solitaire book coverReviewed by Sarah Lelonek

It took me a few weeks, almost a month after finishing the novel to decide how I felt about Solitaire by Alice Oseman. I normally read young adult literature, but this book was different. Oseman wrote Solitaire when she was just 17 years old. Therefore, the novel had a very distinct writing style and voice–an immature writing style and voice in my opinion. After a month of trying to figure out if I actually thought Solitaire was a well-written novel, I can say this: Solitaire breaks some stereotypes when it comes to young adult fiction, but in the end, I feel the novel fell short of whatever goal Oseman was trying to reach.

Basically, the novel is about a high school student name Tori who hates her life, her school, and most people, but pretends she just doesn’t care about anything instead. Tori insists that this novel is not a love story and instead is a story about a group called Solitaire that is pranking her high school. However, this story does end up being a love story with a tad bit of a coming of age story mixed in.

The writing style is what I expect of a young author, often repetitive and convoluted with little thought as to how each scene actually improves the plot and story. I did like that Tori was a relatable character, as I often felt like I just didn’t care when I was a teenager, but I just did not see the point of the book. Sure, Tori may or may not have started to care about others and herself, but I was still left feeling completely unsatisfied and questioning the “why” factor of this novel.

All-in-all, I would say Solitaire is a good attempt by a young author to show how teenagers act in modern times. Aside from this, though, I would say the book lacked a good story element. Instead, the reader is left with a whinny high school student who does not actually grow enough during the novel to make the book seem worth it. I really tried to like this novel. I did. I simply could not enjoy this book no matter how much I could relate to the main character due to the writing style and pure angst of the characters.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆ 

Sarah Emily Lelonek has a BA in English Literature from Kent State University. She is currently enrolled at Tiffin University in their Master’s of Education program. She enjoys traveling and gaming while on breaks from working on her novel.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by HarperTeen. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.