Monday, January 19, 2015

YA Book Pick: Girl Online

Once a month, we choose an outstanding YA book to review. We want to spotlight books of interest to aspiring writers, as well as highlight some of our favorite books and authors!

This month's book pick is Girl Online by Zoe Sugg and Siobhan Durham  

Girl Online Cover
Synopsis (from Goodreads):

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.

Highlights

Zoe Sugg is in reality a self made success.  She is only twenty-four but already an online blogger sensation with over six million subscribers (and counting) on her YouTube channel.  The stuff she blogs about is what tickles any teenage girl - fashion, hair, make-up to name a few.  But she also chronicles her own experience with panic attacks which makes her real and honest to her fans. 

Co-written by Siobhan Durham (a scandal in itself since it was just recently announced that Sugg had a ghost writer), the novel nevertheless stays true to who Zoe (or Zoella for those who follow her online) is and what her brand is about.  

The story may not be entirely original, but it speaks to its audience in a way only someone who's close to their age can.  It's cheery and sweet in that Zoella kind of a way and feels at times like the story is an extension of her persona. 
Zoe Sugg

Notes for Writers

As mentioned above this debut novel has created many polar opinions - especially when Durham was not originally mentioned in the press as the ghostwriter.  It wasn't until recently that her name was added to Goodreads.  

This is a great case study in examining the severity of the backlash that can happen when an author is not upfront with its audience - especially one so comfortable navigating the web. The online attack was fast and vicious and elicited quick responses from Sugg and Curham (who had nothing but positive things to say about Sugg).  While it hasn't hurt sales, it has nevertheless tarnished Sugg's reputation and more importantly, her brand.

A Good Read For:  

Fans of Zoella (of course) and anyone who just wants to enjoy a light read about today's teen perhaps under a beach umbrella or snuggled warm beside a fire. 

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