Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Rating a Book Before You've Read It: A RANT!



I usually don't get involved in book related drama, if I am being honest. Usually I just can't be bothered, as I have far more important things to worry about. But, today I am changing that because I'm genuinely annoyed/pissed off/raging/fucking fuming - pick your favourite - and need to rant a bit. 

I am not a person who rates books I haven't read. I don't do it. If I haven't read the book then I don't want to rate it, as my rating means nothing! I don't feel I can judge the book if I haven't read it. Today, my anger reached the point where I knew I wanted to write a post about it. And this post has to do with the new novel by Jennifer Niven, Holding Up the Universe, due out in October 2016. 


It's not even out yet, but this is what it's rating currently is on Goodreads:


2.21!?! Are you serious?!? It's not due out for 9 months and already people are judging it, and pretty harshly. But, not only are they judging a book they haven't read, they are also being quite insulting to the author. So, why all the hatred for this book from the Goodreads community. It all comes down to the following synopsis, which has pissed off a lot of people. So proceed to have a read:


Maybe I am the odd person out here, but this book synopsis doesn't make me angry. Nor does it make me want to go to Goodreads and rate it 1/5 stars based on a 260 word synopsis. And the things that some people are saying in there reviews are just getting to me sooooooo much. The basics of what is being said:

  1. The author is exploiting being fat for character growth.
  2. That it has an offensive premise.
  3. She's romanticizing mental illness.
  4. Do fat people need a thin person writing a story about fat people.
  5. This thin author is dehumanizing fat people.
  6. The author is saying fat people aren't human. 




I can't tell any of the people who said this about the book that they are wrong. I honestly can't say that because everything they are saying in their comments are their own opinion. Something they are completely entitled to, and your opinion isn't wrong just because it's different to somebody else's. But I do want to have my say and give my opinion on this.

First... She's not romanticizing mental illness in this book.  Last I checked prosopagnosia (face-blindness) wasn't a mental illness. And neither is being overweight. And even if they both had a mental illness, why is it romantisizing it. Is it because these characters might fall in love? That's a romance between two people, not romanticizing any problems they have. Are we now saying that people with mental illnesses can't fall in love or shouldn't. I'm sorry, fuck that! 1 in 4 people in the UK will suffer from some mental illness or health problem, so I think we should have more books that show that isn't the be all and end all of their lives. It's one tiny part of it and it won't hold them back.

Don't go on and on about how offensive you find the synopsis of the book and then make multiple comments about the 'skinny' author writing it. That's offensive, you hypocrite. And why can't a thin person write a book about someone who isn't thin?!?! That way of thinking is stupid. In that case let us not allow any white people to write any POC characters. Or POC characters write about someone of a different race. Authors won't be able to write about places they've never been. George R.R. Martin needs to stop writing books, he's never been a fucking dragon so surely he can't write about them. And J.K. Rowling isn't a witch so we better stop publishing Harry Potter. Oh wait, that sounds utterly ridiculous. That's because it is.

I would also really love if that human race comment would stop being taken so wildly out of context. It's a humorous phrase that people sometimes use when they have been away from people for a long time. I have literally used almost that exact phrase when returning to work after a long time away off sick. She wasn't using it as a 'she wasn't human before because she was overweight'. How is nobody else seeing that?!?!?! 

But if you don't want to read the book: fine. If you hate the sound of the premise: fine. If you think all of the listed things are true: fine. That is all fine, it's your opinion and you can own it. But don't rate a book based on 260 words, something you haven't even read. It's ludicrous. But I never rate books I haven't read, how can I have an opinion on the novel when I haven't actually read it. I didn't agree with what Kathleen Hale did, but I didn't then proceed to go over to Goodreads and rate down her book because I hated read it. I might be alone in that, but I just don't see how I can rate down a book I haven't even read. I broke my own rule today and rated her new book a 5 before I've even read it. But, I feel like if they can show their total lack of interest in it with a rating, then I'm going to show my excitement and support for this author. I feel so bad for Jennifer Niven, who is a really sweet and caring person. She excitedly announced her new book and has basically been crapped all over. I AM SO DONE! >.< 



Okay. 
Rant over.
Charnell out...



