I have always loved the Gossip Girl TV series, but I love the books even more. I read every one of Cecily von Ziegesar’s account of the life and times and New York’s rich and beautiful and they are downright delicious.
I stumbled upon the hardcover of this prequel in a secondhand bookstore and wondered how I could have missed it before. I remember that I read every one of the books plus the closing chapter I Will Always Love You in 2009 and I thought that was the end of it. When I plunged into the prequel, it took me right back to the Upper East Side as if I never left.
The book revolves around the events before B and S’s rivalry and estrangement over Nate Archibald, their best friend/love interest. They were only 15 years at this time in the book, but even this early in the game, the eventual love triangle was already obvious. I have always loved Blair and hated Serena, because Blair just seemed to have loads more substance over best friend. And while I have always wanted Blair to be with Nate just because she considers him the love of her life, it was obvious from the start that Nate was more in love with S than with B, and this makes me hate him because he could not get past Serena’s beauty to actually see Blair, who despite her schemes really is just looking to be number 1 with someone.
Reading a prequel is pretty tricky because readers pretty much know how everything turns out but Cecily von Ziegesar’s characters are just so strong (yes, even the annoying ones) that readers will love them despite their flaws. Von Ziegesar uses words so sassily that it would seem like she’s standing over your shoulder, sharing a tidbit of gossip personally making GG’s connection to the readers stronger.
Another thing that I have always loved about the Gossip Girl books is the changes in POVs. Readers catch a glimpse of the different characters’ state of mind because from time to time, von Ziegesar switches it up to shift perspectives. This way, readers get a peek at what motivates the characters, their state of confusion, their feelings, etc. After all, being rich and beautiful does have its challenges.
All in all, It Had to be You was a pretty solid and entertaining read. Its not too serious but speaks in a very consistent voice and provides a good set up for the book franchise. It makes me want to pick up the books again and root for Team Blair all over again. And as always, the words that come to mind when I read GG are as always, scandalous, delicious, marvelous. Its truly a guilty pleasure.