Girl Online: The First Novel by Zoella Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2019-08-27 
Review Score: 4 out of 5 star From 198 user ratings

"This book is great if you're 12. If you're a grown woman, this book is, at best, a mediocre Mary Sue.

Beware, spoilers lay ahead.

Misunderstood blogger meets the guy of her dreams and surprise! He's a famous rock star who knows exactly how to handle her frequent panic attacks from day one AND his family just loves her! He's enamored with plain, average Penny. And then, another shocker, Penny ends up ditching her best friend for this guy. And then due to a massive misunderstanding, they break up, but it's okay, they get back together at the end. And she repairs her friendship, too. Life is grand for Penny. It's just so formulaic and exactly what you'd expect from any Mary Sue. This book could have been great if it were written for young women and actually had a message for them.

For someone that has never been to NYC, Zoe sure knows a lot of the ins and outs of the city. Imagine me giving you a pointed look here. Two stars, because her ghostwriter did an okay job telling a story and it was an easy, quick read.
" said.

"Before I start analysing, I watch Zoella's videos.

They're entertaining, and Zoella herself is a lovely person. I'm your average teen, so please don't take these reviews too seriously; they aren't professional. It's just my personal opinion.

The thing with this book is that the only reason it gained popularity is because of its author - the fabulous, YouTube sensation: Zoella (Zoe Sugg).

Now, Zoella is an incredibly talented beauty artist, there's no denying that, but I can confidently claim that her book was no where near incredible. Nope, nope, nope ... just, come on, guys ... NO.

Tell me, if this book was written by anybody else, would it still be the first thing you pick up? Would it be the thing that caught your eye amongst hundreds of other, different books?

The answer is no.

You bought it because of Zoella or the hype around it, once again caused by it's famous author. Even if it were literally the worst book in the universe, it would still receive praise, because of her status.

Quick Review:

This book was not very good.

To be honest, I would say that it didn't even classify as a good book. It was okay ... nothing special.

But, it wasn't the worst thing I read either.

Personally, the writing was quite plain (I couldn't find a different adjective to describe her writing style).

However, I need to praise Zoella for something: she gave some very good psychological tips, which actually help me in moments of stress. It might be a personal thing.

Overall, it was a very light, quick read.

It's a book that doesn't stay with you for long; it doesn't linger at the back of your mind. Once, I put it down, I started thinking about something else and didn't pause to analyse its content.

So, strictly speaking, it was one of those books that fit in the middle, on your bookshelf, squashed in between other similarly powerless books.


• Some descriptions are quite appealing, despite the fact that they were usually written in very simple language. But, simple can be good at times. If you've just finished reading a heavy, dense, description packed book - this might be the perfect relief you're looking for.

• The novel takes place in New York during Christmas. Snow crumbled streets, city lights, high end fashion anyone?

• Penny had her flaws, which I admire. Perfect, flawless book characters don't build a lot of sympathy. And, I actually liked her as a character.

• The psychological advice works in some circumstances. Sugg wrote about imagining the fear as a shape in your stomach, and repeating the phrase 'It will be okay' over and over in your head, imagining the shape getting smaller, until it finally vanishes and the worry disappears along with it. I use this method a lot when I get stomach aches. It doesn't always work - but, come on, it's a pretty original tip. Thanks, Zoe.

• Penny's confidence rises throughout, which I find to be inspiring and motivational. It's great to read about characters that overcome personal barriers, despite uncertainty and fear.

• The blog aspect is original and refreshing. I like when YA books contain some interesting features, such as text messages, letters, emails, lists. And the blog aspect was, in my opinion, a great idea.


• Noah is a cliche. Sadly, I have to admit that Noah's overall appearance and personality are nothing other than your regular, famous 'rock star' bling bling boy. His character had no originality; I would have wanted him to be a little more authentic. Of course, that doesn't stop me from liking him. Oops. I just kinda get attached to characters despite circumstances, okay?!

• The writing isn't impressive. You can easily guess who's telling the story: Zoella. Not Penny. That's a huge mistake. Penny's voice should be distinguished, and it should feel as though she's behind those pages. But no, I could easily tell there was an adult writing this. That doesn't seem very professional.

•It's a little unrealistic. Now, if this were a fantasy, that would be no problem. But, this book is labeled as a YA contemporary. I get that it's meant to be all 'cute', to show people that miracles really do happen everyday - but it really was at times, a little unrealistic. Like, who drinks their coffee with five spoonfuls of sugar? That doesn't actually happen in the book, by the way, I'm just using it as a comparison.

• To be frank with you, there's another character who's a cliche. Elliot. Don't get me started on him. His whole personality rolls around the fact that he's gay. It should NOT be like that. Elliot is my favourite character, though; his humour is the thing that keeps this book going. Now, I might be a little too picky here, and it might seem like I'm intentionally wracking my brain looking for negatives, but I thought I'd make this review as informative and personal, as possible. Of course, you and many others, might be of a different opinion to me, and might interpret Elliot's character differently.

There you go! Here's a very honest review. To sum all this up, this book nicely fits into the OKAY category on my shelf. What do you guys think about it? Was it worth the hype?
" said.

"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.
" said.

" 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?
" said.

"I have to be honest: this book isn't for me. It's very unlikely that I would have picked it up myself but thanks to the publisher, I got a copy for review, so I could give it a try. I'm not a Zoella fan or really that into that side of Youtube, but I was at least curious about the blogging and anxiety aspect. I liked the former - it's something I could relate to in a sense, as a blogger myself. Everything else? Hmm...

When it got to NYC, Noah and insta-love, I decided to leave it there. It's not something I particularly care for or want to spend more time on. I had my reservations about it initially for a number of reasons, but I'm satisfied at giving it a go and admitting it's not for me.

This book gave me flashbacks to the kinds of books I read a lot as a "tween" - like Louise Rennison's books with the Englishness, humour, romance, etc. So maybe the same Becki that read those kind of books would have liked this? While it's not going to be one of those books I'm ever going to rave about, I think to some readers it will be a cute, fun read. It's very cliche in many ways and it didn't feel like anything groundbreaking, but for what it is and for its target audience (plus the following Zoella has) I can see why many readers have responsed the way they have. It's just disappointing to hear about the writing.
" said.

" 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. " said.

"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.
" said.

"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!
" said.

January 2020 New Book:

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