I Will Always Love You by Cecily von Ziegesar Review

The final Gossip Girl book. 12 books in 4 months. Wild.

I hate to say this but why was the last book the best one? Like I’m not even kidding, this is like the way I’ve wanted the entire series. So this book is set over the course of four years, every year it focuses on New Year’s Eve and so much happens! I love it.

I feel like the pace of the books has been too slow for me, like the first 10 books span like the whole senior year of high school for everyone and then the prequel spans a good few months over and the timeline is confusing. Then there is this one which is clearly spaced out and the pacing was good and of course, there was lots of drama.

Sad it took them until the last book to get things going but I guess it’s nice to finally be at the end.

Anyway, let’s dive in because we have so much to cover! I think I’ll try to do it by year since that makes the most sense and everyone’s story kind of intertwines. You definitely need to grab a drink and a snack if you’re going to read all of this.

First of all, Blair is home for the holidays, sort of. She has finished up her first semester at Yale and has a new boyfriend, Pete. Cute. She spends Christmas with him and his family, assuming she would spend New Year’s with them on holiday too, until she finds out Pete’s family has a no ring, no bring rule about family holidays. So she packs her bags and heads of to New York to stay with Serena, she doesn’t have a choice when her family had moved out to LA. Plus her and Serena had kept in touch while she was at Yale.

Serena is a movie star, she just filmed the sequel to Breakfast at Fred’s and is living a kind of lonely life. She has movie star friends sure, but they were nothing compared to her old friends in high school. She is thrilled that Blair is in town but is jealous of her living her best life at Yale, so also pretends she is living the good life.

The two of them agree to go to Chuck’s New Year’s party that he throws every year at the Tribeca Star Hotel, but Serena has to stop at Thad’s (her gay costar from the movie) New Year’s party first. Serena did invite Blair but Blair didn’t want to accept a pity invite from movie star Serena van der Woodsen.

Serena ends up spending a little too much time at Thad’s and Blair is pissed. Of course Serena would ditch her and she would have to spend time at this party where most people are in high school. So gross.

Surprisingly though there is one familiar face…Nate. Our favourite stoner, who surprisingly isn’t all that stoned. He is back after sailing around with Chips for a few months, but Chips surprised him by saying he was headed off to chill and enjoy retirement while Nate went back to his old life. He couldn’t avoid it forever.

Nate and Blair end up falling into bed – just like old times! And Nate is like “yes this is where I’m meant to be, with Blair.” Cue eye rolls because this is classic Nate. He even agrees that he should go to Yale with her because he doesn’t know what else to do.

Later that day, Blair gets a call from Tiffany saying there is a package for her, and of course she’s excited because who wouldn’t be about getting a call from Tiffany? So she goes to the store to find Pete there with a ring – like is he proposing? He is definitely not proposing but he thought if he got her a ring he could bring her on holiday. How cute! Sadly Blair turns him down because she has Nate back and they are going to live the perfect life together, so she doesn’t need Pete anymore.

Sadly the perfect life doesn’t last long for her because Serena finds out about them being together and that Nate is going to Yale too. She is not happy about this so she decides to remind Blair about her boyfriend, Blair gets angry with her and they start fighting. Classic love triangle issues. I wish I could be mad about the love triangle but at this point I’m going with it, it’s the last book so why not?

Nate is mad that the girls have been fighting over him this way, he seems to always come between them so he takes off. He decides to go off to this farm school in California where Chuck ended up going, leaving the girls on their own. Blair decides she can’t be friends with Serena anymore because she seemingly ruins everything for Blair. And I guess that is the end of that…

Side note on Chuck: he didn’t get into any of the colleges he applied to so he was sent away to this weird farming school and has suddenly become a completely different person. Nate saw the change in Chuck and thought maybe the school would be good for him too. Seems weird but okay we go with it.

Meanwhile, Dan is home from Washington and realised he missed Vanessa the whole time. The two of them were able to keep up long distance but Dan decided he couldn’t take it anymore. So he decided to transfer to Columbia to be with Vanessa.

Vanessa on the other hand had been getting along well at NYU, and was surprised about Dan wanting to come back to the city. She was excited at first but she wasn’t sure about them living together again because we all know how well that went…

But it’s fine because we don’t get to see how it pans out because Vanessa ends up cheating on Dan with her old TA Hollis from college. And am I even surprised? Dan cheated on her way back in the day so it’s only fair Vanessa gets a shot. Dan is angry and tells her to move out.

