Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Girl Online by Zoe Sugg - Book Review

Penny has a secret.

Under the alias Girl Online, Penny blogs her hidden feelings about friendship, boys, her crazy family and the panic attacks that have begun to take over her life. When things go from bad to worse, her family whisks her away to New York, where she meets Noah; a gorgeous, guitar-strumming American. 
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 - ever.

Hi Everyone!

So I just closed the book, Girl Online by British Youtuber and Blogger, Zoe Sugg. It took me about a week to read it because not only was it a light, easy read but it was definitely undeniably gripping and addictive! I mean, I literally had the book propped up beside the cooker in the evenings and I'd have my head buried in the pages while my potatoes were softening! 

Firstly I should say that I found Zoe, aka 'Zoella's' blog many years ago when I was on a hunt for my twenty-first birthday cake. I stumbled across her on Google and was led to a post she'd done featuring this DELICIOUS chocolate and berry cake:

And this was the cake that I had (yeah, her's definitely took the cake! Pardon the pathetic pun!)

I swear my cake looked far more glamorous all those years ago!?
Anyway, I've been following her blog ever since so when I heard that she was releasing a book, I was thrilled.

I know there's heaps of controversy around it being written by a ghost writer or whatever but to be honest I don't care.
I get the points that people are making, particularly novelists like myself.. how her book is just bombed into the world because of who she is where as we simple 'peasant' writers have to work our butts off to write a book alone, hunt down editors and agents, get handed a thousand rejection letters and undergo a seriously testing amount of self-doubt. But you know what? Good for her. Don't be hating on her just because she's got some good luck. As she said, the characters were her own and I see so much of Zoe in the pages... and the cover.

The cover is cute. To be honest, as I'm nearing my mid-twenties I was slightly embarrassed to be walking around with it and reading it in cafes during my lunch breaks.... but if you think about it, the key character, Penny Porter, is fifteen!!! So the baby blue cover and cartoon fairy lights draped across the title is understandable. 

I read this book knowing that it would be for a younger person. The only reasons I actually read it were because I've been a fan of Zoe's for years and have grown with her and secondly because the book was about blogging. I had to read it. Like probably almost all of you, I love blogging (who would have guessed?). So a novel based on the blogging world is something that has got to intrigue you! 

Even though the target market was definitely for teens in my opinion, at some sneaky point in this book, I was completely hooked! It has this power that just pulls you right in. 

Obviously I don't want to give too much of the story away... but basically the book is about a girl (aged fifteen,) called Penny Porter. She is the goofiest and most accident prone person you'll ever come across (I couldn't help but relate! Though I'll admit here that personally, I felt the clumsiness was way overdone. No one is THAT clumsy and trust me, I nearly lost my finger to a wet wipe box earlier this week!)
She started this anonymous blog where she could be herself and say anything she wanted without being scared and embarrassed. The blog is her safe haven. 
Some really embarrassing stuff happens to her and she's lucky enough to escape to New York just before Christmas where she can forget all about it along with her parents and best friend, Elliot. 
While in New York, Penny meets a boy. Noah. 
There's a beauty in their teen romance. It's so pure and sweet. I honestly couldn't help but fall in love with the characters. Plus it's looming closer to dreaded Valentines Day and you know - I'm living vicariously through the romance of fictional characters. Oh the sad life I do lead. 
BUT.... Noah has a secret and their teen romance is about to crumble around them when the truth gets revealed.

This book is far from some silly teen romance though. Zoe manages to successfully incorporate anxiety and panic attacks into the story which for someone like me who has suffered with panic attacks for about twelve years now... it was so appreciated. 
Not only does she describe panic attacks but she also gives exercises and tips on how to overcome them. 

I believe that this book is a mixture of so many things:

  • A beautiful romantic escape we can live vicariously through.
  • A helpful read that assists you in overcoming your panic attacks.
  • A blogging miracle - (I think we forget that once upon a time, Zoella was just like the rest of us. It all started with a blog... and look at how far she has come! Sometimes, dreams really do come true.)
  • Hope. No matter what it is that you're going through: Anxiety, friendship issues, sexuality - this book has it all. The best part is that although it touches on such deep topics, it's done in a way that is so light and easy to read. It doesn't overwhelm you with drama and the weight of negativity. It helps you to understand and tackle it. 
  • Inspiration (seriously, if this book doesn't make you want to open up your laptop and write a new blog post then I don't know if anything will!)

Have any of you guys read this book?

If you have read it, what did you think of it? 

I for one personally loved it, even though it's not exactly the sort of book a mid-twenties girl should probably be carting around in her handbag! We all have those little pleasures in life - some find that it's Chocolate Cake, others Frozen Yogurt... mine, over this past week, was Girl Online. 

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  1. i did find the whole ghostwriter thing a bit off-putting at first, mainly because of the way it came up and all, but it's not as if anyone else doesn't use ghostwriters! i do want to read the book, but haven't had the chance to get my hands on it yet:-) it really does sound like the kind of story i would've loved when i was 12ish, so i hope i'll enjoy it like you did, haha! xx

  2. ahh now i am super should that i would like to read this book. I am a little bit scared that the main character will be too young to me...but whatever :d i want to read it :D

  3. I received this book on release date, yet I've only read the first chapter. I agree with you, it's targeted towards a younger audience. I was just so excited to read a book that was A. By Zoe and B. had blogging included in the story!



  4. It sounds like a cute book. I hope she has much success with it! :) Your cake looks delicious, by the way.

  5. I've been wondering about this book! I stumbled across Zoella's youtube channel awhile back and found her endearing. It seems like a fun, easy read. I might pick it up one day after I've finished the dozen books I've started in the last couple of months! Thanks for the review!


