Solitaire by Alice Oseman (YA)

 

Solitaire tells the story of a self-described chronic pessimist, Victoria (Tori) Spring, and a mysterious blog by the name Solitaire, which begins pranking her school, while seemingly knowing random facts about Tori.   Along the way, Tori tries to figure out who her friends are, and what her purpose is in life.   The usual teenage strife, in other words!

Oddly, the main plot of the book is not the mystery of the Solitaire blog, but the developing friendship between Tori and Michael Holden, a character straight out of left-field, who is full of life and possibly absolutely insane.   He is the most interesting character in this book, and he finds something in Tori which she may not have even seen herself.   I also enjoyed the character of Tori’s sometime friend, Becky, who has one of the great rants towards the end of the story.

Solitaire has a lot a pop culture touchstones, from The Breakfast Club to the relentless mundanity of modern indie bands, and it seems the author has a lot of gears to grind when it comes to any of these topics.   There is also some clever commentary on the all-encompassing life a blogger and its impact on groups of people, in this case the whole school community.

I did expect Solitaire to be a bit more engaging plotwise, although the search for the identity of the mystery blogger does keep you reading, while the author has a thing or two to say about mortality and friendship along the way.   There’s a sense of carpe diem here, and I guess that’s always a positive message to convey, in particular to the target audience of young adults.

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