Title: Girl Online: On Tour
Author: Zoe Sugg

Publisher: Puffin Books
Reviewed By: MAGGY LIU

 

Admittedly, it has been a while since I would stay after school at the library, spending hours bingeing on the drama of everyday life – boys, friendships, self-discovery…

Girl Online: On Tour, the highly anticipated follow-up to YouTuber Zoella’s successful debut novel didn’t exactly bring me any feelings of nostalgia. However, it did help me appreciate the evolution of the genre and how it reflects the social media world we live in today.

Zoella’s second novel boils down to a generic young adult romance drama that has a very specific and focused target audience that I don’t fall into, but there’s nothing wrong with that.

As Penny, a blogger who suffers from anxiety, goes on tour with her rockstar boyfriend, Noah, she realises that things don’t always go as smoothly as planned.

I didn’t like Penny more times than I would like to admit, because she was often weak and needed to be saved by Noah. Oftentimes this feeling of disappointment would be accompanied with guilt, as I didn’t know if I should feel bad for not liking her – perhaps I was being insensitive towards the internal turmoil people suffering from anxiety truly face. I would have related better to a stronger female character who stood up for herself when pushed to the edge, instead of crumbling time and time again.

I appreciated the integration of text messages and blog posts written by Penny. That was innovative, and gave out information clearly and quickly when necessary. Plus, some blog posts actually had very useful advice for teenagers, like how to survive exams, or heartbreak.

However, this was taken too far at times. I don’t know if it’s due to this book being written by Zoella, someone whose job it is to connect with her audience through the web, or if it’s a common trait of all young adult books these days, but I found the brand-dropping and pop culture references littering the book jarring and redundant. It was almost as if the audience needed to be reminded that the book is here to ‘connect with the youth’ every few lines. Examples include ‘memory as long as Snapchat’, direct messaging through Twitter and Kimye.

If you’re looking for something revolutionary, you’ll probably be disappointed by Girl Online: On Tour. If you’re looking for a book with believable characters, you’ll be disappointed. If you’re looking for a young adult romance novel that actually integrates some important life lessons for teenagers presented in an interesting format with integrated texts and blog posts, consider giving this book a go.

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