I’m teaming up with Lauren from Bookmark Lit to reread the A-List series as part of her Nostalgia Project Feature. Check out my intro post here!
I thoroughly enjoyed rereading the A-List this summer! It was SUCH a throwback, but in a good way. I was actually surprised by how much I remembered of the overall plot of the books (especially the characters), however I forgot how descriptive Zoey Dean’s writing is, from the scenery to the clothing to the delicious meals the A-List gang indulges in. Seriously, this book series is the one that made me FEEL the most like I was actually filthy rich more than the other similar series of the time (the early-mid 200s were really filled with spoiled rich-kid reads). I found that many of my feelings about characters changed: Anna annoyed me with her “I’m a perfect special snowflake” characterization, I loved Cammie and Sam despite their flaws, Ben seemed like a TOTAL loser to me (and terrible boyfriend) and I found that I enjoyed the backstories with the character’s parents far more interesting this time around.
I also noticed that there were a lot of elements that definitely wouldn’t make it into a YA book this day in age. There’s language that would be deemed problematic, and sometimes generalizations or stereotypes regarding certain groups (although this could be intentional since the books are written from the perspective of very privileged, white teenagers who have grown up with nannies and hired help their entire lives). The pop culture references were also very of the time (in the first few books everyone is constantly using their Palm Pilots LOL), but there were also references that are interesting to read because of how things have panned out this day in age (such as mentioning Donald Trump various times).
Overall this series is indulgent and completely over the top, but I flew through them so fast and it was great to see them set in such iconic West Coast locations, especially since so many similar series of the times (Gossip Girl, The It Girl, Privileged) were all set on the East Coast. I can definitely look at the series through a more critical lens now and identify some of the problematic elements or plot inconsistencies now (these books were definitely NOT edited very thoroughly- Cammie’s full name goes from Camilla to Camille in one book and back again…) However, I’m glad that overall I enjoyed reading these books and that they have stood the test of time for me. I can’t wait to do this again with another series!
Favorite Character: Sam (despite her massive insecurities she’s so smart and driven and I love her directing ambitions).
Favorite Love Interest: Eduardo
Favorite Couple: Sam and Eduardo or Cammie and Ben (They deserve each other lol)
Favorite Parent: Jane Percy (Anna has a very complicated relationship with her mother and often paints her in a negative light, but I almost admire her badass, WASP-y ways sometimes lol)
Favorite Secondary Character: Parker Pinelli (I appreciate his struggle and how he comes from a disadvantaged socio-economic background and still manages to work hard toward achieving his acting dreams).
Favorite Vacation Destination: Las Casitas (The Mexican resort they visit in the 4th book)
Favorite Los Angeles Hang Out: The Beverley Hills Hotel
Favorite Plot Twist: When it comes out that Poppy is cheating on Jackson and he kicks her to the curb!
Favorite Character to Hate: Poppy Sinclair (Sam’s step mother)
Favorite Take-Down: When Cammie finds out that designer Martin Rittenhouse has been stealing his own designs for publicity and trying to blame an underprivileged aspiring model, and turns a criminal situation into a savvy business deal.
Series Rating: 3.5