Release date: April 20th 2015
Tori Spring has a blog no one knows about and spends most of her free time blogging, watching movies, or sleeping. This school year brings changes to her life. It brings Michael Holden – and it brings Solitaire. Tori tries to convince herself she doesn’t care about Michael or Solitaire but she’s lying to herself and eventually the truth will come out.
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect going into this book. There wasn’t a whole lot to go on just from the cover and the synopsis. I did end up mostly enjoying it. It was a pretty easy read that still managed to touch upon some deep issues, though I wish it had gone deeper into them. And I also really enjoyed all the pop culture references thrown in.
Tori’s voice was what really drew me into the book. She claimed to be a boring person, completely uninteresting, but what she saw as boring, staying home every night, blogging, watching movies, no real interest in hanging out every single night or going out every night, I saw as things I could relate to. The not liking to read part was something I definitely couldn’t relate to but I could understand her point of view on it when she explained it. For the most part, Tori hid her depression and her struggles well but there were times it seemed like other characters were noticing. I thought her character was a pretty honest and realistic portrayal of a struggling teenager. I also really liked Tori’s relationship with her younger brothers, how she obviously loved them and took care of them when they needed her. The developing friendship with Michael was really nice as it pushed her a little outside her comfort zone and she seemed a little more open when she was with him.
The other names on the cover, other teen characters, were all interesting on their own. Michael just seemed to love life most of the time but there were times we’d get a little glimpse of his own struggles with anger or school. Becky and Lucas didn’t get as much time to make an impression but still managed to become more than simply Tori’s best friend(Becky) and Tori’s childhood friend(Lucas). Charlie, one of Tori’s brothers, was the character I really felt the most for. I wish his struggles had been touched on more than they were but what we did get was heartbreaking while showing him to be a strong and compassionate person. His relationship with Nick, the little we saw, was a huge highlight of the book.
At first the Solitaire mystery was fun. It was annoying pranks at the school, harmless, maybe a little farfetched to be executed in real life but still funny. As the so-called pranks became more serious, it started to lose me. It seemed more and more unlikely that the pranks could be pulled off, that there were no clues left behind, that the school wouldn’t have called the police. By the time the big reveal happened, I’d already figured out who was behind Solitaire.
As mentioned, I did enjoy the pop culture references, and there were quite a few of them. The book was set in the U.K. so the English spoken and written was, of course, the British version over the American but even though there were a few unfamiliar terms, it was still understandable to me.
In the end, even though the mystery lost me, I enjoyed the book for the characters and their relationships.
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.