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.
There was a lot of controversy surrounding this book when it came out last year and I decided to ignore it all and make my own opinion on this book. Only it’s content, the story. I ignored author’s name, other people’s reviews, advertisements, even the cover. I wanted to judge this book only for what it is. Just pages full of words. But damn, it was hard.
First I have to say something that really bothered me throughout this book. IT SO FUCKING UNREALISTIC! Sorry for the language. But from the very beginning everything was so unbelievable and I was constantly rolling my eyes. There is no possible way that someone is that clumsy and that unlucky. Later, it became only less and less realistic. Especially with the romance. Okay, I’ll admit, the romance was cute and I was totally rooting for them, but the fact something like that never happens in real life really pissed me off. I know, other YA contemporaries are not the most realistic thing in the world, but this was just too much. Also, the entire book is full of drama that was mostly completely unnecessary. I liked the blogging aspect, but in my opinion, the potential of it was not completely used. It just ended up being more drama. I flew through last 100 pages (and forgot that I have to make lunch, so my mom was mad, but whatever) because I had to know how it would all end. I think I mentioned how unrealistic this book is, but that ending… THIS DOES NOT HAPPEN IN REAL LIFE! Yeah, it was cute, it did make me happy and all that, but so unbelievable. In my opinion, it would be a lot cooler if we got a heartbreaking ending. THAT would be real. I started rambling. I should stop.
I really could not connect with Zoe. I mean, Penny. Yeah, you could totally tell Penny was based on Zoe. She was trying to be so relatable and loveable, but she was just too much for me and she really annoyed me. Not because she was clumsy, not because her love story was unrealistic, not because she managed to embarrass herself in any occasion, not because she was selfish etc. but because she was stupid and her decisions didn’t make any sense. She always jumped to conclusions instead of talking to people first (but hey, then we wouldn’t have so much drama, right?) and she found it the easiest to just sit and cry, complaining about everything and feeling sorry for herself. I do appreciate the try of making a somewhat unique protagonist with anxiety problems, but again, the potential of that topic was not used completely. The only thing I really liked about Penny was her love for photography. That was the only thing that made me connect with her a bit.
I don’t know how I feel about Noah. When he first showed up, and also pretty much throughout the whole book, I really liked him. He’s so cute, nice and amazing. The problem is, he’s not real. Though I guessed his secret right away (it was just way too obvious), it didn’t really bother me that much. That made him even more perfect than he already was. What bothered me was how it all played out after Penny found out, but I think I already mentioned that. Oh, I almost forgot. Am I the only one who thought his character was loosely based off Justin Bieber? Guess Zoe just had to ruin his character for me…
When it comes to Penny’s family, they were all so loving and amazing and awesome and… you guessed it – unrealistic.
Elliot was probably the most interesting character in this book, but it really bothered me that he was this stereotypical gay best friend. He was so cool, but I wish he was a bit more original and different. I also don’t understand why did Panny hang out with Megan and all the other idiots when she had Elliot, but whatever.
Oh, the writing. I hated it. First, it was so juvenille and fake. Author was really trying to sound realatable and cool, but it turned out wrong in so many ways. Second, I really didn’t like the way blog posts were written. Way too childish for my taste, and Penny is supposed to be only a year younger than I am now. I already mentioned the drama and how improbable the whole book is, so I’m not going to say it again. Maybe. It also really bothered me how everything was so stereotypical and the lack of uniqueness and originality was very obvious. There was not a single thing in this book which I haven’t already seen in some other book. Another thing, am I the only one who thought this book felt like unsuccessful fanfiction?
I’ll just quickly mention my opinion on the entire ghost-writing controversy. How I see it, Zoe wrote a book, it got to the publisher, but it probably wasn’t the best so the editor made some major changes to make it better, becuase you can totally tell which part are written by a person with experience, and which by an amateur. But it’s very clear that this book sells out so well only because of Zoe’s name on the cover and nothing else.
Okay, after reading all this, you probably think I hate this book. I don’t. I actually really enjoyed it, it was a fun, quick and cute read, but it definitely wasn’t the best thing in the world. As you may tell, I had a lot of problems with it, but while I was reading, these didn’t bother me as much becuase I was really emersed to the story. Only now when I started thinking more about it, I realized how bad it actually is. However, I would still recommend it. Why? Well, it’s fun. I’m glad I read it because I was very curious and now I can finally have my own opinion on it. That feels nice. Oh, and one more thing. I just found out there is going to be a sequel and I just wanted to tell you that I will be picking it up when it comes out because there is definitely material for the sequel. I’m looking forward to this Valentine’s Day in New York (because I’m assuming that’s what the next book is going to be all about) and even more drama.
P. S. Now I’m really tempted to write xxx at the bottom. Damn you, Penny.