Monday, 16 February 2015

Book Review: Girl Online (Girl Online #1) by Zoe Sugg and Siobhan Curham

Goodreads Description:

I had no idea GirlOnline would take off the way it has - I can't believe I now have 5432 followers, thanks so much! - and the thought of opening up to you all about this is terrifying, but here goes...

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.

Title: Girl Online (Girl Online #1)
Author: Zoe Sugg and Siobhan Curham
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Format: Hardback
Pages: 352 pages
Publisher: Atria / Keywords Press
Source: Purchased from Popular Bookstore

So before I get into the review, I'm sure most of you guys know who's Zoe Sugg aka Zoella. If not look it up :P

Also if any of you guys follow the bookish news you'll know that there is a bit of controversy around this book thanks to the wonders of ghost writer.

Anyways I'm not gonna go into too much details about the issue as that's another blog post for another day but basically I'm am not surprise that she has a ghost writer on the side since though she is a professional blogger, she's not a professional writer as well as the fact it fits the timeline on how fast it took for her to write the book so she does need help.

I've read a couple of 'celeb published' books in the past that has been written with the help of a ghost writer and though she is not the first to do so, she's not the last. I do however wish that they did the disclaimers at the start credited the ghost writer on the cover or say its co-written, that way it would 1) be fair to co author and 2) cause a bit less controversy.

Anyways, ghost writer or not I'm still pick up cause the premise is something up my ally. Also Zoella is one of my favourite youtuber and blogger (DUH!) so of cause I want to support her and her book. I've learned a lot from her blogs/vlogs as it has help me not only with fashion and beauty but also help me feel more comfortable with myself!

Okay for first off  I usually don't talk about book covers but I flipping love the cover especially with the fairy lights and pictures hung around! Its cute and suits the book but also screams ZOE!

The story follows 15-year-old Penny who has an anonymous blog under the name Girl Online where she shares her life like school drama, boy problems and her klutz incidents. When an embarrassing video of her goes up and viral, Penny's parents whisk her to New York on a business trip where she meets a mysterious guitarist named Noah who takes her on an adventure around New York but also helps Penny trough her anxiety issues.


There were a great cast of characters though my feelings for each of them is very torn as one moment I'm loving them then the next I'm annoyed or hating them and I'm back to loving them again. They all have their strengths and flaws which makes them realistic and relatable.

Our main character Penny was such a sweetheart to read about. Fun loving, clumsy and quirky, she is at that awkward teenage stage where she has a lot of issues like boy and friends problems. On top of that she has anxiety issues after a car accident that shaken her. There were times where she didn't have the confidents to stand up for herself whether if its to her friends or the internet but with the help and advice from her family and best friend she grows in confidents and manages her issues. Also she was a bit too innocent and naïve for her own good but she eventually grows and mature making some really good choices at the end. I connected with Penny from her personality to her love for blogging as (DUH! once again) I love blogging and putting my thoughts on the internet though for Penny its about life and for me is about BOOKS.

I love the family aspect of the books and its great reading about Penny's parents especially on how involve they were in her life on top of helping her trough her bulling problems at school.

Also her brother Tom, though I did wish we got to read more about him, its refreshing reading a book where we see a strong and realistic brother-sister relationship as that's something I rarely (for an odd reason) see in YA. I really like how he goes all PROTECTIVE BIG BROTHER on Penny and how he helped her over come most of her problems.

Elliot was one of those characters where I was very torn with as one moment I love the guy and the next I hated him then I figured out his problems and love him again. There were times he was a bit of a jerk to Penny but most of the times he is loyal and always there for Penny as well as to be her voice of reason. I like how his is a gay character but they didn't aggregate the stereotype. Also his smart walking wiki mind and sass made the book for me!!!

Noah aka mysterious New York guitarist was a hit and a miss for me. While I like his character and how he was all romantic and charming from the start, I found him very unrealistic and almost too perfect. Even when his secret is revealed I still was not that big of a fan of him.

I was a big fan of Noah's little sister Bella and am currently thinking of a way to adopt the adorable kid!

As for the side characters in Penny's school, I hated them the more I read about them especially Megan and Ollie! Will leave it to Elliot to put the mega self-absorbed Fishing Beaches in their place!


Okay so the plot is where I had some issues. The first third and the last third of the story were really good and well paced out but the middle was a drag and so messy!

The while I like the concept of the story was very predictable down to the plot twist. Also there were some parts where its not really realistic but ah well its a work of fiction.

One thing I love is how the book tackle the issues that Penny and her friends faces like being true to yourself, friendship, bullying, homosexuality, anxiety, facing fears and cyber bullying.

I also love the traveling aspect and how the book is set in the UK and in New York.


