Book Review - Solitaire by Alice Oseman // Sprinkles of Dreams

Book Review // Solitaire by Alice Oseman

Solitaire by Alice OsemanIn 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.

mix11Solitaire by Alice Oseman
Publisher: Harper Collins Children’s Books
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publication Date: July 31st, 2014
RATING: ⭐⭐⭐½

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?

You can buy the Paperback or Hardback at Book Depository.

Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

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? 💗)

xx, Lily


48 thoughts on “Book Review // Solitaire by Alice Oseman”

        1. I definitely recommend Heartstopper (it’s a webcomic that you can read online, but the first volume is coming out, soon!), and I loved Nick & Charlie! It’s a companion novella to Solitaire, and set in the same “world” as both of them, but you can read them all separately.

          I haven’t read I Was Born for This yet, so I can’t comment on that one, but Radio Silence is overall very well-received (though I prefer the less well-loved Solitaire myself).

          I hope this was helpful to you! And I’d love to know which one you decide on reading (first). ❤

          Liked by 1 person

  1. Thank you for this well-thought out review. It sounds like the depression aspects will speak to me personally. I read Radio Silence and I Was Born For This. They were both A+ reads for me. I hope to eventually read Solitaire. It sounds SO good in spite of the debut nature of the writing.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ohh, my pleasure! 💗

      I can’t wait to read I Was Born for This, and I hope you enjoy Solitaire, when you get around to reading it, Vanessa! ☺️ (I also highly recommend Heartstopper by Alice Oseman, it’s so wonderful. 💓)


  2. Lovely review!💓

    I’m definitely adding this to my TBR. If it was so good that you were able to overlook the writing, then it seems to deserve to be on my TBR. 😉 I’m looking forward to reading about the sibling dynamic too!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I hope you love this book! ❤️

      Alice Oseman is such a wonderful writer – if you’re looking for something you can read more quickly, I’d definitely recommend reading Heartstopper first, it’s such a lovely and wholesome story, and made me fall in love with her as a writer right away. 💓

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for this review Lily! 😊 I’ve been wanting to read Radio Silence and Solitaire for a while now, but I’ve never gotten the chance to get them.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ahhh my pleasure, I hope it was helpful, Kat!! 💕

      I know the majority of readers prefer Radio Silence, but Solitaire is so special to me, and honestly the one I’d recommend. 😌 But I hope you love them both! And I’d love to hear what you think, when you get to them. x

      Liked by 1 person

  4. great review!! i only read the companion short story to this, but honestly wasn’t that big of a fan of writing :<< so i was kinda meh abt picking up alice's other books after that??? but on the other hand, i love heartstopper!!
    ur kinda making me wanna give her another shot……. hmmmmm……….

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks so much, Anna! 🍑💛

      Ohh do you mean Nick & Charlie? And I actually felt the same way, because I read Radio Silence before this one, and didn’t like it much, but it was more due to the story than the writing. But yess, Heartstopper was actually my first Alice Oseman, and I love it so much! 💗

      I hope you enjoy whichever book you read, if you decide to give Alice Oseman another chance. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. oh yeah i think that was the title! it was very, very mediocre, even tho i LOVE those boys :<<<

        i hope so too!! she's so beloved in the community, icb im not head over hills with her books…………


  5. Lovely review, Lily ❤ I'm really happy you overall enjoyed this one, even if you had some issues with it. You have read Radio Silence, but have you read I Was Born For This just yet? I can't remember if you did. If you haven't, you really should – I feel like Alice Oseman is growing as a writer more and more and each of her books just gets amazingly better every single time. I Was Born For This was just brilliant.
    Okay I'm done having my little promo-fangirl moment haha. I'm really happy you enjoyed this book and I also thought that the siblings dynamics was quite awesome ❤ ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much, Marie! 💕

      I haven’t, but I’m planning on reading it soon! And ahh you’re making me even more excited about it now, I hope it’ll live up to your praise. 🙏🏻

      I’ve been fangirling about her so much, so I totally relate, haha. I just adore the world this book is set in, have you read Heartstopper? (I’ve been recommending it to everyone I know, haha.)

      Liked by 1 person

  6. What a sweet review Lily, and I’m so glad you like Solitaire! I must admit, I haven’t read anything by this author but she’s definitely on my TBR – especially Radio Silence. All I’ve read are great things about her books! Thanks so much for this honest review! ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ahhh thank you so, so much, Aila! That is so sweet of you. ☺💗

      I hope you love her books & please read Heartstopper as well, it’s so wonderful – the first book is coming out this fall (and it’s already available to pre-order), but you can read it online already as well! I’ve been fangirling about it ever since I read the first chapter, I’m so in love with it. 💘

      Thank you for your wonderful comment!! ❤


  7. This is such an amazing review, Lily! 💗 I’m glad that you enjoyed this book and that the mental illness representation meant so much to you.

    My favorite Alice Oseman book is Radio Silence, but I’m hoping that once I read I Was Born For This, that may change! (And I love Heartstopper! 😍)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much, Dezzy! ☺️💕

      I’m glad you love Radio Silence so much & ahh I really hope I Was Born For This will become my favorite as well! I’m planning on reading it next month, so fingers crossed. And yess to loving Heartstopper. 😭💘

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Really good review. “I laugh again, on the outside at least. Ha, ha, ha.” – wow. How did one small and simple sentence like this manage to convey the subtleties of depression. I need to read this book.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I definitely love Heartstopper, it gives me so many feels every time I read it!! I have read Solitaire but it’s not one of my favorite Alice Oseman books. I actually prefer Radio Silence because even though Solitaire resonated with me, Radio Silence is just so unique and different from other YA novels. Also, just wanted to say that I love your blog, it’s so pretty & your reviews are really well written.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, same!! It hits me right in my heart, everytime. 💘

      Pretty much everyone I know prefers Radio Silence, and I can see why! But Solitaire is just one of those books that really managed to touch me. :’)

      Ahhh that is so kind of you, Rachana!! I’m glad you enjoy them, thank you so much for your lovely comment! 😭❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  10. AAAAAAA this review was so good and explained exactly why I liked it so much D; the depression rep felt so real and I love that she didn’t bluntly state it either!! im so happy I buddy read this with you ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahhh this means so much to me, Tals!! :’) I’m so happy this turned out somewhat coherent, because I honestly didn’t know how to put into words what I loved about it?? And YES, it had such a good depression rep.

      I couldn’t have wished for a better person to buddy read this with! 💖💖

      Liked by 1 person

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