Solitaire - Alice Oseman


Genre: YA/Fiction
Synopsis: 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.


Review: I wasn't sure what to expect from this novel - whether it would be heavily plot-driven or character-driven. It turned out to be the latter, and it is honestly worth reading for the characters and writing style alone, so it complimented these strengths of the novel for the plot to take a back seat.

I don't think I've ever read a novel that so regularly had me furiously nodding my head in consensus with the narrator, who could easily be a caricature of me on my bad days. Tori Spring is not a *likeable* person, initially - she is troubled, she is sarcastic, depressed, cynical - a lot of things that a lot of young people feel in their disillusionment with life and the world around them. As I only discovered afterwards, the author is herself quite young - only a teenager when she wrote this book, so the writing is exceptionally authentic. It's not whiny, self-loathing or hyperbolic - which is a credit to the style of character being written and the kind of person being represented in the character of Tori Spring. I have a feeling this is a novel to which many young people can relate, and yet it features a voice exceptionally unique to the world of literature, which says something about how these people (among whom I include myself) are represented in the book world.

The other characters, though less authentic, are also relatable and easy to become emotionally invested in. I have to admit I would love to meet Michael Holden. The plot is interesting, though not compelling, taking as it does second place to the characters. I felt a little disappointed by the big reveal, feeling it was a little too chaotic and unsubstantiated to warrant all that went before it. My other small complaint is that it spoils the plots of several movies and books - most of which I was aware of, but I haven't seen The Royal Tenenbaums. Still, that only resulted in me taking a mark off, because everything else about it is so wonderful. An exceptional accomplishment from a young author for whom I have high hopes, and an absolute must-read for young adults.

Rating: 4/5

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