The success of the Gossip Girl series has led to a number of similarly-themed series. They tend to have several things in common: the main characters are girls, who are rich, or share the same social circles as the über-rich, and they go to an exclusive private school; the books are usually set in (or near) New York; and most of the characters favour style over substance (afterall, it’s difficult to be friendly towards someone in a denim skirt). Sometimes they’re undead, or even just dead.
So here’s a list (in no particular order):
1. The Gossip Girl – The series so popular it’s now a television series! It’s set on the Upper East Side of Manhatten, which is New York’s Oriental Parade, only vastly more wealthy and stylish. No beach, however. The books are about a group of friends/enemies, their designer clothes and parties. The Gossip Girl herself anonymously writes about them. The school is called the Constance Billard School for Girls. There’s a gazillion books in the series.
2. The It Girl – The ‘It Girl’ in the title went to the Constance Billard School for Girls but was so poorly behaved she was sent to the very exclusive Waverly Prep boarding school. She will do anything – anything! – get to be one of the Waverly elite. This series is one of the two Gossip Girl spin-offs (all were created by Cecily von Ziegesar, but most are written by other people).
3. Gossip Girl: The Carlyles – The Carlyle triplets move from Nantucket to NYC after the death of their grandmother. They go to Constance Billard (and St. Jude’s School for Boys, for one of them is a boy) and quickly prove to be even more vicous – and fabulous – than Serena, Blair, etc. (Official website for Gossip Girl.)
4. The Ashleys, by Melissa De la Cruz – At Miss Gamble’s Preparatory School for Girls the three reigning princesses of popularity are all named Ashley; hence ‘The Ashleys’. New-comer Lauren is determined to enter their group. This series is set in San Francisco, and not New York, which is a shame but there you have it. (Official website.)
5. The Clique, by Lisi Harrison – The Clique are a group of girls who are the top of the popularity food chain at their private school. The books are notable (according to the Library School Journal) for the characters’ cruelty. Awesome! It’s set in Westchester County, New York, where the X-Men hang out (incidentally). Who would win in a fight? The first book was made into a direct-to-DVD film, newly arrived at the library. (Official website.)
6. Inside Girl, by J Minter – Fourteen-year-old Flan Flood’s family are all incredibly beautiful socialites, but she decided to break with tradition and goes to a typical public school. It’s a spin-off from another series by J. Minter, The Insiders, which is more in keeping with the other series in this list. Set in and around lower Manhattan. (Official website.)
7. Pretty Little Liars, by Sara Shepard – Three years ago the leader (Alison) of a group of girls disappears. Now someone calling themselves ‘A’ is threatening to expose the secrets of the group, who all fit the Gossip Girl mold. With a bit of mystery thrown in, the series has been called ‘Desperate Housewives for teens.’ (Official website.)
9. Vampire Academy, by Rachelle Mead – St Vladimir’s is a private academy (in Montana, not NY) for vampires and the half-vampires who protect them. The series is notable for being set in a gritty and dark world which doesn’t hold back. Perhaps not so in keeping with this list, but the academy is about as exclusive as it gets and one of the main characters is a princess. A vampire princess. (Official website.)
10. The Luxe, by Anna Godberson – Most reviewers remark that this series is essentially Gossip Girl – Manhattan, rich glamorous people, and so on – set in 1899. I’m not sure what the ‘Luxe’ in the title refers to, but funnily enough 1899 was the year that Lux soap was launched in the UK. (Official website.)