Release date: 31.7.2014
In case you’re wondering, this is not a love story.
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.
This incredible debut novel by outstanding young author Alice Oseman is perfect for fans of John Green, Rainbow Rowell and all unflinchingly honest writers.
I relate so much with Tori. She is a very pessimistic narrator and it’s rather refreshing. It’s not teen angst either, it’s something deeper. Something ineffable. Which is perfect for someone like me who has suffered on and off with depression since I was about 12. Of course, at the time I was just a ball of emotion and couldn’t articulate. It’s reassuring as a thirty-something that I wasn’t alone and that any children I teach, or my own will have this platform to explore these feelings that we initially don’t understand, but also are afraid to express.
I was a bit confused by the actions of Lucas, the childhood friend. However, having recently seen Colossal, this appears to be a thing. The old high school trick of; if they’re horrible to you, they like you. At least in Solataire it’s done in a refreshing, original way.
Michael is a solid character, although I don’t believe the bad boy persona for one second and I’m desperate for some material from his point of view. I always have to remember that I’m only getting the view of Tori and she’d not omniscient.
The story for me, being a teacher, is a little farfetched. I can’t switch it off when reading. I always text my best friend once I’ve finished a book and my response when I informed her that I preferred Radio Silence was ‘I’m a teacher, if that was going on in my school I’d like to think we’d shut that shit down.’
That said, removing that I really enjoyed the organic progression of the plot and the impact the pranks of Solitaire were having upon Tori’s mental health. Having the addition of her brother was genius. Tori would perhaps have unravelled a little sooner had she not felt an obligation to keep it together for her family.
Alice Osemen gives a strong voice to Tori. Her style makes for a very quick and easy read. There aren’t cliff-hangers at the end of chapters, which is good because it is a book you could digest in one sitting.
Osemen is certainly up there with Holly Bourne and Cat Clarke not only in writing, but in her approach to issues that need to be addressed for us to have a happy, healthy and understanding next generation.