Time for your opinion, lovelies. Do you hate the synopsis? Do you rate books you haven't even read? 

59 comments:

  1. I absolutely loath the synopsis and I think I am bringing with me negative thoughts from my experience with All the Bright Places but I completely agree with you about the nonsense that is rating books that you haven't read. I did participate in the conversation about the synopsis on Twitter, but that's that - I won't be going to Goodreads and rating this because honestly, I don't care that much.

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    1. I don't think that there is anything wrong with discussing it on Twitter and on Goodreads. I don't even have a problem with people writing reviews talking about why they are excited or dreading this book, or ranting about the synopsis. My only issue comes to the actual rating of it. You can review without rating if you have yet to read it.

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  2. I couldn't agree more with you Charnell. Personally I'm not offended, I don't see the offense from the synopsis but do acknowledge that others may find it upsetting. But the emotion seems to be beyond the synopsis too and that's where I'm getting annoyed, at the assumptions beyond the brief snippet we see on Goodreads. I took the synopsis as written in each characters' own words and therefore are a little throwaway and blase with the wording. It's based on real people as well. Obviously the character is a very large girl and I'm not sure what the politically correct term is there. I'm pretty sure medically it's called morbid obesity but is that offensive also? I've seen others using the word 'fat' on Twitter, where some may find that offensive also.

    I was disappointed that readers are already rating it before reading. I'm actually looking forward to reading it and seeing how she tackles such a sensitive issue that holds true for so many women.

    Brilliant post poppet <3 thank you for sharing.

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    1. Me too, it doesn't offend me. I understand if it offends others and they should feel free to discuss that. They can even write it in the review form on Goodreads. But they don't have to rate it. If you haven't read it, write the review but don't add a rating. You can't rate a book you haven't read.

      I took it as it being written in each character's words too. That is how it felt to me.

      I'm excited to see how she handles this too and I really hope she does it well. I have a feeling I am going to enjoy it, but I won't know until I read it. I really enjoyed ATBP though. Those complaining seem to be people who really didn't like ATBP.

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  3. I actually can't understand how people can get so angry about the synopsis that they would rate it that bad.. I mean if you don't like it, fine. Live with it, but don't take your anger out the author with bad reviews when the book isn't even out yet.
    I've read All the Bright Places and I loved it, although I was heartbroken about the ending. I didn't know she was bringing out a new book so I'm very excited about that BECAUSE the synopsis sounds intriguing! So thank you for making me notice this news and I hope that the offensive, steam blowing, narrow minded people will suffer from their action of judging books upon their synopsis (well, I mean it in a kind way).

    Great blog by the way! Greetings from Yasmine @ swissbookworm.blogspot.ch

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    1. I know. I just feel like they are rating it low to be malicious. They can review the book without rating it, so the rating just seems as a way to take a swipe at the author. I feel they should wait till they have read the book before they officially RATE it.

      Gah.... I am getting worked up again, haha!

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  4. That's one hell of a mic drop Charnell. x) I agree with everything you said. I loved All the Bright Places and this book honestly sounds good. I hate rating a book before reading it. Because what's the point even? There is none. I made one exception and that was for the book of the author that recently scammed hundreds of bloggers (including myself) into reading her book by presenting herself as a publicist from Penguin Random House. So yeah. Jennifer Niven is such a nice person and certainly doesn't deserve this.

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    1. Haha, I know! That gif made me laugh so much, it matches my mood perfectly. I loved it too, can't wait to see how she handles the topic here.

      I heard about that author and that was actually despicable. And those ratings were a way for people to pay attention and hear what the author was doing - they kind of felt like they served a purpose.