This is my least favourite part of the book! I was not a fan of the writing style. Its cute to say the word 'cute' the first five times but after a while it gets a bit VERY ANNOYING!

Words like 'AWESOME' and 'CUTE' were overused to the point I was planning an espresso drinking game where I take a shot for every 'awesome' or 'cute' words written. Yah I'll be a goner one third into the book... 
I L-O-V-E cute cheesy happy fluffy contemporary romance that makes me feel all good and mushy in the inside but this book just taught me there is a limit as though it was cute, it was too cute (in a not good way).

At times the way some characters talk came out odd or awkward especially guys... I'm pretty sure they don't talk like that in real life (in my opinion).

The writing was inconsistent, too simple and young-ish for me. Its more suitable for younger teens/ YA readers which is definitely not me as I'm now in the New Adult age range.

I'm okay with the exclamation marks and all that jazz, I cringe at the grammar mistake! Now I'm not a grammar snob and I'll usually shake it off but this book is published by a MAJOR publisher with the help of a professional writer who should have at least someone to revised trough the grammar!

Another thing I cringe over is there were too many descriptions. I wish they tone it down and let the reader's mind to imagine.

As for the blog, I enjoyed every bit of it! I like how every few chapters we get to read about Penny's blog entry. Its honest, personal and simple.


I was okay with the romance... didn't love it, didn't hate it.

It was insta-love and I am not a fan of insta-love. I did however L-O-V-E the captain obvious of them pointing out that this is an insta-love!

At the start they were actually adorable to the point that I found myself giggling at the couple. But after a while it just become too perfect and mushy passing my limit for the fluff.

I wanted to like the romance but it was too cliché not swoon worthy enough.

The lesson of the story is so good, strong and inspiring!

In plot I covered how the book handles the issues faced really well. 

This book handled most of the issues really well especially on cyber bullying as if ANY of you guys love blogging (which I assume most of you are bloggers or blog lovers), you might have encountered one of two or A LOT of troll incident whether its a hate comment or someone attacking you online.
Penny goes through a phrase where she gets cyber bullied. Not many books tackle that issue and the way that this book did came out really well and realistic. 
The family aspect as mentioned is very strong and Penny learns that  at the end of the day, family will always be there for you. 

Also I like how Penny uses her blog like a diary to express herself and when she does it she’s fun, down to earth and honest.

The issues highlighted were realistic. This is great especially for the younger YA readers out there who are facing trough the beauty of teenage awkwardness but also inspiring to the bloggers and aspiring bloggers out there.


Though it was predictable, I adored the ending! I also love how Penny becomes comfortable with herself and who she is, tackled her issues, face their fear and demons.

Its definitely one of those whimsical fairy tale ending but it fits the book really well.

And yes I was smiling like an idiot at the ending.

Overall I had a bit of mix feelings about this book. I feel like it could have been better but I still adored it (when it was not too mushy).

Its a great book for readers who (like a lot of us) look up at Zoella for inspiration and on tackling realistic issues like fear and anxiety.

Happy go Lucky, light and fluffy reads.

If you are a fan of Zoella you will like this book as it screams her!

Also apparently there is a sequel to Girl Online coming out later this year. Not exactly sure when as we don't have a released date, title or cover but its on Goodreads so check it out.

I get personal here so skip this part so if you're not interested in another quick story time. Gosh now I feel like Girl Online! lolz

Like Penny in the book I found an outlet where I can be my honest myself  and express myself even if it took me a while to find the right one.

In case most of you guys don't know, I used to make 'beauty tube' and have a beauty blog which I've stop doing and switch to book blogging as I went trough a point where I got a bit too many negative comments especially on tutorials which I've taken down most of them.

The hates were on my appearance which made me really insecure and I went trough a phrase where I had low confidents in myself could not look myself in the mirror. Even though most of my subscribers and followers were very supportive and nice, the negative trolls outnumber them to a point I had to pull the plug and stop.

I've past that phrase and moved on with life, filling in the hole of beauty blogging with book blogging. Though I do miss blogging about my new favourite eye shadow or lipstick, for the better I'm glad that I stop 'beauty tube' and found the book blogging world.

Book blogging has been my new happy place .

I did a month ago encountered a 'hate troll' on my booktube channel who did nothing but put rude negative comments and suddenly become nice when I 'changed a bit' of my look (oh the power of Benefit Cosmetic's Brow bar and personal grooming... didn't think it was that mighty powerful lolz ), I blocked the idiot and is one viewer I'm glad I have less.

shake it off guys :P

So yah a quick shout out to all of you awesome peeps who made book blogging freaking enjoyable for me and something that I can be proud of! :D


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