A & C: We both read this book at the end of last year, and after having some time to digest the latest revelations surrounding the ghost writing saga, we’ve decided that it’s time to share our thoughts on it with you.
A: 13 year old Annie would’ve loved this book. Yes it’s soppy, yes it’s predictable but it is perfectly aimed at its demographic. The protagonist (Penny) has a cute name, she lives in a cute house and she is cute full stop. She doesn’t fit in with anyone in the real world, except with her very best friend who is very gay – so she looks to the Internet and her blog to confide in her problems and her blog takes the world (well, a lot of teenage girls) by storm. I won’t give away anymore of the storyline as I don’t want to spoil it, but she meets a guy (who is also cute) and they hit it off and you can guess the rest. I read the book in a matter of hours, it was very easy to read – but not in a bad way! The first part was a little hard to get into, but once you get past the first few chapters you can easily carry on right through to the end without much difficulty. It has been obviously left wide open for a sequel, which from a business point of view is a no brainier for Zoe and her management team – but it does make me feel like I’m just going to have to continue buying into the Zoella brand to find out what happens to Penny. Although I can’t say that I’m massively bothered about finding out what happens to her. Ten years ago though I would’ve been, and I like that Zoe is playing her part in encouraging teenagers to read – I hope that this is the thing that’s driving her to pursue this dream.
C: As Annie has said I would have loved this when I was a teenager! In total it took me three hours to read, but I did get involved in the storyline and I enjoyed getting to know the characters. However, my favourite part of the book is the inclusion of dealing with anxiety/panic attacks. There are not many books available that deal with such a topic, a topic that can be such a big deal for many teenagers today. It not only manages to explain that such mental health problems are normal, but also includes within the story possible ways of dealing with them which may be a help to many. Plus in my opinion, if one more young person picks up a book due to Zoella’s fame? Well that can’t be bad can it?
Thoughts on the issues surrounding the ‘ghost writing’ revelations:
A&C: After discussing it, we both agree that having had the book “ghost written” was more than a little disappointing. It wasn’t that Zoe had had help with writing it – I mean if we got asked to write a book we wouldn’t even know where to start – it was the deception that was an issue for us. It was implied that Zoe had had a little help with it, a little is different to it being written by a completely different person. Although the characters and plot was of her creation, all of those things come to life through the writing and how an individual depicts them. Thousands of teenagers hang on to “Zoella’s” every word, and although we agree that she is a great role model to have, they have little understanding of Zoe as a brand and will just buy everything she puts her name too. They definitely need to be more open next time to prevent such disappointment, as we are sure just the same amount of people would have bought the book if she had been honest from the start.
Have any of you guys read Zoella’s first book? Let us know what you think/if you agree with our opinions? #twolittleowls