Wednesday, July 01, 2009

You Know, It.

The It Girl, by Cecily Von Ziegesar. This, apparently a spin off from the Gossip Girl series, which I haven't read, mirrors the Private novel series nearly exactly. The main character, from a somewhat modest background, transfers to a prestigious Eastern boarding school, where she is exposed to drinking, sex, and drugs at every turn. This book covers only the first week of school, but already the character has been to a number of parties, made out with one boy, has a crush on another boy, shaken her booty in front of the entire school at a sports game, and been called before the disciplinary committee. The secondary characters are also involved in a number of glamorous, inappropriate relationships, dating teachers or manipulating school boys as a means to an end. Like Reed, Jenny wants to instantly get in with the coolest girls in her dorm, she falls for an artist/painter type, she decides early that a little backstabbing and lying to the administration are alright since it will make her more popular, and we end on the cliffhanger of one of the older students returning to the school to find that Jenny has taken her place in the cool room with the big window. My personal complaints about this book are that I don't know the difference between different fashion designers, and totally don't care. There's a lot of name dropping and outfit descriptions that are totally lost on me. These novels are for a very specialized audience-- any girl who can suspend her disbelief long enough to get caught up in these kind of stories should really be introduced to science fiction. Books like this make me sure that I will monitor what my children (should I ever have them) read-- although this book is better than the Private books in that there's only one getting-it-on scene, and they do in fact reach for the condoms, half of the angst in the novel is instigated by who is sleeping with whom, and where they did it. It is the teen book version of a soap opera (which I also don't enjoy), and while all that drama and surprises may be fun, it's not realistic. We can't function as a society using the schools portrayed in these kinds of books as education centers for our children-- no one would learn anything at all, and everyone would be dead of lung cancer and cirrhosis before they turned 30. Wearing my librarian/English major hat, I only have 2 problems with this book: 1) they drop the F-bomb, not alot compared to other books, but more than seemed necessary. It's use didn't really fit with how the characters regularly talk. It supports my theory that either kids and/or YA authors think that the rest of the content doesn't matter: the number of swear words is an indicator of cool-ity. And 2) there are a number of main secondary characters, but they don't seem well established: they change from scene to scene. The reader cannot really predict what will happen or how a character will respond. This may be because everyone is putting on an act, and since we see characters alone and with different groups, they are always in a state of flux. I'm not sure if this is why I couldn't get a handle on them, or if they really were just poorly written. For fans of other similar series, this will please. I won't torture myself with the many sequels, however.

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