ARC Review: Solitaire

SolitaireSolitaire by Alice Oseman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

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.

Victoria ‘Tori’ Spring absolutely hates being in school, being alive in general. She is generally apathetic to everything, and not much gives her any happiness in life. In the new school year, which she thought would drag on just like others, someone starts pranking the school. The pranks escalate until she decides to find out who it is. The main issues that the author circles around are teen depression, eating disorders, friendships and relationships; it is mostly a coming of age story.

Solitaire is a book that left me on the fence about it – on one hand, I loved the writing and the way the author deals realistically with the issues of depression, self-harm, and apathy, while on the other I felt the story itself was very slow and dragged in places. Victoria, while a cheerless protagonist to look through, provides a great example of realistic worldview of someone who is suffering through depression. The plot feels dragged and listless because she is feeling so – it is a good writing style to drive the point home, but absolutely miserable to read with. Moving on, the relationships in the book were raw, and honest – I especially loved the dynamic between Tori and Charlie. And while it says it is not a romance, there is a beautiful slow-burn one happening right through the plot.

Overall, the book is very intelligently constructed and written to that effect, but I felt the end product came out too unconventional. It is different, yes, but it also is not very enjoyable to read. (I know it sounds confusing when I always harp on in my reviews about valuing ingenuity over everything else).

Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review from Harper Teen, via Edelweiss.

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