‘Gossip girl’ von Ziegesar goes to college with mixed results

Annie Yoskoski, Staff Writer

Cecily von Ziegesar is best known for the smash hit “Gossip Girl” book series.  Even though the television show based off of the novel series is wildly popular with its teenage audience, von Ziegesar’s newest venture, the fledgling “Cum Laude” series, targets a new crowd: college-age women.

The first entry in the series, also titled “Cum Laude,” introduces us to the girls who go to Dexter College, small liberal arts college tucked away in the quiet town of Home, Maine.

The girls are exactly what you would expect. Some are well-off, while others are on scholarships. Parties are thrown, boys are met, and lessons are learned.

The class of 2014 won’t start their year off quietly, though. Shipley and Eliza are living up to the school motto of “Find Yourself,” dealing with life’s problems as they are handed to them or sometimes as they create them.

This really is a story of growing up. The downside is that almost no one lives like this. Not everyone has their Mercedes stolen from campus or fires a bartender from a party. The students hook up, break up, make up and cause a scene.

This is a depiction of college life, just not the average one. Even though this novel focuses on four different freshmen, none of them could exactly be called “average” or “normal.”

This is especially true considering that these students seem to want for almost nothing, even though they are only college freshman. Every character seems to fall above or below the line of normal, leaving the people in the middle without representation.

As with all of von Ziegesar’s novels, however, the writing is tremendous and tightly woven. The drama is high and will reach out and pull the reader into the storyline scandals.

This may not be an accurate description of college life, but it certainly lives up to the standards that became her precedent when von Ziegesar penned the “Gossip Girl” series.

The perfect way to describe this novel is “Gossip Girl: The Next Step.” Dealing with new found freedom can be daunting, but this set of freshman takes it to a whole new level using the imaginative, compelling and sometimes unrealistic writing of von Ziegesar.

As unrealistic as it is, the novel is still a good read.

3 stars out of of 5