I started watching Zoe Sugg (aka Zoella)'s videos back in around 2010/11. I've always loved her videos and I've always looked up to her in a way; she is someone I aspire to be like. I am so proud of her for hitting 7 million subscribers. It really is an amazing achievement! She clearly puts so much hard work into all of the things she does; not just videos alone, but other projects too. Like Girl Online!
I know there has been some stigma about this book and who exactly wrote it. This isn't what this blog post is going to be about, but I thought I would express my opinions anyway, even if they are similar to a lot of other peoples.
Zoe is not an author. She is a Youtuber, and that is her job, that is how she makes her living. She has a passion for writing, sure, but that isn't her profession. Therefore, she hasn't had much experience in that department. Many authors use ghost-writers, for help and inspiration. Lots of celebrities use ghost-writers for their autobiographies, because writing isn't their main choice of work.
Zoe thanked her ghostwriter - Siobhan Curham - in her Acknowledgements at the end of the book, so it isn't like she completely ignored the fact that she did get help.
I don't believe the whole book was entirely written by Siobhan because I could clearly see Zoe's own personality and flair in the writing, as well as the mention of things Zoe enjoys or relates with which only she could write about herself to really express how she felt - through the eyes of Penny.
Anyway, I thought this book was amazing. I'm not going to add any spoilers because I think that's unfair. I was surprised that I didn't find any spoilers on the internet whilst I was reading the book, as Zoe's fanbase is huge and I think every girl/boy and their mothers probably owned this book as soon as it came out!
At first, I didn't really have many huge expectations. It felt quite cliche and corny, to be completely honest. But, before you all send me hate messages, once I got into it, it really turned itself around and became an amazing book. A lot of authors place their plot twists in the middle of the book, but with Girl Online, the plot twist didn't come until quite near the end. I had to fight the urge to flick to the back of the book to find out what happened, because I couldn't wait. I stuck it out though and connected with the characters more and more, through all the twists and turns - which can I add, there were many plot twists!
Zoe included many issues which teenagers face today. From panic attacks and the struggles of coming to terms with your sexuality, to finding out your 'friends' aren't really your true friends, the book covered a lot of topics - which I could relate to on different levels. I think that's what made this book so enjoyable for me. I've never read a book which made me feel like I was in a certain situation. At one point, I was that engrossed that when something bad happened, I started to feel really hot and flustered, and it felt like once I put the book down, I would have to face what Penny was facing! That may not make a lot of sense, but if you've read the book, you might be able to relate.
There was a lot of hidden advice throughout the book, which Noah gave to Penny or which Penny gave to her readers of her blog, "Girl Online". The advice will probably stick with me forever, and if I ever have a bad day, I'm certain my mind will cast back to the book and some of the tips in it.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think Zoe signed a two book contract with Penguin, so hopefully she will bring out a sequel to Girl Online because I literally can't wait to find out what happens next with all the characters, especially Penny, Noah and Elliot.
Have you read the book? If you have, who is your favourite character and why?
(No spoilers please, unless you state "spoiler alert", I don't want to ruin the book for people who haven't read it yet!)