Image from Goodreads

Image from Goodreads

Title: Girl Online
Author: Zoe Sugg
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: November 2014
Source: Library Copy
Rating: 3.5/5

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. 


Penny Porter has two places where she can be totally honest: with her trusty best friend Elliot and on her blog as Girl Online. Girl Online allows her to write about her crazy family, secret crush and awkward anxiety anonymously. When Penny’s mother’s business is taken to New York for Christmas time, Penny’s world is turned upside down when she meets a mysterious musician named Noah. Penny is forced to leave her love behind; back home and flooded with a new found confidence, Penny is left to cope with her wobbling friendship with Elliot, spiteful ex-friends and nosy ex-crushes when news comes out about her relationship with a somewhat famous “Noah Flynn” and her secret identity hangs in the balance.

This modern novel narrates as Penny struggles through anxiety, bad friendships and videoed embarrassment that goes viral.  The style of writing used allows the reader to really connect with the main character. It is from a single point perspective and includes occasional blog posts and text message conversations. The language used suits that of an adolescent and the book is really aimed at readers of the same age. This book could be viewed as having an immature writing style but with mature themes. It balances ordinary teen problems with extraordinary happenings well and is so cliché at times that it really does have a ‘fairy tale’ feel about it- hence the slight immaturity.

This book felt unplanned. Almost like it involves too many themes and complicated aspects, I found myself craving a single and solid story/problem to follow. I only really found this in the middle part of the book for about 100 pages. The start and the conclusion felt unplanned and messy and this book felt rushed and lacked in detail towards the end. There isn’t much else that I would actively change about this book. I specifically enjoyed the aforementioned ‘middle part’. This was the love story element that felt carefully intertwined with her struggles in anxiety and balancing friendships.

I think I would only be interested in reading more from this author if the work was a sequel. I did enjoy the storyline in Girl Online and I’d love to know more but Zoe Sugg’s writing wouldn’t be enough to make me read something of hers.

I would recommend this to teenagers, females specifically, who enjoy the more funs things in life. This isn’t a novel isn’t a heavy read, more like some nice fun. Also, anyone who suffers anxiety would benefit from this book. It contained moderate bad language but nothing too bad. It also was free of any mature themes and would be suitable from about age 11+.

I would rate this 3.5 of 5 stars. The main storyline was fun and gripping but messy and the writing style was uplifting but immature in places. If you’re looking for a young, light read, try this.