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.
The internet has changed our lives a lot. We now have all sorts of television shows available online, some even being made for a certain site and only shown online, we have vloggers, bloggers, celebrities posting pictures of their lives and people who share their lives becoming something like celebrities in their own way. It's all bringing people closer together, whether they like it or not. A great example is how many Youtubers have begun to publish books. I could list them, but if you watch much Youtube, you've probably heard about at least one already. Zoe Sugg is a Youtuber with (as of today) 7.7 million subscribers on her main channel. She also has a popular blog (Zoella) on which she writes and posts photos. A publisher liked her writing on her blog and offered her a chance to write and publish a book. This was something she'd dreamed of doing as a kid and she jumped at the chance. And now, here is her very own book based of things she's gone through herself, becoming popular online and dealing with anxiety and/or panic attacks.
With that introduction I should also mention that there is an incredible amount of backlash of people being upset that she got this book deal, saying it was only because she is famous and when the word got out that she had help and that the book was "ghostwritten" as well...well not everyone who reads it necessarily likes it nor supports it. However this is what I thought about this book, fully knowing all of that.
The plot was predictable if I'm honest. From the scene that Penny meets Noah (the love interest) I could predict the majority of what would happen at the end. I don't think it would have been such a big deal if maybe there had been a few more twists...but as it was the biggest one and there weren't many others it really stands out. I did enjoy the characters, Penny is really sweet and cute. I really loved hearing about her favorite places in Brighton and such since I've seen a lot of those places in Zoe's vlogs. Noah was a cute characters as well, and it was really adorable when Penny and he were together. The romance was rather fluffy but how can you get annoyed with that? There were a few times where you think, "Wow this is moving kind of quickly..." but it evens out at a point, I think. The fact that Penny might be moving too quickly was mentioned by her best friend, Elliot, too. I quite liked him and his endless knowledge of trivia :D
This book has a fun vibe to the writing style and it is pretty chill. It's the kind of book that you'd grab on an afternoon where you just want to relax and be happy. I really liked the setting, because I was familiar with it and could envision it easily. I also enjoyed all of the Briticisms, but that's just me being a southern girl who loves British things. The one of the best things about this book, in my opinion, is the anxiety that Penny deals with. I haven't seen it in many books and I think it's great for the readers who are struggling with it themselves.
Overall, I enjoyed this book. Yes, it was a bit cliche and the plot was pretty predictable...but it's a cute, fun story. I honestly don't know how involved the ghostwriter was and how many things Zoe needed help with, but I'll accept it as a joint effort and I think they both did a great job no matter the details. I enjoyed even if it wasn't the most surprising or amazing, not that it wasn't amazing in its own way, but there are still a lot of books with similar stories. So for that reason I'm giving Girl Online 3 out of 5 flowers.
Sara Bennett, someone more likely to be found in bed, curled up with a good book, than out at a sports game or a gig (although she's pretty addicted to music too). Hoping for a better world, believing in her Savior, daydreaming of One Direction, hanging out with friends, or wherever she may be or might be doing....there's always a little voice inside wondering if it's almost time to return to the books sitting on her shelf. In short, an average young woman with a book in hand and a dream to write one day.