I couldn’t resist buying Zoella’s novel and seeing just how it fares.
It’s about Penny who lives in Brighton with her family and she lives next door to her best friend Elliott. Penny writes an anonymous blog called Girl Online, where she can write about anything and no one knows who she is, besides Elliott. Her parents run a wedding shop, and they’re off to New York to plan a wedding, and while in New York Penny meets Noah.
Penny suffers from anxiety, and here is where I find a few issues. The first issue is when Penny writes about it on her blog, she lists a number of things that cause anxiety. Don’t get me wrong, everything on the list can cause anxiety, however a number of them are just general things a teenage girl may worry about or get nervous about. I think the list could cause a lot of young girls to self diagnose anxiety without going to see a professional, or talking about it with someone else whether that’s a parent or someone at school/college. There are some good bits of advice throughout the book, such as not trying to stop your anxiety rising and panic attacks happening but instead to let it out. As I’ve said Penny writes a blog post about it, and she receives a lot of comments which help to encourage the idea that you’re not alone in suffering and that there are lots of people who understand how you’re feeling.
I would say the book is ideal for a teenage girl rather than someone like me in their early twenties. I expected it to be a better quality of book, I expected a really well written story that I could get lost in, and which would take more than a couple of hours to read. However, I know that at 14 I would have loved reading a book like this! I have since read books I used to read and they’re just so easy to read and have quite simple stories, though not quite as simple as the storyline in Girl Online. It reminds me slightly of some books I used to read as a teenager, like the Mates, Dates, series by Cathy Hopkins, or Ally’s World by Karen McCombie. While I was reading it I could see it becoming part of a series like Girl Online does… or Girl Online in…, I think this would have allowed for a more in depth story as thinks could be picked up again in another book in the series, and I think that it would have allowed the anxiety storyline to develop into an actual story line. However it does get wrapped up at the end so it wouldn’t be possible to develop it into a series.
One thing I liked is that the chapters are quite short making it ideal for those of us who like to read in bed as you can easily finish your chapter before putting it down, but it’s also great for people who aren’t as quick as me at reading and devour books in one sitting. I found it very quick and easy to read, I found parts of it at the beginning to be a bit cringey because I could predict what was going to happen but I have noticed this a lot when I read books which are aimed at younger readers. It isn’t a book that I’m likely to reread for quite a long while, if ever.
If you know a young teenager and don’t know what to get them for Christmas then I would say pick up a copy of this for them, especially if they love the YouTube world. I imagine it will be really popular with her younger fans because her name is on the book, and it will fly off the shelves. Here are a few places you can purchase it from Amazon, Book Depository, Waterstones, WHSmith.
I was planning on giving a copy away, however I didn’t enjoy it enough to be able to recommend it to you, and so I’m going to look at doing a giveaway in the new year rather than one for Christmas.
Has Girl Online tempted you?
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