The Amazing Book is Not on Fire by Dan and Phil – Book Review

Title: The Amazing Book is Not on Fire

Author: Dan Howell and Phil Lester

Rating: 4/5

Genre: Non-Fiction, Biography, YouTuber World, Online Presence, Social Media, Celebrity Culture, Arts and Entertainment, Popular Culture


‘This book is us taking our favourite parts from that swirling universe on the internet and trapping it in something physical. Something we can hold and touch and keep in our houses, so that long into the future we can all look back and remember who these Dan and Phil guys were and what they did.’

In the past couple of years, the culture of YouTube has properly exploded into the public consciousness, and made the successful and popular YouTubers into sort of mini-celebrities. And from this, these YouTubers have been able to release all different types of merchandise – such as clothing lines, makeup collections and even short films. But there is one thing that the majority of these vloggers have done, and that is to release books.
So, whether they be self-help, fictional, lifestyle or even graphic novels, these books constantly hit the top of the bestseller charts, and make the YouTubers grow in popularity. And that is no different when I bought and read ‘The Amazing Book is Not on Fire’ by Dan (danisnotonfire) Howell and Phil (AmazingPhil) Lester.
Now, with a joint audience of over 10 million subscribers, as well as a highly succesful Radio 1 show, flatmates and best friends Dan and Phil both have their own, independent channels, but frequently collaborate together. So it made sense that when the chance to release a book came around, they decided to chronicle their world together. And with over 220 coloured, and highly detailed pages, The Amazing Book is Not on Fire or TABINOF is a good companion to fans of either YouTuber.

The book follows Dan and Phil through their entire lives, starting from birth through to finishing in the last year or so. With interviews, behind-the-scene photos, rambling stories, diary extracts, stories from their YouTube endeavours, drawings of their old apartments, quizzes, anecdotes, pictures, doodles, fanfiction entries, and even a second dedicated to their Sims character, this book really is a smorgasbord of goodies that will make any fan of the two vloggers devour eagerly. This book also has really interesting sections about how to become a YouTuber, and delivers handy hints for any aspiring creators, as well as being visually well-thought out, and designed in a way that will appeal to all ages. As Dan and Phil have fans that range from young teens to older people, this book isn’t offensive, nor does it act like it is serious. It is simply, as the front page states it to be, ‘The World of Dan and Phil’. One of my favourite sections were the University experiences, as it is well-documented that Dan dropped out, but it was interesting to read about Phil’s experiences and how he went on to get a Masters. I also enjoyed the Japanese section of the book. and the apartment tours.

What I liked about this book is that it really can be read at different times, and you can start at different points. With no strict order, this book isn’t confusing or challenging, and I appreciate that as a older viewer of both Dan and Phil, I can see how younger fans may enjoy and take from it. It also isn’t repetitive, and there is a plenty of variety, and you can tell a lot of thought has gone into it. This really is a perfect companion to Dan and Phil’s video, as it has a equal balance between both vloggers and both channel contents, as well as having their joint work chronicled. With little side stories, such as ‘What Happened in Vegas’ and ‘The Time We Met One Direction’, this books fills in some of the blanks that have been left on Dan and Phil’s channels, and really makes you get into their world without seeming too boring, or too same-y.

I must say that this book is strictly for die-hard and pretty intense fans of Dan and Phil. I have watched both of them for years, and received the book as a gift, and to me, this book was something that I found interesting, but may have not bought it for myself. Despite liking both their channels, I didn’t really need to go into their world in such a way. So, be warned. You will have to know a lot about Dan and Phil to really appreciate this book in its entirety. I also think this book was directed towards a younger audience, as the whole feel of the book gave off that impression. It wasn’t hard-hitting, it wasn’t intense, and it wasn’t shocking. It was just sweet, fairly cool and very much ‘Dan-and-Phil’. But as a gift for a younger fan, I would think it would be the ideal present.

So, yes. I found The Amazing Book is Not on Fire to be exactly what it was promised to be. A good companion to the highly successful duo that is Dan and Phil, a guide to their world, and just a good, easy book to read or gift to somebody.

But please, let me know if you’ve read the book, and whether you like it!

Links:

To buy the book – Amazon/Waterstones

To subscribe to Dan – Click Here

To subscribe to Phil – Click Here

The Dan and Phil Shop – Click Here

Girl Online by Zoella – Book Review

Title: Girl Online

Author: Zoe Sugg/Zoella

Rating: 3/5

Rating: Young Adult Literature, Children Literature, YouTuber Fiction


“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.”

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, or perhaps just don’t know about the modern phenomena of the YouTuber, you would know who Zoella, or Zoe Sugg is. But for those who are unaware, I’ll give you a brief update.

Zoella is a beauty/lifestyle vlogger and online presence that is one of the most famous English YouTubers to date. With nearly 9 million subscribers, over 500 million video views, and nearly 4 million Twitter Followers, she has been crowned the ‘Queen of YouTube’, by a number of articles.

