Girl Online by Zoe Sugg +Zoella
Published by Penguin
Genres: Young Adult
Source: Brought from Dymocks
Penny has a secret. Under the alias Girl Online 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.
Being a fan of Zoe's and a regular viewer of her videos I was quite excited after watching her vlog, where she announced that she was going to release a book. It was very interesting to see her prepare for its release, with the revelation of her cover the way she included the viewers by giving them a chance to have their photos on the cover and also following her around in a different vlog to see the creation and publication of her book...up until the launch party. She is a vlogger/blogger that has created a name for herself and has gained fans from all across the world. I have been following Zoe for the past 3 years and it has been great to see what she has achieved. So naturally this was one of my highly anticipated books for 2014. The fact that it was also predicted to be a bestseller within days did increase my expectations of the book.
The book's main character is Penny, which has an anonymous blog "Girl Online" where she is able to write about all the different issues in her life, issues that she feels a lot safer discussing online with her online readers rather than with people at her school. Also Penny's next door neighbour is where her best friend Elliot lives and the friendship that exists there is great. All types of issues were discussed on Girl Online, things that every teenage girl deals with nowadays such as school, friends, boys, family and in Penny's case panic attacks and anxiety. I think that teenage girls do deal with some form of anxiety in their lives, others on a mild scale and others on a deeper and much more serious level. Every day stresses in life sometimes build up and cause a release in forms of panic attacks, depression and sadness. For me this aspect was very intriguing in the book, it allowed me to see what a panic attack may feel like for other people and genuinely seeing it through the main characters eyes and viewing her embarrassment and sadness with certain matters you cannot feel anything but empathy for the character.
The UK in general and Brighton as a city are places I really want to visit. The United Kingdom being generally on the top of my list for its culture, weather and lifestyle this book made me want to go even more. I love books that really do take time to build the scenery and the location even details of cafes and details of the well known Brighton pier. However the book travelled me all the way to New York during Christmas which made it lovely, merely by the fact that big city meets Christmas and it made me want to go during this time to witness all the things Penny spoke about. This is where we meet Noah and the love story between him and Penny begins and the cute romance develops. It is hard not to love the love that goes on in the book and Noah is a character that you love from the first moment. The book had some lovely characters that the reader does grow close to and can create connections with.
In general this book, was sort of what I expected, which is a cute young adult love story in the 21st century discussing important issues of the Internet and online context. Also, as previously mentioned the theme of anxiety, panic attacks and also a brief inclusion to the theme of homophobia and loss which allows the reader to bond with different characters that deal with all kinds of issues. Which is what makes this book appropriate for everyone, also a very quick read, it only took me a few days to finish. The main down side of the book for me was the fact that at times the story was predictable, I could feel and see what was going to happen. This was my main concern with the book, which is why I also don't want to get into too many deep details of the book as to not spoil it for anyone. The main thing that I kept from the book is that we can never judge another individual if we truly do not know their story and their side, in today's digital age this is a very serious problem where people judge someone just by a glance or through a tabloid.
My rating: 4/5