Cum Laude by Cecily von Ziegesar

Dexter College is a small liberal arts college in the quiet town of Home, Maine. But it won't stay quiet for long with this group of freshmen. There's Shipley--blonde and beautiful, the object of envy and more than a little lust. Determined to assert herself and to shed her good-girl image, she buys cigarettes and condoms, because that's what every self-respecting college girl does. Her edgy roommate, Eliza, came to Dexter to get noticed, and she has the attitude and the mouth to prove it. Then there's Tom. Handsome, privileged, used to getting his own way, he's a jock-turned-artist who thinks his paintings will change the world. Sensitive Nick, Tom's wake-and-bake pot-smoking roommate, wants to follow in the footsteps of his boarding-school hero. And then there are brother and sister Adam and Tragedy Gatz. The freckle-faced farm boy lives at home with his parents and his little sister, who does all she can to stop him from being a wuss.

As Shipley, Eliza, Tom, Nick, and Adam find out, that first year of college is more than credits and cramming. Between the lust and the love, the secrecy and the scandal, they'll all receive an unexpected education. It's a time of shifting alliances, unrequited crushes, and coming of age. Find Yourself is Dexter's motto. And they are determined to do just that. [via GoodReads]

This is my first von Ziegesar novel. I've never read any of her Gossip Girl series and I thought it would be fun to start with something adult and then make my way to some of her YA books. I thought wrong. I personally did not like this book and therefore now really have no want to read anything else by her.

By reading the synopsis of the book you can only describe it as promising. I mean, yea, I like reading books about kids in college. The drinking, the parties, the sex, the "finding yourself" moments, all sorts of new friendships and in's and out's of relationships. I definitely like reading about all these things and finding a book that encompasses all these topics is really a plus for me. I truly found the depictions of these events to be realistic. There were also some funny moments scattered throughout - although they were rare.

What I did find odd was that the book was set in the 90's. The mentioning of the walkman's and CD players, President Clinton, etc. were all accurate. But there was the mention of a Starbucks on campus that I think might be off in time frame - especially since the school is out in the sticks somewhere in Maine. And like this there were other minor discrepancies that I also caught. Nothing overly horrendous, but definitely enough to peeve my analness when it comes to accurate facts.

In the end, I just felt like I couldn't connect with the characters. They were too cliche. Everything was too expected. From what I've read, this will be part of a three book series - although it reads perfectly as a stand alone. Sadly I think I will refrain from reading the rest.

This might work for fans of Ms. von Ziegesar - especially those who have grown up reading her Gossip Girl series and are now in college. It just didn't work for me.


Tales of Whimsy said...

Bummer. I hate when I can't connect.

Jennifer said...

I can totally understand your reaction. I read many of the Gossip Girl books and while I found it easy to eat them up, I never felt any great connection with the books ore the characters. I just enjoyed reading what crazy outlandish things the characters would do. And there was so much allure for me in those books: these crazy teens totally uninhibited by anything. They had a freedom I then envied. If I read the series now, I doubt it would have the same kind of sparkle.

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