This review will contain SPOILERS. Those who have not finished the novel should be warned.Girl Online by Zoe Sugg
Series: Girl Online #1
Published by Simon & Schuster Audio on November 25th 2014
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Humor
I have this dream that, secretly, all teenage girls feel exactly like me. And maybe one day, when we realize that we all feel the same, we can all stop pretending we’re something we’re not… But until that day, I’m going to keep it real on this blog and keep it unreal in real life.
Penny has a secret. Under the alias GirlOnline, Penny blogs her hidden feelings about friendship, boys, high school drama, her crazy family, and the panic attacks that have begun to take over her life. When things go from bad to worse, her family whisks her away to New York, where she meets Noah, a gorgeous, guitar-strumming American. 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.
Girl Online by Zoe Sugg was a book I’d never heard of before a couple of weeks ago. I didn’t know the author’s name and that she’s a YouTube sensation, let alone the controversy surrounding this book’s creation. I didn’t know that Sugg broke J.K. Rowling’s record for the fastest-selling debut novel by a British author. And frankly, I still don’t care.
Despite all of the negative reviews surrounding Girl Online, I found it to be an enjoyable read. I thought it was funny in all the right places, used just enough wishful thinking to make young adult’s everywhere believe “This could be me someday!” and Penny’s world was just a fun one to get lost in for a while. So I’m choosing to ignore all of the haters who are made that YouTubers are getting book deals, or that it was ghostwritten or whatever and just say that if you don’t mind instalove and like corny little romances, pick up a copy. It’s worth it.
Now to get down to the nitty gritty. I absolutely, without a doubt, think that the best aspect of Girl Online is the issues that Penny deals with after her time in New York with Noah. I think Sugg did an excellent job of showing the potential dangers that comes along with putting yourself on the Internet. I like how rushed and out of control the situation became, because it took the novel from a campy, girl-meets-boy-and-falls-in-love story, to something with real issues and concerns. Could they have been explored a little more? Sure, but there’s only so many pages a book like Girl Online can be.
And despite its silly instalove and improbable odds, Girl Online is an easy read that continuously tugs you along for Penny’s ride. And there are times where you might roll your eyes, or point out something particularly nonsensical or unlikely, but you’ll want to keep reading. Because it’s cute and fluffy and makes you want to be young and experiencing “love” for the first time.
So my advice is, hate how the book was written all you want. Disagree with the ghostwriting, argue about how unjust the whole situation is, whatever. But don’t pass up Girl Online just because you’re mad at the author. You might regret it.