Only in Your Dreams: A Gossip Girl Novel -- series created by Cecily von Ziegesar

For a while, I really thought there was less brand-name dropping in Only in Your Dreams than in that Clique novel I read recently.  That was before I realized that rather than one or two a page, CvZ (or whoever, whomever, whatever) would go a few pages without mentioning any, and then WHAM!  Seven in one paragraph.

She patted the two old monogrammed red-and-white-striped Kate Spade tote bags beside her.  They still smelled deliciously like the ocean and suntan lotion and contained a stash of Cosabella underwear, one of her brother Erik's old Brown t-shirts that she'd swiped the last time he'd been home, a flimsy Milly sundress, her most comfortable Michael Kors flip-flops, a Cynthia Vincent pink-and-black paisley print jersey dress, her trusty Seven jeans, a second pair of flip-flops, just in case, and a white embroidered Viktor & Rolf top.  Only the essentials.

Seven if you don't count Brown, that is.

Take a look at the cover art.

Now.  I'm going to give you one guess.  One.

What do you think is listed on the verso page?

Yup.  The designer/brand names of the clothes.


Okay, consumerism/blatant subliminal (oxymoron much?) advertising aside, here goes...

Honestly, it was kind of boring.  Spoiled rich kids run around NYC (for the most part), most of them with jobs for the very first time, being spoiled rich kids.  One of them is starring in a movie, one of them is the director of photography for said movie, one is working wardrobe for the same movie, one of them is working at the Strand (He loves to read and write really, really bad poetry -- odd parallel to The Clique there...), one of them is spending his summer being punished by his lacrosse coach.  (The punishment is manual labor.)  I'm probably forgetting someone, but you get the idea.

All of the hype had led me to expect page after page of debauchery.  Orgies and hard drugs and so on.  They swear a lot, drink a lot (mostly beer and wine), Nate smokes a lot of pot, and a bunch of them are cigarette smokers, but that's about it.  The book practically includes PSAs about not smoking, though -- most of the characters who do smoke regularly are always wheezing.  There's talk of sex -- Blair wants to Do It with her current man, Lord Marcus, but he seems to be more interested in his cousin, so that peters out.  There was no actual sex in the entire book.  This was probably the raunchiest bit:

Nate could picture him popping Viagra and jacking off to the pornos he probably kept in the glove compartment.

Snore.  Obviously I can't speak for the whole series, and maybe you have to read the earlier books to appreciate the later ones.  (I doubt it.)  It had its moments -- there were bits that made me smirk.  But those 'bits' were few and far between -- nothing so special that I feel the need to recommend the book.  To anyone.  Even as a beach book. 

The characters aren't famous because they're interesting or talented.  They're famous because they're rich.  If you're obsessed with Paris Hilton & Co., you might like these books.  Otherwise, I'd skip it. 

Of course, if you want another opinion, read the comments at Amazon.  Jeepers.  People LOVE this series.