Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Review: Solitaire by Alice Oseman

Publication Date: 31 July 2014

Publisher: Harper Collins

Source: Borrowed from Library 

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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.

 So Solitaire is a novel I have heard so much praise and hype for, especially from Lucy Powrie aka Queen Of Contemporary, who I think is a reliable source of book recommendations. 

I was glad to find a copy at my local library and checked it out so as to see what all this hype was about. I flew through this one and can honestly say it deserves the hype. 

The novel centers around Tori, a seventeen year old girl with a pessimistic outlook on life, friends and pretty much everything apart from her blog. Tori is a character you find yourself either immediately identifying with or feeling very much distant from. The strong over dramatic "glass half empty" personality Tori possesses drew me in and I felt I could relate to some of her views. Although at times the reader wants to shake Tori out of this pessimistic view on life, Tori was wonderfully vibrant and realistic. 

The slang and language used in the novel captures the way teenagers speak and think and converse. From fandom references to internet slang, teenagers reading this novel will connect to the realistic teens created by Alice Oseman. 

Another aspect of the novel that Oseman has managed to convey perfectly, is the relationship that exists in friend groups. Tori has a group of friends but she feels like she is on the outside of this group a lot of the time. This is a feeling a lot of people, myself included, can relate to. Another is the unspoken reality that in every group of friends, there is always one person you don't like. 

Oseman has realistically conveyed relationships in an utterly honest and realistic way. From family relationships to romantic and platonic, Oseman's portrayal in this novel is one of the most realistic and truthful I have read in YA.

So, although I did really enjoy, even love, this novel, I did have a few things I disliked. The first thing I disliked, which probably comes from Tori's pessimism, is the way Tori would talk about suicide in a very nonchalant blase way. In one scene when she sees a group of girls that she deems stereotypical and boring talking about something she doesn't agree with, she imagines shooting them before shooting herself. This sort of thing is repeated often and made me feel uncomfortable as although I know Tori sees suicide as nothing to be joked about, she constantly does so. 
Another aspect I disliked was that although I loved the Solitaire mystery, I had predicted the ending / the outcome of Solitaire from very early on in the novel. I was somewhat disappointed that the mystery in the novel was predictable. 

Other than this I loved the novel. Realistic portrayal of teenage life, thoughts, relationships and how much technology affects us. Solitaire will leave you thinking about it for days after you've turned the final page. 

 Solitaire will be going on my "recommend to everyone" list and I may just have to buy a physical copy. Also the fact that Alice Oseman, who is so witty on Twitter (@Aliceoseman) , was published at just 18 years and is the same age as I am makes me feel inspired to be ambitious and try and achieve my dreams. 

I eagerly await Alice Osemans next novel. 


  1. I'm definitely going to read this soon. It's so hard to find a book that portrays teenagers accurately and I can't wait to see how this author does it !!

  2. Ah I just couldn't like the tone of this book and the Solitaire storyline was a non event. It just seemed to be the author getting a dig in at pop culture from every generation! Thanks for the review though