Girl Online On Tour by Zoe Sugg
Last year, I read Girl Online and only gave the book one star. I mostly wanted to read it to see what all the fuss was about, and the reviews were generally split between the five stars given by fans, and the lower star ratings given by habitual YA readers. I feel that it’s been long enough for me to give this series a second chance, and since I’ve actually fallen in love with watching Zoe’s videos, I was more invested in reading the book that she wrote 100% on her own. I seem to have fallen into both categories! While I can say that this book was a definitely improvement on the first book, it wasn’t by a very big margin! Let’s chat about it, shall we?Penny has given up blogging for the near future after all the fiascos from Girl Online and wants to avoid the spotlight while she’s the girlfriend of Noah Flynn, famous rockstar. She’s been invited to join him on his European tour and jumps at the chance as a way to finally conquer her anxiety.
I was really pleased with the potential of the travel, but just like Penny, I was disappointed by the lack of Parisian or Roman adventures. Noah was hardly ever available and the romance was definitely lacking when he was around!
The only ‘danger’ Penny was under in this novel was being blackmailed by someone who’d got hold of her stolen phone, into breaking up with Noah. While this was a threat for a while, it didn’t mount to anything truly dangerous…another thing that wasn’t explored in the depth it should have been.
There’s nothing negative to say about the pacing of the novel though! It was certainly a very digestible read that I got through in one sitting. Zoe’s writing was almost easier to read than that of Siobhan Curham in Girl Online, and the plot kept me much more interested than the first book: not as many cliches!
Penny was very consistent between books, both with her mental state and general demeanour. Photography and blogging are what made her exceptional, and I did like the emphasis on pursuing what you’re passionate about, rather than what you feel should be most valued by academics. Penny’s blog posts after a few chapters were a really lovely touch, and gave some genuinely good advice that I’m sure the young teenage target audience would lap up. Penny’s ability to put herself first and forgive those that wrong her make her a great role model.
My favourite character is Elliot, and I think there’s quite a lot of people that feel the same way. He was supportive in the right way, Penny’s biggest cheerleader! Best friend goals, really. And his relationship with Alex was the best part of the book.
Noah was pretty bland. I’ve read a few books that use famous boy band characters and they all seem to fit the same mould. He’s too…predictable. Despite being the genuine shining star, Penny definitely outshone him! Going against cliches, I loved that Leah wasn’t posed as a rival to Penny too, and become a friend she could rely on while abroad.
I was expecting more of a romantic tone seeing as Penny and Noah were meant to be seeing more of one another. But the romance that did occur didn’t seem to agree with their professions of love. While Noah understood Penny sometimes, he was completely off the mark other times, especially regarding his best friend Blake. It that sense, the romance conflict felt out of character for both Penny and Noah, and felt like simply a plot device. Not my favourite thing.
But, I did appreciate the ending. I’m not spoiling anything, but it felt like the right decision that a lot of romance writers would shy away from.
While there were some really sweet parts to Girl Online On Tour, like Penny’s friendship with Leah, everything felt a little too…convenient? Or too plot device-y. I’m still going to read the last book in this series, to see Penny restart Girl Online and to see if the relationship verdict is consistent or not!