I might being stepping on some of your toes here, but I really can't stand a particular kind of review that I keep seeing on goodreads or amazon or whathaveyou review site.
The kind of review where the reviewer completely disregards the merits of a book and the actual craft of the book--things like writing quality, characters, voice, plot, setting. Where the actual quality of the book isn't even mentioned, and instead the whole review is a rant about how [insert drugs, cussing, sex here] is inappropriate for a YA book or for YA readers.
It's totally and completely fine if you didn't like those elements in a book.
But it's the fact that a 1-star rating is given not based on merit, but a reviewer's stance on morality that drives me crazy. It's just not being fair to the author or the book. It's not fair at all.
Look, I have no issue with readers not liking/ getting offended by/ not enjoying cussing teenage characters or drug use or promiscuity in YA books. That's a decision that each person makes individually as a reader, and it's a matter of what someone personally does or doesn't like reading in a book. That's not what I'm bothered by.
However, I do get pretty antsy when I see a perfectly good book--in terms of writing or characterization or craft--given 1-star reviews solely because of the more "edgy" elements.
Maybe it's the fault of Amazon and Goodreads, since they don't have an option other than the 5-stars where reviewers can rate or explain that they didn't like the content. But as it stands, the preponderance of 1-star reviews given based off or a book's morality instead of actual quality devalues the integrity of a 5-star rating scale. 1s should be reserved for books that are completely terrible craft-wise and that would better serve as fire fuel because they're so bad. 1s shouldn't be reserved for otherwise good books that have content that discomfort some--but not all--readers.
But until the reviewing system is changed (which I don't see happening soon), I'd really like to see more balanced reviews. Okay, so you're all fired up about how the main character dropped f-bombs every other word. And you definitely didn't like that she was a cocaine addict. That's fine.
But what did you actually think about the writing? The plot? The craft that went behind this book? The character development and her relationships with other characters as she deals with the consequences of being a cussing cocaine addict?
In my opinion, those are crucial things that should be covered in a review before branching out to a personal dislike of a character's moral choices. Those are the things that should be factored in to how a book is rated. Those are the elements--when mentioned in a review--that will actually help people decide if a book is worth reading or not.
Are you bothered when 1-star reviews are given solely because of "edgy" content? Do you think giving books 1-stars/ 2-stars because of content is fair or even a good way of rating books?
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