I read this book quite a while ago and I must say my expectations were not too high. I knew I would probably enjoy it because I really like Zoella, and the videos on YouTube she makes (the link to her channels will be at the bottom of this post). However, I did find out just before I read it that it had been ghost written. To my understanding, Zoe came up with the general story line, characters and had a hand in some of the writing, however someone else did write almost all of the book. Many of her fans were outraged at this and refused to read the book, others said they did not care. I suppose I am in between. Whilst I am slightly disappointed that she didn't write the book herself and whoever did hasn't received any credit, I do understand that her talents must end somewhere. She is clearly an imaginative, creative person, but I do not believe she could also be a talented writer whose English is sophisticated enough to write a novel. That takes skill and practise, and considering most writers' first novels are never published because they do not meet the high standards of other books, her fans could not really believe that she is any exception.
The book is recognisable as something which is clearly close to Zoe's heart, containing many things she likes. Set in Brighton, where Zoe lives, the book is fictional and although allegedly not based on Zoe, does resemble parts of her personality and talents. The main character, Penny, is good at photography, writes a blog, and her tastes in fashion are very similar to Zoe's.
I stated earlier that my expectations were not too high but that I knew I would enjoy the book. However, by about chapter five, the book started to really improve and the quality of writing was a lot better. I know this is not down to Zoe, but I'm only judging the book by what I felt when I read it, and that was pure pride and pleasure that Zoe had helped put together a really uplifting and inspiring book. It shows readers that nobody is perfect and you don't need to change for someone to love you. Penny meets a boy when she travels with her family to New York in order to organise a wedding (her parents own a wedding-planning business) and despite her embarrassing quirks and imperfections, the boy, Noah, seems to really like her. I think this is one of the most important lessons to teach teenage girls; that they don't need to pretend to be someone else around boys, because the person who is right for them will love them as they are.
I would recommend this book to an age range of about 9-16 as it is not written in a sophisticated way and there is nothing inappropriate, but it does have a theme of teenage romance which younger children may not understand.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book as a bit of easy-reading with a happy ending.