Friday, July 30, 2010

CUM LAUDE: REVIEW AND GIVEAWAY

GIVEAWAY ENDED
CUM LAUDE

BY CECILY VON ZIEGESAR

ABOUT THE BOOK:

They’re here for a higher education . . . and you won’t believe how far they’ll go.

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.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Cecily von Ziegesar is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Gossip Girl novels, upon which the hit television show is based. She lives in Brooklyn with her family.

MY REVIEW:


Cecily von Ziegesar has graduated from her young adult/teen books like her highly successful GOSSIP GIRL series, to CUM LAUDE. Meaning with honors, CUM LAUDE is a fitting title for her first adult novel and truly is memorable for many reasons but over all, a fun read. Set in Maine, in the 90’s at Dexter College, a well-to-do liberal arts college, it is a tale of coming of age during the first year of college for a colorful and basically similar group of young people.

CUM LAUDE begins with Shipley Gilbert, who has the simple goal of NOT being like her reckless older brother but rather to do well in college and make a lot of good friends. Shipley is from a wealthy family but doesn’t act it, and surely has no idea how unbelievably attractive she is. She is actually rather shy and so her other goal is to shed that timid personality. Upon arrival, she bonds quickly with her roommate, Eliza, and Tom and Nick who are neighbors in the dorm. Things start off wildly as the four go on an orientation adventure and end up at the home of Adam and Tragedy Gatz . Adam is also a freshman and Tragedy, the younger sister, who they wind up getting drunk with AFTER they had “stolen” one of the professor’s cars! Right from the start, Shipley is getting right on track with her initial goal. All of them are eventually found out and on probation of sorts for a week and not allowed to even leave the campus.

The freshman year for these young people is really what the rest of the book is about. Soon, Shipley discovers how very lovely she is and attracts the boys like a magnet. Meanwhile her roommate poses nude for an art class as Eliza thinks it will help to make her a much more fascinating person. Adam has a crush on Shipley and Nick is really into making the most of his first year of college although not always in an academic way.

Despite the time period of the story, it is still a decent attempt at portraying what the first year of college is like to many people, no matter if it is the 90s, the 60s, or modern day. Involvement in politics and social issues as well as a growing sexual consciousness are all part of that freshman year. This is not to say that von Ziegesar has spelled out what college is like throughout America for all young people today. I think the characters are fine in the setting she has written for them, but what of the rest of society? Is this what middle class students go through? Is it how they live out that first year? What of various ethnic groups that are not represented at all? The 90s can’t be presented as the dark ages just because there weren’t as many cell phones and iPads. That said, CUM LAUDE is an easy to follow, nicely written summer read. I enjoyed it for what it was but can’t say it was on my “best books of summer” list. I think a younger audience might connect better with it and perhaps von Ziegesar needs to work on spanning the gap a little more between her Gossip Girl fans and adult readers.


GIVEAWAY

THANKS TO MOLLY AND GOOD
FRIENDS AT HYPERION BOOKS,
I HAVE ONE COPY OF THIS
FUN SUMMER READ TO GIVE
AWAY TO ONE LUCKY WINNER




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HOW TO ENTER

+1 ENTRY:
COMMENT ON SOMETHING YOU FOUND INTERESTING ABOUT THE INFORMATION AND REVIEW FOR CUM LAUDE THAT MAKES YOU THINK YOU WANT TO WIN AND READ THIS BOOK

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GIVEAWAY ENDS AT
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55 comments:

Linda Kish said...

This sounds like an interesting group of people that I would like to get to know more.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Linda Kish said...

I also entered the Search giveaway

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holdenj said...

I went to a small liberal arts college, so the story line appeals to me, although I get the feeling this one is a little more exciting than reality!
JHolden955(at)gmail(dot)com

holdenj said...

I entered the Larsson trilogy giveaway.
JHolden955(at)gmail(dot)com

bermudaonion said...

This sounds interesting to me since my son just graduated from college. milou2ster(at)gmail.com

bermudaonion said...

I've entered the Stieg Larsson trilogy giveaway. milou2ster(at)gmail.com

Colleen Turner said...

This sounds like a wonderful read! That first year of college can really go anyway, so I am intrigued to see how the author develops these young characters.
candc320@gmail.com

Colleen Turner said...

I entered the Take Hachette To The Beach giveaway.
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Colleen Turner said...

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Anonymous said...

Hi! It centers around freshman year at college. What a scary and exciting time. This lady's books have been based off for the tv show "Gossip Girl" that I like watching. Cool giveaway! :)

Connie
connie_bryant@hotmail.com

Anonymous said...

I also entered the Steig Larsson giveaway as well. :)

Connie
connie_bryant@hotmail.com

Anonymous said...

