Dealing with (not so great) reviews
Well, friends, my first review is in, and it’s not great. It’s not horrible, but it’s not good. The problems the reviewer had with the book weren’t unexpected, to be honest. The main complaint was that some of the themes were a little too dark. You know what? The reviewer was exactly right. It is rather dark and can be a tad violent. When I started writing this book, my eleven-year-old (ten at the time he started) son was reading the Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini, and he told me about a beheading in the book. I can’t lie, I was shocked. And I know a lot of kids wrapping up elementary and going through middle school are reading books like The Inheritance Cycle or The Hunger Games.
Sixth-grade was the time when I stopped reading for fun. It was when all the required reading (that I didn’t enjoy) started piling up. I learned to skim books for the information that would be on tests. It’s this time frame in which many middle-grade books just don’t cut it anymore, but the themes in YA can be too mature. They either read about kids who are 11 and 12 or 17 and 18. What about the kids in middle school? There’s this gap that they seem to be getting lost in.
I held onto the belief that I HATED reading all the way through high school and into adulthood. I always felt like reading was a chore. And it was! When you’re reading things you don’t enjoy, it’s laborious and not pleasurable in the least. Otherwise, I’d read my toaster oven’s manual.
I had a long flight from Okinawa to Oklahoma, so I grabbed a book to read on the long trip. I’d been hearing about Twilight, so I picked it up. And guess what, I gobbled it down! I LOVED it! I couldn’t wait for the next and the next in the series. To all the book snobs–I don’t care to hear it. Not everyone likes the same things, and Twilight got a lot of people reading again. It’s still my favorite series. FAV-OR-ITE! I continue to read because of it. I’m not a fan of a lot of the books I’m reading. I’d still call myself a reluctant reader, but at least now I know there are awesome books out there and reading can be fabulous.
So, this review wasn’t great. I’m sure a lot of similar reports will follow. But I’m trying to remember who I wrote this book for. I wrote it for the kid who’s growing out of middle-grade but is too young for YA. I didn’t write for it eight-year-olds. I wrote it for kids who are 13 and 14. This is the age I would have made my characters if they didn’t have to fit into a certain category to be considered either MG or YA. My book is for the kid who wants to hide under his/her covers reading something creepy. If it reaches and excites a fellow reluctant reader–I’ll be thrilled.
I’m not going to lie, those three stars hurt. But it’s not really about me, is it?
I’ll learn from this, and I’ll keep on writing.