Saturday, October 12, 2013

Review: Psycho Killer by Cecily von Ziegesar

Psycho Killer by Cecily von Ziegesar
Publisher: Poppy
Publication Date: October 3, 2011
Source / Format: Library book!
Page Count: 309.
Genre: Young Adult.
Goodreads & Amazon

Serena van der Woodsen is back from boarding school, and naturally the Upper East Side of New York is buzzing with rumors. Some say she's actually been in rehab and is a drug dealer. Other's say she was in France, having and putting a baby up for adoption. Or there's the classic ol' rumor that she's been bedding dozens of boys, and then killing them off. Definitely rumors? Or is there a chilling truth? Serena is most looking forward to getting back on Best Friends level with Blair, but handsome Nate Archibald is standing in the way and the only way to get him out of it, is to kill him. Serena's feelings start to warm up to Nate again, and then decides that the person who really needs to be murdered is Blair. Little does Serena know, Blair has more than enough wit and strength to formulate her own plans of getting Serena out of the picture, and away from Nate.

Still wearing her gloves, Serena dropped her bag on the desk and removed the giant syringe she'd procured from the groundsman's shed up at Hanover. Two skulls with X's through them and the word POISON were emblazoned on the oversized syringe in large black capital letters. She'd smuggled the syringe into the city in a violin case stolen from a Hanover sophomore who used to play first string in the school's orchestra--before he went snowboarding with Serena and had to be air-lifted to the hospital with a fractured jaw, a severed tongue, a punctured lung, and two shattered wrists.

I decided to kick off my Halloween reading spirit with Psycho Killer, a re-imagined, re-written, gory take on the first book in the Gossip Girl series. It had been so long since I've read the first Gossip Girl novel, but I used to really love them, and my sister and I would anxiously await for each new book in the series. So rich, Upper Eastsiders? Murder? The money to get away with it? Sounded perfect. Though as you can imagine from the amount of remorseless and inconsequential murder that takes place in this book, it's not one to be taken seriously. Think of it as a B-Horror movie based on Gossip Girl and in book form. And I love B-Horror films. So cheesy, so bloody, and so hilariously put together.

Still looking in the mirror, Serena lifted her chin and narrowed her eyes into a regal glare. When their friendship had finally played itself out, King Henry VIII had had Thomas Cromwell beheaded for treason. And so it went with her and Blair. They couldn't just keep killing other people and fighting over Nate. Of course Serena would kill whomever she must to protect herself. But if she really wanted to take back her old station and hold on to Nate, the one person she would have to kill, whether she liked it or not, was Blair herself.

I thought this re-imagined first book of Gossip Girl was hilarious. The details Cecily von Ziegesar injected into the story to fit more with the theme of high society murderesses were great. Our favorite goth-film girl Vanessa is working on a short film for school about a serial killing couple. Dan's dislike for Chuck Bass is taken to kill-worthy heights. Blair has a penchant for old horror movies, instead of classic old movies like Breakfast at Tiffany's. Big-boobed Jenny has a never-satisfied craving for raw meat. All of these things really added to the goofy tone of the book. Murder is talked about and done so flippantly, and we never truly mourn the loss of any of the characters. The only killer for me (haha, get it?) was that some of the themes were laid on a little too thick. Every page had some sort of reference to blood, murder, killing, or being so annoyed with someone that they could just kill them. Like we needed to constantly be reminded that we were reading the BLOODY KILLING version of Gossip Girl. 

If you're a fan of Gossip Girl and cheesy horror, and looking for something fast and fun to read for the spooky Halloween spirit, this is obviously perfect.

Rating: 4 / 5

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