Saturday, 28 January 2017

Solitaire // a enjoyable book that maybe tried to be too many things at once

Title: Solitaire
Author: Alice Oseman
Genre: Contemporary
Warnings: self harm, suicidal thoughts
Rating: 3 stars
Radio Silence might be one of my all time favourite contemporaries, so I knew I had to have a copy of Alice Oseman's debut in my hands.

Reading Solitaire was such a breeze - the language was light (although a few more run on sentences than I'd like) and I finished it in a couple of days. The British Grammar school setting was also super relatable for me, and I could identifiy with the confusing anxieties of the characters.

Having said that, I'm not sure what this book was trying to be. I didn't quite get how the Solitaire pranksters did what they were doing and how the school didn't do anything about it sooner. I also didn't really understand what the message of the story was. I think Solitaire tried to be a lot of things and ultimately there wasn't any key idea that came across.

I loved that mental illness was displayed as a vast and difficult thing for so many people and that the characters could accept each other for it. However, I do wish the specific mental illnesses were mentioned. There is a character with an eating disorder and other characters that possibly have depression, and I would've liked to see that acknowledged to a greater extent rather than me having to assume from implications.

Ultimately, I did enjoy Solitaire, altohugh not as much as Radio Silence. But to me that's a great thing! It means that Alice Oseman is genuinely growing as a writer, and I can't wait to see where she goes from here.

Diversity Note: protagonist with depression (implied, no labels are used), side character with depression and an eating disorder (implied, no labels are used), M/M relationship (side characters, labels confirmed outside of text)

Warnings: ableist language, slut shaming, depression, suicidal thoughts and attempted suicide, self harm, blood, hospitals, physical violence

2017 Reread: I wanted to read this book again because I was in the mood to reread some Alice Oseman after reading her web comic Heartstopper which focuses on the characters Nick and Charlie in this book. I wanted to try and work out the chronology of her stories in my head since I read them out of order! I love her characters, and I somehow end up loving them even more in Heartstopper.

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