Book Review: Girl Online

Girl Online
By Zoe Sugg (Zoella)

Genre: Realistic Fiction
Star Rating: 4 (out of 5)
Age To Read: 12-13+

(This review is spoiler-free! Huzzah!)


Penny has a secret. 

Under the alias GirlOnline, Penny blogs her hidden feelings about friendship, boys, high school drama, her quirky family, and the panic attacks that have begun to take over her life. When things go from bad to worse at school, her parents accept an opportunity to whisk the family away for Christmas at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City. There, she meets Noah, a gorgeous, guitar-strumming American. Suddenly Penny is falling in love—and capturing every moment she spends with “Brooklyn Boy” on her blog.

But Noah has a secret, too, one that threatens to ruin Penny’s cover—and her closest friendship—forever.


I was so, unbelievably excited to read this book. Zoella is such an amazing inspiration of mine, and I'm so proud of her for releasing her own book. She's a fantastic YouTuber, and I feel like this book was very well done for her first.

The Good:

I love that Penny was such a relatable character. She has panic attacks in the book, which is a real problem that happens to people in real life. I've never had a panic attack, but I really loved that this book dealt with issues that girls and teenagers around the world deal with too.

I also thought that the love story in this book was ADORABLE. I could not handle all of the Noah + Penny cuteness. Who wouldn't want to fall in love with a boy who plays the guitar and has an accent? Their love story has its cheesy moments, but I thought it was the cutest thing ever. I support Penny and Noah so much. No shame.

The characters in this story each had their own personality, and I loved how they played off of each other and how they each had their own background that was unique and really interesting to uncover. Penny's parents were so chill, which was a little strange, because most parents are a little more strict, I feel like. I loved how she made Penny's classmates and teachers have their own little flair in the book, and how her theater teacher would give silly nicknames to the students. It added so much more atmosphere to the story than there would have been without it.

The descriptions in the story painted the scene beautifully has you got further in the book, and Zoella did wonderfully in creating that New York atmosphere for someone who hasn't gone there before. Now I want to go there more than ever.

The Bad:

While there was no profanity in this story, or anything like that, there were a few little nit-picky things I want to point out.

I felt like the beginning of the book was hard to get into. There was a lot of telling instead of showing, and I felt like I was just being bombarded by information too quickly and too much in a list formation. It was also a little slow just because I had to get out of my head the Zoella of YouTube that I know. Every time Penny said "I" or "my brother", it would take me a moment to mean she meant Penny herself, or Penny's brother instead of Zoe's.

I also didn't like how in the synopsis in the inside cover that it says that Noah has a secret. Granted, you don't know what the secret is, but it's not as surprising when you find out his secret. It just seemed like a smidge of the tension was trained away because I already knew what was coming, so I was ready.

The ending also felt a little bit cut off, and awkward to me. I loved the ending, but I was just itching for a little bit more detail and a little bit more time with the characters. The ending just felt abrupt and I was sad that there wasn't more.

Final Reactions:

When I first started reading this book, I had some major Mother-Daughter Book Club nostalgia. That was one of my favorite series, and it reminded me in a lot of ways of that series. This book had its own personality for sure, but it still had some of the same key elements that I adored from MDBC. I'm so proud of Zoe and her first book, and I can't wait to see where she goes with this.

That is all.


  1. I have been the worst follower in the universe. But I am back now. And actually, this book does sound pretty good. I'm usually not into teenage romance but it isn't bad if its not cheesy

    1. Haha, you're fine! I know I've been slacking in commenting on posts, so we're in the same boat. (: You should give it a try! I think it's cute without being ridiculously cheesy or over the top.

  2. Where did you find this book??? I want to read it, but I'm too lazy to go out and buy it. Does the library have it? And aww, MDBC was kind of the best series in the middle school days, and I can't wait for the last one!
    - July

    1. It was just at the library last I checked. You might have to shuffle through the new books area, though, since I don't think they've put it on the alphabetized shelf yet. Much excitement for the MDBC finale! I remember when we both first started reading them. (:


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