I'm tired. So I think I'm going to write about how I'm so not going to admit that I read the Gossip Girl prequel novel. Just like I never admit I watch the Gossip Girl television show.
Somehow, I didn't think it would take the characters all the way up to Serena's departure for boarding school. I thought it would be more "this it what their lives were like," instead of "this is the drama behind the drama". The book really did a good job of laying out the major transformations in their lives that shaped the characters into the people we meet during the first Gossip Girl novel.
My major concern while reading it was the pacing. During the long summer between the characters' sophomore and junior years of high school, I got so bored I actually started skipping paragraphs. It felt like the author was just writing to take up pages. Once it came to the climax however, I almost felt like my boredom appropriately matched the characters' anxiety and anticipation during their own long, boring summer. Almost. It's still a young adult novel about 15 year olds and sex. I don't read it for literary technique. I read it for, well, gossip.
Finally, I don't recommend reading it before any of the other Gossip Girl novels. This prequel is best enjoyed after spending some time with the characters as neurotic upperclassmen, before revealing the transition out of innocence in the prequel. There is no coming of age theme in the rest of the Gossip Girl novels, only a mad rush of ambition. Which makes me wonder if there may be one here?