The YA review blog REVIEWER X is one of my favorite review blogs because of Steph’s unfailing honesty and commitment to telling the truth without degrading the author or book she’s reviewing in the process. Also, she’s incredibly snarky, and that tends to make me do ridiculously fun stuff like spit milk out of my nose when I’m reading her blog.
But I digress . . .
When I decided that I wanted to start reviewing reviewers AND authors on my blog, her name sprung to mind immediately. So, without further ado, here’s the lovely and gracious Steph!
Here are the questions! I think this will be fun!
Oh, it but it shall 😉
What made you want to start reviewing books, and why YA in particular?
Let me try to give you a visual: I’m that girl who sits in the back of the class and, during the many lecture classes by some throaty-voice, automaton teacher throughout the day, mutters little (supposedly funny) comments under her breath, causing the domino laughter effect to subdue her classmates.
What this goes to say is that I’m opinionated, outspoken, and brash. (Not all positives all the time, but.) Mix that in with an unkempt love for reading and mind-numbing amounts of adolescent angst (we teens so rock at that), what do you get? A review blog 🙂
I’ll ask the question I know everyone’s probably dying to ask–what’s it like living in a tropical country???? BTW I am so jealous!
It’s…special. No, really, it’s great for vacation and there’s a breathtaking view along the coastline pretty much at any time when it’s not raining (that’s tropical climate for you). However, actually living in a third world country (or “emergent country”, as they’re coming to be called) is just such a sad reality. Governmental corruptions, poverty on your very street’s corner, pronounced social inequality… And even more disconcerting? The “elite” (the 10% of the population with actual money) could not give less of a crap. This isn’t where I want to be.
Do you see yourself having a career either as a writer, or working in publishing?
Right now, I’m considering oncology as a career path. Every once in a while I’ll think about going into publishing (in the publicity or marketing departments), and writing too (I do it for fun, but I don’t know about publication), or maybe journalism, or maybe law, or maybe…I don’t know. Adolescence is supposed to be marked by indecision, yes? Well, mine’s no exception.
What do you think makes an effective review? Are there things you won’t do stylistically, or subjects you won’t cover in a review? I know some reviewers steer clear of books with profanity, etc.
I—and this is purely opinion—think an effective review is one that concisely gives a reviewer’s full thoughts (no generalities) of the book in question, while also spicing it up with maybe some humor or insight or whatever keeps people reading them ’til the very last word. Or maybe something that puts a book in a whole new perspective. I don’t excel at this yet, but I’m hoping that, come experience, I will.
As for what I cover or not, I try to cover all subjects possible. I know some people won’t read books with heavy sexuality, drinking and language, and I respect their preferences, but that’s just not me. Steph? Yeah, she’s a party girl. She takes it all in and thrives in it.
If you were shipped off to a desert island and could only bring two books and a pint of ice-cream, which books would they be, and what flavor ice-cream? (As you can see, I only ask the really IMPORTANT questions lol!)
STRAWBERRY ICE CREAM. Aww, Jennifer, why’d you have to remind me? I’m trying to get ready for bikini season! (Which, in my country, takes place in the US’s winter. Different hemisphere and all that.)
As for the books… Hmm, Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld (default) and, depending on my mood, something by Libba Bray, Megan McCafferty, Melina Marchetta or John Green. Sorry for not sticking to the original question—it’s too hard to pick just one book!
Out of all the literary characters you’ve read about, who would be your fictional dream date?
Marcus Flutie from the Jessica Darling books by Megan McCafferty. In the first two books, hot damn, the guy is idyllic while still being utterly believable. (Granted, you kind of have to focus on his present self and block out the past filled with drugs, haze, and girls galore.)
How do you feel about giving bad reviews? Do you worry what an author will think when you really have to come down on a particular title?
To quote myself in a post I made about this, “I’m one of those people who feels inauthentic when all they do is go orgasmic over something or someone. I know the positive thing works well for some readers as well as bloggers. But it doesn’t to me, which is why it’s not my blog’s connotation.
At the risk of sounding heartless, being snarky suits me. Don’t get me wrong—I always feel apprehensive when I’m about to post something less than 100% nice because it is in my bones to be polite to people. But then again, I want to keep the reputation I somehow ended up with, which is telling it like it is. I like receiving book offers with “I want one of your book-shredding reviews”. That’s what I’m about, in essence, more so than being polite. Polite doesn’t cut it sometimes.”
Any plans to write a novel of your own? If so, what would it be about?
I actually kind of already have completed a first manuscript! (Its suckage reaches vacuum-cleaner proportions, though.) If you mean planning on writing for publication, then yeah, some days I do, some days I don’t. I write for fun now, but if I ever decided to try publication, I’d need to do a million things first, to travel many different places, to study many different cultures, religions, and many an ethnicity to make my work as well-rounded as possible. My current ideas for what could turn into one of my submission pieces in the future include topics that, without major research, would fall flat. I always gotta have it the hard way, I guess.
What are some of your biggest pet peeves in terms of reviews and review sites? (other people’s-not your own!)
Oh, lord. Bad grammar and orthography, for one. It’s not hard to draft your reviews on a word processor—I do it, and I practically redefine the term “couch potato”. Also, it makes me cringe when people go, “you’ll find yourself transfixed by / charmed by / enthralled by / jacking off to this book!” How do they know that? To me, it sounds a little presumptuous. This is why I try to speak for myself in my reviews—I have no idea how other people will react, so phrases that go with “you” and are not rhetoric, or phrases that begin with “the reader” and are not factual like “the reader gets no glimpse into [character]’s background”, are usually sliced off.
If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
These little cheese breads native to my country—oh my GOD, YUM. *feels thighs expand*
I see that you brought the YA Links feature back recently on your site. YAY! Can you tell us a little about the impetus for starting that feature, and why you decided to bring it back?
Well, actually, now it’s a tag team feature with Kristi (The Story Siren). People love to be acknowledged, and I (now, we) love acknowledging people and bringing the blogosphere together all in one place. It’s resuscitated simply cos I’m in looooooove with it and couldn’t take another week without!
Thanks so much for doing this! I’m really honored!
Are you kidding me!? I’m honored!
*originally posted to MySpace on 9/14/08