Edition: Penguin Australia Paperback
Release Date: November 26th 2014
Series: Girl Online #1
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Source: Received as an ARC from Penguin Teen Australia (Thank you)
Links: Goodreads | Author's Website | Buy the book
Girl Online is a new young adult release surrounded by much hype. Why? Because it’s Zoe Sugg’s debut novel. If you aren’t aware of who Zoe Sugg is, (I’m sure most of you are and have probably subscribed to her channel) she is a internet personality, youtuber, blogger and now author. Her channel “Zoella” which includes beauty, fashion and lifestyle vlogs has over 6.6 million subscribers. So this is sorta a big deal.
I’ll be honest and say that I was a bit apprehensive about reading this because it bugged me that youtubers were offered publishing deals when a) no one knows if they can write and b) being an internet celebrity doesn't (or shouldn’t) guarantee this “writing ability” c) so many aspiring authors have to work so hard get themselves contracts and d) to be honest I was a bit jealous. Not just because Zoe has interviewed and been in the same room as One Direction but.. an aspiring author like myself can only dream of being offered a publishing deal just like that.
So basically I turned the first page with envious eyes. Yes, yes, I know they say Jealousy is a mental cancer but I’m only human. That aside, I was surprised to find myself getting much further in Girl Online than any other book i’d attempted in the past two months and also, enjoying it.
To give you an idea, Girl Online is about an english teenager named Penny who has never really felt comfortable around her classmates as she lives in fear of embarrassing herself - which always seems to happen as our protagonist is very clumsy (making her all the more relatable). All Penny wants is to be able to express herself and her daily thoughts about a world that doesn't understand her, to people that do. So to do this she anonymously starts a blog under the name Girl Online.
Penny has been successfully blogging for a year and the only one who knows this, is Elliot. Elliot is her best friend and next door neighbour (who I adored) and other than being totally quirky, smart, supportive and lovely, is also dealing with problems of his own. He is always round Penny's because his parents haven't come to terms with his sexuality yet, which is somewhat dealt with throughout the story.
Blogging becomes a safe haven for Penny, it makes her feel a little less alone. So Penny blogs about her gripes, about friendship, about growing up, her fears, and love. Each time feeling a little more relaxed once hitting publish.
As some of you may have seen in recent posts, I lately haven't been feeling blogging or reading. So when Penny talked about how helpful and therapeutic blogging was for her, if definitely rang a bell. It made me think of my own feelings towards blogging and why I started. So thank you Girl Online for being really helpful and re-enforcing some blogging love!
Girl Online was a really cheery and easy read, much lighter than your average rovel despite subtly dealing with more mature themes. The writing I felt was very simplistic making it easy to remember that it was Zoe’s first novel - which was good as it didn’t demand too much attention but I couldn't help long for bigger and better sentences. I want to call it amateur but I feel as though that would be insulting especially as I want to commend Zoe on a much better than expected debut.
The romance was really sweet and personal. I liked that Noah brought confidence within Penny and that they both helped each other deal with stuff. I wouldn't call it insta love but I'll warn you - the romance is fast paced. It's not exactly love at first sight but they do dance around the L word very very early on in their relationship, which was quite unrealistic.
There were some events and complications in the book that I was not expecting which benefited the novel as it was sometimes too perky. Overall this book was not perfect but I would be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy it. Also saything that though, I’m totally shocked after reading this and other various articles to find out Girl Online beat J.K rowling first week sale records. I don’t know how to feel about that because it’s not at all of the same standard as any Harry Potter book and doesn’t come close. Not to bag it out but c’mon this is J.K Rowling.
I know all of the many Zoella fans are going to go racing out to buy this book and then raving about it, (as proved through sales) but I would recommend this to younger YA fans looking for a fun, cheery and funny read. Despite having a few things that irked me, I’m going to give this a ⅘ stars.
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