It took me a long time to get around to reading it but I finally finished Girl Online!
Girl Online is a fictional book written by British YouTuber Zoella and I have to say I was so excited when I heard she was writing a book! I mean I have been excited for every YouTuber book coming out but I was very excited to learn that Zoe’s was a fictional book. Almost every other YouTuber is writing an autobiography/lifestyle type book so I was interested in seeing how Zoe’s was different from everyone else’s.
And before I get into the review of the actual book I just want to say that the cover of this book is stunning. The cover of the book is actually the whole reason I bought my own physical copy. I was originally going to buy a kindle version of the book because it was cheaper at the time but once I saw the cover I changed my mind and when I went to change my preorder the physical copy had went down in price so it was close to the kindle version’s price so I was very happy about that.
So I know that a lot of people were upset to learn that Zoe’s book had a ghost writer…and I just want to address my thoughts on that. I don’t really have a problem with the fact that she had one. I mean if she had help to make her novel she had help, there’s no shame in admitting that. Plus I think it’s a bit much to have high expectations for someone who has little writing experience to be a best-selling author right off the bat. Besides she’s not the first person to have a ghost writer…
However I do understand why people would get upset about the fact she didn’t write it on her own. I have to admit I was a little upset about this but only because other YouTubers that are writing books have done it on their own. The difference being that their genre of book is different from Zoe’s. Other YouTubers are writing about themselves which is easy to do but Zoe is writing fiction so it’s understandable why she would turn for help.
At least that’s just what I think about the whole thing. While I wish she hadn’t used a ghost writer there’s nothing I can do about it. I mean I know if I was in her position I’d probably do the same thing. So yeah…moving on to the actual story…
Penny has a secret.Under the alias Girl Online, 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 Blurb (source)
As soon as I read the blurb I was interested in this story… and I was so excited to finally begin reading it and while I did enjoy the story I didn’t like it as much as I thought I was going to.
To me it felt like this book was written for a younger age group. The style of the writing is simple and the whole storyline turned out to be a tiny bit anti-climactic for me.
I thought that the beginning of the book was good, I liked the style of writing for Penny’s blogs and I found this aspect of Penny very relatable. As someone who also enjoys blogging and understands the need to put your thoughts out there for even one person to read I did enjoy this part of the book. I also found the reason for Penny going to New York understandable…
I have never had a video of me go viral before but if it did I’d probably flee the country too. Especially if it was that embarrassing.
Another thing I found relatable about Penny is her struggle with friendships. I’m sure we’ve all been there. When we have to decide when it’s time to stop being friends with someone or you’ve “outgrown” them. It’s something everyone has to do in their lives and I liked the way this is handled in the book. However not all fake friends are as easy to spot in real life as they are in the book.
Something that I wasn’t able to relate to is Penny suffering from panic attacks. I don’t suffer from a lot of anxiety but I do understand that a lot of people do. This book gave me an insight into what it’s like for someone who might be dealing with anxiety and I found this really interesting. I also liked that there was advice on how to deal with anxiety in the book. I thought this was important especially since Zoe has suffered from anxiety and panic attacks her whole life.
As the book goes on and Penny and Noah spend more and more time together I found the book was getting a little bit boring. I just thought that nothing really happened in that time she spent Christmas and New Year’s with him. And I know not every part of a book has to be exciting but I was just waiting for the time when Penny would finally learn about Noah’s secret…
Throughout the book I had my own ideas about what his secret might be. I think I was thinking too outside the box and have been reading/watching too many vampire things because I thought he was going to be a vampire or some other supernatural being….Or I thought he was going to find out about Penny’s blog or that he was actually a criminal or something really crazy and unexpected.
My friend Bryce actually came up with the idea that Noah was really gay and was going to end up with Penny’s gay best friend Elliot which would have been quite funny but also kind of mean.
But none of those things were Noah’s big secret.
I do have to say when I found out what his secret was I was a little bit sad. I mean I wasn’t expecting his secret to be what it was but I was expecting something a lot bigger. Which is why I felt like it was a little anti-climactic.
I was also surprised that we only find this out about 3/4s of the way through the book…I thought we’d find out sooner than that.
After that I felt like everything just happened in a blur. Which I guess is how it’s meant to feel but to me everything just seemed to be happening too fast. Faster than the rest of the book and I feel like it caused them to brush past some more important issues.
For example what Elliot was going through with his father. I feel like it should have been something that was put into more detail. I know that he’s not the main character in this book but if he is dealing with a serious problem like that I think maybe there should have been more about it…I feel like it was a little bit random to have in the midst of everything else towards the end.
However I did like the way that Penny took control of her situation and dealt with the cyber bullying. It also teaches you the lesson that while anyone can make up a rumour about you only you know the truth and that’s all that really matters. As long as you and the people you’re close to know the truth it doesn’t really matter what other people think and I think that’s a really important message to have. Especially if you are someone who does put themselves out there, on the internet or in real life.
As for the ending of the book…it was predictable. Which I didn’t mind because I do prefer happy endings more than sad ones. And for a book like this I didn’t expect there to be a sad ending. I also know that when two people go through so much together it does seem like a waste for them not to end up together. However sometimes that’s for the better but not in this case.
Overall I’d say the book was okay. I didn’t really hate it but I didn’t love it either…like I said before I really felt like the book was aimed at a younger audience just because of the style of writing and the way the story played out…I did however think the love story between Noah and Penny was quite cute but I’m a sucker for any type of love story.
Now the real question is…will I be buying the sequel? I wasn’t actually aware of the sequel until one day I was on Amazon and it came up as a recommended item for me. But I think I’ll have to wait to find out what the sequel is about before I consider buying it. Considering how I felt about this book I’m not sure if I will immediately jump at the chance to get the sequel but I guess we shall see when the time comes.
If you guys have read Girl Online please leave me a comment letting me know what you thought and also let me know if you will be buying the sequel when it comes out because I’d be interested to know.
And until the next blog post I bid you adieu 🙂
~ Courtney x