Before I ever published a book, I didn’t understand the power of reviews. Sure, they’re a good way to get the word out about the book, but I didn’t understand how they can affect the writer and the creation of things. Now that I’ve experienced this, I have to say, reviews scare the hell out of me. You can’t control what someone likes or dislikes and it can be very subjective. And very public.
Often, I try to avoid reading reviews of my books, and I try to always take reviews of other books with a grain of salt (it astonishes me, for instance, how some of my all time favorite books have gotten trashed by reviewers). As a writer, I want the books I write to be the best, most honest stories I can tell, and when you start thinking about what some unknown reviewer might make fun of in a story, or how to avoid criticism, it starts to adversely influence the creative process. Important books often challenge us and make us uncomfortable, and so they’re often subject to intense criticism (for instance, take a look at how people have trashed Lord of the Flies and The Catcher in the Rye on Goodreads, even though they’re two brilliant and important books).
Still, it’s impossible not to read any reviews of your book. There might be other reviews of Backwards out there, but I haven’t gone looking for them. This reviewer was kind enough to contact me. And so, without further ado, here it is:
I was shaking when I read this. I hope you’ll go check out the full review on her blog, along with the other great information (like lesson and discussion ideas for the books, and connections to curriculum goals). But here’s some of the review:
Thank you, Mrs. Williams, for making my first review on this book a good one!
I hope you’ll go check out the whole review on her blog, Librarian in a Candy Shop. Not only did she summarize the book extremely well there (without giving away spoilers) but she connected the book to curriculum goals, assessed the reading level, and included some excellent lesson and discussion ideas for the book (like these: “This would be a very interesting text to read to look at cause and effect. It would also be good to look at why the author chose to tell the story backwards and how things are revealed. In addition, this would be a powerful book to read and discuss in a health class or to tie in with a discussion about suicide – cause and effect.”).
It’s an excellent blog, proving once again that librarians rule.