Von Ziegesar, Cecily 1970-
Von ZIEGESAR, Cecily 1970-
PERSONAL: Born 1970, in New York, NY; married; children: one daughter, one son. Education: Attended Colby College and University of Arizona.
ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Author Mail, Little, Brown, 1271 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020.
CAREER: Writer. Worked briefly in radio and publishing.
"GOSSIP GIRL" SERIES
Gossip Girl, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 2002.
You Know You Love Me, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 2002.
Because I'm Worth It, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 2003.
All I Want Is Everything, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 2003.
I Like It like That, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 2004.
You're the One That I Want, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 2004.
Nobody Does It Better, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 2005.
ADAPTATIONS: Gossip Girl has been adapted as an audiobook.
SIDELIGHTS: Writer Cecily von Ziegesar was born in 1970 in New York City, and attended a private girls' school on the Upper East Side. She regularly mines her life experience for the details of her young-adult "Gossip Girl" series, which reports the adventures of a group of wealthy Manhattan teenagers as they experiment with sex, drugs, alcohol, and the power of gossip. The teens get away with virtually anything as their busy parents either look the other way or fail to notice at all. Although criticism has been raised of the books and their subject matter, fans claim the author understands what it is to be a teenager. Von Ziegesar herself states that many of the events that take place in her stories are based on real-life happenings from her own prep-school days. In a posting at Time Warner Bookmarks, von Ziegesar explained: "These books are meant to be funny, so most of all I hope people laugh while they're reading them. But there are sad and touching scenes too, and I hope readers can relate to what the characters are going through. Even though they're rich and spoiled on the surface, they're still just like everyone else."
Gossip Girl, von Ziegesar's first book, launched the series. This volume introduces the teenagers and their universe: Blair Waldorf, a recovering bulimic; her stoned boyfriend, Nate; and Serena van der Woodsen, a former best friend who is newly returned from boarding school in a flurry of scandal. And then there is the ever-present omniscient narrator, an unknown individual who sees into everyone's secrets. Gillian Engberg, in a review for Booklist, remarked that the book demonstrates "the depth (and parental guidance rating) of a raunchy teen movie." However, a contributor for Publishers Weekly remarked that "the book has the effect of gossip itself—once you enter it's hard to extract yourself; teens will devour this whole." In the Kirkus Reviews, a contributor wrote that "deliciously catty and immediately engrossing, this is the ultimate beach read for teenage girls, offering them a titillating peek into the heady world of Manhattan's well-heeled teens." Gail Richmond, reviewing for School Library Journal, opined: "Von Ziegesar's approach is fresh, although mean and petty comments dominate these teens' world."
The second book in the series, You Know You Love Me, includes more of the expected upper-class-teen angst, including romantic problems, parties, and sex, but it also features a high-powered society wedding that is photographed for a fashion magazine, and recounts the stress of college interviews. Blair's mother not only decides to marry her boyfriend, but selfishly chooses Blair's birthday as the date for her nuptials. A Publishers Weekly contributor remarked of the book that, "still strictly a guilty pleasure, the story lines are better developed in this volume and the characters show more growth." In Kirkus Reviews, a contributor commented that the book was "a highly enjoyable speedboat of a read, zipping along at lightning speed."
In All I Want Is Everything, the Christmas season has arrived and with it a new round of parties and trips to the Caribbean. Blair's relationship with Nate is not going well and she becomes determined to lose her virginity, leading to some uncomfortable situations. Sally M. Tibbetts, reviewing for Kliatt, remarked that "it is still fun trying to figure out who the Gossip Girl character really is." As the series continues with Because I'm Worth It, couples change and problems grow deeper. Kliatt contributor Courtney Lewis observed that "Von Ziegesar has done a wonderful job keeping up the Gossip Girl tempo and even gives a surprise hint at the end of the novel toward decoding who Gossip Girl really is."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, June 1, 2002, Gillian Engberg, review of Gossip Girl, p. 1709.
Bookseller, August 16, 2002, "Warning over Teen Launch," p. 34.
Daily Telegraph (London, England), October 17, 2002, Lauren Mechling, "A Nice Girl's Guide to Misbehaving."
Daily Variety, January 21, 2004, Michael Flemming, "WB Will Spread 'Gossip,'" p. 1.
Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, April, 2003, Pamela Osback, review of Gossip Girl, p. 608.
Kirkus Reviews, April 15, 2002, review of Gossip Girl, p. 580; August 15, 2002, review of You Know You Love Me, p. 1238.
Kliatt, November, 2002, Sally M. Tibbetts, review of You Know You Love Me, p. 21; July, 2003, review of All I Want Is Everything, p. 27; March, 2004, Courtney Lewis, review of Because I'm Worth It, p. 22; September, 2004, Olivia Durant, review of I Like It like That, p. 26; November, 2004, Joanna Solomon, review of You're the One That I Want, p. 21.
Observer (London, England), August 25, 2002, Amelia Hill, "Sex and Drugs Tales to Tempt Teen Readers"; February 23, 2003, Rachel Cooke, "It Ain't Half Hot, Mum."
Publishers Weekly, January 21, 2002, review of Gossip Girl, p. 91; July 22, 2002, review of You Know You Love Me, p. 181; May 12, 2003, review of All I Want Is Everything, p. 69; November 17, 2003, review of Because I'm Worth It, p. 67; May 3, 2004, review of I Like It like That, p. 194.
School Library Journal, June, 2002, Gail Richmond, review of Gossip Girl, p. 148; October, 2002, Nicole M. Marcuccilli, review of You Know You Love Me, p. 174; August, 2003, Elaine Baran Black, review of All I Want Is Everything, p. 168; February, 2004, Catherine Ensley, review of Because I'm Worth It, p. 152.
BookLoons, http://www.bookloons.com/ (May 20, 2005), "Gossip Girl."
Gossip Girl Web site, http://www.gossipgirl.net (May 20, 2005).
Time Warner Bookmarks Web site, http://www.twbookmark.com/ (May 20, 2005), "Cecily von Ziegesar."