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  5. Maybe I'm the odd man (or woman) out, but I rather liked the synopsis. I don't understand why all of these people think it's offensive. I do remember something similar happening to an author that rebuffed a blogger -- big mistake -- from that rebuff, she received hundreds of bad reviews from people that hadn't even heard of her book before. I wasn't one of them; I just don't believe in doing this to anyone. :)
    @dino0726 from 
    FictionZeal - Impartial, Straightforward Fiction Book Reviews

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    1. I enjoyed it to. But then I wasn't jumping on every little word or sentence looking for something to take offence too. Me either, it just doesn't seem very nice. It annoys me when people 5/5 books they haven't read as well though.

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  6. I heard bits and pieces of the drama about this, but didn't know the whole story until know. First off, rating a book before you've read it is just stupid- especially if its people just trying to be hurtful! That in itself is ridiculous!

    That being said all the drama around this is pretty crazy too, I don't get why people make drama when they don't have all the facts. Most people (if anyone- not sure about ARC's) has read this books so why are they passing early judgement? Isn't the whole saying- don't judge a book by its cover (or synopsis) very true? People need to chill, maybe the author handles the material really well, maybe she doesn't, we just don't know yet!

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    1. Yup, and here it feels like they are trying to be hurtful. The same applies when people 5/5 ones they haven't read yet either. It is misleading in my opinion.

      They haven't. It's 9 months away from publication and no ARCs have gone out so far. I feel they need to wait to read it before rating. Discuss away, but why rate it if you haven't actually read it and can't say whether it is good or not.

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  7. I definitely feel you on this one! I was pretty ambivalent about the synopsis really, and then saw how many people were hating on it! I can understand how some of the more poorly worded sections could offend people, but to that extent? Really? I think people need to chill out. If you don't want to read the book, fine. But then, honestly, the validity of your opinion kind of stops there. If you don't read the book, you really get no say on it if you ask me... You'd have no actual knowledge of how the book deals with its topics or how the author writes about it. I just don't understand why people are wasting so much energy actively hating a book that's not even out yet. A book that they actually know nothing about. I just don't get it.

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    1. Yes, I definitely see that they might offend some. And I am fine with people writing reviews talking about that. But I just HATE that people then proceed to rate it. IT'S RIDICULOUS! Gah. But I am glad I am not alone in my opinion of this. So happy to see others agree with me. The GR ratings make it seem like everyone hates it.

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  8. I definitely agree with you Charnell about people going to GoodReads and rating this a 1 star when they haven't even read it. Judging by the synopsis does not mean it'll be wrong. I have no idea why people are getting upset either. I read it, and I was fine with it. To me, I think people are reading into it too much when there's nothing really there to argue about. Let's hope this all blows over and when the book drops, the reviews actually state why they disliked the book instead of bashing it before it even comes out.

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    1. Me too. I am fine with people discussing how they felt about the synopsis, but I really don't agree with rating it without reading it. I broke my rule for this book because it annoyed me that much. I do't even like it when people 5/5 books they're excited for.

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  9. I couldn't have said it better myself! I was honestly so confused when I log on Twitter last night and saw that a new drama was taking place and that it revolved around a book synopsis. I remember thinking it couldn't possibly be that bad, so I read it and, man, I'm actually so excited to read it. I am in love with ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES, mostly because as someone who has known and loved someone with bipolar disorder, it seemed to hit all those buttons that made my emotions go slightly skewy, so I can't say I'm not biased. But this book sounds brilliant and incredibly different. I was so shocked to see that so many people had rated it on synopsis alone. How can you possibly know if you're going to love it or hate it? Sure, MAYBE it could have been worded better but people are so easily offended these days. I totally agree with that professor that said students should be challenged on views that offend them so they can figure out why. If people stopped living like the world is tumblr and they should be offended and upset about everything, it would be such a happier, nicer place.

    As an overweight girl, I am deeply unhappy with my weight. If I decide to lose it and go back to my natural size, according to twitter, I would be "dehumanising" myself. I wouldn't be "embracing all of me and loving all of me." I would be acting superficial and I don't even know what else. I feel like people just need to back down and chill a little bit and realise that the world isn't going to end and people are actually allowed to do what they like and should do so without repercussions.

