Review: Solitaire, by Alice Oseman

Solitaire coverMy 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.

There was a lot of talk about this book online and when I picked it up, I’ve got to be honest, I still wasn’t totally sure what it was about – but, be prepared for a glowing review because I LOVED IT.

Solitaire follows Tori, professional pessimist, and how her life takes a turn when eccentric-or-crazy? Michael Holden starts trying to become her friend, and old-best-friend Lucas comes back into the picture – and, when the mysterious and anonymous blog Solitaire starts pulling pranks that get more and more out of hand.

On the cover it says ‘This is not a love story’. True. Don’t let my mention of two boys coming into Tori’s life let you think this is a book revolving around a love triangle. It’s not. Those are just things that happen.

There’s so much to say about this MASTERPIECE. (You got that, Alice? Masterpiece.) I loved Tori; I mean, she frustrated me at times, but I kind of like when characters do that. She’s the ultimate pessimist, she’s trying to deal with dragging herself through school, through life, and she doesn’t really care about a lot of things. She’s honest and straightforward and it was totally fresh to read a book with a protagonist like Tori. She has such a strong voice and I thought Alice did a fabulous job of putting onto the page how teenagers can feel so blah about school and just not really care sometimes and just do it for – well, because that’s just what you do.

Becky, Tori’s best friend, was also a great character, and I thought she had a good amount of depth. Lucas kind of annoyed me – but not in the same way as Tori. More in a get-a-grip way. But he was a good character too because he caused reactions. Charlie, Tori’s younger brother – also great. The kind of character I want to be best friends with. He was like a ball of sunshine sometimes.

And Michael Holden. I love that we never really find out too much about him but that doesn’t seem to matter; he’s there and he’s hanging out with Tori and he’s talking to her and that’s what’s important. I didn’t feel like I needed to have his whole backstory to feel like I got his character – though I would totally love a full and detailed backstory. (Hint, hint, Alice.)

I thought the pace of the book was wonderful. Tori has no idea what Solitaire really is – and it took me a while to figure out what was really going on, too, if I’m honest. This was the kind of book where I got to the end of a chapter and I’d have to read half the next one before I could put the book down because I needed to know how things moved on.

Also, considering I hardly have time to read anything at uni, and I read this within three days with lectures on and a lab report due in and lab work to do for said lab report, this one was pretty unputdownable.

I’ll mention, as I usually do when I think it’s necessary, a very mild trigger warning for characters with depression and eating disorders. It’s not a prominent theme or anything but it’s there so I thought I’d mention it, is all. Because I do in these reviews when they come up. Just in case.

I can’t even exactly pinpoint what it was I enjoyed so much about this book so to summarise: EVERYTHING. I LOVED EVERYTHING. I liked the style I liked the characters I liked the storyline. I liked the subplots I liked Tori and Michael in the snow I liked the whole concept of the Solitaire blog. I liked the writing I liked the way it was so easy to get into Tori’s head I liked the way it ended.

If you’re after a good YA novel this year, get Solitaire.

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