I enjoy stories set in high school/boarding school/college. This one sounds good. And GOSSIP GIRL(TV show) is a guilty pleasure.

monagarg@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

I entered the Trilogy giveaway.

monagarg@yahoo.com

Tore said...

I am a follower. Sounds like a very interesting book and group of characters. Please enter me in contest. Thank you. Tore923@aol.com

GMR said...

I love all the summer reads that appear just in time for a quick jaunt to the beach or hideaway time from the warmest of days. From the sound of it, this book fits the bill just right. The story sounds like it would be a trip down memory lane for some and a step outside of the box for others that were shall we say a bit more sheltered during their experience. Your review mentions the author's previous works in the Gossip Girl series....with her being more well known for them and living with those characters for such a long time, it's easy to understand why a book set to appeal to adult fans might still fall under their influence. Who knows...her next one might be just the ticket to widen that gap.....

Thanks for sharing and the chance to win!
Happy reading!

grgenius(at)gmail(dot)com

GMR said...

Tweeted! http://twitter.com/GRgenius/status/19925665320

grgenius(at)gmail(dot)com

traveler said...

An enjoyable and interesting novel. Thanks. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

traveler said...

I entered The To Kill a Mockingbird giveaway. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

petite said...

An enlightening giveaway. Thanks. rojosho(at)hotmail(dot)com

petite said...

I entered The Larsson trilogy giveaway. rojosho(at)hotmail(dot)com

Benita said...

The characters sound like fun.

bgcchs(at)yahoo(dot)com

Benita said...

I entered the Stiegg Larsson Trilogy.

bgcchs(at)yahoo(dot)com

Beverly said...

Sounds like a fun read - college is a great time and the characters sound interesting. Please enter me. Thanks for hosting. bevsharp@desch.org

Beverly said...

I am an old follower. bevsharp@desch.org

Lisa R said...

http://twitter.com/alterlisa/status/19948090096

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Lisa R said...

As I never went away to college I think it would be interesting to see what I missed

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alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com
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Lisa R said...

Follow as GFC
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(")_(")
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Lisa R said...

Entered your WHAT'S NEW CUPCAKE: PREVIEW AND GIVEAWAY

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Mary Ann said...

Mary D
zenrei57 (at) hotmail (dot) com

Actually, I just finished my very first Gossip Girl novel and fell in love with the characters, so of course I'm really dyin' to read her more adult work ... Cum Laude sounds incredible :)

And thank you so much for the chance to win a copy :D

Mary Ann said...

Mary D
zenrei57 (at) hotmail (dot) com

Also am entering the Take Hachette to the Beach giveaway :D

allisonsbj3 said...

I'd love to read this because I love the author's other books.

allisonsbj3(at)gmail(dot)com

allisonsbj3 said...

I've entered other giveaways!

allisonsbj3(at)gmail(dot)com

Laura said...

Please enter me.
I am a follower.
Laura
laura.leahj@gmail.com

Erika Lynn said...

I want to read this because it sounds a lot like Gossip Girl which I love
sportsDOTerikalynnATgmailDOTcom

throuthehaze said...

I think it is interesting the the story takes place in the 90's. I would love to read it :)
throuthehaze at gmail dot com

Shirley said...

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Christine H said...

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Jeff said...

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donnas said...

I havent seen a lot of books set in a college setting like this. And it sounds interesting.

bacchus76 at myself dot com

donnas said...

tweet - http://twitter.com/DonnaS1/statuses/20763987873

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rubynreba said...

I think it sounds like a fun read and the characters sound interesting.
pbclark(at)netins(dot)net

rubynreba said...

Entered Take Hachette to the Beach giveaway.
pbclark(at)netins(dot)net

Lora1967 said...

I would like to read this book to see where her journey takes her.
Please enter me into your contest

chaarmedone1512@aol.com

Nancye said...

I went to a fairly small, liberal arts college. I can relate to the setting of this story. Sounds like a great book. Thanks for the chance.

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Nancye said...

Tweet! Tweet!
@NancyeDavis

https://twitter.com/NancyeDavis/status/21024928512

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Nancye said...

I entered the giveaway for the 5 books from Hachette.

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Ruthie said...

My daughter found all different types of people when she went to college, she was shocked!

email subscriber

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Ruthie said...

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Christine H said...

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Christine H said...

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Christine H said...

http://www.stumbleupon.com/stumbler/Jeff72768/review/44814118/

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Christine H said...

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Christine H said...

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ossmcalc said...

I think that Cum Laude would be an especially interesting book for me to read as I would love to make the comparisons between the freshman year of these people as compared to what I experienced. I think that I learned more about life in my first semester college than I have at any other time. It sounds like a book that I would really enjoy reading.

Thank you,

Christine
womackcm@sbcglobal.net

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