By Author / Illustrator
Friends and family
Usborne Publishing Ltd
Paperback / softback
What's it like to grow up online and have every tantrum, every spot - even your first period - broadcast to hundreds of thousands of followers? A funny and heartfelt novel for fans of Geek Girl, from the award-winning Tamsin Winter: "Fast becoming a favourite for younger teenagers." The Observer.
Most parents try to limit their kids' online exposure. But not Eva's. Her parents run a hugely successful YouTube channel, and Eva is the star of the show. But Eva is getting sick of being made to pose in stupid mum-and-daughter matching outfits for sponsored posts. The freebies aren't worth the teasing at school. And when an intensely humiliating "period party" post goes viral, Eva is outraged. She's going to find a way to stop the channel, even if she has to sabotage it herself.
Girl (In Real Life) life was an absolutely phenomenal read for me and I found the storyline and plot really exciting. In fact, I got so hooked onto it that I had to finish it once I'd started. All the characters are really well written so much so that when Eva cried about farmor (no spoilers) I actually cried too. its an absolute rollercoaster of emotions and you get a sense of thrill every time she is almost caught out. Overall I thought this book was fab, and wish spud had his own book as I'm still intrigued as to who his love letter was for ahaha x
Suggested Reading Age 11+
Eva Andersen has been famous since before she was born. She is the star of her parents’ YouTube channel 'All About Eva' which has been documenting her life since she was a baby. On the face of it, she seems to have a great life. Sponsors send the family countless freebies - clothes, food, electronic gadgets. However, now that Eva is entering her teens, she is finding life in the spotlight unbearable. Everything she does is filmed and posted, usually without any consultation with her. She is teased and humiliated at school and desperately wants all of the attention to stop. It is even more difficult as the channel is her parents' sole source of income. But when a vlog of her first period is posted, Eva knows things have gone too far. With the help of her new friend Carys, she sets out on a plan to sabotage the All About Eva channel, with far-reaching consequences.
The author, Tamsin Winter, has a real knack of getting inside the mind of a young girl, and manages this brilliantly in Girl (In Real Life), a thought-provoking novel that explores the often murky world of social media. It is very easy to sympathise with Eva's predicament as her life is laid bare for all to see. Her mother is quite difficult to like as she continues to film Eva, even when asked not to. She sometimes breaks promises not to post certain events, and Eva,s disappointment leaps from the page. Her father is also involved in the channel, but is not so overbearing as her mother. It is easy to feel sorry for Eva as it often seems that, instead of protecting Eva, her mother is using her by parading her life on the internet. As Eva herself puts it "It's not easy when the two people you love most are also the ones ruining your life".
Eva is a fascinating character, brave and thoughtful. She has grown apart from her once best friend Hallie, and misses her company. She does have a good friend in the wonderful Spud, the boy next door, who is funny and a bit eccentric, loves Star Wars and once blew up a sheep's lung as part of an experiment. Eva becomes close to Carys, a new girl at school who is a technical wizard and offers to help Eva in her plan to stop her parents filming her. Carys's mysterious background makes her an interesting addition to the plot.
Winter really explores how social media can, if allowed, have an adverse effect on someone's life. At times I wished I could reach into the book and shake Eva's mother, who seems totally oblivious to her daughter's unhappiness. This is an important novel, especially today in a world where teenagers are obsessed with YouTube, TikTok and Instagram, and will be a valuable addition to school libraries everywhere. Tamsin Winter is becoming a real force to be reckoned with in teenage fiction, and I can't wait to see what she has in store for us next.
352 pages / Ages 11+ / Reviewed by Beverley Somerset, School Librarian
Suggested Reading Age 11+