Last night I got on Goodreads to do some updating of books I’ve read and books I want to read.
(THERE ARE SO MANY OMG THERE IS NOT ENOUGH TIME IN THE DAY.)
And, out of curiosity, I looked up some of my favorite books. Books I’ve already read and reviewed. Books that, quite frankly, make me consider giving up the writing game forever because HOW COULD I EVER COMPARE?
Two of my favorite YA novels are DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth and ACROSS THE UNIVERSE by Beth Revis. And to me, it’s like, nothing could ever be better than those two books. They are absolutely amazing. I closed each one and could hardly breathe with the grief of losing those characters, those worlds.
They were a part of me by the end. And waiting for the sequels to come out? TORTURE. (In fact, you may have noticed my subtle fangirl tribute to A MILLION SUNS in the sidebar.)
I was on Goodreads and I clicked on those two books just to see some other reviews. And in scrolling through the reviews for each one, I saw a couple one- and two-star ratings.
“WHAT?!” I shouted inside my head (so as not to wake up the bambina.)
Here are some of the things people said about ACROSS THE UNIVERSE:
“I don’t get what people are so excited about! . . . The characters stay flat throughout, and there was so much that was just completely unbelievable that I just couldn’t enjoy it.”
“I think I can divide my issues with the book into four categories: Flat Characters, Obvious Plot Twists, Science Fail, and Bad Storytelling.”
“WORST. BOOK. EVER.”
But oh, wait:
Here are some of the less flattering comments about DIVERGENT:
“…DIVERGENT aimlessly stumbled about, tripped over its own feet, and then proceeded to faceplant into the ground like a drunken frat boy at a keg party. I was not amused.”
“When I finished this book I could only think of three things: Uwe Boll, Asylum Films, and the Sy-Fy Channel. Yes, to me, it was that bad.”
“I really don’t get what the hype is about this book. The prose is so terrible!”
I thought those books were works of sheer genius. I am still thinking about both of them.
(Also, before anyone says anything about this, let me clarify that I am NOT getting onto those reviewers for what they said. They felt a certain way, and they were honest. Kudos to them for that.)
But: This is concerning to me. Because what this means is that no matter how great of a book you write–no matter how much of yourself you pour into it, no matter how many nights you lie awake trying to unravel a plot twist you’ve created, no matter how many beta readers you Shangai into reading your book or how many times you revise based on crit partner’s/agent’s suggestions or how many weeks you stay on the bestseller list or how many copies of your book sell–
Someone. Will. Hate it.
AND THAT JUST KILLS ME.
This is why I refuse to read reviews of THE CLEARING. Because for every ten that are good, I know there will be one that’s bad, and I can’t handle it.
My skin isn’t that thick. It’s just not.