Reviewing Books, Avoiding Right-hooks

For regular visitors to the blog, this fella needs no introduction!  I first met Jack on Twitter at the end of 2012 and was immediately intrigued by a YA book he was writing.  Tethers has since been released to rave reviews and I’ve personally read it twice.  I’m very tempted to launch a one woman crusade to campaign for compulsory copies in schools!  So, this is what Jack had to say when I asked him about his book reviewing habits:

jackI’ve always loved reading, and one thing that every bookish-type knows all too well is that, once you’ve read an amazing book, you want to shout its name from the rooftops and force everyone you know to delve into its pages.

Of course, cornering colleagues, friends, loved ones or vague acquaintances, and then ranting loudly about how their lives are hollow and meaningless until they have read a particular book is not always the best way to go about things. Nope, I’ve found that out the hard way; for some strange reason my eighty-year-old gran just doesn’t want to read about teenagers pumping led in hoards of shambling zombies, even when I tell her that the book is, at its core, a complex study of dystopian humanity – weirdo.

But, thankfully, there is another way. Writing a review of a book you’ve enjoyed is a great way to channel your enthusiasm for a worthy novel without risking either the sack, restraining orders, or being disinherited. Writing a review is so often a process of love. You want to do the book you’ve read justice, and so you try and produce a piece of writing which is as fluent and as reflective as possible. And then through promotion on social media and other means, interested readers can find the review themselves without you risking a butt-kicking.

As an author myself, I remember I initially approached judging other people’s books with generous helpings of both apprehension and unease. So far, I’ve only written one book (and I’ll be the first to admit that it probably won’t ever become a best-selling classic), who am I to tell other writers whether their stuff is any good or not? Well the answer is that I probably have both no right and every right, but more importantly, it doesn’t matter. Writing reviews is about sharing the books you love, and inspiring other people to take a chance on something. On top of that we authors need reviews; we need book reviewers to spread the word about our books, and to help us reach an audience. It’s a kind of symbiotic relationship that seems to be becoming more and more important.

So, whilst I do still feel slightly uncomfortable with reviewing other authors’ books, I’m so glad I do because I absolutely need to talk about great stories – it’s something I’ve been doing all my life. Now, where’s my gran at …tethpurp-211x300

Author of the YA Victorian fantasy, Tethers (, Jack Croxall reviews books over at as well as various other sites. He can also be found on twitter via @JackCroxall.

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