Solitaire by Alice Oseman
Novel: Solitaire by Alice Oseman | Goodreads
Release Date: March 30th, 2015
Source: Publisher/Book People Teen Reviewing
Also Published On: Willa’s Ramblings
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’m going to completely admit something: I picked up this book purely because on my copy it said “for fans of Melina Marchetta” so I just assumed I’d love it.
And holyohmygodithinkihavenoair this was good.
You want realistic teen fiction?
This is it.
Solitaire is the story of a girl. An incredibly normal girl. A girl who has a Tumblr that she spends entirely too much time on, who watches Netflix all the time, and doesn’t really know what the heck she wants to do with her life. She doesn’t have the kind of friends who really get her (besides her best friend, and even that’s kind of shaky) and she’s not on the best of terms with her parents. Tori was the best part of this entire book. The cynicism, sarcasm, and pessimism made her so much more real in my head. She has an incredibly distinct voice from the beginning of the book (it actually shook me up a bit) which made her Tori. Her voice matched her personality and made sense with the way she acted – I loved it.
Enter Michael Holden. The guy who even her brother is telling her to stay away from because he’s just a bit too odd. Michael, however, doesn’t seem to care that Tori isn’t giving him much attention, but rather makes an effort. He befriends her, and their friendship is utterly beautiful. They’re both aching for someone who gets them, and that’s what they provide for each other. Michael Holden is a character who really surprised me, and I ended up adoring him. He’s funny, kind, a bit odd but a really cool kind, and someone who I think I would like in real life. He keeps you on your toes, so to speak.
The actual plot of Solitaire is a bit out there. Essentially, there’s a series of pranks happening at Tori’s school (and in the surrounding area) that are targeted at her, but no one knows who exactly is behind them, other than that the organization is named Solitaire. Tori and Michael make it their own personal mission to figure out who the organizers of Solitaire are and stop them before things get too ugly (because the pranks are turning more and more dangerous) but this task ends up being a bit more difficult than they expected. The mystery/thriller element that the Solitaire pranks brought in made the book move faster and filled what would’ve been a boring middle section of the book with engaging scenes.
Solitaire deals heavily with depression and suicide. Multiple characters in the book are battling depression, and Oseman approaches these topics with kindness and care. Through Tori we see the ups and downs, the precipice of suicide, and walking away. This book was an incredibly emotional one, and I absolutely fell in love with it.
Alice Oseman’s debut novel is at the top of my list for favorite 2015 releases. Solitaire is an incredibly unique story of love, friendship, and finding yourself, and one that everyone can relate to.