Girl Online: Book Review


I got this book for Christmas, my Boyfriend had been paying attention to what I had been talking about, and passed on the tip of a stocking filler to his mum.

I’m a fan of Zoe, but not loyally following or listening to her every word as the gospel truth. I’m not going to give away the story here, you can find that elsewhere, but it’s more to open a discussion between those who have read it.

I can’t decide whether I hated this book or I was charmed by it, for the majority of the book I really disliked it, but something about it meant I didn’t completely hate it. I really struggled to stay reading this book for more than 5 minutes at a time, the chapters are very short which actually suited me, as 1-2 at a time was enough for me before I felt my brain was going to melt.

The gay-best friend character is the main reason for that, for the majority of the book he is written very stereotypically, appearing as over the top characture, I’m not sure there was a reason for him to be a gay character either, it didn’t add anything to the story, he could have just been the friend from next door. But having a gay BFF is cool now, so I guess that’s why.

I don’t know how I feel about the panic attacks element, on one side I think they head up an important issue that people suffer with, and isn’t widely spoken about. On another hand I wonder how many teenage girls now think it’s a cool problem to have because Zoella has them, as she’s every teenage girls idol. Panic attacks are quickly talked about, and not in much detail, I’m no expert but panic attacks can last hours, days – the topic seems to be skimmed over so quickly.

Penny is supposedly a nervous person, she has become the biggest joke at her school, taken a flight to new york without any issues, and is now running around the big apple with some 18 year old chappy called Noah she doesn’t know (why doesn’t her parents have a problem with that, she’s only 15?). The book tries to teach about safety with our lives online and being careful what you post, but what about being safe in the real world?

 Around the fact it was ghost written, I wish it wasn’t, Zoe is a blogger as well as a youtuber, and I think her blog is actually very well written, but whether she can translate to fiction is something else entirely. It’s never been said as to what extent it was ghost written, but I find it very sneaky of the ghost writer to “come out” as being part of a book, she would have been paid to be a ghost writer, not a co-author, so to get her 15 minutes of fame on the biggest selling debut novel feels like a cheap shot to get some attention and publicity.

My main problem with the book? Do any teenage girl actually, talk, think, act or have a life like this? Me and my friends certainly didn’t. A few weeks ago I saw Angus, Thongs and Snogging on the TV, a film that I loved when it came out, but as I was watching it, I couldn’t stop cringing, I had a similar feeling with this book. It feels like a 50 year old trying to write for a 15 year old, with no idea how teenagers act or talk but they’ve seen snippets of their teenage daughters and are totally “down with the kidz”, so that surprised me with Zoella as a 24 year old, I didn’t expect it to feel so… out of touch.

I wish there was books which gave teenagers a more realistic view of what to expect from love and life. So sorry 15 year old girls to the bearer of bad news, no 18 year old american pop star is turning up to sweep you off your feet. Life isn’t like that and for good reason too.

As a result I kind of expected more. I wouldn’t say it was a bad book, but maybe a bad book for a 25 year old, I don’t think as a teenager I would have enjoyed this book if I was  older than 14.

Would I recommend reading? If you’re under 16 and like to look at the world with rose tinted glasses yes, otherwise no.

So have you read the book, did you like or dislike?


Instagram: @helplesswhilstdrying  |  Twitter: @helplessdrying




Leave a Reply and Let's Have a Chat

%d bloggers like this: