Title: Girl Online
Author: Zoe Sugg & Siobhan Curham (ghostwriter)
Genres: YA, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Penguin Group
Synopsis: Penny has a secret.
Under the alias GirlOnline, she blogs about school dramas, boys, her mad, whirlwind family – and the panic attacks she’s suffered from lately. When things go from bad to worse, her family whisks her away to New York, where she meets the gorgeous, guitar-strumming Noah. Suddenly Penny is falling in love – and capturing every moment of it on her blog.
But Noah has a secret too. One that threatens to ruin Penny’s cover – and her closest friendship – forever.
Review & Discussion: I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with this book.
Girl Online had the potential to be a great contemporary. Though I didn’t hate it, I certainly didn’t love it. Basically we follow Penny, a girl who has recently begun suffering from anxiety and panic attacks after an accident she was in. After something embarrassing happens to her in front of most of her school, she heads to New York with her parents and best friend. It’s here she meets Noah, a boy she seemingly has a lot in common with and who helps her overcome her fears.
I had a lot of problems with this book. I don’t really have an issue with it being written or partially written by a ghost writer, that didn’t bother me. There were four things that bugged me about this book the most and because my brain can’t form proper sentences for them at this moment, here’s a list:
- To me, the dialogue and writing style was immature and childish
- It was so incredibly cringe worthy
- All. The. Insta-love.
- The maturity of the characters
From the very beginning I felt like the style of writing was very, very childish and lacking. I feel like the language used definitely could have been a bit more mature.
Throughout this book, I found myself doing ALL OF THE CRINGING. Some bits were just difficult to read from either a) second hand embarrassment or b) it was just ridiculous.
Also, can I just say what all of us who have read this book are thinking? Girl Online is pretty much the meaning of insta-love! I, personally, don’t tend to like insta-lovey books because I feel like it’s not an accurate representation of the emotion. I mean, Penny knew Noah for a few hours before she decided she might be in love with him and that seriously annoyed me.
Penny is fifteen years old. Sometimes I felt like I was reading in the point of view of a ten year old and other times I felt like I was seeing things through someone in their 20’s. Once again, I think the language used could have a lot better and more suited to the characters ages.
Now, I will say I enjoyed the romance in this novel. I really liked Noah and his character. He was pretty much the only thing that saved this for me and made me give it a good rating. There was a fair bit of depth to him and I was on his side pretty much from his very first appearance.
I would also like to say that I am so sick of the gay-best-friend trope! I feel like this is a trope that is so overused and I’m finding it in more and more contemporaries I read. I think it’s possible for a girl to have a best friend who is a guy who is not gay, and I think it’s possible for them to be completely platonic and have no romance between them.
I liked how this book dealt with anxiety and panic attacks but I do think it could have been written in a better way. I guess I didn’t really like the way Penny dealt with her anxiety but that might just be me.
Overall, this book had the potential to be a great contemporary. I loved the plot and I thought it was great, but the execution let it down. There were few things that saved this book for me, that made me bump my rating up, because I found it so hard to look past the style of writing. I enjoyed it for the most part, but I’m in no rush to pick up the sequel.