And that is it for year one…

I was surprised about Dan and Vanessa not wanting to speak because they have always been friends in some way after something between them happens. But they keep their distance.

In the next year we discover than Dan has been living his life at Columbia but failing at being a poet. He is on a deadline for one of his classes but he hasn’t been inspired at all, so he decides to submit one of his old poems and calls it ‘Serena’.

Serena, ends up at the New Year’s party at Chuck’s and this time, she is the one that ends up seeing Nate and hooking up with him. Not surprised. But after they hook up, Nate brings up Blair and Serena realises he is always going to love her, so she ditches Nate in her apartment.

Later Serena discovers Dan’s poem and she decides to reach out to him. Her previous relationship with Dan originally was so shitty, not like the TV show where they were always on and off. So I was surprised when they reconciled again, but then again I guess Serena was lonely and flattered that someone was thinking of her – not like the rest of the world wasn’t but they didn’t write her a poem…

Blair this New Year’s is going through A LOT. First off, she ended up back together with Pete at Yale and so she is excited to bring him to New York and introduce him to her old friends so naturally she brings him to Chuck’s party. This is when she sees Nate and Serena together and she freaks out and insists they leave.

I guess it’s one thing to live a perfect life and pretend S and N don’t exist when you are at uni but to see them in real life is something else. Pete is confused as to why Blair was freaking out and asks her what’s wrong, she finally decides to tell Pete about hooking up with Nate last New Year’s Eve and he storms off to stay with a cousin to clear his mind.

Blair ends up holed up in her hotel room for most of the new year, only leaving to try and do some shopping and have some retail therapy. Sadly while she is in Barney’s she ends up running into Serena because it seems like Manhattan is the smallest place in the world. She is obviously angry with Serena and leaves to go back to her hotel room.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen Blair so off the rails but then again, her best friend is no longer her friend, her ex Nate is someone she can no longer trust and her current boyfriend might have dumped her too. Not cute.

Then one night, Nate is stoned and decides to sneak into Blair’s hotel room and surprise her. I thought this was kind of creepy considering she is staying in a hotel and he didn’t know the room number or have a key. Sadly for Blair this is when Pete comes back and sees them together and breaks up with Blair for good. B is furious and tells Nate to get out too. Definitely not a good start to the year with Blair.

Not to mention Serena saying she is going to go to Yale because she thinks it might be the place to go to find herself. So Blair once again makes it clear to S that their friendship is well and truly dead.

Meanwhile there is Vanessa who ended up shacking up with Hollis and is having a fab time in a fancy Brooklyn apartment. Hollis has this idea that they need to make a movie of her life cause it sounds so wild – which to be fair some crazy things have happened to her over the years… but at the same time is weird to think about because most of it would just be her breaking up and making up with Dan haha.

So Hollis takes her to a meeting with a production company but the company want to make a completely different movie, Vanessa is not pleased and storms out of the meeting but Hollis is all on board for this new idea. Of course he’s a sell out.

He wins Vanessa over again though saying she needed to make her movie her way and he purposely didn’t want them to make a shitty version of it. Yeah, right he just wants to be famous…so he leaves to go film on location in Iceland or somewhere like that and leaves Vanessa alone with a new puppy. I’m surprised she agreed to stay, I thought she would have left, she has walked on Dan for a lot less…

Moving right along to year 3 – this one I really love.

So Serena and Dan have started seeing each other, she is at Yale and he is at Columbia. Serena travels down to see him every weekend and can’t bare to be away from him during the week. I think it’s cute but at the same time still weird because they are not the same Dan and Serena from the TV show so there is nothing about this relationship that really makes sense. Not that it was great on TV either but Dan isn’t as dark and dramatic on TV haha.

They decide to take Jenny on college visits because she is just about to graduate high school – time flies when everyone else has drama. They end up at RISD and Jenny also makes a stop at Brown where we run into our favourite guy, Nate.

He is in town looking at campuses because he has finished at his college in California. So needed a new plan. When he saw Jenny I think it was kind of decided he would go to Brown to be near her while she went to RISD.

Jenny offers Nate a ride back to the city with Dan and Serena but Dan is not thrilled about this considering Nate and Jenny dated for like five minutes years ago and broke her heart. Not to mention that Nate and Serena always had a wild past.

