12 Mar 2015

book reviews: girl online, we were liars, this is what happy looks like & you are here

I feel like I do book reviews a bit too often so I thought I'd amalgamate what would've been four posts into one here. During February, I read four books: Girl Online by Zoe Sugg, We Were Liars by E. Lockhart, This Is What Happy Looks Like and You Are Here: both by Jennifer E. Smith.

Girl Online

Image Credit: Goodreads

Girl Online was much hyped on social media and on other blogs and I was really looking forward to reading about it. Written by Youtuber and blogger, Zoe Sugg (or Zoella), I'll be honest - I wasn't expecting it to be the next Harry Potter but was hoping it'd be a read with an interesting and enticing storyline.

Girl Online follows a shy and introverted girl called Penny as she deals with bullies, boys and a romance she encounters when in New York for Christmas. As you read, Penny's secret is revealed, as is her best friend, Noah's, and it threatens to turn everything upside down.

Overall, I found it to be a nice and gentle read. It tackles some serious issues of mental illness but, in my opinion, not in as much as depth as some other books I've read. At no point does the story turn stagnant but it is a bit predictable.

I know there was some controversy over the book being co-written by another person who wasn't credited at the time of release but it doesn't detract from the fact that this book would be a decent read for teenagers. For me, I found it just a bit too predictable. Therefore, I give it a 6/10.

We Were Liars

Image Credit: Goodreads

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart that is rated pretty highly on Goodreads (3.9/5), Amazon (4/5) and Waterstones (5/5) so I had high hopes for it. It is a novel that follows a group of rich teenagers who spend summer together and it is essentially a book that, to me, didn't appear to have a plot until about 40% of the way through. I get that the scene needs to be set but to take so long doing so, I almost didn't bother to continue at some points.

The characters are un-relatable: they are well-off and privileged people who are selfish. In a way, they are similar to the ones from Dangerous Girls; another book where I found it hard to have any empathy for the characters. They are both similar in that the story is told in a flashback-current day-flashback manner.

The ending is a bit disappointing and also a bit predictable. I knew, roughly, what the ending would be but not the exact details so once they were revealed, it wasn't a complete shock for me. I wasn't totally impressed by We Were Liars so I gave it 5.5/10.

This Is What Happy Looks Like

Image Credit: Goodreads

Jennifer E. Smith is an author I discovered last year after I read The Geography of You and Me. I wasn't too impressed with that offering but someone said to me that her other books were better. This Is What Happy Looks Like is definitely better but again, had a predictable plot (or maybe I'm just reading books that are too similar?).

The story is of a small-town girl in possession of a big secret who exchanges emails with a famous teen actor. However, she doesn't know that he's a famous actor and they get along very well after months of communicating over the internet. Fate brings them together and then we encounter a plot that pulls at the heart strings (young love, ahhhh) but also makes you feel frustrated at other points (or was that just me?).

I often rate books based on how good they are balanced against how long it took me to finish it. Because this book only took me a week (the sign of a decent novel), I gave it 7/10.

You Are Here

Image Credit: Goodreads

Another offering from Jennifer E. Smith, You Are Here is about two teenagers (Emma and Peter) who go on an impromptu road trip after Emma discovers that she had a twin brother who lived for two days after birth. Cue a bit of bonding, a stray dog (who sounds adorable) and a whole load of feels at the end.

A bit slow in parts, You Are Here has a decent plot that kept me interested to continue reading. The characters were relatable, at least to me, as they are a bit different to what teenagers are usually like and that's what ultimately brings them together.

I gave this book a bog-standard 7/10 because I got the same sort of vibe from it as I did with This Is What Happy Looks Like.


So, apologies for this text-heavy book review post. I plan on reading more of Jennifer E. Smith's offerings later on this year as I'm still a bit undecided about her. The best thing to do in an event like this is to keep on reading, right?

Do you have any recommendations for me based on the books above? :) My 'to-read' list is ridiculous as it is but it is one list I don't mind adding to :)


  1. My 'to-read' list is stupidly long too... And yet I still find myself logging into netgalley to request review copies, borrowing books from my nan... And don't get me started on free/cheapo books on Amazon that turn out to be pretty crap!

    As for recommendations... I got a bit jaded with all the chick lit books I was reading so I gave The Magpies (by Mark Edwards) a go... quite a good read although probably not the best one to pick up when we're potentially moving into a new place soon!

    Zoe xoxo

    1. I know that feeling! I'm forever on Goodreads looking for recommendations, etc!

      Just read the blurb for The Magpies and I've added it to my 'TBR' list! I've lost count of the number of books read because you've endorsed them ;)

      How exciting that you're moving! Good luck with the move :) :) x