Solitaire is a fiction novel written by Alice Oseman and published on July 31st 2014 making it Alice Oseman’s debut novel. and was the original novel to kick start the Heartstopper series. Solitaire is not a romance novel and more of a monologue to the life of the main character Tori and her way of thinking as well as her perspective on all aspects of modern life.
In Solitaire we follow a 16 year old Tori spring who is introverted to say the least, Tori spends her time watching movies, observing the likes of everyone else, and spending time with her brothers. She has never really connected with anyone outside of her family or extremely close circle, and she never aspired to change that either.
Tori has always been more of a reserved person, never really seeing the reasoning behind branching out into anything other than what was necessary, until she met Michael Holden on her mission to solve the mystery currently protruding over her school.
Tori is sad and introverted, with no excuses for it, she cannot understand why she constantly feels judged for who she is. Michael feels the same, although instead of feeling sad, he is more angry with the pressures of life he deals with constantly.
Overtime, Tori and Michael develop a beautiful friendship where they both make each other better when with each other, Tori becomes less sad and Michael becomes less angry. All while beating the timeline given to them by Solitaire to find their identity and put a stop to their grand plans. Will Tori make it in time or will everything she has built up for herself, burn to the ground.
Alice Oseman is known for her depictions of small town teens, their friendships, their home lives and their journeys on discovering who they are as individuals. Solitaire is another example of how Alice Oseman represents those who possibly don’t talk loud on purpose, she gives a voice to the people who maybe don’t have the courage to speak too loud. This book is also great in tapping into LGBTQ+ represented through Nick and Charlie (Tori’s brother and his boyfriend), as well as many fans of the book assuming Tori is possibly asexual.
Overall I found this book nice and easy to read, the build up was at a good pace, the characters were all necessary to the story so it didn’t feel like too much was trying to be crammed into one book. The backgrounds of each character was well explained if it needed to be. It also had nice nudges of dead- pan humor and definitely appeals more to an introverted audience.
Overall I rated Solitaire a three stars. Even though I did enjoy the book and appreciated the story and plot as a whole I can’t see myself gravitating back to this book. As a debut novel it is really good, it combines friendship with the aspect of solving a mystery, but the characters are actually written and depicted as their real age which you don’t get often. It was a nice, easy, refreshing book that I did enjoy and would recommend but for me it probably won’t be a reread.