Dan gets overruled on his decision by Serena and they are about set off back to New York when the snow starts. They decide to go to a hotel but Serena thinks it’s a good idea to go to Blair’s house in Newport instead – because breaking into your ex friend’s house on the holidays is always a good idea lol.

To their surprise it turns out Blair was actually at her Newport house for the holidays. She was spending time with her Dad and his partner and their children. She was also spending it with her new boyfriend Chuck Bass.

Oh yeah you heard me. So after Chuck reformed when he went off to California he had comforted Blair at the end of last year and so the two ended up together when Blair was studying abroad. It seems super weird for the books to play this out – sure it was a thing on TV but the TV show played it as an epic love. It is just random in the book but we go along with it.

Blair is furious to find her friends have shown up at her doorstep because she can’t just have anything to herself anymore. She tries to put up a good front for her dad and Chuck but deep down she just wants them to leave so she can enjoy the holiday season.

Over the few days they are snowed in at Blair’s, she begins to soften and they all end up reminiscing about high school over dinner. It’s a simple scene but it is super cute. I love that they were able to bond and enjoy each other’s company instead of getting at each other’s throats.

They then decide to take it outside and go sledding because that’s the adult thing to do. It sounds like lots of fun and is real cute but Blair gets antsy watching Jenny cosying up to Nate so goes to bed.

The only person who was not having a good time reminiscing was Dan, he was never a part of the world S, N and B shared and so he sat there in the corner sulking. Classic Dan. He doesn’t go sledding either, instead he opts to sit in the library where he ends up texting Vanessa.

Dan and Vanessa haven’t spoken in two years now, and I find that weird because they always know how to patch things up. But Vanessa has been so lonely with Hollis leaving that she is glad to hear from her old friend. So they continue texting throughout the night.

While everyone is in bed, it seems like while the boys are sleeping, all the girls are drawn to a certain bedroom…Blair feels like she needs to be with Nate one last time, Serena also feels she needs to be with Nate because seeing him with Jenny was weird and of course Jenny wants to see Nate because she plans to lose her virginity to him. Wow. He’s so popular with the ladies, how does he do it?

Luckily for Jenny, Blair catches Serena on the way to Nate’s and they both won’t admit that they want to see him so both reluctantly go to bed. This paves the way for Jenny to slink in and finally be with the guy of her dreams.

The next day, B and S are yelling at each other again for both trying to land Nate. This causes their boyfriends to be a bit wary and so the gang pack up and leave Blair to enjoy what’s left of her holiday alone.

Hollis comes back to surprise Vanessa but spends most of his time away doing movie things, he discovers the texts on Vanessa’s phone and is pissed. Though he doesn’t really have a right too since he is the one that packed up and went to make a film and ignored Vanessa the whole time he was back. It’s safe to say they end up breaking up…

And this brings us to our final year with the gang. They are all set to be graduating, well Nate and Jenny still have some time to go but even Serena who had only been at Yale for two years is scrambling to graduate. Our girl’s got brains.

So Blair is back in the city having some weird holiday party with her mum because I guess they’ve moved back to New York for a bit. Chuck is not with her because he is flying in the day after and she is feeling very lonely at this sucky holiday party.

She is not alone for long as Serena appears, as always looking fabulous. Dan is not with her because she didn’t know he could be. Blair’s plan is to ignore Serena because she always ruins B’s holiday plans, I mean isn’t it wild the past 3 years she has tried to escape her but every time she has come around and appeared? Talk about annoying.

Next thing you know Nate is also appearing – I guess this makes sense when Blair’s mum invites all their parents along but still…what she was not expecting to see was Jenny Humphrey attached to Nate’s arm.

Turns out those two had gotten together and were living the married life at college. They even had a gross nickname for each other ‘meow’ which Blair and Serena have no choice but to make fun of. They both end up excusing themselves from dinner because they are laughing so much like old times. It’s good to see them when they’re not fighting, and when I look back I know 90% of the fighting could have been avoided if Blair wasn’t overreacting, but I guess then she wouldn’t be our B.

Back at the Humphrey residence, Vanessa has found out she has gotten into a film thing in Indonesia and she is super excited about it. After she broke up with Hollis she had nowhere to really turn to except the Humphreys, and it’s not like they would kick her out. She spent most of her time avoiding Dan and Serena when they were together but Dan was by himself as Serena was out.

So Dan and Vanessa decide to go out and celebrate Vanessa’s good news. Dan had some news of his own, he is going to some writing thing in Iowa and is super excited, he is not sure what Serena’s plans are but his are set…because all that matters is Dan in his head.

