Girl Online has been out since November 25th 2014, and I have owned a Hardback copy of the novel since Christmas Day 2014 and it’s only today (August 15th 2015) that I have got around to finishing it.
The novel is 344 pages long (bear in mind that the font is fairly large compared to some other books I have read) and I finished it within 24 hours of starting it. I began reading it at 2:30pm on Friday, stopped at 3pm to get ready for work, read a little more after work, slept and started again Saturday late morning and ended up finishing at 2:15pm.
I’ve seen many mixed reviews about this book and one reason I think a lot of negative reviews come about is because people take the book too seriously, criticizing it’s plot or saying that it’s too cheesy. I think what we have to remember about this novel is that Zoe’s typical followers are young teenagers so is it really any surprise that it’s written in a way that most young female teens will enjoy?
Unless the book is exceptionally bad I will never judge a book entirely on it’s cheesy lines, loose plot or ‘lack of varying length of it’s sentences’ (which I actually saw one person complain about). The main thing I judge a book by is it’s ability to make me feel something, whether that be happiness, sadness, embarrassment or excitement to turn to the next page. I can say that this isn’t the most realistic book ever, I mean how many times have you horribly embarrassed yourself, flew to New York and fallen in love with a famous rock star that you didn’t know was a famous rock star?
However, this book was very good at making you feel something. Penny is an extremely likable character, she wasn’t perfect, which I liked. She cried, she had insecurities, she had freak out moments and moments where she would horribly overthink things that didn’t matter. All of that made her relatable and likable. I thought that Zoe’s portrayal of panic attacks were done very well, they weren’t too dramatic or heavy but at the same time they were described in a very accurate and relatable way so you knew exactly how Penny was feeling.
The beginning of the novel was a little slow, but not slow enough for me to not want to read anymore. I really felt embarrassment for Penny during the falling moment on stage, so much so that I had to put the book down for a few minutes and come back to it because I was so embarrassed for her. To me that says Zoe did a very good job at making Penny likable and relatable and the moment was portrayed well.
Now Penny and Noah’s relationship. It was cheesy, it was fast paced falling head-over-heels in love in a matter of days, it was unrealistic, it was fairy tale, I don’t know what parents would let a 15 and 18 year old who clearly like each other be alone in the house together at night while they go watch fireworks… However, at the same time it was fun, it was exciting, you really felt Penny’s excitement and all her other emotions. I like it, from the moment Penny met Noah the novel became more of a fairy tale, and I for one love fairy tales. Your feeling does a one eighty once Penny starts receiving all that hate online but at this point I was totally invested and I really wanted to see how the novel would end. The ending was typical of a fairy tale with the guy and girl ending up together, he flies half way across the world just to see her etc. The one thing I would say about the ending is that if I was Penny, I would have been a hell of a lot more pissed at him than she was when he showed up on that beach and I would have demanded about 10,000 more answers.
All in all I liked it, I think Zoe did an amazing job, especially for her first novel and it’s clear that she kept her audience in mind when writing it. It was light and easy to read, it was fun and cute and exciting and I will definitely be reading the sequel Girl Online: On Tour once it’s released.