I LOVE Zoella. She is amazing and beautiful, and her YouTube videos always give me a reason to be happy. So, naturally, when I saw her novel in my local bookstore, I knew that that would be the book I was going to buy. I am really sorry to say this, but this book had me cringing the whole time. This story is the DEFINITION of cliche. It’s the tale of a perfect fairytale, and it disgusted me. I have a legitimate question for teen romance authors everywhere: why do you keep writing about things that would NEVER happen in real life? The perfection in the love stories that I have read appall me. For once, I would enjoy a flawed, jumbled romance that somewhat mirrors reality, because all these books do is set up unrealistic expectations for teens about how their love life will be. I also have a question for teen action authors: WHERE ARE YOU?! I have had it with all these novels that portray the idea that the single most important thing that happens in a girl’s life is falling in love. Although the novel is decent for someone who doesn’t have any previous experience with writing, I’m afraid that I didn’t enjoy it due to the lack of originality in the plot.
The only thing that I did enjoy from this novel was the authenticity of the panic and anxiety attacks that Penny, the main character, had been having. Zoella managed to use her personal experience to make a character come to life, and I was very impressed. The way she described how Penny was feeling felt like it came from her heart, and I enjoyed it. I felt every emotion Penny was feeling at that time, and I was able to have an enjoyable reading experience of being sucked into another world, at least for those moments in the story. Although the rest of the novel was too good to be true, I am glad that Zoella made her character have some depth and some flaws. There is only one thing worse than a cliche plot in writing, and that is a flat main character. If you have a cliche plot, you can at least make it entertaining by creating a multifaceted, fresh group of characters. However, no matter how awesome the story is, if the character is dull, you’ll have your readers snoring in no time. Zoella infused Penny with her own unique interests and her own unique screw-ups until she felt like a real person. Through personal experience, the author managed to make the novel interesting and the characters jump off the pages. If you watch her YouTube channel, you may be able to catch some hints of Zoella peeking through Penny, especially with the excessive amount of bath bombs and candles used. Although Penny was a great character in may eyes, the rest of the characters and the predictable storyline caused the overall novel to be less than satisfactory.
The amount of stereotypes used in this book is overwhelming. Sassy gay friend, musician love interest, protective big brother, “mean girl”, grandma who loves to bake- she didn’t exclude any predictable character! Although some characters did emit the essence of life, most of them just came off as dull and flat. It is impossible for a guy to be that perfect, and I hope teen authors will learn to acknowledge that fact. If Zoella had managed to take personal experiences to make the rest if the characters in her novel life-like, I would have enjoyed it a LOT more.
Overall, I could tell you about fifty movies or books who follow almost the exact same plot as this novel. The only thing that is special and unique about this book is the fact that the mental obstacles overcome by the main character. Although it pains me to be so critical over my favorite YouTuber, this book was definitely not great. Although her voice is interesting, I suggest that if she plans to author another novel, she should spend more time developing a storyline that is fresh and unique, because this one bored me to death.