Response to the Zoella 'Ghost writer' controversy

I am a massive bookworm and a huge fan of lots of different YouTubers, Zoella being one of my favourites. Therefore, when I heard Zoe's announcement about her releasing her own novel, 'Girl Online', I was very excited and pre-ordered it ready to possess and read as soon as I could.

I finished reading the novel the other day, and I can honestly say I really enjoyed reading it, it was an amazing book with a sweet and genuine story that highlighted some important issues. It just so happens that the day I finished reading the book, was also the day I saw the tweets and articles about the alleged 'ghost writer'. Seeing this really infuriated me because not only is it insulting to Zoe whether she had help or not, which if she did is (in my opinion) understandable as a first time fiction author but, 'Girl Online' clearly addresses several issues, one being cyber bullying/negative comments/false stories in the media. This suggests to me that the writers of these articles have either read the book and ignored the message or, haven't read the book, and are writing articles they have little knowledge about.

'Girl Online' showcases the effect online negativity and false accusations in the media has on the people involved. In the novel, Penny struggles and suffers as a result of a story containing false information and incorrect facts drawing negative attention from the media, this results in her taking an internet detox. When she finds the courage and reassurance to face the issue, she responds with a blog post. In her blog post, Penny writes;
'For the past couple of days, I've had total strangers posting lies and abusive messages about me all over the internet. And I've had celebrity gossip sites writing articles about me without even bothering to check their facts... Every time you post something online you have a choice. You can either make it something that adds to the happiness levels in the world- or you can make it something that takes away from them... So next time you go to post a comment or an update or share a link, ask yourself; is this going to add to the happiness in the world? If the answer's no, then please delete it.'

I know these are fictional posts in a fictional book and not necessarily the views of the author but, I believe that Zoe agrees with them to some degree to want to include these in her book and from things she says in her videos. So why are we doing more or less exactly what happens in the book to her, when we should be taking the views on board and thinking more about the implications before we publish negative comments and articles?

Since the articles have arisen, Zoe has tweeted saying 'This might answer some of your tweets! X' with a link explaining the situation by saying:

'Thanks for all the positive feedback about Girl Online and for the doubters out there, of course I was going to have help from Penguin's editorial team in telling my story, which I talked about form the beginning. Everyone needs help when they try something new. The story and the characters of Girl Online are mine. I want to thank all of you who have take time to support the book.'

She later tweeted: 'Bare with me on vlogmas. I'm taking a few days out and off the internet because it's clouding up my brain. Thanks for understanding.' Articles then surfaced claiming Zoe was quitting YouTube or quitting the internet. Which then caused her to tweet 'The stuff press write about is literally ridiculous! I AM NOT QUITTING YOUTUBE. Yet again, twisting stuff to gain views.'

Anyone seeing similarities between Zoe and her character Penny?

I find it disheartening to see that people aren't listening to the important message of negativity shown in the book, and I find it upsetting to see Zoe suffering as a result of it all, when she didn't write this book just for herself, she wrote it for her fans as well.

What are your thoughts on the matter?

Love, Steph x

If you liked this post, please share it and follow if you want to read more blog posts.


  1. Awesome blog, I just started blogging too :) maybe we can be friends?

    1. Thank you, sure, i'd love that. I'll check your blog out now :) xxx

  2. Love this blog, I 100% agree with this, I think Zoe is a huge inspiration to so many people! Brilliant blog!

    1. Thank you. I really like your blog too and can't wait to read more posts xxx


Back to Top