By Megan Lord
ABOUT THE COLUMNIST
I am the mother of an adventurous and exhausting but amazing toddler boy that runs my life. I spend a ridiculous amount of time reading mind numbing children’s books over and over again because he has his select favorites… But when I do get time to read (or listen) I love reading and listening to a variety of genres. I get the most time to indulge in books of my choice during what I like to call “wind-down baths” once a week.
The teenager in me is ignited with excitement!
With the popular Gossip Girl TV Series getting a reboot and the new season dropping July 8, 2021, I am taken back to summers spent reading those books!
2005 – I had a driver’s license and a summer babysitting gig my summer from 16 to 17 years old (July Birthday). I was left money and allowed to bring the girls I babysat fun places during the day. We did this little small-town hidden gem of a beach with active lifeguards on duty and an everyone knows everyone/everyone kind of watches everyone vibe A LOT. The girls would play in the sand or sit at the edge of the water chatting with their friends for hours while I read the Gossip Girl Series by Cecily von Ziegesar. I’m a fairly slow reader and easily distracted, but l got through probably five or six of the books that summer.
2006 – My 17/18-year-old summer, mom was given the opportunity to spend a few months in Los Angeles for work. She invited me and my older brother to join her at the apartment she was staying at for a few weeks. The gated apartment complex she was placed in by her work was AMAZING. My brother and I would spend our days relaxing by the pool while mom worked, and you guessed it, I found myself reading more of the Gossip Girl Series. A few days into our stay, I found out that the child actress that played Bailey (Jenna Boyd) in the movie The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants was also staying somewhere in that apartment community. I spent everyday keeping my eye out in hopes to see her – and then one day at the pool I did! I didn’t approach her or say anything to her – I just got all giddy knowing I had seen a “celebrity” casually at a pool at the apartment complex I was staying at temporarily with my mom.
2007 – Gossip Girl TV Series comes out! And I am HOOKED! I’ve now read all the books that are out and I’m just a fanatic.
2008 – My mom gets an opportunity to stay at those apartments for work again – and guess who volunteers to go visit and spend some time there again? ME! Of course. One of my mom’s co-workers tells me upon arrival that Ed Westwick, who plays Chuck Bass on the Gossip Girl TV Series, is also currently staying at those apartments temporarily and she saw him a couple nights prior in the hot tub. WHAT?! So of course, I spend my days at the pool watching and hoping, and my evenings by the pool/hot tub just praying it’s true and he makes an appearance.
AND THEN HE DID!
He showed up to the hot tub on one of my final evenings there with some what I assume to be friends, smoking a cigar. I’m starstruck and embarrassed that I’m at the pool with my mom secretly celeb stalking. So again, I don’t approach – I just excitedly and nervously watch from a distance. He probably didn’t even register our presence by the pool that evening. But I know I saw him in a real life setting and I stayed at the same complex – and that’s enough to fulfill my Gossip Girl Fanatic without being a complete psycho about it. At the airport when getting ready to go home, you know if you’re a book lover you can’t help but to browse the books for sale, and I come across a Gossip Girl Series Spin off: Gossip Girl: The Carlyles – and yup, my addiction didn’t have to wait until the next book of the original Gossip Girl series would be released the following year.
(Side Note – comedian Andy Dick was also staying at those apartments and although I did not personally get a sighting, one of my mom’s coworker was staying in the apartment beneath him and he would joke and play fun games with her daughter from his balcony and that little 4-year-old girl would talk about “Andy that lives above us is so fun, he’s my friend” in the most innocent and fun way!)
Anyways – back to books – GOSSIP GIRL BOOK SERIES – if you loved the show – if you’re as excited about the reboot as I am – and you have NOT read the books – and you’re still a YA lover like me – it’s worth getting the boxed set! And if you have a teenage daughter or girl in your life that loves to read YA, introduce her to this book series and watch her summer get whisked away into reading! I might just have revisit these books myself sometime if I ever get the time
Article originally published in the August / September 2021 Issue: Summer Reads.