Warning: very choice language and rage ahead. Read at your own risk.
So the other day I read a tweet of advice from an author: never read reviews on your book. My first reaction was ‘how can I not?’ but I knew where she was coming from. We discard good reviews as people being nice and take bad reviews as actual honesty. I was sick with anxiety for days after getting a one star review, wondering why I ever wrote anything in the first place, and I’ve changed my outlook on reviewing books from ‘why it’s good and bad’ to ‘why I loved it or it wasn’t for me’.
However, I’m going to step away from reading reviews because I’ve run across something that made me so sick, so angry, that I haven’t been able to get it out of my mind.
I recently read this book called The Glass Spare by Lauren DeStefano.
Beautiful cover, right? It’s a twist on the King Midas story, but instead of turning everything to gold, a princess turns everything to gemstones. Cool idea and the book was exactly what you’d expect from a YA fantasy with a few things you don’t see. I enjoyed it and like usual went on Goodreads to check the reviews before posting mine.
And then I saw the top one and my heart dropped. Not only was it one star, it went on to say that there is NOTHING POSITIVE TO SAY. There are NO GOOD QUALITIES IN THE ENTIRE BOOK.
What. The. Fuck.
How about the MENTALLY ILL MOTHER AND BADASS DISABLED PRINCE?
How about the POC PRINCESS SHIP CAPTAIN WITH A CHILD?
How about the MORALLY GREY MARRIED PRINCE?
How about the TOTALLY UNIQUE BLEND OF MAGIC AND TECH?
None of those things were even worth a mention in that whole ‘stock one-dimensional characters’ and ‘vague world-building’? No? Because these things made this book something special but hey, why does THAT matter when you can shit all over someone’s years of hard work with a few jabs at how ‘all YA fantasy is just a ‘pseudo-fantasy cover up for bland romance novels’.
Because if that’s how you feel, STOP READING YA FANTASY.
I want to send every single person who replied to that first review with ‘aw I guess I won’t be reading that’ a message saying NO. Don’t you take this horrible review and think it actually gives this book justice. Because it doesn’t.
I hope with all my heart that the author of that book doesn’t read reviews, doesn’t even go on Goodreads, because I understand the pain of seeing years of pouring your soul onto pages being shat on by someone who doesn’t understand that these words are our heart. That if this book isn’t for you then that doesn’t make it shit, but seeing these reviews makes us believe that it’s shit anyway because you’re seeing into our minds, our deepest thoughts, and you’re deeming them shit. These reviews confirm what we’re always afraid of in our minds, that what we do isn’t worth it, that what we’ve done so far in months and years of writing and editing was for nothing. It’s all just shit.
It hurts me so much that I just don’t want to do this anymore. I’m going to continue leaving stars on Goodreads and a few lines of what I thought but this whole reviewing thing is leaving me so upset. I know how hard it is to ‘get there’. To get that book written, get an agent, get published. The waiting on emails that could change your life while receiving rejection after rejection, pass after pass, never moving forward, always wanting to give up. The writer’s path is so filled with anxiety and pain seeing it being devalued like that is the worst feeling ever.
Thanks everyone who has followed me on here and read my reviews, and I hope those of you who write reviews think about this post when you sit down to write your next one.