Thursday, 16 April 2009

An Insult to YA Reviewers Everywhere

I read the worst excuse for a professionally written review this morning. As part of the YA lit reviewing community, I am mortified that Tina Jordan thinks her words constitute a review. We do better than this on a daily basis with more reasoning and we don't get paid to do so. I am not complaining because she's flippant or lukewarm of Gayle Forman's If I Stay, she's entitled to her own opinion. My irritation is directed towards her talking about Twilight, which has nothing to do with If I Stay other than the shared director of their movie adaptation (a tenuous link at best and not even on a literary level). Even worse, she ruins a plot point that should be revealed in the reading (don't read the review if you don't wish to be spoiled).

Here's the review -
Though it's touted as 
the next Twilight — with a fat movie deal in place and Catherine Hardwicke set to direct — Gayle Forman's slim novel is no Twilight. If I Stay is a sweet little piece of fluff, beautifully written, but lacking the compulsively readable story line and 
 brewing sexual tension of Stephenie Meyer's blockbuster. Budding cellist Mia, 17, is in the car with her parents and 
little brother when it spins out of control on an icy road, killing everyone except Mia. She soon clings to life in a nearby ICU, shuttled in and out of the operating room. Should she make the effort to will herself back or should she take the easy route and allow herself to die? You can read the book and find out — or just wait for the movie. B


I am asking that if you have read If I Stay, that you visit this link and write a polite comment about the merits of the book. POLITE. As members of a reviewing community I think we should be encouraging others to read rather than "...just wait for the movie". I also think we should expect a higher standard of reviewing in the coverage of YA literature. This felt slightly dismissive and that irked me. (Please don't revert to rioting fangirl antics eg slurs against the journalist, focus on the merits of the book.) Thanks.

26 comments:

Taren said...

What, you didn't hear? The new rule is that everything, no matter how tenuous the connection, has to be compared to Twilight. It's the law.

So in a totally unrelated note, I was reading the Bible the other day, specifically about Samson. He was supposedly really strong, you know? I don't care what that book says -he was no Edward Cullen. God only knows what the author was thinking!

Susan of Reading Upside Down said...

I have If I Stay on my TBR pile. Will move it to the top and comment once I have finished it.

I am so over Twilight being the benchmark for literary excellence, much as I was Da Vinci Code-d out a few years ago.

Surely a professional reviewer could have found a more relevant comparison?

Alley said...

Any book is better than Twilight.

Thank you for bringing this to the attention of your readers. I cannot believe a "reviewer" would be writing such absolute crap.

girl jordyn said...

THAT'S NOT EVEN A REVIEW.

Sarahbear9789 said...

I commented on it and tried not to be too mean. That is a horrible review.

Lenore said...

I usually love EW's book reviews, but spoiling a main plot point, comparing a completely non-related book to Twilight, and recommending people see the movie before the movie is even out (it could suck you know) is just galling. Oh, and it is so NOT fluff. Tina dropped the ball on this one.

Wendy Orr said...

Don't the words 'beautifully written' suggest that it might be better to - here's an idea: read it! Has she forgotten that the point of reading is not just to find out what's happened in a plot? Or that films and books are different animals, and that no matter how wonderful the film is,it will not be a book - which was supposed to be what was being reviewed.

prophecygirl said...

Fluff? What?

And please, how is it the next Twilight? There are no vampires or werewolves involved, so where did she get that idea from?

And telling people to wait for the movie.. uhh... no. The book is amazing. What a bad review.

Alea said...

I agree with Lenore, way the spoil the book lady! Goodness!

Kelsey said...

I posted a comment. Thanks for bringing this to my attention. That was wrong of her.

Thao said...

This does not sound like review. And If I Stay, for all I know, has nothing to deal with Twilight, thus the comparison is very stupid.

Reverie said...

I get it. I do. For marketing reasons Twilight is fanfared around every other book. Sure, you want that publicity so little girls who dont know better will scream and flock. Sure.. but goodness sake this book has NOTHING to do with the plot of twilight and nothing close to it. anyways, twilight is great for what twilight is.. If I stay is great for what it is.

Sue said...

I'll ditto an earlier posting. I have an ARC will put to the top of the pile and read over shcool vacation. Not impressed with the review.

GreenBeanTeenQueen said...

I too am over the Twilight comparison for everything! If I Stay is nothing like Twilight and shouldn't be compared to Twilight. I hated reading this review-it made me cringe. Why can't books just be great books without being compared to something else?

Alea said...

Well seriously guys, I don't know what you are talking about. Both Twilight and If I Stay are books, so with that in common they are obviously very very similar! :P

Seriously what's her logic lol!

Steph said...

I won't weigh in at the comparison, but I just want to say that's a pretty mild review accompanied by a nice rating. I've seen WAY worse from more reputable places than EW (which isn't a regular YA print review venue like PW, Kirkus, SLJ, VOYA, etc). I mean, I wouldn't be so outraged at the review itself. And oh god, everything's getting compared to Twilight nowadays, it's a surprise it's not. Am waiting for that to die down.

Steph

Steph said...

A surprise WHEN it's not**

Shooting Stars Mag said...

Yeah, I agree with you...they have the same director, but it has NO similarities to Twilight at all. I can see vampire books being compared to it, but that's about it...and it's not just ABOUT the "romance" or whatever she was looking for, and I happen to think it's a great book that sucks you in and keeps you reading.

I love the twilight books, but I love If I Stay too and I think people should try and read it and not just see the film.

-Lauren

Jennsbookshelf said...

I plan on reading If I Stay during the Read-a-thon this weekend. I'm bumping it up on my list. I can't believe someone posted that and called it a review.

Reader Rabbit said...

If I Stay is awesome, I love it.

And wow..wtf.. A TWILIGHT COMPARISON?
ARE YOU KIDDING ME...

faillll

Margie said...

Just because of this lightweight review, I pulled out a copy of If I Stay and read it. I liked it. I'm recomending it at my bookstore.

Catherine said...

Once I saw that the link headed to EW I was no longer surprised by the review: EW has its head firmly up the collective arses of everyone to do with Twilight.

Michelle said...

Just because the book is in order to have a movie deal like Twilight doesn't mean that the two should be compared. Just by reading the summary I know that If I Stay is NOTHING like Twilight.

Silvia said...

As I haven't read the book yet I've only read the three first lines and the "or just wait for the movie" line of this kind of review because of the spoilers.
I don't need to read it tough to know what you're talking about.
I don't like comparing a book and less in a review cause if you're talking about a book, just exlplain your thoughts about it, you don't have the need to be saying this is like that one, or it isn't as good.

If I stay seems to be a nice read and I've heard about a lot of people who love it. I don't get the ponit of comparing it with a book that has practically nothing to do with it.

Susan @ Reading Upside Down said...

I've finished If I stay and posted reviews on both Suite101 and my book blog.

Thanks Adele for prompting me to move this book to the top of my TBR pile. I thought it was a wonderful novel.

As for calling it "fluff", I just can't see where that description would be justified, even by someone who didn't enjoy the book. Oh well, takes all kinds I guess.

Website said...

Badly written reviews are something all authors have to contend with. A reviewer is supposed to give a brief introduction to the book without giving the plot away followed by balanced opinions fora and against and a final recommendation. Alas this not what often happens.

This was a pretty awful review as it did not give any of the above but was more concerned with film royalties. To be honest the book did not sound very good by the description. However, I cannot comment. The worst aspect was the reference to a B movie. Well to be honest that is up to the script writers and the production team - it is nothing to do with the book.