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Girl Online #1

Girl Online

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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.

352 pages, Hardcover

First published November 25, 2014

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About the author

Zoe Sugg

13 books4,978 followers
Zoe Elizabeth Sugg also known by her YouTube name Zoella, is an English vlogger, businesswoman and author. Sugg began posting videos to her YouTube channel in 2009, which went on to amass over 10 million subscribers.

In 2014, Sugg signed a three-book deal with Penguin Books, and her debut novel, Girl Online, was published in November 2014, breaking the record for highest first-week sales of a first-time novelist. She has since released a non-fiction book, Cordially Invited, and is currently writing a series of books alongside co-author Amy McCulloch, titled The Magpie Society.

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5 stars
19,296 (30%)
4 stars
17,752 (27%)
3 stars
16,123 (25%)
2 stars
6,925 (10%)
1 star
3,513 (5%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 6,313 reviews
Profile Image for Markie  Winters.
37 reviews7 followers
September 23, 2015
I mean don't get me wrong I don't hate zoella and I don't really love her, I'm neutral. However, what truly annoys me is all these you tubers getting book deals just because they are famous and more deluded teens are more likely to buy them in the bid to satisfy their inner fangirl/boy. Really talented writers are being denied the opportunity to publish their works and also give us readers books that will appease the insatiable thirst we have for well written books. It is sad that publishers do not care whether the works produced are good or can be classed as a well written literary book, sadly now it's all about the money.

And no I haven't read the book but the only way to write a review was to rate it on the app, so it's a 1 star from me.

(this was written early in the morning so I am terribly sorry for the grammar and lack punctuation.)

*cue public backlash in 5...4.....3......2.....1.

UPDATE: (07/12/2014)

- I have now read the book and it's still a 1 from me.

- I love how they add Siobhan Curham now after everyone finds out its ghost written.
Profile Image for Kelly (and the Book Boar).
2,444 reviews7,532 followers
December 30, 2014
Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/

THIS is the book that broke the record for highest first-week sales of all-time leaving Harry Potter in its wake??? Here's what Professor Snape thinks about that . . .

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And here's what I think . . .

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I picked up Girl Online for the simple fact that it was breaking sales records left and right. I had certainly never heard of "Zoella" before. And then???? Then I found out the "author" (maybe, seems she didn't even write this piece of garbage at this point) was someone who became famous via You Tube. No offense to all you YouTubers out there, but someone who became famous for vlogging is not someone I would automatically equate with having the ability to write a novel. Lucky for us all (not) - this is the age where every Joe Blow seems to be getting an automatic extension on their 15 minutes of fame in order to make an extra dollar or twelve.

But like I said, I didn't know anything about this book or the author upon starting. When I read the synopsis, I figured I would at least enjoy this little story. I read (and like) a lot of young adult selections and I'm 100% addicted to a certain program about a girl with a blog . . .

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For those of you who (like me) are unfamiliar with this book, the premise is as follows: Penny is your average awkward teenager. She's a little clumsy and a lot unsure about her looks. In order to connect with others like herself, Penny starts a blog called GirlOnline where she can express herself anonymously. All is well until she starts blogging about a mystery man she met and romanced while visiting New York City with her family . . . and it turns out he is not only a little famous but also has a famous girlfriend to boot.

Sounds clichéd, but potentially adorable right? Yeah, notsamuch. While the clichés and overused storyline could have been forgiven, the horrible writing and terrible characters cannot.

Some of my issues were:

1. This "blog" by an anonymous rando goes from zero to 10,715 followers in less than a year. The problem? She writes about NOTHING - just her day-to-day bullshit life.

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There's no way she'd get that kind of following. Now THIS chick???

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She's someone who deserves a following. HI. LAR. IOUS.

2. Absentee parents. This time around they are disguised as overworked party planners, but they still let their 15 year old daughter go cavorting with a complete stranger in NYC.

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3. Penny is sooooooo stupid:

"In a way, it's nice to know that "panic attacks" are an actual thing . . . "

"A really cold faraway land like Russia or Norway (it's cold in Norway, right?)"

"Black-and-white photos are my favorite - they're like little moments of history captured forever." (Uhhhhh, aren't all photos a little moment of history captured forever????)

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4. And, of course, INSTALOVE.

"I still don't really know very much about Noah, on some deeper level it feels like I've known him forever. Is this what it means when people talk about meeting their soul mate?"

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The one near positive about the whole mess? Penny's BFF and his voice of reason:

"How can you be in love with this guy if you only just met him?"

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'Zactly. Unfortunately, even he wore thin after awhile.

According to Goodreads I've read 215 books this year. Girl Online will easily make the Top 10 worst of those books. The only thing I can say I truly enjoyed? This line:

"Prince Charming wasn't a cheater and Cinderella wasn't a ho."

Which was probably supposed to make me feel really sorry for Penny, but somehow had me cracking up instead. Whoops.
Profile Image for Zoë.
328 reviews66.2k followers
April 24, 2015
Okay, I didn't actually finish it. I got about 50-something pages in and gave up. I just marked it as read for filing purposes.

This book was just so cheesy and it did that thing where the writer (ghost writer in this case) is so obviously an adult but is trying to write as if she was a teenager (ex: he was the walking selfie????). Also, the main character, Penny, is the run-of-the-mill YA female protagonist with her freckles and crazy red hair and clumsiness; it just didn't do anything for me.

I really like Zoe Sugg as a YouTuber and obviously this was based off of her life, but I didn't like it in book form. I think this could have been a lot stronger if it didn't try so hard to be "so relatable" and whatnot.

