Author: Alice Oseman
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mystery
Publisher: Harper Collins Children’s Books
Overall Rating: 4/5
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.
*may contain spoilers*
I fell in-love with Alice Oseman’s writing style with her second novel Radio Silence, and because of this I had to read her debut novel!
With Solitaire I didn’t particularly fall in-love with any of the characters, but I did adore them and related to them a fair bit. Tori, for me was the most relatable one out of all the characters (in terms of her introverted ways), but it doesn’t mean that she was the most likable character of all. I think, Charlie, Nick and Michael were more likable than that of our protagonist – in that they were less pessimistic than Tori and they have more character (for lack of a better word).
Tori clearly has a mental health issue, and I could guess that this would be depression from the way she sees the world around her, and her apathetic attitude towards everything else, and this can be exhausting at times whilst I was reading the book. But the thing about the way Alice writes, allows you to feel the way Tori is feeling, she has the right kind of voice for the character and that made the book unique and engaging. Alice was able to write in the way she gets the reader to be the character.
This is a very character driven story, with Solitaire being the main driving point of how the characters develop throughout the novel. Solitaire is a group of people kind-of like Anonymous, in terms of how they carry out pranks at the school, etc – and post it on their website and the story did revolve around the characters’ reactions to these pranks.
Another thing that I really enjoyed about Solitaire is the little references to Tumblr and Harry Potter – these just makes me relate more to the characters as it shows that the author is a person who relates to the niche she is writing to. References in books may be a small part of the novel, but it just makes it a bit more real for me.
Alice Oseman warns us at the very beginning (right at the cover of the book) that this is not a love story, and it didn’t appear to be a love story at all. It was more to do with Tori’s coming of age and realising that her belief that being alone is better is not really the best way to go, that having friends and people to confide in is more important than self-preservation. Once, that you understand and do not expect there to be a love story made it more interesting for me – as I am finding that YA novels simply cannot get away from cliché teen romance. Although, Solitaire did emerge in the name of love, which in my opinion is quite a silly reason for making an activist group for teenagers – because in the end, it ended up becoming more dangerous than intended (I mean burning the school down?!!!)
That aside, Solitaire is one of those books that I simply couldn’t put down, it was an engaging read and I very much love Alice Oseman’s writing style. I think the most unique aspect of the novel is the writing style!