Series or Standalone: Series
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Chick Lit
Publication Date: April 1st 2002
I concede. I read this solely because I was hugely obsessed with the early seasons of the CW adaptation of Gossip Girl. When I came across the audiobooks via my library, I thought why not? I have always wanted to try the books. However I can’t say I’m eager to jump back into this Cecily von Zeiger’s mind after what was a pretty unenjoyable, and at times, aggravating read.
Unfortunately, this was not my favourite voice work from an audiobook I’ve come across. I simply wasn’t connecting with Edwina Wren’s voice. To her credit, she has a nice voice and sounds eerily similar to Jessica Chastain – just to give you an idea of what her voice sounded like. Whilst Wren easily nails sophistication, something was just missing for me.
Perhaps I am just too much of a hardcore fan of the CW adaptation’s characters. It’s hard to hear or visualise anyone but the retrospective actors as they really were their characters. Personally if you are in the same position as me – a hardcore fan of the characters, and just a character driven reader in general – the audiobook might not be for you. The physical copy might have been more preferable, that way I could have better envisioned the characters the way I ideally like them from the show.
It’s hard not to compare this book to it’s television counterpart. I found the dialogue consistently witty and delivery from the actors entertaining. I felt this voice work was dry and consequently lacked life, but to Wren’s credit I think she did her best with what she was given.
The worst aspect for me was undoubtedly the characters. Ironically, as I find them characters to be the best aspect on the show. Are they not? (Maybe aside from the fashion.) Here, the characters are incredibly two-dimensional. I know I keep annoyingly coming back to it, but it’s hard to go from an adaptation I enjoyed to something that was quite frankly lacklustre. With multiple characters and only 200 or so pages, it was evidently hard to make them appear even remotely interesting.
Serena, although still an ‘IT’ girl, (but uninterestingly so) is illustrated more like an airhead. Blair is a complete fun-sponge and had no spunk about her whatsoever. Nate is still a garbage excuse for a boyfriend. Chuck was more Chuck than ever too unfortunately. Dan wasn’t as witty and he didn’t feel as much of an outsider from the upperclassmen as I think he should have been.
At a deeper glance, Serena in particular was incredibly disappointing. Serena seems to be an ‘IT’ girl here solely for the fact that she is pretty and wealthy. Whereas in the show she is effervescent and charming, therefore it wasn’t hard to see why she was the IT girl. Beyond her looks she had the charm and persona to enamour anyone.
Ultimately, poorly written characters and lacklustre dialogue isn’t what I enjoy. This didn’t live up to the expectation the show set so unfortunately my verdict would be to opt for the adaptation rather than read this.