Girl Online by Zoe Sugg
or: The Book That Had Potential But Fell Flat
Synopsis: 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
I desperately wanted to enjoy this book.
As a more recent Zoella watcher, I had began to watch more of her videos in the lead up to purchasing this book. As an avid youtuber watcher for many many years, I’ve always tried hard to support the external ventures of the members of team internet, and when I discovered Zoe had written a book, I was keen to give her the support that I could.
To be fair, I went into this book with extremely high expectations.
Now one shouldn’t have high expectations as Sugg is not a writer by trade, but she’s so good at the other things that she does, its easy to fall into a trap. But, in Sugg’s defense, for a person new to the writing world, she actually did an ok job. I’ve read books by ‘professional’ writers that were worse.
The story is cute, but a little passe. In some area’s Sugg’s writing seems naive and childish while other areas are strong and punchy. This maybe due to the fact that there were different authors helping her write the story and it was just the collision of different styles and voices, or maybe because of hurried editing. This story didn’t feel polished at all. But this is probably less Sugg’s fault and more due to poor management.
If you can turn your brain off while reading, and don’t mind the cheesiness of the overused trope awkward girl-life unfair-meets hot boy- falls in love- drama- happy ending than this is the book for you. The characters seem slightly shallow and it feels like the team didn’t work hard enough on developing the characters. Penny is slightly 2D and I’m sure I would be safe in arguing that Elliot was by far the most interesting character.
The ending for me was just too sickeningly sweet and too neat. Relationships like Penny and Noah’s simply don’t happen and there is no way I would forgive Noah for his secret (trying to avoid spoilers). It’s slightly ridiculous how quickly the two fall in love.
This book may probably appeal to younger teenagers who are still new to areas of YA and still like stories with easy cheesy romance. Thats clearly Sugg’s targeted audience as a lot of her references to teenage life were lost on me. As a practical 21 year old, I was clearly out of Sugg’s demographic.
Should you read this? Probably not unless you’re below the age of 14 or a really, really dedicated Zoella fan. If you’re curious, try borrowing a copy from a friend or getting it out from a library just in case its not your cup of tea.