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Review: Hey, Upper East Siders, Serena van der Woodsen is a killer in 'Gossip Girl' mash-up
"Gossip Girl, Psycho Killer" (Poppy), by Cecily von Ziegesar: In the "Gossip Girl" book series and TV show, Serena van der Woodsen and Blair Waldorf often compete for popularity and queen bee status on Manhattan's Upper East Side. In a new mash-up book (which combines a pre-existing text with a popular genre such as vampire or zombie narratives), Serena and Blair square off over who can murder more people.
Cecily von Ziegesar's "Gossip Girl, Psycho Killer" takes readers back to the beginning of the "Gossip Girl" series with Serena returning to New York City after a year away at boarding school. She wants to resume her BFF status with Blair, but gets iced out. Like the books, Blair is dating Nate Archibald, who had a drunken affair with Serena a year earlier.
In "Psycho Killer," Serena feels the only way to sweep her indiscretion under the rug is to kill Nate. Blair feels threatened by Serena's nonchalance over committing murder. She decides if Serena can kill, so can she. Soon Blair realizes the way to cut Serena out of her life is to murder her. She obsesses over the possibilities and hangs Barbie dolls from nooses above her bed as inspiration.
The mash-up style has been popular in recent years with literary works and noteworthy figures given the fanboy treatment. Recent popular titles include "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" and "Android Karenina," but this is the first young adult novel to get worked over.
Until now, the "Gossip Girl" books have been about wealthy people living fabulous lives. In "Psycho Killer," the characters take people out for sport. When Serena encounters a classmate whose brother she killed, she disposes of her. "Soon her pretty auburn scalp was no longer attached to her head, nor were her piercing gray eyeballs attached to their sockets," writes von Ziegesar.
"Gossip Girl, Psycho Killer" is worth leafing through for curiosity's sake, especially if you're a fan of the books or the TV show. However, it's not a particularly good book, and the novelty wears off. If you're looking for a real mash-up, try "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter."