Book lover. Stephen King Fanatic. Will try anything once. General Lover of Fiction. Reviewer Everywhere. All views my own. Mostly.
**Source; Purchased copy**
Solitaire is an amazing book, straight into my favourites of all time. I'm not sure why but I devoured it - a contemporary YA novel with a lot of heart and soul and some inspiring and authentic main characters, not the least of which is our narrator Tori.
So anyway, I was reading this as a 46 year old Mother of 3, a book written by an obviously very talented young writer (who I imagine used experience to get that edgy realism into the narrative) yet so much of it resonated with me, harking back to my own teenage years and having seen my lovely now 24 year old daughter through hers. It is an honest and very astute tale, gripping and often humerous, with a little twist in the premise to allow some deeper themes to be explored.
Tori is a really terrifically drawn character who will steal your heart - she is a literature student who hates books, a loner in her own head, who struggles to care about anything, doesnt really understand those around her, gets angry, frustrated, but often inspires people despite herself. She is like the flame that attracts moths then burns them, unwittingly (and sometimes with great deliberation) pushing people away from her. She has to deal with a brother who has issues, a friend she is losing connection with, meeting Michael Holden (I'll come to him) and then Solitaire - a shadowy group who begin to play sometimes funny, sometimes annoying then increasingly dangerous pranks on the school our characters attend.
Michael Holden is a marvel of a character, I dare you not to fall in love with him. A perfect foil for Tory to allow us to see into her hidden self, the author uses her character ensemble to tell a subtle and compelling story of one girl moving closer to the edge and the people around her who may have their own edge to worry about As things develop it is completely captivating, some beautiful and insightful writing draws you into their world and makes you feel every moment.
What I loved about this I think is how Alice Oseman captures so perfectly the teenage condition. Yes she examines depression and other life issues here in a well crafted, informative and realistic way but she also manages to imbue into the story the true depth of feeling that comes with coming of age, that time in our lives when everything is EVERYTHING, the smallest things seemingly impossible to overcome. Tori lives and breathes it, the emotional overload pops off the page, the storytelling is sublime.
This is not a love story. But it is a story you will love.
Happy Reading Folks!