    I am so sorry. I started writing this with the intent of making it a YAY-go-Charnell-you-are-awesome comment and ended up writing my own mini essay that probably doesn't make much sense. But thank you for this post. <3

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    1. Me too. I actually liked the synopsis. I think they tried to get the personalities of the characters across rather than saying what the author thought about them. I definitely agree, I think people are way too easily offended. We live in the world of political correctness now, which isn't always a good thing.

      People seem to think that their view is the only view and the only right one. It isn't. If they are happy with who they are, that is great. Some people aren't though. Some people want to lose weight and they can if they want - it doesn't make them shallow.

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  10. This is why we're friends. Why do I even internet again?
    It's so funny how authors "aren't" allowed to write about an overweight person when they are thin. YET everyone reading the book(or in this case a synopsis that the author did not write) is allowed to have an opinion whether or not they are the same body type as the character. So double standard much?

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    1. Hahaha!! I know, sometimes I wonder why I bother with it. This rant was definitely needed, I feel better already.

      I KNOW!!! But a shit ton of bigger authors have main characters that are slim. No one moans then >.< Why does it matter what size the author is!?!?? Gah, it annoys me they say she's body shaming whilst slinging body shaming insults at her. PFFFFT

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  11. I only noticed this book BECAUSE of you liking and posting on Goodreads (so thank you!). I don't understand why there's so much agro over this book. A little teeny tiny part of me had a super slight cringe over the 'broken' brain BUT people DO refer to themselves as a little bit broken sometimes. Plus this author KNOWS how to write mental health (I loved All the Bright Places).

    I think it's terrible to rate down books before people have read them and it's not something Goodreads can stop because ARCs do go out so people do read them before the release date. However, the comments on Goodreads for this book are so horrid already it makes me sad. I'm not going to rate it 5 stars because I might not find it to be 5 stars and do what they're doing, however it's made me want to read the book as quick as possible so I can hopefully boost that rating up. (Lend me a copy any one asap!) :)

    Well done on writing this post! It's the only thing I don't like about Goodreads - that and not being able to mark when you re-read a book!!!!! :)

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    1. I am glad that brought it to your attention. I HATE rating a book before the person has read it. I HATE IT!!! But I broke my own rule on this one because of how utterly ridiculous I found the 1 star ratings to be. I think she really does know how to handle mental health, even if others don't.

      Thank you!

      Yes, they need a re-read option SO BADLY!

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  12. I never really rate books I haven't read because as you said, it doesn't make any sense! You haven't read it yet... so how could you even possibly thing to rate it? I can see how some people might find the line about her needing to be lifted by a crane a bit insulting, but that was the only thing that caught my eye when I was reading the synopsis for the first time. But it was kind of easy to shrug off and when I kept reading I liked the sound of the book. I can't believe that they are being double sided and saying thin people can't write about anything other than thin people though. That doesn't make any sense at all...

    Okay, I agree with you on a lot of points. BUT... before reading this post I didn't know Jennifer Niven was publishing another book so we should just take a moment to be the FLIPPING OUT KIND OF EXCITED ABOUT THAT :D

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    1. Exactly. You can't rate how you felt about the book when you have read exactly 0 pages of it. Gah... annoyed me.

      The crane thing got to so many, but that annoys me. THAT HAPPENS!!! Some people have had to live through that. So why can't the author talk about it. It's not insulting if the girl actually had to be lifted through a crane because of her weight. That happens so why not write about it!

      YUP!!! SO EXCITED!!!!!!!!

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  13. I don't have time for an overly long comment so I'll just say this:
    PREACH!!!

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  14. OMG I COULDN'T AGREE MORE AND THIS IS LIKE ONE OF MY #1 PET PEEVES OF GOODREADS. I honestly think, at least, you shouldn't be able to rate books until they're released. This'd suck for ARC reviewers? But if it let you leave reviews and then come back and rate them...I think it'd solve this problem. *sigh* I REALLY HATE WHEN PEOPLE RATE STUFF THEY HAVEN'T READ. So just 100000% agreeing with everything you said here.

