Tori Spring enjoys blogging and sleeping… and that’s pretty much all she enjoys these days. Tori, a sixteen-year-old Year 12 student, is a chronic pessimist with few friends and little to no sources of happiness.
But when she follows a trail of Post-It notes to the computer lab, where she meets the mysteriously eccentric Michael Holden, she receives a message from a group called Solitaire that plots to take over the school.
Throughout the story, we follow Tori as she makes and breaks her friendships, struggles with her mental health, balances her schoolwork, learns to trust other people, and finds the motivation to get out of bed every morning. On top of everything going on in Tori’s life, she continually tries to be the best sister she can be to her brothers, Charlie and Oliver.
I absolutely loved this book, though it was a lot darker than many books I’ve enjoyed in the past. Nevertheless, I may go so far as to call Solitaire my favorite book as of now. Alice Oseman crafts a haunting, realistic, beautiful story in the mind of an imperfect main character. As usual, Alice Oseman includes lots of LGBTQ+ representation in Solitaire as well as in her other novels, which I strongly recommend as well!
Solitaire also introduces the characters Charlie Spring and Nick Nelson, who appear in the Netflix series Heartstopper. However, Solitaire may not be enjoyable for fans of Heartstopper, as it is much deeper and darker and does not work out to be a perfect happy ending. Solitaire is not a love story, the main conflict takes place inside Tori as she tries to figure herself out.
I loved that this book wasn’t like what I usually read—nothing like the cliche love story with nice characters that have a happy ending. I liked that Tori had good days and bad days, and I enjoyed diving into her introspective thoughts. I found Solitaire to be much more realistic to life, and I truly enjoyed this amazing book.