The two of them end up hooking up which is not a surprise given that the usually end up together. I think I was surprised it didn’t happen sooner, even with Serena in the picture. But Vanessa felt bad about the incident and didn’t want Serena to find out, especially when she was leaving and S would still be around for Dan.

Serena had plans originally to follow Dan to Iowa, she didn’t really know what else to do with herself and it just seemed like the thing to do, but as she was about to tell Dan of her plans he broke up with her. He felt it was the right thing to do because he really wanted to be with Vanessa. Sure she was leaving but he could wait for her…though that seems a little doubtful.

Meanwhile, Jenny and Nate have plans to see the Nutcracker together and Jenny is super excited about it, however Nate doesn’t seem to thrilled. He used to go to the Nutcracker every year with Blair and he was usually high when he did, I guess he discovered that the show is not nearly as good as it is when you are half out of it.

They end up home early and Nate has fallen asleep so Jenny decides to call up her old friend Elise to go clubbing because she was invited out by Blair’s younger brother. I guess the most shocking transformation out of anyone was that Blair’s little brother Tyler, actually did grow up and become a DJ. You thought it was kind of stupid when you read about it but the boy really did the thing. Good for him.

This is when Jenny realises that her and Nate have been acting like old people, staying in their uni house every night eating takeout and hiding away from the world. She had plenty of time for that but for right now she needed to be young and have fun. So she ends up breaking up with Nate.

I didn’t expect Nate to become so domestic after getting with Jenny, but I suppose it was the nice easy thing to do compared to being with people like Blair and Serena who always had events on that he had to dress up for. Still, I never expected him to be so settled and boring.

That same night, Blair and Serena meet up to have drinks because they are friends again and that’s cute. But they decide they are missing a very important piece of their night and that is Nate. I was worried this was headed down an ugly route because the pattern of those three on New Year’s always goes that way…but surprisingly for everyone things stay strictly platonic.

B and S break into Nate’s house to find him asleep and ditched by Jenny, but the girls race past him to his room to grab drinks and watch Breakfast at Tiffany’s just like old times. Nate wakes up after hearing the noise and finds the two girls in his bed. He’s not one for turning down two beautiful girls in bed so he ends up joining them. Super cute. We love that for them.

The next day Blair is having brunch with Chuck and she has to tell him that she thinks things between them are moving too fast. For Christmas he surprised her with an apartment and his mother had been talking about children. Blair was so not ready for that life and ends up breaking up with Chuck. I definitely thought it would have lasted, I mean technically that is the life B has always wanted but I guess she realised there was more to life than it being perfect like the movies. We love some character growth.

With B and C broken up, Chuck decides to throw his signature New Year’s Eve party once more.

B and S go to the party together and are chilling in the hot tub when S gets a message from Nate. Serena gets excited and leaps out of the hot tub and down to find Nate. After breaking up with Dan she decides what she really needs is to travel and see the world and perhaps Nate is just the partner to do it with.

A second later, Blair receives the same text message from Nate and is furious with Serena for ditching her for him again, so she races after her.

Just as S is about ask Nate to go with her, she realises that he is not the right one she needs to go with. Blair arrives and is about to tear S a new one but S cuts in and asks her to go travelling with her. B is excited thinking about how they never got to travel Europe the summer they originally planned because of the love triangle situation. But S is clear that it is a girl’s trip and N is not invited.

The two girls drive off into the night, leaving Nate by himself. I am glad that this is how they ended it. I didn’t need all this back and forth with Nate again.

That being said I wish they had more of S and B choosing each other over Nate, it seemed no matter what they were always thinking about him but never about their friendship without him.

But yeah…that is the end of the Gossip Girl series. Like I said, this was probably the best book out of all of them.

There was lots of nostalgia and it I enjoyed all the drama that came with every New Year’s celebration. It kept me wondering what could possibly happen next. That and I guess I always get a bit soppy when I finish a book series.

I think I’m just glad that the series ended on a high note because it got a bit rocky towards the end, but this book is exactly what we needed. So yay for that.

Now I’m off to rest and think about what’s next on my reading list. Part of me wants to jump straight in with something like Pretty Little Liars, but at the same time I think I need to step away from the long books series’ for a while, they can be tiring to get through. But, whatever I decide to read you know I’ll be back soon enough to review it.

You know you love me,

~ Courtney x