[Spoilers below for Girl Online by Zoe Sugg]
I brought this book a good few years ago before all the ghost writer drama came out because I liked the idea of the novel. I was a little bit skeptical about reading it after finding out it was ghost written but since I already brought it and didn’t want to waste money I thought I’d read it anyway.
The story is about a small timid red haired girl named Penny. Penny posts about her life anonymously on her blog, Girl Online. She blogs about her friends, family, crushes, school and her panic attacks which began after Penny’s family were in a car accident. I found Penny to be an okay character. She wasn’t a character I particularly hated or loved throughout the novel, although saying that I liked her a lot more towards the end when she got her own back on the people who were horrible to her. All throughout the story I was waiting for her to say or do something to her ex-best friend Megan as she was making Penny’s life a living hell and Penny wasn’t fighting back. Right at the end of the novel Penny finally gets her own back by throwing a milkshake in Megan’s face. Now I know this sounds terribly mean, but after how Megan treated Penny throughout the entire story I was so glad she did this instead of doing ‘be the bigger person’ trope that a lot of novels tend to go with. Sometimes bitches need to learn their lesson and Megan definitely did. I was grinning when Penny got her revenge.
It took me a really long time to get into the story. I didn’t really get into it until they went to New York, which was about 20% of the way into the book. I just found the beginning and the world building dragged on for a long time and I also found it wasn’t that great in terms of writing? I just found the style and tone of writing to remind me of that of a young teenager. If that’s what the author (whether that be Zoe Sugg or Siobhan Curham) was going for then that’s it’s a very artistic move. It did put me off at the beginning and I did actually consider giving up a few times, eyeing the charity bag when Penny spent way too long describing Brighton.
The book got a lot better when Penny’s love interest Noah was introduced. I’m not really into romance novels, I prefer fantasy/adventure with a romantic sub plot so at first I was very meh about this part of the novel. I really wanted to read about Penny’s blog, being a sorta anonymous blogger myself I want to read about it from another bloggers point of view and when I found out this was actually only a small part of the story I was put off. The more I read however the more I came to like Noah and Penny and by the end of the novel I was in love with them as a couple. When they briefly split I was egging them to get back together and I ended up speed reading the rest of the book just so they could have their happily ever after.
Overall I’d give this book a 6.5/10. I liked the story but it took a long time for me to get into it and I found the writing style to be very strange. I feel like I’d probably enjoy this book if I was younger, more towards it’s demographic of 8 – 13 year olds. (I’m 19 but feel like I would’ve given this a 10/10 if I had read it when I was 12). Then again, I enjoyed it and I’m a lot older than the target audience so it really depends on what type of novels you like.
I’m aware there’s a sequel to this that I probably will be reading, although not for a while as I have a few other book series I’m trying to make my way through.If you’ve read girl online, feel free to leave a comment below telling me what you thought of it. I’d love to know your thoughts.
Thanks for reading and I hope you have a wonderful day.