Girl Online – A trilogy by Zoe Sugg

Zoe Sugg is an inspiration of mine for many reasons, one being her love of books and releasing her own series.

Girl Online is a trilogy, with 2 sequels following, tilted Girl Online: On Tour, and Girl Online: Going Solo. I obviously can’t talk too much about the plot as it develops, without ruining the whole series, so I’ll just give you a synopsis of the first book.

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This is the story of Penny, who runs a blog under the secret name ‘GirlOnline’. Penny is a sufferer of anxiety and panic attacks, and uses her online platform as a place of comfort and support. Due to her mother’s wedding planning business, Penny and her family travel to New York, where she meets a gorgeous musician called Noah. 

I wish I wrote about the books when I originally read them, the first one being published in 2014, as the story isn’t as fresh. Yet, I have just finished reading the third book in the series, so I’m writing a post about the trilogy overall.

 

Firstly, I did feel that this book was aimed at a younger YA audience, in both writing style and story line, maybe high school age. However, I don’t mean that in a negative way. I’m 23 years old, and young adult books are my favourite style. Sometimes I prefer to read books that are less complicated, and I can just enjoy as a nice story. Despite it being a simpler read, the series still contained twists in the plot, important story lines, and was overall a engaging read.

I soon became very invested in this story, and struggled to put it down. I found mysef wanting to stop my everyday activities just to find out what happens next, and read the first one in just over a week I think. In fact, I think Zoe did this quite well. I remember the first book finished in a way that made me so frustrated (in a good way) because I needed to know what was going to happen next! For me, that makes a really good book.

Something that I really loved about the books, is that it tapped into a younger version of myself. I felt the emotions that Penny would have been feeling about Noah. I got excited from the adventures they went on, and got warm and fuzzy when Noah did something sweet for her. Not gonna lie, I would totally date Noah 😛 It’s definitely the kind of love story I would have dreamed of happening to me as a teenager!
Parts of the story even made me smile or laugh out loud.

Additionally, the mental health aspect of the books was something I could easily relate to. I think it was really great that Zoe incorporated something that she suffers with in her everyday life, as a part of her fictional work, and showed ways in which Penny would learn to deal with her anxiety and panic attacks.
This was one of the first novels I read that spoke about mental health, such as anxiety, and it was comforting to know that the way I felt was normal, even if that was through a fictional character.

Other themes that I thought we really good in the series, is how it touched on content that most teenagers would be experiencing – family drama, friendship, and school.
I also appreciate how Zoe portrayed the ‘internet generation’. How a lot of the older generation may look at young people always being anti-social on their phones and computers, when there is so much more to it. We can use the internet to socialize, share our thoughts and feelings, and learn.

Lastly, the importance of doing things for yourself. Throughout the series, Penny learns to put herself first and focus on her own happiness. Of course, you should be supportive of your friends and family, but you need to remember that your health and happiness is important too.

I think the main thin that helped make everything better was choosing to work on me before anyone else. How can you be truly happy with someone else when you aren’t in the best place you can be for you?

Penny – Girl Online: Going Solo

 

I also want to mention how this series was part of the motivation to try writing again. All my life I have loved reading, and always felt a bit lost if I didn’t have a book on the go. One of my dreams was also to publish my own book one day, and I was often writing my own stories at home or for class. After knowing that Zoe had the same dream, and seeing her work hard and achieve it, I regained that goal.

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Zoe shows such a passion for reading and writing, and I think it’s really great that as such a big online personality, she is advocating how great reading is! She even has her own Book Club through WH Smith, which you can find out more about here and here.
As such a big fan of her, I was also very happy when I got a singed edition Girl Online: Going Solo. You can read about the little fangirl moment I had in the bookshop here!

 

I really enjoyed reading the Girl Online series. I do wish it was around when I was a teenager, as I think it would have been really helpful for me, however I appreciate it just as much. Overall, would give each book a rating of:
Girl Online ★★★★
Girl Online: On Tour ★★★
Girl Online: Going Solo ★★★☆

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Have you read this series? What were your thoughts of it? Let me know in the comments, I would love to chat with other fans of the books 🙂

Jess xx

Related Links:
Zoella – YouTube
Zoella – Blog

I actually started writing about my views on the controversy surrounding this book being written by a YouTuber and that Zoe got help writing it, but decided to delete it. Everyone is going to have a different opinion, and at the end of the day that stuff really didn’t bother me. I enjoyed the book, and that’s what my post is about 🙂

Zoo Anger

I wanted to draw attention to something I’ve noticed a bit lately, and that is how some people can be really disrespectful at zoos.

I want to emphasize that this is not in reference to young children getting excited at the zoo, these kids were a little older and should have known better (or be taught by their parents). And of course this is not in reference to all children, I love kids!

 

I went to the Zoo yesterday with my family, which was an overall enjoyable day. However two incidents made me quite frustrated and upset.

