Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I Heart YA Carnival #10: Reviewing Reviews--What's Your Style?

Suze Reese
The I Heart YA Carnival is hosted by Suze Reese, author of the ExtraNormal series. Each Tuesday, a blog prompt will be posted about a topic related to the YA genre. Click the button to learn how to join in!

This week's prompt is: I love thoughtful, articulate book reviews. Not as much as books themselves of course. But I can't imagine laying down good money for a book without reading several reviews first. ... So what about you? Do you depend on reviews? Do you depend on them? Do you write them? If so, what's your style?

I'm pretty new to reviewing, but I feel like I've learned a lot in a short amount of time about the kind of reviewer I want to be by reading other reviewers' blogs and reviews. I want to be an honest reviewer - if I read a book that I don't love, I don't want to say I love it just to be nice. But at the same time, I don't ever want to "slam" a book. I don't feel like there's a need to totally rip apart something that someone else created, just because it wasn't to my taste.

I want my reviews to be helpful, both to fellow readers and to authors. In my reviews, I try to balance bad with good; I say honestly what I liked and what I didn't, and I try to make it clear that it's my own personal opinion. If I was ever in a predicament where I really absolutely couldn't find any good in a book, I think I would prefer to just not review it rather than to say only negative things.

I do like to read other people's reviews when I'm deciding which book to read, but I don't base my decision solely on what other people have to say. For example, I recently was looking into Her Fearful Symmetry on Goodreads, since I really liked The Time Traveler's Wife by the same author, Audrey Niffenegger. Quite a few reviewers said they were disappointed in Her Fearful Symmetry, that it was not nearly as good as The Time Traveler's Wife. But the book description really appealed to me, so I gave it a try. And I loved it. I gave it 5 stars. It was beautiful. Different than The Time Traveler's Wife, but I thought it was just as good in a different sort of way. If I had passed it up just because other reviewers didn't love it, I would have missed out on a book that was perfectly to my tastes.


  1. Great article! You sound like a great reviewer. And you're right about passing up amazing stuff based on a few bad reviews. If the review describes plot holes or dreadful editing (my pet peeves) I'll often pass. But otherwise I'll at least sample it if it's appealing to me.

    1. Thank you! :) I have the same pet peeve - bad editing is a red flag! I'll cringe all the way through a book if it's full of poor grammar... I can't even focus on the story.