31 Jul 2014

REVIEW: Solitaire by Alice Oseman

Title: Solitaire
Author: Alice Oseman
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary.
Publication Date: July 31st 2014
Publisher: Harper Collins
Format: Paperback
Pages: 400
Rating: 5/5

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 received this book for review but this does not alter my opinions in any way.

Hello pounding heart and shaky feeling in my hands. How nice to see you again. Yes, this was one of those books. I don’t even know how I’m going to begin to describe this book. I’ve literally just finished reading it and I just feel…wow. Just wow.

So, let me attempt to actually try and talk about this book. I suppose I should mention that I knew absolutely nothing about this book going into it. I very, very briefly read the summary off Goodreads and then I requested an ARC- basically, this was a cover/title buy for me. (Fun nerdy fact about me, I was obsessed with Solitaire as a child.) The little summary also says it’s for fans of John Green and Rainbow Rowell, and while I’m a fan of both of them, I have to disagree with that. I hate the ‘this book is for fans of…’ thing, but I’ll rant about that another day. Alice Oseman isn’t John Green or Rainbow Rowell, her voice is so incredibly different to theirs (in my opinion, anyway). I don’t even know how to really describe how she’s different, she just is. I think it probably goes without saying that I seriously loved this book.

I’m going to admit, it’s an incredibly confusing book. You don’t really know for sure what’s going on at any given time, but in a good way. To put it simply, it’s confusing in this incredibly beautiful and almost haunting way. It seriously messed with my mind and I just adored it. It was so different to what I was expecting though, I thought this was going to be a heartbreaking story (thanks to that John Green comparison), but it was more intense than anything. Also, it was quite depressing in parts but also incredibly relatable. There were times where I was way more like Tori than was probably healthy.

My absolute favourite thing though, so favourite in fact that I tweeted about it a few times…the references. There were so many references in this book that I actually got. The book starts off with a discussion about shipping in Harry Potter, it mentions the two biggest loves of my life- Benedict Cumberbatch and David Tennant, it mentions books, songs, tv, movies, Tumblr, everything! Can we talk about this? I actually feel like Alice Oseman took the last couple of years of my life and stuck it into a book. It’s absolute perfection.

I’m sorry for this review being all over the place but I’m struggling to think logically at the moment. Another thing I wanted to mention, this book isn’t a romance book. I know it says ‘this is not a love story’ in the blurb, but let’s be honest- who trusts blurbs? But no, really, this is not a love story. This is a book about people, about teenagers, about seriously messed up teenagers and school and how it can all get a little bit too much sometimes. It’s about family, and friends, and finding out who you are and not noticing the things in life you should. It’s relatable, it’s truthful and it’s intense.

I just realised that I haven’t really talked about the characters in this book, so let’s do that. Firstly, we have Tori, our main character, she’s sort of quiet, addicted to films and she’s also very strange. She listens to one song on repeat and then she changes to a new one after she’s sick of the first one, she doesn’t like books though she knows the authors to a lot of them. She’s completely bonkers, but she’s also incredibly relatable. Then there’s Michael Holden, who’s amazing and also bonkers. In fact, this entire book is crazy. I want to talk about Charlie, Tori’s brother, I think he’s possibly the best character in this book. I can’t even begin to describe him except to say that I think a lot can be learnt from him and from the relationship between him and Tori. It’s really something.

Basically, it’s perfect and wonderful and all the other good things. It was the perfect book to get me out of my Every Breath book hangover, and the perfect one to put me right back into one. Again, it’s going to be one of those books that I probably won’t ever shut up about. Can I just quickly mention that Alice Oseman is only a year older than me? That’s crazy (and very cool). So, prepare yourselves for me freaking out about this book constantly and forcing as many of you to read it as is humanly possible. Sorry, not sorry.

Thank you to the lovely people at Harper Teen Australia for sending this to me!


  1. Thank you so much for this wonderful, wonderful, wonderful review, Ely! I'm so glad you enjoyed it, and I can't wait to devour this one myself when I get my hands on a copy.

  2. I've been eyeing this book ever since I first heard about it. I love the fact that it's written by a young author! I'll definitely have to give this one a try. Great review!

  3. Sounds like a weird one, and I still don’t feel like I know what it’s about after reading your review, but I now have an idea of how you felt about it. You had me at David Tennant and Benedict Cumberbatch. LOVE THEM. And I love it when books are full of references that I understand. You piqued my interest in this book, so I’ll add it to my wishlist. Nice review!