    Plus I really like how you called out the "you can write what you haven't experienced" thing. Because heck, most authors would have to write really boring books if EVERY CHARACTER they ever wrote was like them. Where is the sense in that??? Sheesh.

    Also this: "George R.R. Martin needs to stop writing books, he's never been a fucking dragon". YOU MAKE ME LAUGH SO HARD I CANNOT EVEN. XD Please write rants copiously. You are so wonderful and this is perfect. ;D

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    1. I know. I feel like it is okay to write about how excited you are or not excited you are in a review form... you can do that WITHOUT rating it. Pffft. NOT IMPRESSED!!! Haha

      I know, right! That's the whole point of writing FICTION! If authors only wrote what they knew then it would be a boring world.

      I am glad you enjoyed my ranting! I am quite a fan myself and wish to post more of them ;) I DO LOVE A RANT

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  15. I actually thought this book sounded pretty interesting. But I too get annoyed by people who rate books before reading them, It's like making comments about a country you've never been to, or dissing a person you've never met. How do you KNOW? Honestly, I think perhaps Goodreads should disallow comments, at least up until a few weeks before the book is published. Things like this really aren't fair to author.

    But this is a great post! You've really summarised the point well!

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    1. EXACTLY!!! Oh my, I am so pleased to find soooooooo many others who actually agree with me. I don't mind the comments, they can comment as much as they want. But they shouldn't be rating it when they haven't read it.

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  16. I don't get why people find the synopsis offensive. Personally, I find it interesting. I never ever read anything about "fat" mc and prosopagnosia. It's not offensive. It represents real human in the real life. We want diversity but when we get that we find that offensive. And yes, rating a book you haven't read is pretty much stupid. It shows how untrustworthy your rating is. Any author could write about anything they want. It's their story, their characters, their imagination. If we don't like it, then we shouldn't read it. It's a pretty simple thing to do. Love this post!

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    1. I found it interesting too! I am fine for people talking about how they feel about it, but I don't think they should rate it -whether it is a bad rating or a good one. I broke my own rule on this just to show Jennifer Niven some love because she deserves to know that some of us are really excited for her next read.

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  17. I LOVE THIS POST! This is the first time I'm hearing about this particular piece of drama, but regardless, I think people shouldn't rate books without actually reading the book. Seriously? HOW CAN YOU RATE A BOOK BASED JUST UPON A SYNOPSIS?!? That's ridiculous. Do I judge books based upon the synopsis? Yes. Heck, I even judge books based upon their cover. It's just a part of the decision making in deciding what and what not to read. Does that mean that I'm going to give the book a 1 star rating? No. It just means I'm not going to read it. It's like going on Yelp and giving a restaurant a 1 star simply because you hate pasta or something. IT MAKES NO SENSE!

    I love you for writing this post. & I absolutely love you for this analogy, "George R.R. Martin needs to stop writing books, he's never been a fucking dragon so surely he can't write about them." Too funny. :)

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    1. ME TOO!!! I actually broke my own rule for this one because of how pissed off I got about it. I went and rated it 5/5 because Jennifer Niven deserves to know that at least some of us are looking forward to this book.

      HAHA! THANK YOU!!! :) I'm rather proud of that line too and it literally just seemed to pour out of me as I was ranting away haha

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  18. I'm pretty sure face-blindness is a neurological rather than mental illness -- a pretty significant difference in common parlance... (though not really, I think; mental health is so wrapped up in the health of the body, it's silly to make such a distinction between the two. Pardon me, neurology/genetics/medical sciences nerd coming through.)

    I'd never rate a book I hadn't even tried to read. It's just dishonest. I have rated books I couldn't finish, but even if I vehemently disagreed with the premise of a book, I have never rated one without reading at least part of it. Yeesh, people.

