ArmchairBEA 2014: Topic of Choice & Middle Grade/Young Adult

Posted May 30, 2014 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in ArmchairBEA / 35 Comments


 Armchair BEA is starting to come to an end; it has been a fun experience and I hope you enjoyed visiting all the blogs. Today’s topic is Middle Grade and Young Adult fiction, plus a free choice. I’m not actually sure what to say about Young Adult fiction, it seems like a popular choice and I think the book blogging community have a strong handle on this genre. I’m old and cranky, so I would say there are too many blogs about young adult fiction. However Middle Grade literature doesn’t seem to get the same amount of attention. I am trying to read more children’s classics, I think my blog only has Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and now The Secret Garden on it. I know it is a genre I should put a little more focus on, so I’m hoping people will leave me recommendations in the comments below.

For the free topic, I had to think about what to talk about, the concept of ‘honest’ reviews. As a book blogger we are often sent books in exchange for an honest review but I very rarely see negative reviews. As book bloggers, are we giving honest reviews if we only share the books we like? I know we tend to abandon books that were not working but do we talk about these books on our blogs as well? I’m not accusing people of anything here; I just want the book blogging community to think about the topic. I enjoy negative reviews, I think they are fun to read and write but I still think we need to be constructive and non-aggressive about them.

If there is nothing else, consider this; your book blog is a reflection of your taste in books. How can people truly understand what your tastes are really like if they don’t know why a book doesn’t work for you. I’m hoping to get plenty of response from people telling me they do write negative reviews. I hope we all do, we can’t love every book and we sometimes need to discuss why we don’t like a book. If you don’t write negative reviews, try it, it can be fun. If you still don’t like to write them, let me know why.

ArmchairBEA is a virtual convention for book blogger who can’t attend Book Expo America and the Book Blogger Convention. Button by Sarah of Puss Reboots

35 responses to “ArmchairBEA 2014: Topic of Choice & Middle Grade/Young Adult

  1. I write negative reviews here and there, and you’re right, it can be done in a constructive, non-aggressive way. I haven’t written terribly many of them though, because 1) I tend to be a liberal DNF-er and 2) I’m realllllllly good at figuring out what books I think will work for me or not. My friend April though ( – her negative reviews are so entertaining!! LOL

    Great post!

  2. Lisa

    I write negative reviews when I dislike a book. I have actually negatively reviewed at least 2 very popular books, as a matter of fact. But we need to be tasteful and constructive. Saying “this book sucks, and I couldn’t make myself finish it” is not going to help anyone.

    I don’t DNF. Can’t make myself do it. But I have only ever had just a couple of books where I wanted to.

    Lisa @Just Another Rabid Reader

  3. Wesley

    When I don’t like a book that I’ve agreed to review I try to make it the nicest negative review possible. Then I don’t give it a star rating. Because I guess Im a little chicken!

  4. Lianne

    I do write on occasion negative reviews but I admit, they’re pretty rare. 2 stars for me is already hitting the okay/meh scale, but I usually include aspects of the novel I did enjoy along the parts of the novel I didn’t enjoy so much. But yeah, I’m pretty sure I’ve only posted one or two 1 star reviews ever on my blog (I should look those up, lol). I have started posting more DNFs though (something I didn’t do before–I always finish a book before–but nowadays I just don’t have time to slough through a book I don’t enjoy)

  5. I focused on middle grade fiction today for the exact reason you mention. 🙂 As for honest reviews, I always review, whether positive or negative, any book I receive for review. I do not, however, have negative reviews for non-ARCish books because I just don’t keep reading if the book isn’t working and I have no moral obligation to finish it.

  6. Karsyn Smith

    I have no problem leaving negative reviews, provided I finish the book. If it’s so bad, for me, that I can’t even get through it, then I won’t review it. But if I get through it and didn’t like it, I have no problem leaving a negative review. It’s my own personal opinion, not the opinion of all, and that’s what we’re here for, to leave our personal opinion… in my opinion. 🙂

      • Karsyn Smith

        Not if I don’t get through much of it. I usually know, right away, if I’ll like a book or not, and I will give it until 10% or so to give it a try, sometimes more sometimes less. So, no, if I only make it that far, I won’t leave a review anywhere or mention it on my blog. I really can’t stand, at places like GoodReads, where people will rate a book a 1, then say “I haven’t read this”. I’ve seen it happen and I think it’s pretty horrible. So, I won’t rate, or review, a book I have read less than half of.

  7. I don’t really write negative reviews… but I definitely talk about things that bothered me in books I liked and books I loved. I think it’s important to point out your issues with a book even if you loved it, because for some people those issues might be a deciding factor on whether or not they want to read a book. Sometimes I’m very ranty and an author can really frustrate me… but that might just make me like the book more. I guess I’m a complicated reader.

  8. I don’t generally write negative reviews. I will point out any problems or disconnects in the ones I do review. One reason I don’t is simply because reading is a subjective experience, and I generally don’t want to write a really negative review that might prevent someone else from reading a book. I’ve read too many books where I’d been put off because I had a negative impression based on what others had said, only to discover that I actually liked the book. So I do temper any reviewing I do because of those experiences. There has to be a really good reason for me to come out with a negative review. I also just prefer to spend my time these days discussing books that I think will be helpful or provide a good reading experience.

    I will say, I don’t think I would write a negative review for fun. Reviews impact the sale of books and earnings of authors. I try to keep that in mind whenever I am offering an opinion on a book. It may be fun to be witty, even snarky, and maybe that has worked for some reviewers but I’m pretty sure it didn’t do much for the writer. I guess it’s a fine line.

  9. Megan

    I rarely write reviews that are *entirely* negative, but I definitely write negatively about aspects of books that didn’t work for me. Most of my favorite and most trusted bloggers are ones that aren’t afraid to get a little negative in their reviews. It’s interesting because I feel like I value the positive review of a blogger I know doesn’t shy away from the occasional negative review more. That positive review seems to be more significant than the positive review of a blogger who implies that they love everything they read.

    Megan @ Leafing Through Life

  10. Old and cranky! Ha 😀 I totally get that, and I totally agree. I give negative reviews but not very often. I think it’s because I’m getting better at knowing what will work for me within a short amount of time?

  11. I most certainly write negative reviews! As you say, the blog is a representation of what I like to read. I’m fair, but honest. I’l grab any opportunity to talk about books, even if it’s “bad news”.

  12. Chrisbookarama

    Usually I abandon books I’m not enjoying and I’ll write a post explaining why I did. I don’t want reading to turn into a job, I’m not going to force myself to read a book I’m hating. I did recently post a not so positive review of an ARC. The author commented but she was cool about it.

  13. I don’t write many negative reviews. If I haven’t requested the book for review, I’ll just skip writing a review. I’m getting pretty good about not requesting books or accepting books for review that I’m not likely to enjoy reading, so if I bought it or have it from the library, I usually just skip reviewing it. One exception is bestselling authors; I figure they don’t care what I have to say!

      • I don’t usually write reviews of a book I don’t like, unless I’m committed to it. I don’t finish books I really don’t like, and I don’t like to review a book I haven’t read all the way through. I guess I like to suggest books that different readers might like, and let other reviewers warn them away from ones they might not like!

  14. I’m late as always. I write negative reviews and I tag authors that are on Twitter (for all reviews). I like to think that I might be helping in some way for constructive criticism. I try very hard not to get personal.

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