Saturday, December 20, 2014

Diary Entry #0007: GIRL ONLINE Book Review

Title: Girl Online (Girl Online #1)
by Zoe Sugg
Date Published: November 25th 2014
Genre: Young Adult; 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.


"Because when you find someone who really likes you for you, and you really like them for them, you have to do all you can to not lose them."

A few days ago, I was with my Human Communication professor and she asked me why I was quiet. I said, it’s because I’m awkward with face-to-face conversations but online, I can say whatever’s on my mind so I blog. She said I had to practice conversing face-to-face with people. The problem is, I get tongue-tied when I talk to people I barely know. That’s why, reading Zoe Sugg’s Girl Online hit me square in the chest.

Girl Online is about Penny, an awkward girl who runs an anonymous blog online. She dubbed herself as an “International Embarrassment Waiting To Happen” because she’s clumsy and says the worst thing during important moments. She created ‘Girl Online’ so she could share her thoughts without the fear of being judged since no one—excpet her best friend, Elliot—knows that it’s her running the blog. By posting her experiences from having panic attacks to outgrowing an old friend, Penny, or ‘Girl Online’ helps other people, especially teenagers, with dealing with their own problems and knowing that they’re not alone in experiencing them. What she failed to see is that, in every good that online anonymity provides you, there’s always something negative that comes with it.

I first got interested with Girl Online when I saw someone post an article about this girl who sold more than JK Rowling did or something like that. Of course, I was intrigued—that’s Harry Potter’s author, hello! So, I looked it up and added it to my TBR list. That was a few weeks back.

Now, as I was reading Girl Online, I saw myself in Penny. She’s awkward and doesn’t know the right things to say but if it’s online, she can freely express her thoughts. This story didn’t have a very complex conflict or story line, but it wasn’t flat and that’s why I liked it a lot. I liked how the story was narrated in Penny’s voice because it really captured all of the thoughts of a teenager. It’s so candid! In most books, there really comes a chapter that’s really boring for me, but this book didn’t have it. Every chapter was used efficiently to make a perfect background and foundation as the story progressed towards the climax and conclusion.

What I also liked about this story was that not a single thing was wasted. Penny’s love for photography? That came in handy—in SO many ways but especially towards the last few pages. Elliot’s relationship with his parents? Yes, that...helped with his friendship with Penny. Her family’s business? The answer to her problems. Her blog? Root of all good and bad things that happened.

Admittedly, I read Girl Online with sooo many doubts in my mind. Lately, I’ve been losing (no, not sleep—but I love that song) faith in Young Adult Contemporary novels. It’s just that, what YA Contemporary I’ve read lately built up a good background only for it to fall flat with the ending. I’m not saying they should get married because hello, they’re just what? 16? 17? I’m just looking for a more concrete guarantee that they have a long future together. Thank Zoe Sugg!!! Faith in YA Contemporary, restored! The ending wasn’t everything I hoped it would be, but it was almost as close to my expectation and that’s a good thing. A very good thing.

All things considered, I liked Girl Online so much, it might even be love ;) (you see what I did there?) It’s not just about romance, but also friendship and family. It teaches readers to consider everything they say especially when it’s in a platform where the whole world can easily judge you for it, like the Internet. It made me empathize with the main character and fall in love in the flawed teenage world that Zoe Sugg created through Girl Online’s eye.


Favorite quote from the book:

"Every time you post something online, you have a choice. You can either make it something that adds happiness levels in the world—or you can make it something that takes away."

About the Author

Zoe Sugg is an English fashion and beauty vlogger and an Internet personality. She is best known for her Zoella channel on YouTube, which attracts millions of subscribers. She has won numerous blogging honors since 2011 including Cosmopolitan Beauty Blog ang Vlogger Awards, a BBC Radio 1 Teen Award, a Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Award. and a Teen Choice Award.

Girl Online is her first novel.


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