Published - 25th November 2014
Publisher - Atria/Keywords Press
Format - Kindle
Synopsis - I had no idea GirlOnline
would take off the way it has - I can't believe I now have 5432
followers, thanks so much! - and the thought of opening up to you all
about this is terrifying, but here goes...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.
I knew going into this book that I wasn't going to like it, so perhaps it isn't really fair of me to review it. But since i'm trying to get back into the swing of things, i'll give it my best shot anyway.
As much as I love the YA genre, i'm really not a fan of this type of thing. I've been trying to step outside my genres in the hope that it will keep me motivated to read but 'real life' fiction has never been my go-to genre. I had heard positive reviews though and of course i'd heard of Zoella on YouTube and well, really it was just cheap on the day I happened to get my new Kindle Fire.
Whilst I appreciate the undertones that run through the book, the overall thing just left me feeling flat. As soon as I finished the last page i'd already moved on to something else and never really had any intentions of bringing it up again. So what undertones am I talking about?
Internet safety. A book coming from a hugely influential YouTuber was bound to cover the internet topic wasn't it? I appreciated the fact that it raised awareness of how on the internet, you can never truly be anonymous. As much as we think of 'paper trails' being a physical thing, they exist here on the internet too. I'm sure more than one of you has discovered who *I* am just because I write this blog and i've never particularly divulged any personal information. It's just something you have to be aware of whenever you post anything online.
In addition to that though, I liked the fact that the book suggested writing as a cathartic exercise. I most definitely find this to be true for me, and many many people out there. This blog in itself is one. A way to share my thoughts and feelings (albeit about books) without too much being crammed into my head. I think there will be more than a few readers who were inspired to start their own blogs thanks to Girl Online. And of course, Penny uses her blog as a way to connect to people, feel more confident and face her fears. All of these are great things and I hope that Zoe's readers take all these things into consideration when reading Girl Online.
The problem with this, for me of course, is that I already knew these things and they were so jumbled up in teen crushes and over the top story-lines sprinkled with a handful of 'oh really, what an excellent coincidence' every couple of pages, that it was actually hard to push through and see what was underneath the words.
As a first book though, and I undoubtedly believe that it was aimed at a MUCH younger audience base (I'm talking 12-14 year olds here), it wasn't half bad. For me however, I don't think i'll be first in line for the planned sequel. A straightforward simple read that just didn't really have anything in it for me.