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Zoella offline after book 'help'

YouTube blogger Zoella has revealed she is temporarily quitting the internet amid controversy over her record-breaking debut novel.

Zoe Sugg's Girl Online, about a teenage blogger and her relationship with an American musician, sold 78,109 copies in its first week - the highest first-week sales since Nielsen BookScan began collecting data in 1998.

But allegations emerged that the book was ghostwritten, sparking intense scrutiny on social media.

Today Zoella asked for patience from her fans awaiting a video blog about Christmas.

She wrote on Twitter: "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."

The 24-year-old admitted over the weekend that she was given "help" writing the book but insisted the story and character were hers.

She said: "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 from 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 taken time to support the book."

The book's acknowledgements credit Siobhan Curham, an author, and Amy Alward, editorial director at Penguin, for being "with me every step of the way".

Penguin confirmed that Sugg did not write Girl Online on her own.

The firm said in a statement: "As publishers our role is, and always has been, to find the very best talent and help them tell their story and connect them with readers.

"Talented YouTube entrepreneurs such as Zoe are brilliant at understanding and entertaining their audience.

"For her first novel, Girl Online, Zoe has worked with an expert editorial team to help her bring to life her characters and experiences in a heartwarming and compelling story.

"We are delighted that Girl Online is engaging so many young people with the pleasure of reading.

"We are proud to have been able to help Zoe tell her story and that the book is proving so successful in getting young people reading."

Girl Online is the latest in a string of successes for the blogger, who has more than six million subscribers on her YouTube channel.

Such is her popularity that she was invited by Bob Geldof to sing alongside One Direction and Rita Ora on this year's Band Aid song.

She grew up in Lacock, Wiltshire, and started her Zoella blog in 2009, giving fashion, beauty and lifestyle tips.

She soon became a YouTube sensation and earlier this year signed a two-book deal with publishing giant Random House.

Her first novel was so popular that every bookseller broke the embargo in its sale, according to her publishers.

It hit number three on the Amazon bestsellers list before the book was even released.

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