von Ziegesar, Cecily (2009). Take a chance on me (Gossip Girl, The Carlyles #3). NY: Poppy. 256 pages.
So I’m a total sucker for the new “Gossip Girl” spin-off, “The Carlyles,” and almost get more pleasure in the mental comparison of “Carlyles” characters to “Gossip Girl” characters (there’s an equivalent “Carlyle” for every “GG” character) than I do in merely reading every new installment. The latest novel finds the Carlyle triplets at odds: Baby has just returned from a spontaneous trip to Europe and has been told by her school’s headmistress that she must complete 20 hours of therapy; Avery is beginning an internship at a local celebrity and fashion magazine; and Owen is dealing with the repercussions of stealing his best friend’s girlfriend. In this volume, each character actually negotiates a complete narrative arc, a feat I find unusual for the soap-opera-like series, and, while the novel’s conclusion promises more installments, I like the way this book wrapped up rather neatly.
As I mentioned earlier, it does seem as if there’s a “Gossip Girl” surrogate for each character in “The Carlyles:” Baby seems to be the “Serena,” the bitchy queen bee Jack is the “Blair,” Rhys, from whom Owen stole a girlfriend is turning into the “Nate” (pot smoking and all), and Avery is something of an older “Little J.” With all this character repetition, it makes me wonder how much more “The Carlyles” can do that “Gossip Girl” hasn’t. Could it be that the fabulous lives of the wealthy are just as boring as our own?