Top positive review
Great read with something for everyone
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 25 April 2019
I really connected with our protagonist; Tori. She is really introverted, doesn’t have a lot of energy and she doesn’t have a whole load of friends. She explains that she doesn’t really know where her place is at school, despite feeling pretty ordinary, which really spoke to me. I also loved that Tori only drinks diet lemonade throughout the book as I pretty much survive off Pepsi Max. She also manages to explain how I feel about talking on the phone, which was fun to see.
“I hate the phone. It’s the worst invention in the history of the world because, if you don’t talk, nothing happens. You can’t get by with simply listening and nodding your head in all the right places. You have to talk. You have no option.”
Tori is a very relatable character, not just for me, but for anyone who is or has been a teenager. Especially if you have ever felt like an outsider. She is a blogger and introvert which is something a lot of readers can relate too. However if this isn’t you, there is Michael who (outwardly, and at first) seems so cheery and positive. He was a wonderful character and friend. I really liked his personality. He grows throughout the book and we learn so much more about him and how he keeps a lot inside, which is a lot of peoples coping mechanism. Also, he could well have been bi or ace or any sexuality at all but he refuses to label his sexuality as he doesn’t see why he has to and that’s a really interesting choice.
There is wonderful rep in this book, not many labels are used so I can’t specify with confidence, however I’m pretty sure I spotted depression, anxiety and definitely homosexuality. Specifically, Tori’s brother has really struggled with his mental health and we watch as Tori herself slowly realises she might be struggling too. We see how her mental health effects her relationships with everyone and how they cannot possibly know what is going on inside her head. She tells everyone she’s fine because that is what is expected from her. Tori’s relationship with her parents played a minimal role in the book and I would have found it interesting to explore that more and see how it affected Tori’s mental health.
Whilst I generally enjoy plot driven books and find less enjoyment in the character development, with Solitaire, I was all in for the characters and only mildly interested in the actual plot. I wanted to know who was behind Solitaire, however, I felt the “pranks” they were pulling off were unrealistic which took me out of it slightly. They were dramatic and added an element of mystery to the book, but I feel like the real meat of the story had nothing to do with Solitaire.
Overall, I think this was a wonderful read with something for everyone that tackled a bunch of really tough topics really well.