Oh well, at least I tried?
Profile Image for Laura.
356 reviews102 followers
November 27, 2014
As soon as I heard this book was coming out, I was quick to judge and very quick to assume it would be a pile of total hideousness. And, sadly, I was not wrong.
This book claims to be Zoella’s or Zoe Suggs’ debut novel which, before I even start the review, was very unlikely to have been written by her at all. This book screams GHOSTWRITER or GREAT EDITING TEAM. It feels like Zoe’s had the idea for the story, written a couple of pages, and then left the story building to the team at Penguin. The narrative feels disjointed and it’s clear from the style of writing that this was not written by Zoe alone.
It claims to be a novel, which, by definition, means fiction. However this book is almost a mirror image of Zoe’s life – a girl who lives in Brighton, runs a blog, has anxiety issues, has an obsession with fairy lights, bath bombs and scented candles…need I go on?
The age old adage always suggests ‘write what you know’ and it feels like Zoe knows very little else. So much so, she has written a book that couldn’t be closer to her own life if she tried. Granted she’s not exactly the same as her protagonist but I think it’s fair to say there can be no mistaking who she’s based on.
The story itself is predictable to the point of being boring. I have no problem with predictable plots, in fact, I enjoy predictable books – if the route to the predictable ending is enjoyable. Sadly, this one was not. The narrative was also stuffed with a cliché of characters – the gay best friend, the not so nice girl best friend, the ‘boy-who’s-out-of-her-league-but-ends-up-loving-her’, the dreamy love interest etc. Again, nothing wrong with a cliché or two, but only if they’re written well and sadly, these characters were not – in fact, they were some of the most two dimensional characters I’ve ever come across in fiction.
As I mentioned before, the writing is stilted and feels as though it’s not been written by the same person. There are moments of impressive, mature writing and then moments that feel as though they’ve just been clobbered together with Basic English. I know I’m not the target audience for this book at all, it’s girls of around 12-16 that are probably most enthused by this book, but, in my opinion, a good book is one that can be read and enjoyed by all ages.
I can’t criticise it completely. The book does a mediocre job of addressing anxiety and also covers a few other sensitive topics but it just feels like I’ve wasted my time reading it.
I really wanted to be proved wrong – I wanted to love this book and enjoy every word but sadly I didn’t and I’m not surprised. It seems anything with Zoe’s name on will sell, and, with people wanting to cash in on that success, it doesn’t really matter about the quality of what’s being put out there. I imagine that if Penguin had read this book without a famous name attached to it, it would have ended up in the slush pile and forgotten about.
If you’re a loyal Zoella fan, love fairy lights, a good scented candle and don’t get bored of repetitive descriptions and a predictable, clichéd plot then this is the book for you! Sadly, as a 21 year old woman, I cannot and wouldn’t recommend this to anyone. I’m sorry. I tried, I really did!
Profile Image for Shannelle.
158 reviews78 followers
April 10, 2015
Update: It's the first time that I've noticed Siobhan Curham credited on the GR page, and I'm so happy to see that she gets credit. FINALLY.

It's so frustrating people how are praising her for beating J.K. Rowling's debut sales, because that means absolutely shit nothing. Of course she would have record sales; she already had a fan base of millions when her book published. But the book was ghostwritten.

You do not compare a ghostwritten book to an phenomenal outcome from a woman who drew inspiration from all the hardships she faced; her mom's death influenced her whole journey a lot. You can view the whole timeline on her website. She didn't get approached by some publishing representative; she got rejected by twelve publishers, and in the end, her publisher even made her use "J.K." because they thought that having a female writer for a fantasy book would affect sales.

So of course there was no record breaking debut week, but Harry Potter has broken nearly every other record there is since then. The books have inspired a movie franchise, and J.K. Rowling's earning millions, but she also donates regularly to charity. She's made an entire empire on books all written by herself, and she did all that through hard work, from nothing to a household name. She's an absolute queen. She did not need help trying something new.

(link to tweet)

So no, do not talk to me about how this book beat J.K. Rowling's debut week. It's not going to top J.K. Rowling in the long run.
September 3, 2015
Mira, me da igual que me digan lo que sea por ponerle cinco estrellas a este libro, ¡a mí me encantó! ¿Y qué le voy a hacer? Jajaja. Y sí, no hace falta que me digan que Zoe no lo escribió personalmente y que usó a una escritora fantasma, que eso ya lo sé, ¿vale? Bien, ahora que hemos dejado eso de lado, empecemos con la reseña.

Girl Online es uno de esos libros que sólo puedo clasificar como libros para el verano (a pesar de que este se desarrolla en invierno, jajaja) porque tiene una historia sencilla, muy juvenil, que es fácil seguir y que, de cierta manera, es un alivio entre libros densos de fantasía épica o distopías con mundos complicadísimos. Además, la premisa del libro es muy atractiva: Penny, una chica que lleva un blog secreto en internet en el que escribe entradas en las que puede ser ella misma, tiene una vida normal pero es tremendamente torpe, todo le sale mal y, encima, empieza a sufrir ataques de pánico. Por casualidades de la vida, Penny, su familia y Elliot, su mejor amigo, terminan pasando Navidad en Nueva York y allí la vida de Penny cambia. Nuestra protagonista conoce a un chico guapísimo, al que no le importa su torpeza y que parece tener ojos sólo para ella... y todo va bien hasta que *algo* pasa.

Como venía diciendo, es una historia muy sencilla pero que Zoe (voy a referirme a Zoe como la escritora y ya está) logra contarnos de una manera muy entretenida y que hace que no dejes de leer ni un momento. Siempre quieres saber más sobre Penny, sobre Elliot y, obviamente, sobre Noah, el misterioso chico neoyorquino. Y bueno, hablando de Noah... sé que a muchas personas les molestan los INSTALOVES en los libros, pero a mí no... si son creíbles. Me explico: en este libro está clarísimo desde el primer momento que Penny va a conocer a un chico en NY y cuando realmente lo conoce ambos se enamoran al instante, es un flechazo en toda regla. Ahora, ¿cuándo me molesta un INSTALOVE? Cuando no es creíble. ¿Cuándo NO me molesta un INSTALOVE? Cuando hay muchísimas escenas que me hacen creer que los involucrados sí tienen química y que son almas gemelas (o Detonantes ;) ). El INSTALOVE de Girl Online es de los que me gustan, hay química y coqueteo tonto desde el primer momento, hay escenas que te roban suspiros y que ¿por qué negarlo? son súper cursis, pero me encantan.

