Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Why Are Book Reviews Never Mediocre?

Have you ever read a review that said the book was "OK?" I haven't. Ever.

This is a bigger problem than most people think, as I see it. If reviewers are either really positive or really negative it makes it hard to figure out whether you will like the book or not. This leads us to a logical question: why read the review in the first place? One sided reviews also make you question the objectivity of the reviewer. Its reasonable to think that most of the books are not at one extreme or the other but somewhere in the middle. I also think this is a problem for authors who need unbiased criticism to get better at their craft.

I think there are a couple of reasons for this. First, I think some of the reviewers are friendly with the authors and don’t want to hurt their friend's feelings with a negative review. Second, some reviewers let their love of YA show in their reviews. They want to promote the genre, not give an objective review.

One reviewer I think does a great job with objectivity and the right tone is The Book Muncher. Her reviews are always thoughtful and suggest improvements to books without preaching.

Is there a reviewer you like? If so, tell us about it in the comments below and you could win! This week I'm giving away "Sketchy Behavior" by Erynn Mangum.


  1. I try to review in a balanced way. Just because a book isn't right for my library doesn't mean that it isn't right for someone. One of my recurring posts (rather by accident!) is "Not What I Wanted Wednesday"! I try to list the strengths and weaknesses of books so others can decide whether to read it themselves.

  2. I have to be honest, I tend to just put down books I don't like and add them to the bottom of the TBR list, postponing the inevitable. Some book are good, but have minor flaws and I do mention them in my post.

  3. Sam,

    I didn't even realize that you mentioned me in this post. Though you probably told me about it in person. You are the sweetest :)