Author: Alice Oseman
Publication: March 30th 2015, HarperTeen
Source: From the publisher (Many thanks to HarperTeen!)
Buy it on: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | iBooks | The Book Depository | Kobo | National Book Store / Fully Booked (PH)
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.
Grab a depressing girl, a depressing family, a hyper yet angry teenage boy, a childhood friend coming back and a manipulative group of people in one novel, then it would seem like the best thing in the world for a novel... and yet I dunno exactly how I should feel about it.
The story begins with Tori Spring hanging out with her friends Becky and Evelyn, but she's all bored with their talk and decides to head to her locker where she finds a Post-It telling her to go to a room. There she finds Michael Holden, and she's not interested with him at all, and then her childhood friend Lucas shows up and this group Solitaire starts to mess with her school... and quite specifically, her life.
Solitaire was a hard read for me. Not that it was difficult to understand. If anything, Tori seems to resemble me in many aspects, well except physically. Anyway, I just can't connect to her like in many moments I thought I would. Many parts confused me, left me thinking why it's there and I thought, maybe I should just drop it. But I didn't coz of Michael Holden. I think Michael Holden provided this sense of companionship that doesn't feel too strangley or forced like with some male leads towards the females. He may seem clingy, but in truth he just actually cares. And please, he dressed up as SHERLOCK! Gawd bless you. In moments where Michael and Tori are together do I find a sense of calm with how I'm reading the novel and felt, yeah, I can probably connect to Tori this way. I kind of did, but it was lacking for me. Also, I really disliked the fact that there were parts where romantic implication was being suggested yet we are then shoved to think otherwise by words that suggest that certain gestures weren't done romantically...even if it looks like it. I think I've read quite a ton of contemporaries to be misled somehow. But I wish this was done subtly and not straight in the face "not in a romantic way."
A plotline in the book on Charlie was depressing...not in a good way of course as a reader because it was concerning. But it did work. I like how Charlie and Nick's relationship was pretty strong in this novel. I love Tori and Charlie's relationship though there wasn't much of it in the novel anyway. Okay, Tori's family in general, is just a sad bunch. No wonder she's so depressed. Like her Mom doesn't care and all her Dad does is sigh... Like why? Thank goodness for Oliver. Wish there was more of the kid.
The Solitaire group sort of felt a little unnecessary for me. I know it's about them but it seriously could've worked as just Tori's story with better pacing of course. The tension brought upon Solitaire was interesting though and kudos coz I didn't figure out who it could be.
What I really loved most out of this novel, more than I do for Michael Holden, was the pop culture references. Most of them are shows, movies or books I know. I enjoyed the Harry Potter fanfiction and theorizing and of course the Sherlock x John ship happening in BBC's Sherlock. #Johnlock.
I don't know if it's because Alice Oseman was 17 when she wrote this because it's a bit messy to me. However, there were many golden moments that could've been utilized still. Alice, however, did depict depression in a very scary accurate manner. (coming from someone who has been there, done that) But it brought out a conflict in my emotions. I wouldn't say I have a deep love for this book but I wouldn't say I hate it too.
Solitaire, if you want to try it is a fairly good read. I wouldn't rave about it hard but I'm sure there's a group out there that would sing joyously for the birth if this novel.
About The Author:
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Alice Oseman was born in 1994 in Kent, England. She is studying English at Durham University, probably due to the expectation of society, but mostly spends her time obsessing over fictional characters, drawing really dumb comics, and complaining about things on her Tumblr, chronicintrovert.tumblr.com. Hopefully, she’ll avoid having to get a real job for the rest of her life.
Alice wrote a book when she was seventeen. That book, SOLITAIRE, was published by HarperCollins in July 2014.