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Book Review: Solitaire by Alice Oseman

I hate to admit it, but I’m really torn on how I felt about this book.

Prior to reading it, I had heard nothing but excellent things about this novel. Everyone had absolutely raved about Solitaire on all social media platforms, that I think I was just expecting it to be absolutely phenomenal. I don’t usually read much contemporary, however by quickly glancing at the premise for this book (and listening to the crazy amounts of hype) I couldn’t help but come immediately intrigued and pick up a copy.

One of my favourite things about this novel was definitely the way Alice Oseman was able to portray being a teenager. It’s been a long time since there has been a good, stand alone novel that capture teen life quite like this book does. It is a raw look into the life of a teenage girl, that isn’t overly dramatic and filled with dozens of potential love interests and romantic plot devices.

The main character, Tori, was truly one of my favourite aspects of this novel. She was one of the few protagonists I’ve read recently who I’ve felt a connection to. She is a pessimistic, introverted blogger who lives in the UK. And while I’m from Australia, I felt that Tori could have been my twin sister. I just felt so connected to her I loved it. The tone Tori set for the novel was such a large reason for why I enjoyed this book, and unfortunately she was really the main reason I loved this book so much. I had a few big issues.

Firstly, I was extremely triggered by a chapter in the book describing a characters eating disorder/mental illness. Although I found the portrayal of this very true to how I personally experience mental health issues, I did find myself on edge for the last half of the book because I really wasn’t sure whether I’d be able to continue if there was more graphic description. Luckily for me, my cousin had already read the book and ensured me there was nothing else that major.

The other problem I had with the book was the ending. I loved the way that romance wasn’t a major focus in this book. As a teenager, turning 19 in September, I never experienced a ton of romance during high school, and find it quite difficult to relate to YA contemporary books that have sixteen year old girls being bombarded with male suiters. It was so refreshing to find a book where the main male featured in the book wasn’t a love interest. He was simply a friend. But towards the end, I found myself resenting a few choices that were made.

The other major downfall I had with Solitaire was the plot twist that was revealed at the end. I think it was supposed to be a major twist and exciting turn of events, but honestly it felt so dull to me that I found myself not caring about the characters I had really found myself relating to and liking.

Overall, I really enjoyed these characters and the portrayal of mental illness, I’m just disappointed by the ending of this book.

3 stars.

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