Feral Friday - Writing negative reviews

It’s Feral Friday! And we here at Book Nerd Reviews thought we would discuss a topic that really sends us feral.

This week, we’re talking about writing negative book reviews:

Kristy’s say:

First of all, I would like to define what I am referring to when I say “negative review”. What I mean by that is a review that is an honest, constructive and considered opinion of a book that I (or someone else) did not enjoy. I am in no way referring to a review that is disrespectful to the author, or that is “bashing” the writing or storyline.

As you may have noticed, I haven’t posted a negative review since joining Book Nerd Reviews. But believe me, this is not intentional… I have just not read any books that required a review that could be deemed as negative. This is a good thing for me, as that means that since joining the blog I have only read books that were generally enjoyable, but I do not doubt that the day will come when I have to write a review about a book that I didn’t like.

I have written non-glowing reviews for books prior to joining Book Nerd Reviews, and since then I have written reviews that contained negative aspects. And to be honest, I would be quite okay with writing a negative review. I don’t think that writing a review for a book that I didn’t like would be much harder than writing a review for a book that I did - if I have coherent feelings about a book, whether I liked it or not, I am comfortable in saying what I thought about it. (I personally think the hardest reviews to write are for the books that I absolutely loved, ie those books that make you turn into a fangirl).

Above all, I think that all reviews should be honest. I don’t expect everyone to agree with my opinion of a book, but what you hear me say about it are my honest feelings. So, when my time comes to write a review about a book that I didn’t find enjoyable, I will approach it in the same way that I have addressed certain aspects in books that I didn’t like - I will try to be as constructive as I can, and explain exactly what and why I didn’t like it. After all, not everyone is going to like the same colour crayon in the caddy, and what I personally don’t like is something that may really appeal to you!

Naturally, not everyone can like the every book, and therefore there will always be negative reviews out there. And while I respect anyone who is honest in a review, I don’t have to agree with them (and you don’t either). Sometimes the aspect that the reviewer did not like is the same aspect that others are looking for, or would enjoy. I find this is especially true when it comes to books with storylines that contains sensitive topics. After all, there are negative reviews out there about some “sensitive subject” books such as The Fault in Our Stars by John Green and Hopeless by Colleen Hoover - and these both have been enormously successful books with massive amounts of dedicated followers.

So, my recommendation is to read negative reviews - Just because someone else has not enjoyed the book, that doesn’t mean that you won’t and it may just result in you reading a book that you absolutely love!

Melissa’s say:

I have found that sometimes I’ve read a negative review, and the person reviewing it has been so passionate about the way they feel about the book that in spite of them not liking it, I’ve gone out to read the book simply to know if I agree with that persons opinion or not. I think for so many of us, we get stuck with this mentality that a “negative” book review will sway people from wanting to read the book, but I just don’t see the truth in this.

I’ve had to write reviews for books I didn’t enjoy before. And I hear time and time again people struggle to write these. But personally I find these the easiest reviews to write – because when you dislike something you’ve got set reasons why you didn’t enjoy it. Truthfully, I find it harder to write reviews for books I loved because I feel positive reviews can sometimes sound a little repetitive and you have to try harder to word things in a different way.

I think the things I struggle with the most, is when I have to write a review for a book I received from a publisher and I haven’t enjoyed it. I have always (and will continue) to be really honest about what I think about books, and unfortunately there have been times where I’ve read a book I’ve been sent and it’s not my cup of tea. I always kinda feel bad about that cause I know the publisher is going to read these reviews. That being said, I won’t ever compromise how I feel about a book.

After I have read and reviewed a book, I actually like going through Goodreads and reading other peoples thoughts on books – you’re always bound to find glowing praise as well as one star reviews for just about every book on Goodreads, which in itself highlights that we’re all different people with different tastes in books. I like to see what others liked or didn’t like about particular books and reflect on my own thoughts.

Ultimately a review is all about our own personal opinions (good or bad) on a book. It doesn’t mean any of us are right or wrong, it’s simply one opinion. So I will continue reading negative reviews because I think they at least create some good conversation, and sometimes attract people to those books!

Have you ever had to write a negative review? Do you find them easy or hard to write? How do you feel about reading negative reviews that others write? Let us know in your comments below!

What do you think?

  • I haven’t been inclined to read books that have received negative reviews because more often than not, the negative reviews are very informative and I find myself agreeing that I probably will not like the book for the same reasons.

    I agree that writing reviews for books we love are harder! We can’t help but gush about it and make the post like a marketing material to convince a reader to buy, lol.

    I have had several experiences wherein I got a book from a publisher or an author, and while I was able to finish the book, it wasn’t a 5-star novel for me. I felt uncomfortable publishing a review because it’s less than stellar but I had to be honest, and I did finish the book anyway.

  • Writing negative reviews is also the easiest for me. The emotions I have toward a book I didn’t enjoy is sooo clear usually it won’t even take a long time to finish my review. Unlike a 3 star review which sometimes I struggle to elaborate and make it lengthier since I don’t have many things to say, or a 5 star book which I struggle to write a coherent and readable paragraphs, a 1 or 2 star review comes off easier to me and I don’t even have to think hard to string the words together. I wrote a post about writing reviews — I think a month ago — and surprisingly almost all of the commenters said that they also foung writing negative reviews easier.

    Awesome post! Honestly I enjoy reading negative review because sometimes they’re hilarious or they can actually make me buy a book just to see what I’d think of it!
    Kezia @ Chapteriosity recently posted…[ARC Review] Wild Cards by Simone ElkelesMy Profile

    • Kristy says:

      I think that negative reviews are easier, as like you said, for books that you love it can be hard to say what you want to in a clear way (because all you want to do is gush about it).
      And I have certainly read a book just because I have read a negative review - and on occasion I have also ended up loving that book!
      Kristy recently posted…Blogging 101: Tips for Potential Co-Bloggers P2My Profile

  • I think you girls are exactly right about the negative reviews. When I only see positive reviews for a book with nothing negative, I get suspicious. Surely the book has some flaws? I love negative reviews although I agree sometimes it’s difficult to write them, I will always be honest and constructive when I can too.

  • Julie S. says:

    I love reading negative reviews. Sometimes they can be funny and entertaining. Usually they show the major issues with the story and then I can decide if those points would bother me as well and detract from the story. I try to be as honest and careful as I can be when writing my less than spectacular reviews. I don’t want to hurt feelings, but I do want to specify what didn’t work for me in the story.

  • Samantha says:

    I agree, writing a negative review can be easier than writing a positive review a lot of the times, purely because you have those reasons to hand. Gushing and pressing a book into people’s hands with a silly grin on your face isn’t as easy.

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