Otro de los aspectos que me gustaron del libro fueron las entradas periódicas del blog entre capítulos porque nos daban una perspectiva más cercana y auténtica a los pensamientos de Penny. ¡Y qué decir de Elliot! Es un mejor amigo como pocos, aunque me parece curioso que ahora la mayoría de mejores amigos de chicas protagonistas sean gays. Que no tiene nada de malo, pero se está volviendo un cliché, jajaja. También me gustó que se le diera un background, por pequeño que fuera, a los demás personajes. Me refiero a que no sólo los nombran de pasada, sino que al acabar el libro sentimos que conocemos un poco de Ollie, Megan, Sadie Lee, Tom e incluso los padres de Penny y Elliot.

Y bueno, nada, el tema de los ataques de pánico y todo el protagonismo que tuvo esto en el libro no me pareció exagerado, ni a manera de manual ni mal abordado. Por el contrario, creo que le da autenticidad a la historia (la propia Zoe sufre de ellos de vez en cuando) y puede ayudar a alguien que empiece a sentir que las paredes se le cierran encima y se le forma un nudo en el pecho y no sepa que, de hecho, lo que le está pasando es que está teniendo un ataque de pánico.

En fin, sé que este libro ha desatado mucha polémica, pero a mí me gustó muchísimo y no puedo esperar a leer Girl Online: On Tour cuando salga :)

PD: El plot twist no lo vi venir y rompió mi corazón en pedacitos.

Profile Image for Molly&#x1f319;.
13 reviews5 followers
November 29, 2014
I like Zoe's YouTube channel but I just don't see this book as being any good, the plot is unoriginal with the whole "anonymous blog" thing that we've seen a million times before in books. Let's face it, she only got this deal because of her fame, had she submitted it to a publisher without being well known would it still be being released? I'm not sure.
1 review2 followers
November 25, 2014
Very disappointed with this book. I found the plot to be extremely predictable and unoriginal, while the writing was just mediocre at best. To sum it up in one word - boring. I'm a fan of Zoe's but I think it's a shame that there are tons of hard-working writers out there who never get their works published, while Zoe has barely showed any passion for writing and gets a best-seller. I also don't believe she wrote this book herself in 6 months but had a ghost writer. If this book had some unknown authors name on the cover, there would not be nearly as much praise and admiration for it. But because Zoe's name is on it everyone thinks its the best book ever written. Well I read it as soon as it came out - and the truth is it is just very basic and unoriginal.
Profile Image for Maddie.
557 reviews1,137 followers
January 26, 2016
'Girl Online' and the ghost writing scandal surrounding 'Zoella' has been one of the biggest things buzzing around the internet over the last couple of days. I'm not going to write about the ghostwriting in this review, simply the story and what I thought of the delivery, even though the fact Zoe Sugg didn't write the book 'entirely by herself' is an important factor to how I received it.

Instead of giving my rating at the end of the review, I feel the need to preface my opinions. I only gave 'Girl Online' 1 star. There have been a lot of mixed reviews about this one, from one star to five stars, but there aren't very many reasons why these ratings were given. Here are mine.

Firstly, the plot was not what I was expecting. Sugg seems to have followed the idea of 'write what you know', creating a fictional persona, rather than a character because of the vast similarities between herself and Penny. However, seeing as Sugg has over 6 million subscribers, I was surprised that this part of her life wasn't utilised in the novel. It's called 'Girl Online' because it's meant to be about a girl who blogs anonymously online, but this only acted as a mere subplot. I was expecting Penny's status as a blogger to play a much bigger role in the storyline, rather than to just be something quirky she did. Also, the panic attacks element to Penny's character was not explained well, which left me feeling very confused whenever they occurred.

Secondly, the romance was ridiculous. Noah, her love interest, is introduced on the first day Penny is in New York and within about six hours, they've fallen in love. They're sharing secrets they've never told anyone else, they're sharing family traditions with each other, though they're practically strangers. Noah was 18 and Penny was only 15, yet her parents were more than happy for her to run about a foreign city with a guy she just met. Hmm.

Along with the insta-love romance, everything just seemed a bit too convenient. Of course this rich American couple are going to pay for her family to have Christmas in New York to plan a wedding. Of course Penny's allowed to bring her best friend with her. It's so realistic that the Porter family got to stay in the states for another week, so Penny could spend more time with Noah(!).

This book was definitely split into distinct parts. The first part, which lasted for about 30% of the novel, was the most banal reading experience ever. Penny told, and didn't show, the reader about her life, family and friends. Some horrific video was posted of her stumbling on stage onto the Internet, so she jetted off to New York to escape it all. New York took up the next 50%, which was probably the best bit, which isn't saying much. Although the romance was so instant and made me roll my eyes too many times, it was still sweet. It had a 'Just One Day' feel to it. As soon as Penny returned home from NYC, the last 20% of the novel was devoted to revealing the promised 'big secret' of the blurb that Noah was hiding. This was interesting, as I'm sure Sugg has experienced online hate, so you could tell Penny's feelings about it were genuine.

I did find it incredibly ironic that once the ghostwriting thing was revealed to the world, Sugg did exactly what Penny did and hid from the online world. Although, it seems Penny had more guts than she did, and overtly, with no shame, told the world her side of the story.

