Girl Online On Tour

Right now there are more Youtuber Books out than I can count on both of my hands and feet. It´s absolutely crazy! But I am all for #TeamInternet and I actually like many of the books I have read. Be prepared for a lot of book reviews coming your way. At the start of the year I reviewed Zoella´s first novel Girl Online and now there´s a second part out already. Of course I have to speak my mind about this one as well. So grab yourself a cookie and a tea and settle in, this is going to be a longer post.

P.S. I´m doing my best to keep this spoiler-free

This book comes with 338 pages of story divided into 59 chapters. I think the chapters are all of a great length because the shortness means you can easily stop reading ever so often and don´t have to wait till the end of the chapter. In general, Zoe takes up themes that are very modern and fit in a young teenage girl´s life today such as social media, the first boyfriend and anxiety. I really like the many links to modern technology because it speaks so much more to the generation now.

The Characters

In the second novel we meet many characters of the first book again. Obviously there´s Penny and her family as well as her best friend Elliot. Some other school friends are mentioned as well. Especially Penny´s former best friend Megan plays a role again. Of course Penny´s rockstar boyfriend Noah has a huge role here but also his manager Dean and his former pretend-girlfriend and rockstar Leah are back. We get to meet only a few new characters amongst them Noah´s security guard Larry, Elliot´s boyfriend Alex, Noah´s best friend Blake and Penny´s photography teacher Miss Mills. I like the continuity of the characters. They feel familiar in this novel and it´s easier to glide into the story this way.

Penny´s character is very well-written, sympathetic and extraordinary. As the main character out of which perspective the story is written she is the person the reader is supposed to identify with. Personally, this hasn´t really worked for me but then again I´m a bit too old to be the targeted reader here. Penny has definitely evolved since the first book and the things she went through have made her much stronger. There were many situations were I expected her to back out of it or just be silent and I was glad to see that she speaks up for herself now. In that way I think she could be a great role model for younger girls, especially since the challenges she has to encounter are very relevant to the younger generation now.

I´ve noticed that Zoe goes out of her way to make the characters unique and as far away from stereotypes as possible. I really like that about the book. Sadly, I feel like she neglects some characters in this progress. Elliot who was my favorite character has become the stereotypical Gay Best Friend. He´s interested in fashion, very understanding, ever so often helping out and doing everything to make Penny feel good. He even makes her feel good when he is heartbroken. I feel like the only exception to this is him being a living wikipedia. I was shocked at first to see that Noah seemingly has become the stereotypical rockstar boyfriend that can´t handle being on tour and having a girlfriend but desperately wants both. That´s not at all how he was in the first novel. The only upside I see to this is that his flawless charm gets some big cracks. Luckily, it´s all resolved in the end and it turns out he´s not actually become a stereotype.

I love the modern challenges the characters have to face. It´s something that really speaks to the younger generation and can help them. The characters went through great developments in-between books but also just in this story alone. I love seeing characters evolve through little (or big) events. I still adore Penny and Noah´s relationship because it´s not written as over-the-top romantic. It feels a bit more real and honest. I also love how the relationships between Penny and Elliot and Penny  and her family are kept in this book. Those have been favorites of mine since the first book.

The Storyline

The whole story basically picks up a few months after the first book. Noah and Penny are a happy couple in a long-distance relationship but that´s supposed to change now that Noah´s on tour in Europe and has invited Penny along. Obviously that´s not going to go so smoothly because what would a love story be without the odds to overcome?

I could tell just from reading the back where the main store was going which was a bit disappointing for me. Still there are some minor story lines woven in which made it all more interesting to read. In the end they all tie up nicely to one big story but you really can´t see in which way at the start.There are many twists and turns hidden that help the main storyline evolve. This was basically happening right from the start and kept the story flowing and very interesting. Especially the little twists and turns in Penny´s behavior were great. It shows how she grows up with the challenges she has to face.  I will say though that sometimes I could tell what twist was coming once there were hints to it. It´s the doom of reading too many romantic books.

What I really liked about the story was how didn´t turn all good after a few odds. You know how in the classic romance a few things happen, somebody says they´re sorry and it´s all good afterwards? That didn´t happen and I am very glad about it. It feels more realistic to how people actually handle betrayal and disappointment and it led to the story not feeling cheesy. Although I will say that there are some really cheesy scenes in there that had me rolling my eyes. I get it, it´s all for the cuteness and lucky for me those were only small scenes. Funnily enough the cheesiest scene of them all was written in such a genuine way that I liked it a lot.

I remember that last time I was very disappointed by the ending. This time I am just feeling very neutral about it. It wouldn´t have bothered me if the last chapter (and one event in the chapter before that) didn´t happen but I get why it´s in there. (minor spoiler!!) If this would´ve ended as a happy end then I would definitely feel that it´s rushed but as it´s not a happy happy end, I´m okay with it (spoiler ends!!). I think it´d be interesting to see if Zoe plans to write another sequel and how she would go on with it.

In the end, it´s a very easy and light read. Even though the story can be very deep there´s always a lighthearted scene to balance it out. I know not many people share my view on this but I really enjoy that the text is interrupted by emails, text messages and blogposts. It keeps my reading flow going and it´s just very easy to read. One thing I particularly enjoy about Zoe´s books are the easter eggs hidden in it. So many things relate to her life and her story and things she´s talked about. They always made me smile. Also her own experiences relate to the story in bits and pieces and make it really detailed and realistic. 

The book is clearly aimed at young girls who can easily identify with Penny. Obviously not everybody has a rockstar boyfriend but it´s still easy to transfer many of the situations to a normal teenager´s life. In that way I think this book can be a good guidance for young girls. Zoe´s made a point of putting a lot of thought and advice in Penny´s blogposts.

Even though I am older than the target group and I could foresee a few situations I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It was mainly light-hearted, I liked the characters and the storyline was always interesting. Again it´s a book that I would have loved when I was younger. I wouldn´t advice everyone to read it but if you´re between 11 and 17 years old, definitely get yourself a copy. This would also make a great gift for anyone in that age. The one thing I will say though is that I liked the first book just a tiny bit better.

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