Penny has a secret.
Under the alias Girl Online, 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. -Goodreads
-First of all, I would like to say that I am a HUGE Zoella fan. That said, I'm going to be as honest as I possibly can in this review. So don't click off just yet.
So this book is all about Penny. An introverted photographer with a gay best friend and a problem with anxiety. One day, she follows her parents to New York for a wedding that her parents are planning and she bumps into a boy named Noah. Noah and Penny quickly fall in love but then, there are so many things going against them and they have to manoeuvre around them. Then, Penny discovers that Noah has been keeping a pretty huge secret and things start to fall apart.
Now I enjoyed this book. I felt like it was a real throwback in the right direction. I've missed reading books where families are perfect and when you know there will be that big happy ending even though there's lots of chaos. In a lot of ways, people will find this book to be pretentious and a bit too optimistic. But here's the thing. This book was written for a younger audience.
I think it's ridiculous that people come to this book expecting a Stephen King novel and then walking away disappointed and angry that it wasn't. I mean, when Girl Online was first announced, I knew that I was going to read it but I also knew that I couldn't expect to be reading a book that would be anything like the books I usually read. Just look that that book cover!
That said, I think the themes that Zoe discusses in this novel are so important and very mature. The main character in the book gets panic attacks. As a person who suffers with anxiety and who has experienced panic attacks, I think this book really spoke to me. I felt understood and I was so happy that Zoe wrote this into her book because it really brings attention to this mental health problem that usually goes unnoticed by most. Considering her fan base, just think of how many people now have something to base what they are feeling on. Just think of how many people have learnt something new and who are better for it.
I know this is a book review and I feel bad for doing this but I feel its really important to address the controversy around this book because there is just too much of it. So shortly after the release of the book, people started suspecting that the book was ghost written because the acknowledgements page mentioned a known YA writer, Siobhan Curtis. That week, the publishers also mentioned officially that Zoe had help with writing the book. But the scope of that help was not discussed. So as you can imagine, the Internet blew up and poor Zoe was forced to stop doing 'Vlogmas' and take a break off the Internet. And following that, Alfie Deyes decided to take a few days off Youtube as well though that was probably just to protect her and not exactly what he wanted considering how much he whined about being excited to get back to vlogging.
Zoe said on Twitter that she did get help but that everyone needs help when they try something new. And that is what I believe. I believe that Siobhan came alongside Zoe to help her here and there. Maybe she had more help then what is normally given to authors but that would only be because this is her first novel and she is not a professional writer. I hate that people are starting rumours and controversy about her book simply because she is a Youtuber. Everyone is bashing her over the head simply because they are annoyed that she got that book deal when there are other authors out there who have been trying for years to break into the industry. Zoe has always wanted to be a writer. She even wrote a book when she was a kid. Zoe was not stealing a spot away from anyone. She was simply testing the waters with a hobby. After all, if she hadn't tested the waters with her blog and her youtube channel, she would never be where she is today. She is 24. Are you telling me that she is no longer allowed to try new things and use the fame that she made for herself to give her a leg up in the world just because she's already established herself in the beauty industry? Haters are just ridiculous.
I'm sorry for ending my review on an angry note but I feel very strongly about people who try to tear others down simply because they will never be as successful as them. I really would recommend this book to anyone looking for an easy and cosy read. It's really good and sweet.
|I posted this photo on Instagram and Alfie Deyes liked it!|
-My Rating: 5/5