As I said, this book received 1 star. The inserted blog posts from 'Girl Online' were mediocre, the plot was average and predictable. What I thought would be delivered was not. This was generally a 'young adult' novel that only stood out because of the author, not because of the content (and even then, she didn't write it all herself.) For me, this novel faded into the background and was a disappointing read.
Profile Image for celine (celinereads).
67 reviews282 followers
November 16, 2016

ok i'm rating this book purely on entertainment and not about how well it was written or who it was written by... none of that stuff, and i gotta say, this book is pretty darn entertaining. I read the first 100 pages in one sitting and the next 200ish in another sitting and i just couldn't put it down?? it came to a surprise to me because i actually wasn't expecting to like this book as much as i did. I thought this book was addicting and cute and entertaining. I haven't picked up a book since september and this book definitely helped me get out of a slump and fall back in love with reading :)
Profile Image for Sašenka.
380 reviews76 followers
November 24, 2014
I don't care what everybody's going to think about me. Yes it wasn't the most original story. Honestly it was full of clishes and very predictable. But I devoured it almost in one piece. If I'd be 16 i would have melted how sweet this is. (Ok let's admit it, I'm 25 and i was very close to melting) I loved every part of it. Zoe wrote it amazingly. it shows that she has some experience with expressing herself and that she has blog/vlog of her own.
If you are looking for something original, this is not for you. But if you love sweet stories about love, and you don't mind that the age of heroine is 16, I'd say go for it. It's really easy to read. It's really sweet. It has drama. It has a sexy boy with a secret. What more do you need?
One thing is certain for me. I will definitely read next book Zoe will write.
589 reviews1,031 followers
March 14, 2015
See more reviews at YA Midnight Reads

Mini review:

When this book arrived in my mailbox I actually had no idea that this book was written by a "celebrity". Anyway, I soon found out that Zoe Sugg was actually known as 'Zoella' who is a YouTuber and I watched some of her videos and they were pretty cool. I can definitely see why she's become an inspiration to so many others. Unfortunately, Girl Online didn't really reflect much. Instead, I was given a generic story line that was so very predictable.

So predictable to the point where I could almost guess exactly what the main character was going to say when she opened her mouth. Yup.

Furthermore, this book felt awfully "childish" to me. I'm not trying to be condescending or anything but the narrator's voice felt more like a 12 year old as opposed to the 15 year that Penny is meant to be. And this is coming from someone who is a 15 year old (me).

Despite that, the main reason why I actually ended up DNFing this book was because of the great and terrible: instant-love.
Then I do look up, and for a split second we're staring into each other's eyes. And click—I feel another part of me slotting into place with him.

That GIF sums it up just about right. Just NO NO NO.
Profile Image for Ikram.
211 reviews1,279 followers
February 9, 2017
Alright so first things first, here are my thoughts on the ghost writing situation.

So appearently Zoe Sugg AKA Zoella didn’t even write this book herself, she created the characters and the plot but someone else did the actual writing for her.
Well for me it doesn’t really matter who did what at this point because everything about this book was equally meh.

I am not a huge fan of Zoella so I didn’t feel betrayed or anything but I know some people did so that was not cool Zoella, not cool!

Now let’s talk about the actual book:
So girl online is basically a mash up of every cliché that may come to your mind.

➨ High school’s mean girls: This aspect of the book was so over done that it felt really unrealistic to me. Megan’s character (the queen bee) was so flat and one dimensional. Remember High School Musical guys? Remember this one?

That’s Megan’s long lost sister.

➨ The damsel in distress vibe : Penny (the MC) has like no self esteem what so ever, she has a serious lack of confidence and always sees herself as ugly, clumsy …etc but that’s not exactly what bothered me. The thing is that Penny forgets all her insecurities the minute a hot guy tell her she’s pretty or as he beautifully phrased it « you look like a mermaid. »

It shouldn’t be okay for books to tell young girls that they aren’t good enough until a guy says so. This makes me so angry.

➨ The gay best friend: I feel like some books use the gay character just to serve a purpose but not in a realistic way. I think that the story would have worked perfectly even if Eliot was straight but in order to make sure for us readers that Eliot couldn’t be a possible Love interest he “had” to be gay. (I hope this makes sense)

➨ The absence of parents : This was well disguised in this book by them being busy all the time but come on if your daughter was suffering from severe panic attacks, you would probably check on her from time to time, don’t you think ?

➨ Last but certainly not least, THE INSTALOVE : yes, my friends this book was no exception, after hanging out one day together our two characters « liked eachother so much it might be love. »

If I could describe this book in just one word it would be “unrealistic” I mean at some point in the book Penny gets like 10.000 followers on her blog just because she wrote something about facing your fears.

Silver lining: This book smells so good.
Profile Image for Mari.
705 reviews5,021 followers
February 2, 2015

I've never watched any of Zoella's videos and mostly picked it up because of the 2-3 days of, "OMG A GHOSTWRITER?" drama I saw unfolding on Twitter. My impression was kind of that this had been a sensation and people felt cheated because probably Zoe Sugg didn't write it.

Truly, everyone should be up in arms if Zoe paid anyone to write this story for her. To say that it is cliche is putting it mildly. It's not even cliches done right. It feels like a stuffy, old fogey approach to YA cliches. It feels like a completely out of touch person's view of what's popular in YA. Someone who maybe Googled, "what's popular in YA?" who hasn't actually read any of it for themselves.

For example, the main love interest has a crooked smile, OF COURSE. But when it finally shows up, it's not a regular lopsided smile, but it's lopsided and he has "several" dimples. SEVERAL. Like now you are imagining some weirdo with a half frozen face and three holes on either side of his mouth. WTF is going on?

The blog entries were painful. In fact, all of the writing was painful because it was all overly simplistic language. While Penny is young at 15, 15 is not 10 and most of this felt like it could've been written by a 10 year old. Anyone acquainted with blogging or Internet communities probably scoffed at the idea that Girl Online had thousands of followers. Hahahaha. Thousands of followers.

Penny was a shell of a character. She had curly hair! and liked taking pictures! and was clumsy! SO CLUMSY! and had 0 self confidence! and a gay best friend! and an unrequited crush! DID WE MENTION CLUMSY?! Her self worth is almost entirely based on this one dude she knows for a week who tells her she's real pretty like. Don't you just love when girls in books base their self-esteem on boys?

It can't go unsaid either: Penny is 15 and Noah is 18. Just barely getting by the statutory rape laws in New York, but that shouldn't be something you want said about your central love story...

