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April 15th, 2009

A bad review.

A few months ago I wrote about my iffy relationship with reviewers. Since then I had to eat those words as reviewers bestowed If I Stay with the kind of praise I could only dream of. Even today, I got my 5th starred review from School Library Journal (I’ll post that tomorrow).

But my run of good luck and reviews changed today. Sort of.

Entertainment Weekly reviewed the book. Yay. On paper, it gave it a B. Not bad. But if you read the review, you might come away wih a different, snarkier assessment. And I don’t usually take umbrage with reviews, but I find this one kinda perplexing. Most of it compares the novel to Twilight, and pretty much says that it’s no Twilight, not nearly as good as Twilight in the old sexual chemistry/love story department. Which is odd because um, no one ever said it was like Twilight, except for Entertainment Weekly, which has been linking the two books ever since news that Catherine Hardwicke would be directing the film version. 

You can read the full thing here. Beware, there are spoilers, including a major plot point that’s meant to come as a surprise.

Most bewildering, the review describes If I Stay as a “sweet little piece of fluff.”

Fluff? Really? I mean there are plenty of negative things you could say about it—the poor girl’s Alice Sebold, maudlin, manipulative, sentimental, badly written, suckful, etc.—that I might not agree with but I would think are fair. But fluff? A book about a fatal car crash and a girl trying to decide whether to live or die is fluff? So a novel about a nuclear apocalypse would be, what? A comic romp.

Ah, reviews. So weird. So subjective. So bizarre.

I’m curious to see what EW gave the first Twilight book, if it reviewed it at all. I couldn’t find it in my initial search. FWIW, Breaking Dawn got a D.

  1. Chin up, darling. This is totally victim-of-your-own-success fallout. You get compared to Twilight, you’re not idiot Twilight blockbusty, so you must be fluff. I know so completely that this will have no impact on your real audience. Forward. Excelsior. You rock and so does the book. xx

  2. Wow! I didn’t know that all of a book’s merits were now based on how they compared to Twilight! It doesn’t sound like the reviewer really read the book, but whatever because we all know it’s amazing and we are spreading the word!

  3. That was the poorest excuse for a review that I have read in a while (and I mean that on a written standpoint). She clearly was scrambling to meet her quota, filled it with extraneous fluff, got confused and then got mixed up.

    I will never criticise my own reviewing skills as I have this a standard that I am already thrashing.

    Gayle – she’s wrong. Fluff my ass.

  4. It’s just one review. I won’t worry about that and think neither should you! =)

  5. I promise I won’t obsess over every review. I’m more bewildered/perplexed by a review whose premise is how the book adds up to Twilight. And the fluff thing I just find bizarre.
    But how much do I heart the YA blogosphere! Let me count the ways. Or, as my kid would say: Infinity 89 thousand 12 million 14. Seriously, that’s how she numerically expresses her love.

  6. stupid, stupid review.

    “fluff” and “coma” go together like “george bush” and “intellect.”

    so wrongheaded to reveal plot, too. i understand she had a very small word count to work with, but she spent half of it saying “Twilight! No! Not! No sparkly vampires here! Wah!”

    baffling.

  7. Fluff? …
    Wow, what’re they on?
    (I only skimmed the opening and closing lines – didn’t want to ruin the major plot point surprise!)
    And uhhh… I agree, haven’t heard anywhere else about comparing it to Twilight. I mean, honestly, sounds like someone didn’t bother to do any research. Don’t let it get to you – especially a poorly constructed review such as this one shouldn’t matter much :)

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