May 05, 2015

Book Review: Girl Online

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Title: Girl Online
Author: Zoe Sugg, Siobhan Curham
Series: Girl Online #1
Publisher: Atria/Keywords Press
Publication Date: November 25, 2014
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary

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.

Penny Porter is a regular, awkward, clumsy, panicky 15 year old from Brighton. She has super-supportive parents, a protective brother (Tom), a gay best-friend (Elliot), a mean girl best-friend (Megan), a secret crush (Ollie) and lots of teen drama to make her life interesting. Also, Penny Porter suffers from anxiety attacks.

The solution: she opens a blog under the alias GirlOnline to share her thoughts. The blog eventually takes off and she becomes internet-loved among her readers.

After an episode of wardrobe malfunction at her school event that obviously goes viral on YouTube, Penny begins to panic. However, by a sheer stroke of luck, her parents (who own a themed wedding business/boutique) get to organize an international wedding in New York and they take along Penny and Elliot with them.

There she meets Noah, a gorgeous charming guitarist and BOOM! it's love at first sight. As Penny spend every minute together with Noah, she begins to blog about him under the alias BrooklynBoy. But Penny suspects Noah has some MAJOR secrets.

Upon returning to Brighton, Penny's former crush Ollie spills some shocking secrets about Noah that destroys her world. To make matters worse, her cover is blown and she is no longer the anonymous girl with a blog. The news goes viral and Penny gets involved in a horrific scandal.

As Penny's blog and life opens up for the whole wide world to judge, how will this threaten her relationship with all those she cares about: Elliot, Megan, Ollie, Noah?

There are books that are bad. Then there are books that are so bad that you want to gauge your eyes out. People, I present you - Girl Online.

No offence, Zoe might be a great Youtuber but this book... ugh. Sorry guys! This - people - is what ridiculous looks like. *slow clap* I mean this is the book that broke Harry Potter's record? I'll be in my bed mourning, thank you very much.

I can go on and on and on about the eye-roll worthy things that make up this book (which is about 95% of it) but I'm going to keep calm because reading this book pained me a lot. Mentally and emotionally!
  • Firstly, the plot is the epitome of a clichéd chick-lit romance. I suppose you have figured that out already from reading my blurb above.
  • Secondly, the characters are as stereotypical as you'd expect them to be in a fluffy girl-meets-boy romance. Like I said before: the happy family + the gay best-friend + the mean-popular-girl-cum-best-friend + the popular hot guy from school + the new guy who's totally "out of league". Similar much? 

  • Thirdly, our main character, Penny, is just bland and over-the-top. Period. Although, I suppose she can give you a crash course on How To Be Really Really Naive and Whiny; How To Indulge in Self-Pity and How To Talk in Superlatives. Example: "I'm an International Embarassment Waiting to Happen, cursed by the God of Awkward Moments" or "It's bad enough being the Clumsiest Person in the Universe. I don't want to be the panickiest too!"
  • Fourthly, pop culture references that will put Hollywood to shame. Err... Rihanna's "supposedly" naked video leak? How about Beyonce's "supposedly" alter ego "Sasha Fierce"? Also our Penny "supposedly" reminds everyone of a young Angelina Jolie. PLEASE STOP!

  • Fifthly, poor sloppy writing style. Example: ".... now I sound like a gushing Hollywood actress being interviewed on Oprah!"
  • Lastly, you can *literally* hear Zoe giving you a masterclass tutorials on: how to adjust the perfect camera angle; how to write a blogpost; how to get 10K followers in a week and so much more.

Seriously? You call this a book? My baby sister can construct better sentences than that. I presume you have all heard about the huge controversy regarding the ghostwriter a.k.a Siobhan Curham. Just you know, you can actually distinguish two separate writing styles if you pay a little attention: one is really mature, the other is not.

To be honest, I don't mind clichés as long as there's originality to a story. Girl Online is completely PREDICTABLE and UNORIGINAL from its first page. How do you react to that?

[+] New York

[+] Fast-read

[+] Poor writing style

[+] Over-the-top characters

[+] Predictable plot

[+] Very cheesy and mushy

[+] Monotonous characters

[+] Exaggeration

"Sometimes you have to face up to your fears to realize that they aren’t actually real."

By the power vested in me, I hereby give Girl Online 2 out of 5 New York-y stars. I tried to be rational with this review but I'm sorry if my emotions got in the way a little bit. This book is cray!

I wouldn't really want to recommend this to anyone but again, I have to stay rational. So I recommend this book to anyone who loves either of the following-

[+] Zoella aka Zoe Sugg

[+] Young Adult books

[+] Chic-lit books

[+] Fluffy romance

So, have you read Girl Online? Is there any particular part you liked? Or something that bothered you maybe?

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