The novel was about Frances, a teenage girl in which all she cared about was studying. Getting her grades, getting into Cambridge, and getting a job. That was her game plan until she met someone who made her realise who's she really was and what she actually wanted to become, instead of what she had to become.
The person she met was someone who ran her favourite show in the world. It was a podcast called 'universe city' that had been running on youtube for two years. It wasn't incredibly famous but it was Frances's favourite thing in the world. When she meets the mysterious creator of it, a friendship form which makes her realise things she's never thought of facing before.
As the book goes on, Frances starts getting involved herself with universe city and starts doing drawings for the host of the show. Not just that, but she starts to become incredibly close with the show host and she forms a friendship like no other she's formed before. She realises what it's like to have true friendships and to be completely herself around him.
The book was not to do with a romance between the two characters, just a really strong friendship. At first, I was disappointed that they didn't fall in love ( there is a chapter very near the begging which Frances exclaims that her and the host of the show do NOT fall in love, although the reader may be expecting they do (which I was expecting, so I thought that was a clever chapter, as it gave you a warning, otherwise it would have been quite a let down!!) But, as the story unfolds, you realise how precious it is that the two characters are just friends. It outlines the fact that a boy and a girl can become best friends and not want to have a romantic relationship. This made the book more original and made me enjoy it more.
It was written from Frances's point of view which I really liked. As you got to see her personality more and see what she is hiding from her school friends. Also, it highlights the difference between her school friend friendships and her friendship with the creator of universe city- and it gets the reader to go inside her thoughts and realise how her feeling of comfort changes in the two different friendship situations.
There was a key feature of family in this novel as well. Frances was very close to her mum, and this showed in the novel and you really got to know her mum through reading Frances's perspective, and there were snippets of their texts sometimes which made it even more interesting and you saw how they acted towards each other, which also made you get to know both characters even more. Also, the author was very clever as the host of the show did not have as good a family life. So in the book, you read about how he dealt and acted around his mother, which was so different to how Frances did. This was a clever effect as it compared the two situations to make the reader see how two parents can look similar from the outside, but when you (metaphorically) look closer, you see how different they are and how different their children look up to them.
The book also had an element of LGBT in which gave the book more depth and made it a good young adult book. It also added to the stations and problems of the two main characters, which can make the reader relate to them which makes the book more powerful and meaningful.
Something else that I really loved about the book is the characters were really believable and when I finished the book, it felt like I was missing two of my friends! I really grew to love both characters. I say grew because at first, I wasn't too keen on either of them. This was a positive effect because I think of the begging you saw the characters how other people saw them more, whereas gradually as the book went on, you saw them for who they really were. This was a great effect as it felt like I was literally getting to know the characters more, and I was trying to fit together the pieces of their personality and work them out.
The language used in the book really worked with the context as it was written how a teenager would write down and say, and there were really current metaphors or abbreviations, and even shops used. This gave a really positive effect as it made the reader relate even more and feel like the story being told was legitimate.
Furthermore, there were snippets in the book of podcasts of the universe city episodes, which I loved as you could connect to the characters even more, and you felt you were in France's shoes. Also, the podcasts were put into places which related to what was happening between the two main characters, which was really clever as it gave the reader a reminder on the situations, and it outlined feelings of the characters on both sides too.
I felt in the book it always felt like Frances was talking to you, which gave it a more gripping effect, especially for me. The reason for this is it never felt it got boring, and I literally couldn't put it down, in a way because it felt like I was interrupting a conversation of her talking to me! It felt more personal which gave the book depth and purpose.
The huge message in this book was talking about how sometimes work is not always the most important thing. It is great to be driven by it but it is not your whole life, and it is really important to do what you love. Frances as a character portrayed this and the story told it in a really nice and clever way. However, the only thing I would say is sometimes I thought it was negative how some characters just exclaimed they 'were not clever' and 'were not born clever and that couldn't change.' I disagree with this, and I think it is important to know that work can make you more knowledgeable and pay off, although some people are born more of a genius than others.
Overall, I really loved this book! It proved to me how writing style really can make a book gripping as the storyline wasn't anything majorly thrilling, but it caused me to want to keep reading and really feel for the characters. It taught me lessons on how to deal with situations and to make the most of family and friendship life. It also taught me to really not judge someone 'boring' if you don't know them, as normally they re the most interesting people! It is a young adult book and I would recommend it to ages 13-18.