The cover markets the book really well. From the pastel blue background, swirly pink font, heart drawing and photographs, it’s easy to tell that this is a light YA romance set in the real world. I don’t like the cover personally, but that’s more to do with the fact that I never look out for this genre.
The protagonist is a shy fifteen-year-old called Penny Porter. The only time she feels authentic is when she’s writing her blog. The other characters are her friends, her frenemies, her family, and the people she meets when she goes to America.
I didn’t really connect with anyone in this story. Some of them had moments of being okay – but only moments. Megan was probably my favourite, partially because she was so unapologetically demanding, nasty and confident; partially because she moved every bit of the plot in the story – she was the recurrent inciting incident – so as a character she worked.
Penny. While Megan owns her awfulness, Penny seems to think that she’s a wonderful person. Despite the fact that she genuinely has no idea what’s going on in her best friend’s life and, in fact, forgets about him at significant moments without ever seeming to feel guilty about it. Oh, and she lies to him – about things that make no sense to lie about.
Things aren’t going well for Penny. Her school-friend, Megan, is being crueller to her than usual. She keeps embarrassing herself in front of Ollie, the guy she has been crushing on but who is way out of her league (and possibly a little too in love with himself). At least she has her best friend, Elliot; and her blog.
When Penny’s parents have the chance to fly them all to America, it may be the answer to all of Penny’s problems or her worst nightmare.
It’s a rocky journey, but the end delivers everything the cover promises. Light, fluffy romance galore.
I’m significantly outside of the target audience and, with this book at least, it shows. It wasn’t my thing. It felt a little like the author/s threw every romantic movie/book cliché ever in there and hoped that it would all work out. There were moments of genuine sweetness; Elliot helping Penny overcome her fears by teaching her about superhero alter egos was cute. Less cute is the fact that while Penny is the central character she initiates no action.
“…don’t you just love the way photos are able to freeze special moments in time forever?”
I loved that Zoe and the publishers held a competition for her followers to add an image to the cover of her book, for both the US and the UK editions. Daisy Trodd’s picture of the Brighton Carousel is on the cover of the copy I own. Zoe’s personality comes through in the instagram type pictures and fairy lights. The font is bright and airy. The background is a pretty duck egg blue. Over all it is very relevant for the story inside and visibly fresh.
There are really no surprises to be found, bullies, cute guy, loving yet slightly distant parents, great best friend and our introverted leading lady.
Elliot has to be my favourite because he’s what I’d want in a best friend.
Ollie, oil isn’t as slippery as that sucker.
Penny is making her way through life in high school and starts an anonymous blog to sort through her angst. Her parents are contracted to organise an event in the US.
Penny, her best friend, Elliot, and her parents head to the US, and Penny meets Noah.
Expected, but still enjoyable.
I enjoyed this book for its light and airy feel. I like the journey of self discovery Penny goes on. The themes of cyber bullying and dealing with fame are covered and though both are quite vicious, I was able to find an abundance of positivity.
“OK, from now on can you please just assume that my response to anything you say is prefixed with a “WTF”!” ~ Elliot talking to Penny.
The cover of the book reminds me of a background image on what we may find today on a blog online. It fits the story perfectly.
Penny and Noah are the main characters, but we also get to get to know Elliot (Penny’s best friend) very well and he’s a great side character.
Noah was my favorite character, his story is very touching. I felt he added a lot to the character growth of Penny. The story really wouldn’t be as thought provoking without him.
Megan. There is always a mean girl and she fits the bill. Her actions are all selfish and she seems to relish in the drama.
Penny decides to start an anonymous blog and a place that she would feel more comfortable writing her feelings. Anonymously.
Penny is a quiet, self conscious girl who tends to stay out of the crowd; she’s insecure and only comfortable with her close family and best friend. They take a trip from the UK to the US as Penny’s mom gets a job assignment, and they are lucky enough to stay for a week or so over the Holiday season.
With the help and encouragement of Noah, Penny learns how to focus on what is important to her in life and become more self aware and positive.
I thought that this was a very cute story. It relayed a very important storyline of staying strong, positive and courageous when times get hard. Sure, it’s unlikely that any of us would go through the extreme publicity that Penny goes through in this story. But we all can relate to her story in some way; not only being unsure about yourself, but how staying positive on a daily basis is hard! Sometimes turning everything off is the best coping method, but no matter who the bullies or haters are, your personal willingness to persevere and communication is the key. Surrounding yourself with people who really want the best for you is best and staying as true to yourself as possible. These are the things that I walked away with from this story, and I am impressed with the way this book handled these hard subjects.
“Every time you post something online. You have a choice, you can either make it something that adds to the happiness levels in the world or you can make it something that takes away from them. I tried to add something by starting girl online and for a while it really seemed to be working. So next time you go to post a comment and update or share a link, ask yourself is this going to add to the happiness in the world, and if the answer is going to be no, please delete there is enough sadness in the world today, you don’t need to add to it.”
Today the norm is social media. Online security, privacy and anonymity are all subjects up for discussion with people of all ages. In today’s world do you believe that subjects of online security and privacy should be taught at school?
Zoella makes no secret of her anxiety attacks and how she manages them, both in the book, in her YouTube videos and on her blog. Do you have anything special you do to beat the stress?
Do you think the book glossed over the cyber-bullying a little too much?
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published November 25th 2014 by Atria / Keywords Press (first published January 1st 2014)
ISBN 0141357274 (ISBN13: 9780141357270)