By Ashley Bibby
I’m not going to lie, I’m not much of a fictional reader. I can sort of plod through advertising books and the sorts, but with fiction I struggle. Either I decide I don’t have the time or it just doesn’t entertain me, movies only take a painless 2 hours so why not just watch the film version instead? With a book it is a commitment.
This is something I do want to change however, so I took on the challenge of reading a book that I normally wouldn’t read. Having only two fictional books under my belt, one of them being the wonderful Biff & Chip series, pretty much every book is a book I wouldn’t normally read.
After walking around Waterstones aimlessly for a good few minutes I enter the teen fiction section. There I find my dream book, piled high on a table with its bright blue cover, decorated in love hearts is the ever so popular Zoella’s book, Girl Online. I grab a copy and look forward to devouring it over the holidays.
Now 139 pages deep that original excitement has now changed to hatred. The book so far is basically filled with all the stereotypical things that occupy a teenage girls life; a hot popular boy she fancies, a rival popular girl who also fancies the same boy, a gay best friend and a family who just doesn’t understand her. Then on top of that main character is a self deprecating cross between an even poorly written version of Miranda, the one from the TV and Zoella (maybe her own life wasn’t interesting enough to milk her fans for two books).
This wonderful character then does all the stupid cliché Miranda type things you would expect, such as telling her crush she has fleas and having the very unfortunate accident of falling over and exposing her knickers (her very worst knickers at that) in front of the audience at the school play.
Then to top it off Penny (the Zoella Miranda lovechild) is now becoming this super mega famous internet blogger, just incase this cliché but relatable fictional character isn’t enough she is now living the life that all of Zoella’s fans aspire to have.
The first half of this book has nothing that grabs be personally, nothing of the unexpected has happened and nothing interesting seems on the horizon. I have heard of character set-up before but at least give me a bit of grit to chew on.
I thought I would check out the Amazon reviews of this book, expecting scolding thoughts much like mine, I was wrong, quite a lot people adore it. In fact 332 people believe that it is a 5 star book. Maybe it’s because I am looking at it from my not female, not a teenager perspective or maybe it shows how easily people are blinded by their love for their idols.
But quite possibly it is because of all the clichés and stereotyping making this book hugely relatable to the female teenage audience. All you need to look at is stand up comedy with the vast majority of popular comedians all making their work observational and relatable. It is simply the easiest way to get people involved in what you are saying. And as you might have guessed it the same goes for advertising, if you can get people involved in your product half of the battle is won.
Who knows though, maybe in the second half if the book it is the greatest bit of fiction ever written. All I want to know is how bad was the book before the ghost writer got her hands on it.
I would like to apologise if you have read the SCAB all the way to here. I tried to make it as long and as dull as possible just so you could feel ever so slightly how I have felt reading the first half of this book.