The plot is basically Penny falls down a lot and then goes to New York where she falls in love with an 18 year old who is also famous and problems are almost always solved within two pages and they kiss a lot, the end.

I thought about rating this two stars because I've definitely read worse, but those were actively worse. This kind of matches it for how obviously it was thrown together, hitting all the highlights of what the young'ins might like. To give it two stars and thus say, "it was okay," wouldn't feel honest. This was not okay; I want my money back.

25 reviews2 followers
August 22, 2015
I like Zoe, I really do. And this book wasn't awful, but it wasn't quite as good as it should have been? I'm not sure. I feel like there were so many things that were cringe worthy in this book. The perfect parents, the surprisingly mature four year old, the ridiculous gay best friend, the perfect job opportunity falling into place, the shallow bitch who used to be her friend. There was the obligatory love for her online and the totally end-of-the-world embarrassing moment. But it was too cookie cutter. The anxiety attacks were strangely the only thing that kept this book from being a complete snore. Knowing that it was something personal to Zoe made the character feel a little more real, but it was still so typical.

The writing was alright and the plot wasn't awful, but it was a little bit predictable. It's a cute read, for me it took about 3 hours, but it's not the kind of thing you fall in love with.

I recommend it to fans of Zoe, because they'll be used to her style of writing, and anyone who's looking for an easy read. Don't go to it expecting thick plot, because the end-of-the-world drama lasts about 3 pages before things start to right themselves. Read it for fluff and fun.
Profile Image for Anu.
365 reviews885 followers
July 12, 2020
It's not even funny how right I was about this book. The writing was depressingly juvenile, and it was so chock-full of cliches and purple prose, I wanted to punch a wall. The prose was sickeningly sweet, and dripping in syrupy fakeness. "I like you so much it could be love." Really? Love. You literally just met her. Generally speaking, sixteen-year-olds don't know what the deuce love is, or what the fuck soulmates are, I don't think. I cannot deal with this whole "we're meant 2 b 2gether 4ever" crap from sixteen-year-olds. It is artificial and unrealistic. Obviously I was also not the intended audience for this book. And I have this qualm about "influencers". In that it isn't really a job.

Everyone in this book is so over-dramatic. I felt like everyone was doing a hair-flip each time they talked. Or "sassed", and I use the word "sassed" lightly here. If this was the final, ghost-written product, I do not want to know what Ms. Sugg's original book was like. It is impossible for this to have been worse than it was. It is so hard to believe this was written by an adult; barring trying to sound verbose by saying something was "vacuous" and "inane". A twelve-year-old masquerading as an adult, perhaps. There were so many exclamation points, like OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have many, many pet peeves, and overuse of punctuation is definitely one. No adult I know writes like that. A thirteen-year-old could have written better. This literary catastrophe beat Harry Potter for selling the most number of books in its first week?!! Mother of god.

Its portrayal of high-school life was unnecessarily dramatic and unintentionally funny. I also hated how everything just sort of came together in the end, with no real explanation or solution. Of course, because that's how real life works. Let me tell you how things in this book work: Penny has a problem, Penny feels bad about the problem, Penny blogs about the problem, people apologise to Penny, Penny is perfect once again. Over and over and over again till the end of the damn world.

It didn't even deal with issues like cyber-bullying in a complete, wholesome manner; the issue just came up and faded into black, and everything was back to normal again. Perhaps, maybe, it was a filler? Also, I find the reason for her being bullied awfully silly (not saying that people don't get bullied for silly reasons, just that sensitive issues should be better dealt with in books), and that just one post, one revelation ended it all. That's it. Penny has no online bullies anymore and everyone loves her. NO. It would've been more real if she retained some bullies, if there were people who had a problem with what she was doing. That would've made Penny likeable. But of course, who wants that? Cyber-bullying a sensitive issue, and if you're bringing it up, just go the extra mile and do it right. The same with panic attacks. The inclusion of mental illness in this book was in bad taste, and mostly because like much of anything in this book, it wasn't actually dealt with. I constantly suffer from panic attacks, and I can tell you, nothing works like that.

Penny, hasn't a clue that people can actually suffer from "panic attacks". Which is fine, I guess, until she thinks she's the only one who suffers from them . Oh, and Penny's panic attacks last all about five minutes. What. The. Fuck. No. Panic attacks are not small "oh my god, oh my god, oh my god", followed by complete normalcy. Panic attacks are a serious mental issue that require therapy. People are scared of leaving their house for days, weeks even after panic attacks. Nobody goes cavorting across the Big Apple with their newfound love after one. Research, Ms. Sugg. Do it. It would help you not insult people for whom this is a reality.

The characters weren't exactly appealing either. Penny is a complete airhead, and Elliot is so overtly, fabulously gay, I feel like the sexual identity has been used only to give him "character". Still, Elliot is literally the only sane character in this clusterfuck, and thank god for him, otherwise I'm pretty sure Penny would be lying dead in a dark alley by now. And Noah, picture-perfect and musician extraordinaire, who talks like a twelve year-old boy. The use of "humour" to lighten the situation is laughable, but mostly because every attempt made by the author falls flat. The romantic leads try to be cute and coy with each other, but their attempts are more cringeworthy and childish than anything else. I felt like I was in a high-school drama, and not a good one.

As a girl who's very close to her parents, let me tell you, my healthy relationship with my parents does not stem from them letting me do everything I want, no matter how puerile and vapid my ideas were. It is so because they let me get mad at them for not letting me act out the more idiotic ideas I had when I was younger. If your idea of parenting is all freedom and no restriction, you're seriously doing it wrong. Do you ever read books where everything's been done wrong? This one right here is exhibit A.

I've read high-school dramas that I've really quite enjoyed, and I'm not even talking about the classic ones. Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda was a book that was contemporaneously published. It was a book I truly enjoyed. This book can learn so, so much from that book!

