Hey y’all, I’m coming at ya again today with yet another quick book review… and this one, well, I had mixed feelings about, but I am ultimately going to give it a thumbs up, so join me in reviewing “Girl Online!”
First, the book cover and description, taken from Goodreads:
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.
In short… “Girl Online” is all about blogging, blogging, blogging… and the ups and downs that come with blogging. Which makes sense, given that the author (Zoella) is a famous U.K. based blogger herself.
(I did not know anything about the book or author before reading, because I clearly don’t do pre-research…)
Now, I will admit that it took me quite a few pages to really get into this novel. Like, perhaps the first 50-80 pages, and I almost gave up multiple times during that intro period. And there’s a few reasons for that, which are what I’m categorizing as the downfalls of this read…
- It’s very cheesy. Like, Disney channel cheesy, but more so. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it did take me a while to get past.
- The protagonist is a redhead, and I am a fellow rare natural redhead, so this is really picky, but… she found red hair disgusting and shameful (at least at first) and I was not down for that.
- The protagonist comes across as very whiny at times. At very understandable times where I felt for her, but there were a lot of times where she was like “oh, woe is me” while her best friend, Elliot, had things way worse, which was annoying to me.
And, okay, so that’s not exactly a super duper lengthy list, but it’s just a couple of things I wanted to get off my chest right away.
Now, as for what this book does right…
After getting past the first 100 pages (yeah, I know, I said 50 at first, but now I’m remembering and reliving everything I wrote in the list above…), I was able to start relating to the main character and got more invested in her problems, of which she had plenty.
For one thing, she seemed to be the master of bad luck and awkward situations. It was kind of stretching it how much she got herself into. Like, I don’t want to drop any spoilers, but first, she accidentally farted (or just had a farty sounding chair, I can’t remember) in front of her super boy crush, and then, just pages later, she tripped on the stage of the school play where she was supposed to be photographing the cast… in an extremely awkward position.
As for another thing, she had terrible “friends” that would do such awful things to her, both in front of and behind her back. And I felt like standing up for her at many, many points… but, like a lot of us won’t admit we tend to do, she stuck around with this degrading group anyway.
And finally, she had a horrible anxiety problem. And this part is probably why I ultimately stuck around to the end, because I felt so terrible about her ongoing panic attacks, and I did want to see her fight through them, if anything.
Now, I’m using past tense because, like a good book does… these problems do eventually get resolved. At least, for the most part, because there is a sequel or two to this first book… in which I’m sure the same or similar problems arise once more.
So, overall, this book took a while for me to come to terms with. And those terms were mostly positive in the end, because I did think the ending was pretty cute. No spoilers, though!
Oh, and I also wanted to mention that, though this is classified as a YA novel, I would put it more in the young young-adult genre, maybe even in middle grade categories. Just because it was very cheesy, and very Disney-channel-esque, you know what I’m saying!
Let me know, of course, if you have read this book for yourself… and what you thought/think of it!
(P.S… if you’re looking to give another teenaged character with a history of falling into uncomfortable, unfortunate circumstances, try this one…)