To get a fuller picture, I’ll link some articles below for your casual reading.

Zoella (The Independent October 2014)

Zoella (The DailyMail November 2014)

Zoella (DigitalSpy November 2014)

And, last year, this bubbly twenty-five year old released her debut novel, ‘Girl Online’. And in October, Girl Online: On Tour is to be released. So I thought I’d do my own review of the debut book, just to prepare readers for the sequel.

So meet Penny. Under the alias, Girl online, Penny blogs about her hidden feelings and personal experiences with friendship, boys, school drama, family issues and her recent panic attacks that are slowly beginning to take over her life. And when things go from bad to worse, her family decide to take her away to New York for a break away from normality. Whilst there she meets the gorgeous, guitar-strumming Noah. And suddenly, Penny is falling in love. And, of course, writing everything about it on her blog.

But she’s not the only one that has a secret. Noah has his own secret, and this one could be one to threaten to ruin Penny’s cover – and her closest friendship – forever

So, as you can see, Girl Online fits in with the generalised, chick-lit-YA style of novel, as well as being an obvious tie in to Zoella’s own experiences – as starting off as a blogger, and moving onto a bigger audience on YouTube. This novel is a pretty heart-warming tale of young love, that does grip the reader at the end of each chapter, as well as having an ending that is both satisfactory as a stand-alone book, but could open up for possible sequels.

However, this novel features something that’s unique to the modern young adult market, as it deals with issues and pressures that teens nowadays would relate too – such as cyber-bullying, an online presence conflicting with the real self, issues with sexuality and then ‘coming-out’, the loss of friendships, mental illnesses and the first dizzy dabbles of love – and it does this with the sensitivity and knowledge that one would expect Zoella, as a significant idol for many young girls, would deal with. Now, it was revealed after publication that this novel was ghost-written, which did throw up some criticism from Suggs’ fans, but it is clear that despite not writing it, the ideas and plot idea is personal to Zoe.

I found the story arc of panic attacks and anxiety disorders to be something that I could seriously relate too. It wasn’t hidden under a guise of anything, but out there in the bleak daylight. The physical and mental effects of going through a panic attack was well-documented, and Penny does go through the same worry about having them as millions of people around the globe have, whilst dealing with them. And also, in a little side-note, Noah gives Penny a coping strategy to dealing with panic attacks that I would be interested to know if it works, as this could be a really important piece of knowledge that Zoe has shared out to her audience.

For the actual writing, I was pleasantly surprised. Now, as I said before, this is a ghost-written piece of text, but the writer has clearly written in a way that imitates the way that Zoe talks, writes her blogs and has just an overall Zoe-esque vibe. This is no great piece of literature, so don’t put it up there. It fits more into the realm of YA literature, as it’s easy to understand, and the writing doesn’t offer any surprises or plot spoilers. Like most YA novels, there are clichés and corny bits that did make me roll my eyes, and the whole episode where there was farting did make me a bit exasperated, but it was definitely a ‘safe’ story, so all ages could read it. Even a ten-year old could read it.

And for characterisation, I was equally as surprised to how developed they were. I did find myself wanting a boy like Noah in my life, and definitely wanting a friend like Elliot’s – who is Penny’s best friend and overall rock of support. I thought that Zoe did also bring the romance to life. She made the feelings very real, and made you, as the writer be immersed into the emotions that Penny was feel. You felt excited when Penny did, or sad or worried whenever she felt that. And that’s a good test of a good story.

Through my reading of the text, Zoe puts her whole heart-and-soul in this narrative, and she poignantly includes blog posts that do sound a lot like her own. But it was one line that made me think ‘ah, this is Zoe talking to us, not Penny’, and it was the line:

Everytime you post something online you have a choice.

For me, this is crucial tip that Zoe is sharing out to her readers and fans. Because there is that choice – that choice that you as the reader, or internet-browser, or blogger or whatever, need to keep in the back of your mind. You have a choice about what you think is right to share online, and you need to have limits. If you think that sharing personal information is what you want to do, just remember how it could affect you in the future.

You have that choice.

And nobody should ever pressure you into making up your mind about what you think is right and wrong.

This novel did surprise me in how much I would love it, and how much it made me want read on well into the night and not want to put it down. I’ve been a fan of Zoe for a few years now, and I do own some pieces from her cosmetics line which also did surprise me over the quality of the products. So, I’d happily recommend and pass this novel onto other readers. I’ll continue to support Zoella through whatever she does, and I am excited for the next installment to come out. But be aware. This isn’t a great piece of literature, but it never puts on a front saying it will.

So, if you want a novel that is heart-warming, addictive, romantic,

Image courtesy of Penguin.com

clichéd and a bit corny in the right places – then go to your local bookshop and pick up ‘Girl Online’.

Links:

Buy the book – Amazon/Waterstones

Zoella – Youtube/Twitter/Blog

Thank you!

-Alice