately revealed to have been Dan the whole time.