The first was while watching the orangutans. I was kneeling on the ground while this younger orangutan was throwing paper and rolling around, which was a lovely moment to watch. A young child then came screaming in, started trying to open then door to the pen, and then proceeded to bang against the window where the orangutan was. He was banging against it very loudly, and started screaming out to the animal. What is so frustrating about this situation, is that he was not told off by his parents, being definitely old enough to be told how this would be scary for the animal. Of course, you never know family situations, it just seemed to me that they really didn’t care.

The second incident was in the butterfly house – a warm greenhouse filled with exotic plants and hundreds of butterflies. There were these three girls, I would say young teenagers, who were being incredibly disrespectful. They were opening the gates into the gardens and standing up on the bars, and jumping up and trying to ‘clap’ and ‘hit’ the butterflies. It is encouraged not to pick them up, but if you’re still or hold your hand out, there is a chance that they will land on you if they like. I honestly could not believe how these girls, who were more than old enough to know better, were acting! (Thankfully, a young man told them off, saying how this was cruel towards the butterflies – my faith in humanity was restored)

 

Obviously not everyone has the same love and appreciation for animals, I would just hope that if you are going to the zoo, you actually have an interest in seeing them. I think some people forget, even though those animals are in enclosures, they still deserved to be treated with respect! We are lucky enough to live in a time where a lot of zoos are progressive, providing the animals with care, where we can see them in a replica of their natural habitat. (I wrote about why these kinds of zoos should be seen in a positive light, after watching an insightful documentary, which you can read hereHowever, just because they are in captivity, we are not superior to them.

To me, zoos are places for conservation, breeding programs, and providing us with more knowledge about the world’s animals. They are not a place we can go to gawk at the creatures behind a fence.

 

Sorry for the negative rant post, I just needed to get my anger and frustrations out.

Have you had any similar experiences while out in public? Let me know.

 

To leave it on a more positive note! I was lucky enough to witness two elephants showing love towards each other when they were put in their sleeping area. They reached their trunks through the bars of the other’s pen, and nuzzled at each other! It was such a sweet moment, and I felt very fortunate to see these magnificent creatures behaving this way.

Jess xx

 

Follow your heart – There’s truth in it!

A while back I made a post titled ‘Decisions’ (which you can read here), talking about how it’s okay to change your mind, and the importance of doing what’s right for yourself, and I just wanted to write a little follow up to it 🙂

From ages six to sixteen I had my heart set on being a Vet, and around year 10, I changed my mind. Since finishing high school I have tried everything I was passionate about – teaching, dancing, and literature, but after sometime my heart just wasn’t in it. I thought that I wouldn’t find anything that would make me happy to do as a future career. Growing up I assumed that being a vet was the only career you could have helping animals, until I discovered there were so many more careers.
If you’ve read my other posts, you’ll know that animal welfare is very important to me, so working with animals as a career was always in the back of my mind.

Last year I decided I would make the decision and try to get into studying Zoology, and started by undertaking science units over the summer break to help with my chances. A Bachelor of Science (Zoology) seemed to be the most appropriate course, and I was hoping to get in mid year. My dad then informed me of a new course, commencing at the beginning of the year – a Bachelor of Veterinary and Wildlife Science – one of the career paths being Zoology. I thought there was no harm in simply applying, and giving myself more options. A few days later I was accepted!

It’s funny how things work out, because I am so glad that I’m am in this course now, as it has given me more options than I would have given myself. I can become a Zoologist when I graduate, working in animal conservation, and care and rehabilitation. However, after the 3 years, you can additionally move on to a degree in Veterinary Medicine to become a qualified vet. So I may get to the end of this course and want to continue into the Veterinary side of it, and it’s good to have that option. I would love to be a specialist vet in a zoo..

I feel like I haven’t been this happy in a long time! It sounds cliche, but I finally feel ‘right’. That I’ve chosen the right path, and this is what I was meant to do.
Of course, the course is full on – but I want to put in the hard work, because I’m working towards something that’s important to me.
As well as that, I feel happy at this Uni. I’ve made good friends, who are similar to me, plus the campus is quite small, so I don’t feel overwhelmed.

It has been a long road to get to here. Of course one side of me wishes I pursued this straight after high school, but I have had the chance to try all the things I love doing, and that what was what I wanted at the time. Those decisions have led me to where I am now. I’m thankful for all the experiences I have had that have helped me discover where I want to be in life.

I was scared to change courses once again, that I was just throwing my life away. I felt that I would never find what I wanted to do.
But I wasn’t happy, so I made a change. I cannot stress that enough.. if there is something don’t like – change it! You are in control of your own life, and you need to do what’s best for yourself. It’s taken me a while to accept this, but you need to make decisions based on your happiness, not what you think is the correct thing to do. You may make mistakes, and you may come to realise it wasn’t the right thing, but that was right for you at the time. You will change, and your life will change, and everything will turn out okay in the end. You just have to trust yourself.

 

 

I hope this has helped anyone who is in a similar situation as me, let me know in the comments if you like.

I can truly say I am looking forward to what the future holds in terms of a career, and I am so glad I listened to my heart and took a risk.

 

Uni exams have just finished for the semester, and I finally get a bit of a break! So I’m off to catch up on Attack on Titan season 2, and finish a novel I started reading ages ago!

Jess xx