I know I’ve been doing an awful job of keeping up with my posts but I’m a college student who works and sometimes that kind of gets in the way of fun stuff, ya feel me? But I am still reading and have been thinking of fun ideas for new posts that I really hope you guys like!
So my line of thinking with this one goes as follows: We all love NetGalley. It’s basically the holy grail for us book lovers who want to get our hands on novels quick and often. It’s an amazing way to grow in the review-sphere. But you also have to have already grown a little bit for some of the titles. If you’re a NetGalley user already, you may know what I’m talking about! If not, then let me give you the 411.
NetGalley is a site that publishers and authors can use to get early reviews on their novels before the release date. Building a hype around a novel really helps it sell whenever it hits those bookstore shelves! So, since authors and publishers need reviews, we get to sign up to use NetGalley as readers and request titles that we’d be willing to read and hopefully review! Now, no one is forcing you to review, but you’re more likely to get approved for titles if you have a review ratio of 80% or more (my percentage is currently 86%). Now, while you’re trying to build up that percentage, you might get denied for some of your requests. It happens, and we know it’s going to happen, but it still hurts a bit when it does. At least, it did for me.
Yes, I am a “Top Reviewer” and I have still (sadly) been rejected for a few titles. Honestly, most of us have!
And alas, I decided that that’s OK! Because I of course can buy the books myself and still review them, right? The only downside is not getting a first glance before other readers, but I’m not big on bragging rights, so that’s perfectly fine by me.
So, for this post, I bought 3 books from times that NetGalley rejected me. These were bought with my own money (though I am great at finessing Amazon and getting amazing deals) and my reviews contain no vengeance towards NetGalley or any of the publishers (because let’s be real, they are never going to see this anyways, and I’d like to keep my integrity).
For the sake of this already lengthy and soon-to-be-its-own-novel post, I’m going to skip out on the synopses, but all three books are linked to their Goodreads pages if you’d like to learn a bit about them before diving into my review!
The Cheerleaders – Kara Thomas
I’m struggling a lot with the review for this one because I love the way that Kara Thomas writes, but this story fell for me in comparison to Little Monsters. It feels like we kind of get rushed into the plot as far as solving the murders go. There are also a lot of heavy topics that don’t necessarily get the proper discussion (trigger warning: abortion, statutory rape, violence [primarily domestic], and murder).
The characters did feel well built and I thought it was good that Thomas took the time to make Monica (MC) so well developed. We are picking up in the middle of this girl’s life and staying only for a short bit, but we have a lot of details that are not really necessary to the plot itself, but they make it feel like Monica is actually real and therefore relatable (ie we get information about an ex-boyfriend that we are never introduced to but it helps build up the past couple of years in our heads).
I will credit Thomas at being really great at keeping readers in the dark concerning who the “bad guy” is. Personally, I didn’t manage to guess this one ahead of time. However, I felt like a lot of the mystery could’ve been build up suspense-wise. It kind of felt like the murder of 5 teenage girls was a nonchalant scenario the entire time. Thanks to Thomas’s past two books, I know that she can create a great suspenseful mystery, so I guess I just felt like this book got a little rushed before the finishing touches could really be added.
Sadie – Courtney Summers
My love for Courtney Summers continues to grow. This is truly a great book.
My favorite thing about this was the way we go back and forth between the podcast and Sadie’s actual experiences. I went into the book knowing that this was the case and expecting not to like these switches, because a lot of authors would’ve added in thoughts and daily life from the man running the podcast; that didn’t happen here! It’s all about finding out what happened to Sadie. Moving back and forth this way through narrative kind of allows us to see past and present simultaneously… but in a way that I don’t really know how to explain to anyone who hasn’t read it.
Sadie was the kind of character that I love most because I can never get enough of the “anti-hero” trope. Well, I guess in some ways she could be considered an anti-hero and in some ways she’s more of a self-imposed vigilante. It’s all in the way you look it at, but either way, I really liked her. I liked her passion and determination and her love for Mattie. A lot of the other characters were very secondary and there simply to solve the mystery, and sometimes in stories that’s frustrating because half-baked characters are hardest to swallow. But for a story like this, it works perfectly and each character still manages to be memorable even though we see them come and go fairly quickly. It’s all in the writing and development (two thing Summers has clearly mastered).
The story doesn’t take long to build at all but it also doesn’t feel too fast either, so that was a great change (I’m so tired of poorly paced stories, but aren’t we all?). My biggest problem with this book was the ending. I’m upset about it and I’m angry and I’m demanding answers that I know I’ll never get.
I definitely recommend this one. Courtney Summers will never let you down.
The Summer of Broken Things – Margaret Peterson Maddix
Let’s start with the good stuff: The cover is BEAUTIFUL. I am so excited when I get a book that has yellow on the cover. I love it.
Now the bad stuff: basically everything else.
OK, that’s mean and not entirely accurate. Sometimes the book was decent, but most of the time the two main characters were really annoying. Maybe I’m just too old to read from the mindset of a 14 year old? I mean, I don’t usually have this problem, but who knows? Maybe it just kicked in.
Avery and Kayla stressed me out. Jumping back and forth between the two view points was really frustrating for me and I kind of think that the book would’ve been better if it only read from one girl’s viewpoint. That’s just my opinion though. I’m sure there is someone else who appreciated multiple narratives. I’m just not that person.
Beyond the two girls being annoying, the story line was kind of dry. I mean, yeah, something pretty big happens (that I’m not going to spoil) and I do think it needed to be discussed. But they spend SO long on this one thing and jump back and forth between the two narratives every couple of pages (sometimes LESS) and the story seems to be going absolutely NO WHERE the entire time this is happening. Once again, stressful.
It does end with a much less annoying dynamic between the two girls, but it was kinnnnnd of unrealistic if you ask me. It’s been a long time since I was 14 (and even 16 for that matter), but my brain still remembers what that was like, and girls do not make up that easily. Especially when they are as mean to each other as these two.
So yeah, I hated the characters, and the story just didn’t do it for me unfortunately. The writing was fine and there was a lot of cool historical information and other languages that made the experience a bit more fun. Just overall, it wasn’t a match for me. But I will definitely be keeping it just for the cover.
So, that wraps up my rejects (to this point, anyways). NetGalley denied me so I bought them myself, and I only loved one but I’m really glad I still purchased these! They are pretty popular titles that a lot of readers are devouring right now, and I don’t feel like my was wasted, so that’s good! I had an average rating of 3.33 for these rejects, which is… well, average.
Do you use NetGalley? Have you been rejected for any titles that you really wanted to read? Talk to me 🙂