Publication: March 30, 2015, by HarperTeen
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Romance, Mystery
In case you're wondering, this is not a love story.
My name is Tori Spring. I like to sleep and I like to blog. Last year – before all that stuff with Charlie and before I had to face the harsh realities of A-Levels and university applications and the fact that one day I really will have to start talking to people – I had friends. Things were very different, I guess, but that's all over now.
Now there's Solitaire. And Michael Holden.
I don't know what Solitaire are trying to do, and I don't care about Michael Holden.
I really don't.
This incredible debut novel by outstanding young author Alice Oseman is perfect for fans of John Green, Rainbow Rowell and all unflinchingly honest writers.
For fans of John Green and Rainbow Rowell? I'm sorry, but I don't see the comparison at all. This was a dark novel written by a good author, and I didn't see any of the sweetness or girly stuff that's usually added by Green and Rowell. That's a horrible comparison, and my mind just feels like it wants to blow off, because this wasn't everything I expected.
Continuing with my paragraph-rant above, just take a first look at Tori's summary, or what she's trying to say about her story, "In case you're wondering, this is not a love story." Thank goodness. That's what my feelings kept telling me as I was heading my way towards reading this novel. I was hoping for dark thriller that'll get me thinking afterwards and one that will ruin my life in the most best possible way. Now that I've read and partially enjoyed it, there was romance. And it wasn't that nice or likeable to the fullest extent. At least, if you lie and say that there's romance, make it good. Know what I mean?
Solitaire was a meh read. There's tons of better mysteries out there, especially those that will be releasing in the coming months (which I'm most definitely ready for them to impress me). The secret-society-group concept was nice (but a little overused in some ways), and I was planning on reading something else when I came towards this one. Add an unlikeable whiny protagonist who spends most of the novel whining about her life (when I didn't really see the concept of mental-health being desperate and used too well in her situation) and boring, unemotional moments, and we've got a package and a deck of cards to play with. (Which obviously equals—this novel.)
"My name is Victoria Spring. I think you should know that I make up a lot of stuff in my head and then get sad about it. I like to sleep and I like to blog. I am going to die someday."
Tori Spring is going through a hard time. Or at least, the author and Tori's mind is making her feel that way. She once had tons of friends, but she ditched them and pushed them away from getting to know her better and to tell them her problems. Her brothers are both also going through a tough time, and she's the only one there in her family to help them out, since her parents are continuously AWOL. (Which I'll get to later, since I have a few thoughts on them). One day, she was walking in her school hallway and saw a bunch of sticky notes on lockers which led her to this room... and led her into Solitaire. They're this secret group who have a blog that's basically trying to ruin people's lives. And then she also meets Michael Holden, who may or may not mean something to her, since it was hard for readers to tell what Victoria was thinking. *wriggles eyebrows*
My main issue with this novel was that I couldn't connect to the story at all. Aren't books supposed to make us feel that we're living someone else's or a character's life for a few hundred pages? Well, that's an usual norm for me and for others, but I didn't feel anything with this one. Since I disliked Tori so much and didn't understand what the point of her story was, there were no emotions incorporated. It was unrealistic—and fate had to put Tori's life to the dump where every single thing went wrong and there was only a guy there to help her out. *yawns* This was a completely overused plot and nothing new. There could've been something different coming out of it!
Let's get to Tori's parents. Her whole family was one full of problems—with her depression, her brother's illness, and her weird parents. They were completely out of the picture. Tori kept complaining that they hated her, but this point was inevitable when you think about it since she probably pushed them away from her as well when the stuff with her friends was happening. And now, she gets treated the same way as she treated them. Except, we barely heard of them and never found out what made them push themselves away from their kids so much. Aren't they one of the main reasons why Tori's depressed? Because she has to keep dealing with her brothers while her parents are basically out of the picture? I don't know what to say about this.
"I wake up just before the bell goes again. I swear to God I'm a freak. I mean it. One day I'm going to forget how to wake up."
What I have now figured about the writing was that it's so bland and straight-forward. This hadn't bothered me too much, but I'm telling you—if you have difficulty dealing with a weird writing style then this isn't for you. Just take a look at the quotes I've pasted above. Every sentence is so straight-forward without any gorgeousness, flowy material. This isn't one of the aspects that deducted a portion of the rating by me, but it's just something to keep in mind because I've just realized it now. Beware, my fellow readers and bloggers.
For a lot of the plot, I'll admit to you that I saw it as okay. I can't complain about it much because it was better than how I felt about Oseman's characters and protagonist, but every book has its slower moments, no? It was fast-paced and I finished it in a sitting, without any questions not answered or no questions meaning to be asked. For a standalone, this was pretty great in that aspect. Congrats, congrats. *winks*
Now we get to the hellhole grossness of Tori Spring. She was a miserable, pissed-off, weird person. But for the most part, let's just state that she's miserable. For the most part of her own story, she spent the time moping around and waiting for people to call her, to come to her, and to be nice to her without giving them the chance. She pushed people away (cough, Michael, cough) and then she was eager to have and get them back. I'm a girl, and I can't even say that I'd even want her as a friend to snicker and have a good time with, because I know that I wouldn't have a good time with her. At the same time, she was naïve and fell for all of the pranks and manipulation that Solitaire gave to her. No wonder they chose her to be their master or whatever.
And Michael did a make a difference in her life, as well as Lucas, her childhood friend that came looking for her. They both were cute, but of course from the start readers saw that they were hiding something juicy and strange from her. Everything had to do with this secret society, no? As much as readers probably shipped Michael and Tori together, I thought that they'd better be off with a brother-sister-like relationship instead. They were too cute together in that way, and I just couldn't imagine them kissing or anything like that. *sobs*
Of course as you can tell, I had some issues with this book. I had so much trouble relating to it and feeling the illness and struggles that Tori had to deal with. Obviously there was some pity coming from me involved, but it was at the bare minimum. I'd honestly tell you to read this if you're a complete lover of books with protagonists struggling to find their place in the world or in a lover's part. Enjoy your deck of cards!