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.
Solitaire by Alice Oseman
Publisher: Harper Collins Children’s Books
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publication Date: July 31st, 2014
Book ratings, no matter how hard we try, are never completely objective—but my rating for this book especially is probably one of the least objective ones I’ve given to this date.
I guess I haven’t watched any of the films for a few years now, but hearing that music brings back something. I don’t know what. Some feeling in my chest.
I have a penchant for gorgeous writing, and more often than not, it can severely, and positively, influence how I feel about a book, regardless of how I feel about the story it tells. In this case, Solitaire managed to sneak its way into my heart, despite the fact that the writing wasn’t exactly “gorgeous”.
I’m not saying that the writing is bad; it’s not—but in Solitaire, Alice Oseman’s debut novel, it lacks the finesse that can be found in her later novel Radio Silence. But it already has those raw, and unassumingly powerful scenes, and sentences that are simple, but hit you.
All the people are chatting and laughing and smiling, and it sort of makes me feel a bit sad, like I’m watching them through a dirty window.
And even though Radio Silence is much more well-written, I enjoyed Solitaire much, much more—predominantly, because I simply love Tori as the main character with all my heart, and felt for her so deeply.
Tori has depression, and instead of being told this fact right away, it’s reflected in subtle ways that add up—her thoughts, her behavior, her apathy—it’s told in a way that, when it’s revealed, it makes perfect sense to you as a reader, because it’s been woven into the narrative so brilliantly from the very beginning.
I laugh again, on the outside at least. Ha, ha, ha.
Alice Oseman steers clear of the scenario in which a mental illness is cured by falling in love with someone, which I find so important—not only because falling in love isn’t a miraculous cure for any kind of mental illness, but also, because depression can be cured, yes, but it can also be something that stays with someone for their entire life, and is something they simply have to learn to live with.
I continue to stare at myself in this mirror, and I imagine a voice reminding me to be funny and chatty and happy, like normal people.
I also adore the sibling dynamic in Solitaire. I could feel the love between Tori and her brother Charlie, and every single one of their interactions made my heart light up. Both of them, and the side characters as well—most prominently Nick, Charlie’s ever so lovable boyfriend—have become so precious to me during the course of this book.
There are a few things that bothered me, and made me lower my rating for this book, but they were minor enough for me to still find this book very enjoyable.
Solitaire has become one my favorite books in regards to the portrayal of a mental illness, and I’m so happy to have read it, and to have done so at the exact right time; because I’m certain that a year, or even half a year ago, I wouldn’t have appreciated it the way I do now.
You’re interested in this book?
Have you read this book, or anything else by Alice Oseman?
Which one of her books is your favorite?
(Do you love Heartstopper as much as I do? 💗)