The It Girl

Von Ziegesar, C.(2005). [Kindle 2/0/3 version]. ISBN-10: 0316011851/
ISBN-13: 978-0316011853Retrieved from
Jenny has been kicked out of her old Manhattan school, Constance Billiard, which is featured in The Gossip Girl series. For some reason, she decides the best way to make a fresh start at her new boarding school, Waverly Academy, will be to intimate to a boy she meets on the school-bound train that she had been involved in naked modeling, so she starts out faced with the rumors that she had been a stripper. Jenny is a bit schizophrenic though—where Old Jenny might have been at some pains to correct the rumors, New Jenny prefers the salacious interest to obscurity. She also prefers her new roommates, popular Callie and Brett, to other, more virtuous ‘Waverly Owls’—the ‘old school’ nick-name for people at her new prep school. Jenny gets caught at night in the girls’ dorm with Callie’s boyfriend, Easy, and although their encounter is accidental, Jenny agrees to take the blame, because neither Easy or Callie has any free chances left before expulsion. Jenny gets involved with field hockey, at which she turns out to be a natural, and continues with an interest in Art. Everybody drinks; all the cool kids smoke. Will privilege and subterfuge triumph? What do you think?

Reader’s Annotation
Fresh-faced Jenny arrives at Waverly and is soon embroiled in the gossip, romance, and field hockey of this hard-drinking, chain-smoking, e-taking, exclusive prep school. Will the other Waverly Owls accept her even though her skirt is only a Marc Jacobs knock-off? Possibly, since her breasts are very large.

I really hate these books. That the writing is competent only reveals that the people creating these know just how evil the books are. It’s not the small-time glorification of smoking and drinking or other teen rebelliousness that is so repulsive—it’s the pervasive materialism and shallow vanity which are unquestioned values for all the main characters. I will admit to reading Judith Kranz in the past with enormous guilty pleasure—no one could love vicarious couture and exotic travel more than I, but those books always held on to the old romantic notion that these things are ultimately worthless without True Love. In The It Girl ,love isn't even in the running with status and wealth, and a true character flaw is when your Marc Jacobs skirt turns out to be a knockoff.
Plus, the plot is lame and the writing has no wit, except for the contrast between the starchy maxims of the old Waverly Owls handbook and the licentious behavior of the current students, which is a pretty fun device.

About the author
Cecily von Ziegesar is apparently actually this lady’s name. She went to Nightingale-Bamford, a Manhattan girl’s prep school like the one in Gossip Girl, and has said that ideas for her stories came from her classmates and their parents. Wikipedia says the It books have a ghostwriter.

Chick Lit--privilege

Curriculum Ties

Booktalking Ideas
The dangers of teacher/student romance
Which boy is the best?
Which character would make the best friend?

Reading Level/Interest Age
9-12 (Booklist)

Challenge Issues
Sexual situations; smoking; drinking; profanity

Best to gather teen response

Lukewarm SLJ and Booklist reviews at

Why Included?
Genre project

Selection Tools
Popularity with Students (girls)

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