A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this spinoff of the Gossip Girl series has many of the same controversial elements as her first series. Characters are materialistic and manipulative, and they drink, smoke pot, swear, and engage in some sexual acts (there's even a relationship between a student and a teacher).
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Jenny Humphrey is back and she's going to boarding school. When this character from the Gossip Girl series heads to an exclusive co-ed institution in upstate New York, she immediately lands both in the room of the school's most popular pair -- and in a world of trouble. Rumors follow her, and when she gets trapped in a late-night scandal, she could be expelled. Meanwhile her roommates have their own struggles: Callie tries to navigate her troubled relationship, and Brett gets involved with a young, rich faculty member. And of course there's the requisite flirting, bribing, partying, and pranking rounding this novel out.
Is it any good?
Say what you will about the Gossip Girl books: They're pretty trashy, but at least they're fun. This first installment of a spin-off series recycles the same material, only it's set in a new location, and -- believe it or not -- lacks the depth.
Some teens may get sucked in by the labels, the parties, the romance -- including the disturbing romance between Brett and the Disciplinary Committee advisor (he whisks her away to his family's mansion -- in an airplane! -- serves her wine and asks her to tell him all about herself). But this book doesn't have much to offer.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why the publisher created a spin-off series. What does it mean that the book was created by Cecily von Ziegesar -- not written by her? They also may want to talk to their kids about the number of brand names mentioned here. The cover model's clothes are even advertised on the inside flap. Are you supposed to envy these rich kids enough to want to be like them -- even dress like them?