  6. I know this post was about Zoella's book, but I'm starved post seeing those yummy cake photos! :) Sadly, I don't think there's one bit of chocolate in the house right now. :( xx T. http://tickledpinkwoman.blogspot.com

  7. Would you believe I have only recently stumbled across her youtube channel. Lol

    I'm a sucker for teen romance novels ! Think I might give this book a try if I can get my hands on it here. Great review btw. :)

  8. Hello Jade, greeting and good wishes.

    I hold writers in great esteem and awe because I always wanted to write a book on something but I never succeeded. I even bought a book listing out tips on writing but after reading a few pages, I left it aside and it is gathering dust. Imagine I even find it difficult to read a complete book. I read the fist few pages and last few pages. That is the end of it. But I love buying books and leaving it all over my house. I have books lying on the bed, dining table, tea table, side stands, book shelves and so on. My wife complains I am not taking care of the books and dusting them on a regular basis.

    My admiration for writers increased tremendously after reading your statement ===we simple 'peasant' writers have to work our butts off to write a book alone, hunt down editors and agents, get handed a thousand rejection letters and undergo a seriously testing amount of self-doubt.====== Hat off to writers and budding writers. I can never, ever go through such a painful process. I am lazy and my mind wanders.

    I have not heard of Zoella Zoe. I browse only when I need some information. Now after reading your fantastic post about her, I checked the internet and found out that she was the fastest selling author of 2014, she made her fame and fortune through social media, and she was hit by unfair tabloid speculation that she hadn't written her bestselling book Girl Online herself.

    She is a very beautiful person with great talent, very determined and very fierce when the situation demands. She will put her jealous detractors in their rightful place and walk all over them.

    Your statement====Sometimes, dreams really do come true===== fascinated me. Immediately I thought of J K Rowling. Another fabulous celebrity who has become a household name all over the world. She was a nobody to start with.

    I loved the picture of the cakes. Very colorful, very attractive and very delicious.

    I have a small suggestion to make. When you intend to write a long comment, it would be a good idea to write it on Microsoft word and save it and then copy to the comment to the comment box on the blog. This will spare you the frustration of losing your well written comment if the internet suddenly goes off.

    Well I will stop my long winded monologue now and will surely catch up with your blog another day.

    Till then my best wishes to you.

  9. Jade.. this does sound like a good book... I've been thinking of purchasing more teen books as I have a pre-teen in my house and I want her to have a love of books like her sister has... plus it will give me a good excuse to read it too ;-)

  10. I hadn't heard about Zoe before. I also like reading teenage books. Btw, both cakes looked great!

    Jasmine x

  11. Just reading the lower paragraphs ,the Penny girl reminded me of me ,when i was a teen ,I mean the accident prone part.....lol.I read any thing that is very interesting regardless of the target market. Great review dear and thanks for the beautiful comment on my blog , I am well and fine and i hope you are too.



  12. Really lovely review. I've been meaning to pick this book up for a couple of weeks. I am interested to see how well she manages to portray anxiety, i've heard a lot of mix reviews. So I think I am just going to have to find out for myself. x

  13. I really loved reading this review. I've seen people talking about this book everywhere on social media, but I haven't gotten the chance to check it out myself. Your review was really thorough without giving anything away. I may have to pick up a copy now!


  14. It's sound really intresting, I haven't heard about Zoe but I would like to read this book. And your cake looks super appetizing!:)

  15. This is the very first positive review I've ever read about Girl Online and I believe your opinion enough to consider it a great book. I've never been much into Youtubers to keep up with with them but Zoella is a star for sure!!!! It was quite sad to see whole ghostwriter story but when you're famous and young, there's always so much drama created to cope with and that's been the same case with her.

  16. Looks like it may be something worth reading! PS--For some reason Disqus tossed a comment you made on my blog! So I'm just going to respond to you here! I just paid a lady to re-design for me and it was soooo worth it. She does a great job and it kills me to try and do it myself...the stress is unreal. So thanks for stopping by!

  17. Amazing post! Enjoyed reading it! So fascinating!

    Followed you on GFC and Bloglovin :)

  18. I personally haven't read the book and I probably never will, but I've read the odd review here and there. I tried to avoid much of the controversy and what not, as I'm a bit indifferent to Zoe, I neither love her nor hate here. I love that you made it clear that you knew the book was for a younger audience, a few reviews I have read don't seem ot have grasped that and they review it from their perspective rather than that of a teenager. I still probably won't read it, but hey! that's just me :)

    ~ K

  19. I read the first chapter of this book and I was put off by that checklist she had in the first few pages. I know it's meant to be for teens but I did find it cheesy!

    Corinne x

  20. I loved reading this book, as you said it was so hard to put down! I can't wait till she brings out a second oneas I think questions need answering from the first!
    Kia x x x

  21. Nice post!!! I like your blog!!
    would you like to follow each other? let me know...I always follow back.
    Besos, desde España, Marcela♥

  22. I have to say I'm nearing my mid-twenties and despite following Zoella and loving blogging - I haven't bought it yet as I was too worried it was only for teens! So this review has given me hope and I think I will get my hands on a copy :) xx

  23. I'm nearly 30 and I read it and loved it! I have to say I'm not a Zoella follower but I really enjoyed the book, it's such a good story! And good on her for achieving her dreams! Thanks for following me on GFC, and for your kind comments on my blog, enjoy your fab travels. Have followed you back so can't wait to read all about them!

    Kay xx


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