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critical reviews

when i began this blog, i was afraid to write anything negative or controversial. if i didn’t really enjoy a book, i would ignore all the parts that annoyed me and try to focus on the good. sometimes, i wouldn’t even post it. it was unsettling for me to stop myself. after a while, i realized my mistake. this blog is my space to create anything. i shouldn’t hold anything back. so now, i’ve been trying to review critically.

what are critical reviews?

critical reviews are (what i consider to be) reviews that talk about the good and the bad. it’s easy to constantly gush about your favorite parts, and completely ignore the nagging feeling in your chest. it’s another to acknowledge there were parts you really enjoyed and there were parts you couldn’t stand.

so.. does this mean it’s okay to bash on a book?

no! critical reviews are just that – critical. you’re commenting and analyzing the work, which could be positive and/or negative. it’s different from bashing and slaughtering the novel. if you’re just saying, “i hate this book! the writing is awful! the author is stupid! blah blah BLAH!!!” then you’re ‘hating.’ the purpose of a good critical review is to comment on all aspects of the book – your likes and dislikes. buuuuut you need to state why your opinion is that way.

i’ve seen some reviews that are completely gushing and praising everything about it – which is totally fine! i try not to gush and fangirl too much in my reviews because i don’t believe there is any work that is 100% perfect. in fact, i actually enjoy disliking a book sometimes. it makes me feel like i’ve grown as reader. i remember a time when i would give most books 4 or 5 stars, but now i try to look for flaws. the most important thing is to state why you felt this way or that way. 

what are your thoughts on critical reviews? yay or nay? let me know in the comments!

xoxo,

alexandra

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Alexandra Ling

alexandra is a nineteen-year-old content creator and avid reader. when she's not on the internet or hiding behind pages, you can find her training to be a professional ballet dancer. she finds writing about herself in third-person strange.

  • I totally feel this way and that’s why to try to analyse my initial thoughts. I made a post about how reviews should be, if you care to see it.
    I really liked this post and I’d love to know what you yhink about my reviews and if you think they’re critical

    • i loved your post on how you think reviews should be! i’m a bit inspired to write something similar (if you don’t mind).. i really enjoy reading your reviews and other blog posts. thanks for the feedback on critical reviews! <3

  • I think how you describe being critical in reviews is totally accurate. I’ve been working on being more critical myself, though I still tend to only write reviews for books I enjoyed unless I specifically received a book for review.

    • being critical is quite tough! i completely understand what you mean when you say you tend to write reviews for books you enjoyed; we usually just have more to say. hopefully we’ll learn how to be more critical. 🙂

  • This was a brilliant post. I completely 100% believe that when reviewing a book you should also point out the things that irked you even if you loved the book. It can be difficult especially if you love the author’s other books (this was me when reviewing An Abundance of Katherines). And I agree when you say that no book is 100% perfect. All in all critical reviews are a yay for me, but they should be done in a tastful manner.

  • Mariah Smith

    Definitely a yay! I used to gush and gab about my favorite books (please don’t ever read my SJM reviews, dear lord), and usually never said anything bad or felt super awkward about doing it. I would tip toe around the idea that there was something I didn’t like about the book, but never outright state it because I didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. But now I’m like all about the mindset of being honest. Critical reviews are GOOD! It gives the author notions of what doesn’t work for their readers and maybe they should change (if they want too and are comfortable with it).

    Great post, Alexandra! 🙂