Moral of the story: Not every YouTuber can become a writer, even if her cheering fanbase will buy anything she writes. Zoe Sugg could shit on a sheet and sell it as "literature" (kind of what she did here anyway), and her worshipping fans would buy it all. (This is not me being bitter, this is me weeping for the state of affairs as it exists today.) Also, that I should never waste 260 rupees on crap like this.


Everyone knows how I feel about crappy romance novels, and this has all the signs.

Also, I'm pretty famous in college; can I also release a book that will break all sales records in its first week?
Profile Image for Jamie-leigh Haughn.
168 reviews836 followers
April 13, 2015

This book was SO FREAKIN CUTE! If you are a young teenage girl, you are going to absolutely love this. For me however, I found it a bit too fluffy and way too high school. I really liked Penny as a main character, she was so relatable and adorable. Noah on the other hand I wasn't a huge fan of, he did not act at all like an 18 year old boy, he was way too innocent and child like for me. I think if Penny had been older I would have enjoyed the romance more, but she was only 15 and all I could think was... why is this 18 year old boy going for a 15 year old girl. That personally doesn't sit right with me. I think in general I also have in issue with the whole high school romance in general and deciding you are just SO IN LOVE when you've only just met someone and don't even know their last name. I also found Elliot to be way too dramatic and I found him to be annoying most of the time, though he was overall a good friend, his bouts of jealousy just made me roll my eyes.

I really liked the New York part of this book and I really have to say I didn't see the dramatic parts/twists coming, I thought it added a lot of fun to the story. I was a big fan of the blog aspect and the whole Girl Online thing, it was a great way to relate the story to so many people, and not to mention all the discussion surrounding anxiety. Anxiety is such a common issue that people are afraid to talk about and this highlighted it very well and gave it a normalcy that so many people could relate to.

Overall I would recommend this book if you are younger or if you don't mind high school romance stories, it is adorable and I think it would make an awesome Disney movie!
Profile Image for Katie (Kitkatscanread).
676 reviews168 followers
September 12, 2019
My God!
I didn't expect to enjoy this book as much as I did!
The writing is simple yet unique.
As Zoellas first book it's a great one!
This has definitely become one of my favourite books.
It has inspired me in so many ways. It even made me want to blog again and start a blog about my life. This blog has therefore helped me to deal with my problems and depression, and for that I am so thankful to this book!
I hope Zoe writes many more books.
What a great start!
I know a lot of people are very skeptical of this book because she's on youtube, and she's a beauty vlogger.
"No thanks. Not for me" a lot of people have said.
Don't judge a book until you've read it.
I loved this more than Fangirl.
I reckon this book will surprise a lot of people.
A fantastic contemporary full of fluff and laughter!
I loved it so much!
Profile Image for May.
Author 10 books8,606 followers
August 12, 2015
------------------Es aburrida, superficial y está mal escrita.----------------

Girl online es la novela de la famosísima youtuber británica Zoella. Una novela que está escrita fatal, que tiene una trama floja y que sencillamente no merece la pena. Porque en serio, es malísima.
Partiendo del hecho ya conocido de que no todo el mundo puede escribir y de que ahora todxs lxs youtubers están escribiendo porque sus novelas se pueden volver virales dado a que son personas famosas, realmente cualquiera puede intentar escribir un libro. Cualquiera. Quizás una youtuber de moda famosa tiene una vena artista que desconocía y escribe maravillosamente. Pero no, no es el caso de Zoe Sugg. Zoe Sugg además de escribir fatal le ha dado un argumento al libro flojo, estúpido e infantil.
Yendo por partes, ya que tengo para rato para esta reseña, empecemos por el hecho de que esta novela no la ha escrito Zoe Sugg sola sino que tenía alguien que la escribía con ella aunque ella ha sido la única que se ha llevado el reconocimiento. Ahí lo dejo para quien quiera reflexionar sobre el tema.
La novela parece estar escrita por una niña de ocho años por diversos motivos:
-Trama: la trama es sencilla, lo que a simple vista no es algo malo. Pero es que además de ser sencilla está escrita fatal. La autora no da argumentos que justifiquen ciertos giros que hay en la misma, giros que por tanto se vuelven incoherentes y absurdos. Yo al leerlo estaba como: ¡oh! ¡Plot twist! ¡oh, me sorprende mucho, sí, mm, sí... mm... vale.! La autora no sabe darle giros a la trama y quedan totalmente ridículos. Como si de pronto hubiera tenido una idea y la hubiera escrito en ese momento sin preparar mínimamente al lector.
-Ritmo: el ritmo es de las peores cosas que tiene la novela. Todo pasa rapidísimo. Instalove. Un día conozco a un chico me voy a dar una vuelta y vuelvo a la media hora súper enamorada y sin poder vivir con él. Y literalmente es lo que ocurre. Eso que acabo de resumir en una línea es lo que pasa una y otra vez en la novela. El ritmo es demasiado rápido, todo ocurre sin preparar al lector y al final queda ridículo.
-Prosa: bueno, qué voy a decir. La novela tiene 383 páginas de diálogo y una de descripciones. Porque, en serio, ¿cómo puedes escribir una novela sin descripciones? La protagonista o pensaba en sí misma (ya que tiene bastante ego, aunque la autora no lo pretendiese) o hablaba con lxs demás. Por no hablar de que las pocas descripciones que hay son superficiales y hablan de los colores de las paredes y los muebles.
-Personajes: puf. Qué horror. La protagonista parece un cría de ocho años en casi todos sus comportamientos. Todo lo ve como una niña pequeña. Y realmente por su manera de hablar no es creíble la edad que la autora ice que tiene. Noah, un personaje más plano que una pared y del que el lector debe enamorarse para que haya cierta verosimilitud pero que te deja indiferente. Los personajes están muy mal construidos, no tienen profundidad y comportamientos poco normales para su edad.
En general Girl Online es un intento fallido de convertir a una youtuber en escritora para explotarla y sacar dinero. No me parece mal que lxs youtubers escriban, de hecho muchos de ellxs lo que hacen es adaptar lo que escriben a su personalidad. Tipo: libros de retos, de dibujos... vale. Pero en el caso de Zoe Sugg no han conseguido más que una novela ridícula y que no merece para nada la pena. Es aburrida, superficial y está mal escrita.
Y que conste que la empecé a leer sin ningún tipo de prejuicio ni expectativa, esperando que fuera una novela normal.
Profile Image for Ecmel Soylu.
98 reviews1,466 followers
July 16, 2015
İkilemdeyim, sıkıntı şu: Bu kitap benim sevebileceğim bir kitap değil, dolayısıyla da beğenmedim. Sebeplerini sıralayabilirim; Fazla klişe vardı, aniden aşık olan karakterleri sevmediğimi her fırsatta söylerim ve daha birkaç bir şey. Yazarın hali hazırda yazarlıkla uzaktan yakından alakası olmayan, sevdiğim bir vlogger olması da kitaptan nefret etmememi sağladı. Başarılı bir vlogger, ama yazar değil. Başından beri beklenti yapmadım.
Bu kitabın yazılma amacını az çok anlayabiliyorum. Zoella'nın kendi hayatından bir şeyler kattığını tahmin edebilmek de zor değil ve kitabın bu açıdan özellikle yaşı küçük kesime faydalı olacağını düşünüyorum.
Ana karakter Penny gibi zor dönemler geçiren kızlar için yazılmış hafif bir kişisel gelişim kitabı gibi. Ve faydalı olabileceğini düşünüyorum. 3-4 yıl önce okusaydım severdim, Cindirella masalı gibi çünkü. Gerçek olamayacak kadar uçuk ama okuyunca mutlu oluyorsunuz ve umutlanıyorsunuz.
Kitabı hiç sevmedim ama bu benim tarzım ve hoşlandığım bir konu değil. Beklentiniz yukarıda yazdıklarım gibiyse, mutlu olmak için izlediğiniz Amerikan filmleri gibi bir şey okumak istiyorsanız veya Penny ile empati kuracağınızı düşünüyorsanız tavsiye edebilirim.
Profile Image for julia ✨.
271 reviews
December 4, 2014
If you are looking for a cheesy, unrealistic and predictable book then you should definitely pick this up.

