Review: yolo by Lauren Myracle

yolo by Lauren Myracle

Through texts and messages, the mega-bestselling, beloved Internet Girls series followed the ups and downs of school for three very different, very close friends. Now it’s freshman year of college for the winsome threesome, and *everything* is different. For one, the best friends are facing their first semester apart. Way, way apart. Maddie’s in California, Zoe’s in Ohio, and Angela’s back in Georgia. And it’s not just the girls who are separated. Zoe’s worried that Doug wants to break up now that they’re at different schools, and Maddie’s boyfriend, Ian, is on the other side of the country. In the face of change and diverging paths, Maddie’s got a plan to keep the friends close, and it involves embracing the present, making memories, and . . . roller derby!

Title: yolo (Internet Girls #4)
Author: Lauren Myracle
Source: ARC from Netgalley
Publication date: August 26, 2014

I received yolo from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I read the first three Internet Girls books a few years ago. They were written back when AIM was popular and texting had barely gotten off the ground. I heard earlier this year that Lauren Myracle was rewriting and updating them, but I didn’t really pay attention. I’m not a rereader and even if I was, those probably wouldn’t be books I would flock to reread. I liked them, but I gave them each three stars. They just didn’t stand out to me.

Now I wish I had reread them because it was hard for me to remember the characters and their personalities after two and a half years of not revisiting them. Maddie has a pretty distinct personality, but Zoe and Angela kind of run together in my mind. I also love the idea of a book written entirely in text messages, but it’s harder to get into the characters’ heads. I’m pretty sure that was an issue with the earlier books, too, and it may be the reason I didn’t rate them higher. I will say, though, that the text format makes the book a quick read.

There’s another problem I have with all the texting (and also in the earlier books with IM): textspeak. I know it’s common, but I just can’t get onboard with the textspeak. Maybe it’s because I don’t text, but it doesn’t work for me. It makes me cringe. I like to imagine that characters in the books I read spell out words like “your” and capitalize the beginning of a sentence. Reading a book written entirely in texts takes away that pretense.

One final complaint about the format before I move on to the story is that I’ve never understood that while Angela uses purple font, Zoe and Maddie both use black. Maddie’s is darker, like it’s bolded, but how hard would it be to give her a different color to make it easier to distinguish between them? Just use blue or pink or something. Okay, Maddie’s probably not a pink girl…But Zoe might be.

You wouldn’t know it by the books I usually read, but the beginning of college is one of my favorite times to read about. It’s a time of so much change, especially for those who go away to college and live on campus. With all the technology we have now, it’s so much easier today for people to keep in touch over long distances than it was in the past. It makes me wonder if current college students keep in touch with more of their old hometown friends for longer periods of time than students from even twenty years ago. I’m sure that most of those friendships still eventually fade away, just as a result of not being there and of people being busy, even if they remain connected on Facebook, but it might not happen as quickly as it used to.

My copy of yolo expired after I read it but before writing my review, so I hope I can keep all the stories straight. Like I said, Angela and Zoe are pretty similar to me and even their storylines are getting mixed up in my mind. I know Angela is pledging a sorority and Zoe struggles with trying to keep her relationship with Doug going, but I’m not sure which one of them had the crazy roommate issues. I think it was Angela? That was one of my favorite parts of the book.

Of the three, Maddie is the one you wouldn’t expect to have problems adjusting to college, but she does. In some ways it makes sense. Maddie’s far away from everyone. Zoe and Doug don’t go to the same school, but they’re only a couple of hours apart and can make trips to see each other when they need to. Angela isn’t far at all from home, and Maddie’s boyfriend Ian goes to the same school as Angela. To make things worse, she’s reluctant to tell the other girls, or even Ian, about it.

As with the other books in this series, the friendship of the three girls is a the heart of yolo. There are boyfriends and of course each girl makes new friends in her new environment, but Zoe, Angela, and Maddie are the kind of friends you hope will remain real friends and not just Facebook friends throughout their lives.

4 stars