Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Shout-out to great book review sites

Personally, I want to know what to expect when I read books...just the same as wanting to know what to expect when I go to the movies. However, some book reviews - and I'm sure we've all heard them (maybe even written some ourselves) - sound a little too much like ringing endorsements and less like personal reviews. And even less have content information. We typically write reviews based on how we feel, which can be different from how someone else feels. And if we don't think something is that big of a deal (to us), we may not include it in reviews. For example, I'm unfortunately really uptight about sexual content and really lax about language and violence. One of my goodreads friends pointed out that unless a book has the F-word in it, I won't say anything about language. So I'll try to be more factual in that department... :)

And for a little shout-out within a shout-out: to Juju @ Tales of Whimsy... her reviews were really the first (not the last, but the first) that I saw that actually gave me a good indication of what to expect when reading. If you haven't been to her site, she has different "meters" that gauge content and give age-appropriate suggestions, which is brilliant. So thank you, Juju!

But anyway, on to the sites: These are two of the best sites that I know of for 1) parents and 2) readers who like to know what to expect when going into a book. All of my aunts and several of my other parent-friends know about these sites and use them routinely.

My favorite is Reading Teen: Parental Book Reviews. This site is just like Screenit (the best movie review site on the internet!) only for books. It breaks down topics by content and gives quotes from the book you're reviewing. They update their site often and feature reviews for very popular and new teen books... they're my favorite! I don't know if it's one mom or a team of moms, but I love their little commentaries at the bottom - they're cute! And most importantly, they're effective. In fact, their ratings have a link that takes you to actual passages from the book. In a situation like this, I really don't care about spoilers, but some of you might, so that link is optional.

Another good site is Common Sense Media - Books. This site is definitely more "professional" looking and they have way more titles to search. Personally, I ignore their age categories, because some of the 12-14 books I would consider better suited for 15-17...and a few of their reviews (for books that I've read myself) have left out content, plus obviously different interpretations on what is and is not "graphic." But again, they have more titles to choose from.

Okay, so I don't know how many parents may read this, or how many of you find book reviews like these useful. But I've been meaning to do a post like this for awhile, so here it is. :)

My recommendation? Bookmark these sites!

6 shout-outs!:

Darlyn said...

I love Juju and Reading sites too!

in which a girl reads said...

Ooh, Juju is indeed awesome and thanks for those sites. XD

I thought about it and realized I don't ever mention anything about language or more edgy content in my reviews. But I don't know--are those things that really bother a lot of readers? Is it something all reviewers should be mentioning in a review?

I dunno, haha. Most of the time when I see stuff like that mentioned on Amazon and such, it's for the 1-star ratings where it's like "language was awful. Don't let your kids near this."

I'm really curious what you think though XD

Amelia said...

Hey Choco - I'm going to reply here and hope maybe you see it!

I do like to know what I'm getting into, and have been frustrated that several reviews don't include content warnings, so I always have a little thing at the bottom of my reviews for L-S-V. Some people genuinely don't care, so whatever, you know? But I know that there are others out there like me who want to be informed. Personally, I can take just about anything except sexual content. That's just me. One of my friends is really anal about language. Some people are up for anything so it doesn't matter to them. But generally, if I hear about sexual content in a YA book, I will more than likely not read that book. Life's too short, haha :D

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

OMG
Thank you! What an unexpected delight to find a shout-out :)
Thank you sweet pea :)
*hugs*
I didn't realize Common Sense had a book section. That's awesome!
Thanks for the fab links!

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

Tip: When I read I keep a piece of paper handy so I can note any curse words and quotes.

Cara! said...

Thanks for the sites, they're truly fantastic! I love Juju but haven't heard of the others, so thanks for the heads up.

Also, I gave you an award! You can check it out over here!

 
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