Saturday, November 13, 2010

A YA Slump (Don't Believe the Hype)

Of the last 15 books I've read only 4 have been YA novels. I've been in a serious YA slump. As far as the YA that's coming into the store (mainly fantasy) its much more of the same* and the quaility is not good. One YA novel that shall not be named, gave me a serious case of readers potty mouth. I will be kind and simply say I didn't like it at all.

I went to amazon to see what other people thought of it. All five and four star reviews. Mostly fives. I was shocked and little pissed. I am done with, over hyped and over rated YA novels. As far as book ratings are concerned I am tired of 4 being the new 3.

I place all of my reviews on amazon. Since I have to rate them I do. There's anything wrong with rating a book a three. If its rating without a review, I could see why some would be hesitant go lower then four. Though most places where reviews are appected, online - amazon, goodreads, shelfari, etc, people are allowed to write review to go along with the rating. If many people are avoiding three, doesn't that decrease the value of four?

Though I don't review the YA novels that I feel fall very short of the abundance of "five star praise" I am quick to warn customers when I see them with the books in their hand. Sometimes I have the urge to snatch the really bad ones out of their hands. But, I restrain myself. I do tell the customers they may want to read the first chapter before they buy the book.

The other day, while I was checking a customer out, she told me I talked her out of a YA novel. Since then she heard it wasn't that great and borrowed the book from a friend and still hasn't read it. I warned many people against this YA novel (that shall not be named), when it was in hardcover. People should not spend money on poorly written hardcovers.

Don't Belive the Hypne on over buzzed and over rated novels.

* It wolud be wrong not to point out a few recent releases that are very far from more of the same.

The Foundling's Tale by D.M. Cornish. This this the third book in the Lamplighter series. These books are very good and original.
Behemoth by Scott Westerfield - The second book in the Leviathan series. I thought the first one was good with potential and loved Behemoth. (review to come)
Dust City by Robert Paul Weston -
I Shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett
The Boy from IIyseis by Pearl North - The second book in the Libyrinth series. I really enjoyed the first book. Looking forward to seeing what the author does next
Blank Confession by Peter Hautman - the only YA fiction novel. (very good, review to come)

I wish I could add more YA fiction titles but my luck with this genre has been so bad lately afraid to pick anything up. Though thanks to Weston, Westerfield and Hautman that may be changing. Also I will be reading Illyria by Elizabeth Hand soon. I've heard great things from reviewers I trust so I hoping my streak of good YA books will continue.


Shel said...

I completely understand your frustration. I used to rate books on Amazon. I gave most books three stars, because, let's be honest--a lot of books are mediocre. It's the rare gem that is deserving of four or five stars.

I received several angry comments and emails from Amazon customers wanting to know why I took myself so seriously. One guy actually found my blog and called me several *wonderful* names.

I don't post my reviews on Amazon any more.

Charlotte said...

I'm looking forward to the Pearl North too!

I'll be curious to see what you think of Illyria--I had heard so much praise for it from people I respect that I assumed I'd like it lots. But, sadly for me, that wasn't the case...

Doret said...

Shel - for me a rating of three is a good solid read. I think the review is more important than the rating.

Charlotte - Thanks for letting me know what you thought of IIyria.

You just reminded me not to have my expectations too high, simply go in with an open mind ready to enjoy.

LaurieA-B said...

Of course I am very curious about which book it was that you really didn't like! (Not a brand-new release, but I continue to be puzzled by the praise for Shiver, which I found quite unremarkable and in places silly).

Another GOOD book I read recently was Ship Breaker.

Shveta Thakrar said...

I understand about the hype. I think part of the problem is that a few books get most of the attention, while the others tend to fly under the radar. Not to say that all books that are hyped up don't deserve it, but it's a shame a lot of the experimentation and originality are in the books most people don't hear about.

Anyway, I just read The Boy From Ilysies over the weekend and am now eagerly awaiting The Book of the Night. :)