The main character, Penny, was annoying as hell. She was a clumsy, awkward and selfish little girl who seemed to only ever think about herself. The other characters were so cliché - a gay best friend, an ex-best friend who's some 2.0 copy of Regina George from Mean Girls and a love interest that's basically her knight in shining amour. REALLY?

Noah's secret wasn't hard to guess. If you think this book includes a major plot twist then you're wrong. I already made an assupmtion of what his "secret" could be on page 100 something and guess what? I was right, of course. I don't think it's going to be a surprise for anyone, because the whole damn world has figured it out, except Penny.

2 stars because I kind of enjoyed some parts of it. Tiny parts, though (I'm actually embarrassed to admit it okay).
Profile Image for Tabatha.
211 reviews88 followers
December 4, 2014
You can find the full review on my blog, as well as many other reviews!

I know what people are going to say. They're going to say that Zoe Sugg only got a book deal because she's deemed famous now, and that she doesn't deserve to be published as much as some other people do. They'll say it's unfair. I disagree.

Now before anyone starts furiously typing that I'm wrong, I'd like you to consider this: Everyone deserves to succeed. Yes, I agree that it is unfair that many people are unpublished. And yes, Zoe was fortunate enough to be approached concerning a publication deal. However, these two things are not mutually exclusive. Penguin didn't decide to only publish books by Zoe Sugg. It they had I'm sure they'd of changed their name by now to Penguinella or something equally as amusing. She didn't steal someone's spot on the shelves of book stores.
She earned it, as did all the other writers who's books sit beside hers.

Right, now that we've established this, let's move on to what's really important: the actual content of the book.

I won't say that Girl Online is the best book I've ever read because that would be a lie. I read around 100 books a year, and while that may not seem like a lot to some of my fellow book reviewers out there, I feel that based on that number I can safely say that I know a good book when I see one. Well.. when I read one.

For me, Girl Online was a great book. It had everything I look for in a Young Adult novel. An interesting plot, a protagonist I could relate to and character development. Admittedly it wasn't flawless. I personally found it to be predictable at times and a little cheesy, but then that's really not uncommon for Young Adult reads. I found it heart warming and enjoyed the book as a whole, and honestly? I'd read it again in a heartbeat.

This read was a little different for me. Like most people, I like to immerse myself into a different world when I read, and so the majority of the books that I choose to read aren't based in the UK because I find it hard to fully immerse myself in a book when things seem too familiar.. (Is this just me? Let me know in the comments!)

I think it probably goes without saying that Girl Online hit a little close to home for me. I mean the protagonist is a teenage Brit who suffers from anxiety, has next to no self esteem, is incapable of talking to members of the opposite sex and blogs. I mean honestly, if my name was in the dictionary that would be  it's definition.

Note to self: Stop being so honest.

And whilst Girl Online does maintain a Young Adult vibe through the romance aspect of the novel and the writing as a whole, Zoe addresses some topics that are very important to me, such as anxiety and cyberbullying and the effects that they can have on an individual.

So to conclude, I'd recommend Girl Online to anyone who's looking for an easy romantic read. If you like Sarah Dessen or Cathy Cassidy then I'd say this is definitely one for you!

Have a lovely day wherever you are!

Over & Out, T xx

I seriously cannot wait!
The plot sounds epic and Zoe's blog is phenominal so I already know I'll love the writing!

If any of you were unfamiliar with her, where have you been for the past few years? And here are the links to her blog and youtube channel:


*Promptly recommends to all goodreads friends*

Over & Out, T xx
Profile Image for Katie.
390 reviews
November 21, 2014
First let me say, I love Zoe. I am a HUGE fan of hers and I love the light and positive vibes she puts in this world.