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    1. It is. And there is a difference, regardless what everyone 1* this on Goodreads seems to think >.<

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  19. Yes!! I hate when people rate books that clearly aren't out or out for review yet. An then some of those comments on a blurb are just silly. It's just a blurb and not the book. So you still can't rate it. Plus the blurb sounds super interesting. Also your rant was spectacular :) Great post!

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  20. I saw that last night, and it irked the hell out of me. I loved ATBP, and I am looking forward to reading this one. I just don't understand how someone can rate a book they haven't read. Just spewing hate for the book before it even releases is childish AF! Great discussion! Yeah, it pissed me off too.

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  21. I really don't get why people are freaking out about the synopsis. It sounds like an interesting read to me and I don't see how it's supposedly offensive.
    Great post. Thanks for saying what we're all thinking :)

    Jesus @ A Book Addict's Bookshelves

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  22. I try to stay out of the drama as well but really, these type of "ratings" are so uncalled for and so unprofessional.

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  23. All the likes to this post! It makes me a rageball sometimes, reading all the non-reviews. It also pisses me off when it's all 5 Stars, OMG, Squee! And the arc isn't even out. Or giving a one star review because, pout, you have to wait soooooo long for the author to finish writing the novel you are going to die if you don't read it, like, now.

    I also don't like when people use the section on Goodreads to trash an author through bad reviews. Even if you really don't like an author, or his or her actions, putting up a false review is low and dirty. There's an author who behaved badly, but to be honest, I like her books, so I read her newest book, and almost every review on Goodreads was people just trashing her but hadn't bothered to even read her book.

    Look, I get it, the internet is a good, easy place to vent. But write a discussion post like this. If an author's behavior or if a book summary is sending you into fits of capital letters, write a post about it, get your feelings out. But some of us go to Goodreads for actual opinions on books that other people have actually read. So, no, I don't want to see a two star review because, ugh, the cover picture is totally bringing you down and you hope the author changes it before it's publication date.

    Phew, I guess I had lots of feelings about this subject too!

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  24. Boo, you have gained a follower! I was so pissed when I seen people going off on Jennifer about this synopsis. One, she didn't write it. Two, she said it was based on a TRUE story! People jumped to conclusions, and made assumptions about a book that's not even fucking released yet. UGH, sometimes I can't deal with all the petty drama that takes place within our community.

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  25. I completely agree with your post!

    Personally what I find surprising is how people didn't react badly to the synopsis for Dumplin' and The DUFF. But they're reacting and spreading hate over the synopsis of a book that isn't even out?

    I actually like the idea of the book! It is an issue and it happens in our world. I think that the author could do a good job with this book!

    You're not alone. I too didn't rate Kathleen Hale's book. I didn't see the point in that.

    Great post!

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    1. Honestly I think it's because Dumplin' and The DUFF are both written by women who are overweight. I also think it's because both those books have the character celebrating their weight and embracing that they are beautiful woman. But that being said you can't really say anything about whether or not this book does that because it's not out. I completely agree though. I think it's fine if you're upset and don't like the book, but 1) don't bash the author and 2) don't read the book. This book actually doesn't sound that bad and I will most likely end up reading it.

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  26. This post is the best post in the history of posts. You know why? It is SO. DAMN. RATIONAL. Like, these are all the things that I wanted to say but in like, actual, appropriate words ;) Because look: you don't want to read it? Then just... don't. I have a lot of personal demons with weight AND mental illness. And I will fully admit that the synopsis DID rub me the wrong way a bit when I first read it. But only because I questioned how a young woman could mathematically get that heavy and unhealthy in so few years. BUT, since I haven't read the book, how could I ever judge it? I guarantee there is a LOT more to the story than the couple of paragraphs!

    And YES to the mental illness and love thing! I read ATBP, and I liked it, and I DID see some flaws with it, but ZERO of them were "romanticizing suicide". Just because two people who happened to have mental illness loved each other, that was saying that suicide was happy fun times? Uhh no. Not even close. If anything, I felt like it did the opposite, by showing the ramifications! To add to that, I know that the author has had SO many young people reach out to her because of that book. That in itself makes the book worth it!

