Heya! After the ARC reviews, it’s time for one of my favorite series of 2018! My lovely boyfriend gifted me Solitaire and Radio Silence since I was talking about it in the bookstore, because I couldn’t find it in the store. I started Solitaire almost right away and I loved it a lot 🙂
Trigger warning: self harm (in the book, not in the review)
Title: Solitaire (Solitaire #1)
Author: Alice Oseman
Summary: Tori Spring is just a teenager, who goes to school, has friends, goes home, and lives her life. Until Solitaire. Solitaire is a program she doesn’t care about, and she doesn’t want to either. Except they’re continuously trying to grab her attention by doing all kinds of things, some worse than others, some better planned than others. She also doesn’t care about Michael Holden, who suddenly comes into her life out of nowhere. But, as she is trying not to care, everyone around her is doing their best to make sure she does
I must say that I read the reviews on Goodreads and so many of them were negative, and I was honestly shocked. I went into this book knowing nothing, and I liked it so much. I wondered what all the reviews had to say and why they all rated Solitaire so low, and I found out it’s the exact thing that those people didn’t like, as what I adored so much.
Tori is a teenager much like I was. The book starts like any normal day, nothing special is happening, just Tori who lives her life. It was the first few sentences that made me already love it. I like books that start with something special, or with something mysterious that gets explained throughout the book, but I also really liked this book. I’ll write out the first few sentences to explain:
I am aware as I step into the common room that the majority of people here are almost dead, including me. I have been reliably informed that post-Christmas blues are entirely normal and that we should expect to feel somewhat numb after the ‘happiest’ time of the year, but I don’t feel so different now to how I felt on Christmas Eve, or on Christmas Day, or on any other day since the Christmas holidays started. I’m back now and it’s another year. Nothing is going to happen.
So yeah, nothing really happens in the beginning, there’s no big plot twist, and it’s refreshing actually.
Tori doesn’t care about most things, which made the book very real for me. It is not specifically mentioned that she is depressed, but to me, it felt like it. The way her life is described is exactly how I felt during the time I was depressed, and I was glad it wasn’t a “oh-I’m-so-depressed-poetic”-book. Because for some people, things like that can be very accurate, but to me it was nothing like poetry and beautiful skies but more like emptiness and nothingness and carelessness. Which is exactly this book. It was a bit hard to read it sometimes, because I remembered those times so well.
She does have friends, just.. not ones she cares about a lot. She tries to, but it’s difficult when their lives are so different and when they seem to care about so many things that Tori doesn’t care about. Becky is her seemingly best friend since childhood, but they don’t talk too much. Lucas is another friend from childhood, but he went to the boys-school, so he and Tori haven’t spoken for the past years. He desperately wants the friendship between him and Tori back, but Tori isn’t sure if that’s what she wants.
Charlie, her brother, is one of the other characters I really liked. He and his boyfriend Nick are very cute together, and they both are there for Tori when she needs them. They listen to her ramble, and either give her advice or just let her ramble on. They’re not judgmental at all, which is nice. The fact that he’s openly gay is something I haven’t come across many times before. Most books either have homophobic parents, or there’s trouble at school, but in this book, everything is totally normal, as it should be.
And then there’s Michael Holden, a character that seems weird at first… and stays like that. He meets Tori at the very beginning and he, too, wants a friendship with Tori. However, unlike with Lucas, Tori is absolutely sure she doesn’t want Michael as a friend. She doesn’t care about Michael, not when he tries to be nice, not when he tries to help her, and certainly not when they hang out over the weekend.
“There’s a time and a place for being normal. For most people, normal is their default setting. But for some, like you and me, normal is something we have to bring out, like putting on a suit for a posh dinner.”
In the meantime, Solitaire keeps doing tricks, like playing a song over the school speakers, and no one can turn it off. Or interrupting a music event. The entire school seems to care about Solitaire, who they are, and what they want, but Tori is sure she doesn’t want anything to do with it.
This book is not a love story, it’s a book about friends, friends that could have been and friends that are not any more. It’s about life, and about a girl that’s as sarcastic as they come and she means it. I loved it so much because it’s all very real to me, as I mentioned earlier. Tori says how she feels, and I loved that about her. I’ll definitely read Radio Silence and I hope to buy I Was Born For This as soon as my book-buying-ban is over 😉
ALSO there is a webcomic, Heartstopper, about Nick and Charlie and it’s definitely the cutest ever and it’s here on Tumblr and you should read it! I’m currently waiting till Heartstopper comes out on paper, and it’ll be in three weeks!! yay 😀
Did you read this book? Did you like it as much as I did?
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