Now, I read this as an ARC copy from the book store I work for. So, here is my honest review. I wanted to love this. I really REALLY did because I love Zoe SO SO much but it disappointed me. (I feel awful saying this). I read a LOT of Young Adult and I know they all follow pretty much the same format. Girl Online, was a little TOO fluffy for me. The beginning was a bit awkward and hard to get through. There was just not the flow between thoughts like you see in people trained to write. It was a bit disjointed. My main worry is that a lot of her US fans will not be as familiar with the British colloquialisms as I am (because I am obsessed with all things UK). I don't know if her publishers will do what J.K. Rowling's American publishers did and change the wording because some of it would make no sense if changed into an American context.

I will say though, the last few chapters and the ending were wonderful. I did really enjoy the book the further I got in to it. Overall, I still think every teenage girl that watches Zoella or More Zoella will absolutely love this book.
Profile Image for The Y.A. Bookworm Blogger.
175 reviews1,137 followers
November 25, 2014
Cute, adorable, quirky, romantic, funny, emotional, I could go on!! This is the kind of chick-lit novel I've been wanting to find for quite some time!

As a fan of both Zoella and YA books, I was a little scared that mixing two things I love would end in disappointment....thankfully this wasn't the case! I was thoroughly impressed with Zoella's writing and ability to create a character like Penny who is so loveable! Even though I predicted early on what Noah's secret was, I found myself flying through Girl Online. Oh, and the fact that it was located in London & New York made me love this book even more...I especially enjoyed the real-life landmarks/locations Zoella chose to insert into the story :D

Girl Online, although a pretty light read, also deals with some more serious issues like bullying, growing up and anxiety; I think readers will really appreciate this added bit of depth that these issues bring to the story. And of course, how can I forget the romance! Noah is all kinds of yummy in that delicious looking cupcake kind of way and I loved the positive change he brings to Penny's character!

Side Note: How adorable is this cover?!?! Seriously, I can't get enough of it!

Extra Side Note: After reading this book I've decided that I want my very own Noah and Elliot....This! Must! Happen!
1 review1 follower
November 25, 2014
If you ignore all the high ratings of the minions and go into reading this with the mindset that it is just a YA book then you will be rather disappointed. This is just the same run of the mill, teen girl falls in love but has a secret kind of book that youve read before, theres nothing substantial or new in it. If you want an easy read then sure go ahead, but the book itself is rather dull and one that i couldnt wait to finish just so that i wouldn't have to read it again or spend any longer dwelling on it. It boring, dull, unoriginal and not very well thought out. Could be good for pre teens but definitely not for anyone older than that.
Profile Image for Julie.
267 reviews118 followers
Want to read
August 23, 2014

I hope this lives up to my expectations. They're not ridiculously high at the moment but please let it be a decent, non insta-love, non-generic addition to the trillions of contemporary YA novels at the moment.
Profile Image for Pinky.
507 reviews352 followers
June 10, 2015
This was a nice, quick read. It was fast- pace but very predictable. I liked the idea of the story but I picked a lot of things that I read in other books from this book. But although it was cliche and predictable, I actually enjoyed this book. It's cool that Zoella wrote her first book and it was a huge success. I watch a few of her videos.

This book follows an anonymous blogger named Penny, who goes by Girl Online on her blog. On this blog, Penny could be herself and say anything she wants without having people judge her. None of her friends except her best friend Elliot know about her blog. Her best friend, Megan changed completely and not in a good way. She is going through many struggles like panic attacks, after a car accident. Her parents own a wedding business. So when Penny's parents ask her to leave to New York with them for one of their job orders, Penny is hesitant about going. But when Penny finally decides to go, she meets Noah there. Noah is a sweet guy who is super nice and understands what Penny is going through and never judges her. But he has a secret and Penny doesn't know, and this secret could change Penny's life.

To be honest, I wasn't planning on reading this book even though it had positive reviews. My friends explained that it was a cliche book and they doubted that I would like it. But I enjoyed it but I didn't love it. I loved the idea of the protagonist having a blog and everything. Sometimes, when I read this book, I felt like this is how Zoella felt about her viewers and how the comments on her videos make her feel. I like the idea of keeping the blog anonymous.

I liked the characters but I am not that attached to the characters. I really liked Tom but we didn't get to read a lot about him. But he is an overprotective older brother. Whenever I read books with these types of brothers, I always wish I had an older brother. I felt that Penny uses her best friend when she needs something and treats him like garbage. Whenever she is with Noah, she ignores Elliot, although she only met the guy two days ago. Elliot was an easy-going friend and I hated to see him being treated like this, he didn't deserve it. Bella was super cute in this book!! Sometimes, I thought that Penny was really dumb because it was really obvious about who Noah was. There were so many signs and clues but she couldn't figure out. Noah was super nice and understood Penny and I understand why he did what he did..

The plot is very obvious and predictable, as I have mentioned before. The writing style was different and nice, it was written really smoothly.

I would recommend this to anyone who is a huge Zoella fan. Also, I would recommend this to those who like cliche novels with romance.

P.S, did you notice that a lot of youtubers are releasing new books? Which one is your favorite so far?
Profile Image for Taylor.
767 reviews420 followers
June 24, 2015
I'd seen a little bit about this book on Instagram but I heard a lot about it after it become known that it's ghost written. I didn't see a lot of good reviews for this book but I still thought I would give it a chance.

Right away, I noticed how poorly written Girl Online was. I can't really pinpoint what it was but the whole book was just off for me. It just didn't work for me. I think this would be a great book for young girls who are just getting into the Young Adult genre that don't want a massive fantasy book to tackle. It's fairly short and overall, it was nice but after the first 20 pages, I spent days doing everything I could to avoid reading this book.
For me personally, I didn't like this book. But I can completely understand why some people do. I'm a very critical reader so this book just wasn't for me.
Profile Image for mandi✨.
137 reviews21 followers
August 8, 2015
This was so adorable and so much fun! Although it was predictable and the writing was nothing astounding I found myself falling in love with the story and in love with the characters anyway. This book kept me smiling and left me wanting more in the best way possible. Definitely a really fun read.
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