    And then like, common sense- if you haven't read it, you cannot rate it. I didn't even rate the catfished book I got in the mail (even though I WAS tempted) because that solves NOTHING. And here's a novel freaking idea: Maybe, just maybe, if people have questions about the book, they can ::gasp:: ask the author! You know, BEFORE raising all the pitchforks.

    It bears repeating: Best. Post. Ever.

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  27. Amazing. I agree with you 100% I for one can't wait to read this one!

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  28. Honestly I completely agree! I think the author isn't doing this to poke fun at fat people or mental illnesses. And it's probably something I will pick up when it comes out. I also think the fact that people are getting so upset and viciously going after Jennifer, who is a sweetheart, is really horrible. Yes people have been shaming fat people for years, yes we are the butt of A LOT of jokes, yes that synopsis didn't do this book any favors but there is probably so much more to this book than you're going to read in the blurb. I honestly think people's should calm down maybe read the book and then see how you feel. I just don't see the point in all this anger and meanness. It's just such wasted energy.

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  29. Wow, I did not know about this happening. I have not read ATBP but I do want too, regardless of whatever issues it may have. As for this synopsis, I read it and didn't think anything of it. People can read the summary and think "not for me" and that's cool, but you can't really judge a book by its summary. You don't know what the actual story will be. Because umm...newsflash, the author's don't write the book summaries. But in general, I don't think you should be able to rate a book before it's released. Leave a review or comment? Sure, fine, but actual messing with the rating numbers? That's not fair and Goodreads really needs to change this!

    -Lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.blogspot.com

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  30. I had seen this, Charnelle, but I frankly don't really care one way or another. I usually don't look that closely at star-ratings, I look at what bloggers (or GR friends) have to say about books when I decide what to add or not to my shelves.
    But you're totally right about the hypocrisy of saying that a 'skinny girl' shouldn't write about 'fat' characters... Who knows if the author has always been 'skinny'?
    I haven't read any books by the author yet, so I really don't have much to say about her books, apart from the fact that I am still a little excited about All the Bright Places, and that I might also read this one :)
    Great discussion post, Charnelle!
    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

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  31. I totally agree with you! I can see how the synopsis could put other people off, but rating a book when you haven't even read it is just... unreasonable. For me, anyway. I don't understand how you can't give the book a chance and at least wait for the release so you can read it. Great post. :)

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  32. Oh yeah, skinny shaming is the in thing right now, so this totally doesn't surprise me. It's disgusting, but it's all over the place right now. Ironically, there's gobs of overweight authors who write thin characters and no one criticizes them sigh... As for the book itself, I'm now going to be on the lookout for it, just for the fact that the main character was homeschooled, which I was myself :) I've never read a book with a homeschooled character (current or former) and think that's a fantastic pov to use.

    As for rating books unread-I don't rate books at all anymore, but I agree with you-if you don't read the book and rate it it's wrong (and lying).

    I stumbled onto your blog from someone else commenting on the situation, and I'm now a new follower :)

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  33. I love this post!

    I HATE when people rate a review before they read it - it totally makes the rating system useless. I also hate when people use the review section as a soap box to bash an author, book, or summary - especially when they haven't read the book.

    Kudos to you for calling people on their BS and doing so in the appropriate space.

    Emily @ Follow the Yellow Book Road

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  34. I'm not the world's biggest fan of The Mortal Instruments (I'm more of an Infernal Devices girl myself), but there was this article about it I read a few years ago where Cassandra Claire herself remarked on how she kept getting hate mail every single day of her life for introducing a bisexual male character who's powerful, comfortable in his skin, easy going, and happy. She was ROMANTICIZING BEING BISEXUAL/EXPLOITING BISEXUALITY, you see, without bothering to reflect on how much bisexuals suffer. Her bisexual character doesn't SUFFER for being the way he is, y'know, and that somehow made it NOT OKAY to even have him in the series.

    I was just... well, like I said, I'm not a huge fan of the series, but several years later I still remember that particular article. That says it all, really.

