Girl Online by Zoe Sugg (a.k.a Zoella) & Siobhan Curham
Penny’s life is far from perfect. She’s awkward around cute boys. Her best girl friend is slowly turning into the worst kind of frenemy. And then there’s the panic attacks she’s experienced ever since the terrible car accident she was in months ago.
In order to help cope, Penny creates an online alias – GirlOnline. Through her online blog Penny has the chance to, not only share her inner most thoughts and feelings, but she has the chance to connect with other people who are going through the same tough times as she goes through.
But when an embarrassing video shows up of Penny in her knickers shows up online, Penny can’t face anything or anyone.
So when Penny’s mother convinces the whole family to accompany her to New York City, where she’ll be planning a British themed wedding, Penny jumps at the chance to escape Brighton and her real life for a bit. In New York, Penny finds more that flashy billboards and shining lights. She finds Noah. And through Noah, she finds love.
But can this insta-love survive long distance, online celebrity, and Noah’s deep dark secret?
Written by YouTube sensation, Zoe Sugg (aka Zoella) and Siobhan Curham, Girl Online is a contemporary read about a teen girl navigating the tough terrain of adolescence.
The writing that fills that pages of this book is good. What makes it so is the conversational tone that it takes on. Penny’s story doesn’t feel as if it’s being told to readers. Instead, it often feels as if Penny is conveying the story to readers herself. Because of that conversational tone, readers will find themselves caught up in the goings on of the story.
I liked Penny as a main character. The reason being because I felt that she was easy to relate to. Beyond that, she was easy to see oneself in. Penny shows that being a teenage girl is NOT easy – there’s acne, boy troubles, insecurities, and not to mention those pesky panic attacks. But through it all, she shows that teenage girls preserver. Bottom line, I found Penny to be honestly flawed and a character that has the potential to grow.
Girl Online is told in alternating chapters. Chapters where readers get to know Penny the character, and other chapters where reader’s get to know Penny, GirlOnline. Sugg excels at balancing both the character and the online personality. She also excels is showing readers the importance of maintaining privacy in an online world.
Another aspect of Girl Online that I personally really enjoyed were the dual settings. Starting out in Brighton, England as a reader who has never been there I loved the feeling that I was getting to know this foreign place. And than the setting swiftly changes to New York City – a place I’m pretty familiar with. I loved getting the chance to know NYC from an outsider’s perspective – with fresh eyes and renewed visibility.
Because I am a long time fan of Sugg’s YouTube channels, I went into Girl Online knowing that I was going to like this book. And I did like it. But I didn’t love it – the plot was a bit predictable, the characters – with the exception of Penny – weren’t fully fleshed out, and ultimately didn’t live up to the high hopes I had for it. But from a sheer entertainment standpoint, I really did enjoy this book, and if there are any more adventures involving GirlOnline, I probably would read them!
(Picture from GoodReads)