Monday, June 22, 2009

To Review or Not to Review

As a general rule, I try to write a review of most of the young adult literature I read. The exceptions to this rule have been when I’m extremely busy with work or if I really hated the book. Recently, there was a post at Read Roger that discussed whether or not bloggers should post negative reviews. I thought both the post and the many comments (62 at this point) were interesting. I honestly didn’t think I had much to add to the conversation – I have received a grand total of one ARC and one other book from a publisher during the time I’ve been blogging – and so I don’t feel any obligation to review every book I’ve read or to give a positive review to every book I blog about.

However, as one commentator in Read Roger’s blog discussed, one of the reasons I don’t tend to do negative reviews is that I get to choose what I read and I tend to only choose that which I think I’ll like. Two exceptions to this rule are books on North Carolina’s Battle of the Books List and the NCSLMA YA Book Award list. I feel like it’s my job to read these books so I try to through them in the summer (This is why I suffered through White Fang a couple of weeks ago).

Today I hit a book I didn’t care for but haven’t decided whether or not to review it. I read it because I thought it would make a good booktalk for my eighth graders, and I do think that many of my girls will enjoy it. I, however, found it to be shallow and silly. I’m just not sure what to say about it if I choose to review it.


Suko said...

Thoughtful post.

I find that if I dislike a book, or lose interest in it, I usually stop reading it, which means I won't review it on my book blog.

Writers are vulnerable. I try to look for the good in what others write, not find fault for the sake of showing a critical intelligence. Even writing for a blog makes us vulnerable as we put our ideas and words out there for others to accept, dissect, or reject.

Paige Y. said...

I really appreciate your comments, and it's interesting that you made them on day that I was debating about whether or not to write a review for another book I didn't particularly care for. Ultimately I decided to write the review for this new book (Zombies) because many of the issues I had with it were issues that I've had with other nonfiction titles for middle school students. I truly don't mean to offend any author with what I say, but but I think that sometimes good conversation about issues we find with books helps us to develop a better sense of what is good children's literature.