    And from EVERYTHING remark that has been made about Jennifer Niven's upcoming release - the trolls are at it again. Only these aren't self-acknowledged trolls. These are the kind who genuinely feel they're in the right. And that right there - scarier than a dragon invasion. So KEEP THE RANTS UP. They're probably long overdue.

    I also have a problem DNFing books personally, because it was instilled in me from a very young age that I can't judge a book I haven't fully read. That, of course, is mostly ridiculous, as my DNF-happy co-blogger has taught me. I don't particularly like thinking that. But I still don't DNF. And I still give every book 55 chances before parting ways with it. So these kinds of trolls... aliens to me. Green, antlered, antennaed, elongated, bug-eyed aliens. *X Files theme* YOU'RE MY MULDER! YOU'LL SAVE US ALL FROM THEM with these posts! <3 HOW CAN WE EVER REPAY YOU?!

    - Lexie

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  35. Oooo Charnell, I empathise with you SO MUCH. Reading this made me SOOOO irritated. These complaints people are making are just as illogical as if they were made about another book. Loads of people write books with a central figure who is fat/overweight/plus size or suffering from a mental illness, even if the author doesn't happen to be so themselves. Sometimes these things have an effect on authors via other people. Of course, if the author doesn't handle these issues gracefully or respectfully, that's a problem. But if these reviewers haven't even read the book, then I do kinda think its unfair. If I saw a blurb of a book and I found it, say sexist or racist, that would make me mad and ruin my day, but I still don't have a right to rate it one star. The ratings system CANNOT RELY on first impressions, thats crazy. If I later read it and hated it, then I would definitely rate it one star + the most vengeful review I could muster, but then again why? If I know I wouldn't like it I'd just stay away.

    Now look, you've made me rant!! XD

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  36. This post is freaking brilliant! I saw so many people complaining about how "offensive" the synopsis is and how they're not going to read it, and I was shocked to see people rating the book so badly when they haven't even read it. I never rate a book before I've read it because how can I if I don't have an actual opinion on the story itself? I didn't really take offense to the synopsis but I can see why people may have felt upset about it. And what you said about writing about what is known to someone/unknown and how even if we haven't experienced that, it shouldn't prevent us from writing about it was spot on. Fantastic post!

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  37. what the crap that book sounds really awesome??? I don't rate books if I haven'n read them (because what the hell do I know about it??), but I might do it for this one. She needs support. Her book sounds INTERESTING. I agree with everything you said. This book sounds like it could be a cute emotional tragedy kind of read (which i friggin love) and people with illnesses or who are fat can totally fall in love! What even the hell?? Why are people so upset about this book? I've read and re-read the synopsis and I can't find where people pulled their anger from. AND WHO CARES IF THE AUTHOR IS SKINNY! The great thing about being an author is we can use our imagination! SHE CAN BE A BOMB ASS AUTHOR AND BE SKINNY AND WRITE ABOUT LARGER CHARACTERS AND IF SHE DOES IT WELL (who knows because it isn't even OUT yet) THEN GOOD FOR HER! It doesn't matter what the author looks like. It matters if the characters are done WELL. AND NONE OF US CAN KNOW THAT BECAUSE THE BOOK ISN'T OUT YET! I'm actually really angry >.< like, wow.
    Great post tho! I think you worded this so well.

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  38. Society is getting so thin-skinned it's actually scaring me.

    I don't see a problem with the synopsis. When I was a teenager we had the popular craze What's Eating Gilbert Grape? The trailer showed the mother being so overweight they had to lift her body out of the house with machinery. No one was offended back then - and it wasn't done to make fun of people who are overweight.

    On the other hand, the Opera featured big-hit book She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb also featured and overweight and mentally ill girl who struggled and was made fun of with her weight. People praised that book.

    Seriously, what's the difference?

    Anyway, good post and another example of why this new and changing society is seriously starting to frighten me.

    As for rating books, I also won't rate before I've read the book. Doesn't make sense to me.

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