Book Review: Solitaire by Alice Oseman


In 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.


I’ve had Alice’s other works for a while now and I’ve finally gotten around to reading Solitaire. I did read Nick and Charlie last year and it’s actually my most view post of all time, check it out here. So I’ve gone about this a little backwards, but they technically don’t follow each other so it’s fine.

Tori is one of my favourite characters from the Heartstopper graphic novels so getting to see the world from her perspective was really interesting. In the graphic novels you just think she’s quiet and mysterious, but Solitaire really fleshes out her character. She has real deep feelings and most of those are negative. Do be warned if you do into this expecting it to read like Heartstopper, it does not. It tackles a lot of dark issues and they are not to be taken lightly.

I’m pretty sure most people can relate to a lot of what she is feeling as let’s be honest, sixteen is a really horrible age. You constantly feel like everyone knows who they are but you and it’s really quite isolating. I personally did not have a great time at this age and I fully sympathise with Tori. 

The part where Tori talks about editing the html of her blog made me feel very nostalgic. Me and friends used to sit for hours adding gifs and animations to our Tumblr blogs. Ah, simpler times. 

There are a few other moments of nostalgia when Tori mentions playing sonic heroes on the PS2 and year 7s playing the impossible quiz in the computer room. This book has really made me miss secondary school, not something I thought I’d be saying. 

I’m pretty surprised by how much I loved Solitaire and I actually read the majority of the book in one sitting. I was completely enraptured from the very beginning and I can’t even explain why. The way in which this is written was actually very beautiful and poetic and the fact that it was Alice’s debut is incredible. 

The plot was very engaging and I was really invested the whole time. I did figure out who was behind Solitaire but I don’t think it was meant to be the best kept secret in the world.

I absolutely love the part about how even though Michael has helped Tori, she isn’t suddenly fixed because they are together. It feels so important to reiterate that. So often you read these types of books and the main character is suddenly happy and has no problems because they are in a relationship. I’m so glad that does not happen here. Alice really takes care with their friendship/relationship and it was beautiful to witness.

If you’re a fan of the Heartstopper graphic novels and want to venture into Alice’s other works then I’d definitely recommend Solitaire – make sure to check out the content warnings though.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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