Monday, September 8, 2008

Behind the Blog: Reviewer X

Behind the Blog: Reviewer Speak Week
-
It's day two of our getting-to-know-reviewers extravaganza, and today we're meeting Steph, AKA Reviewer X.
-
Reviewer X
-
Steph started Reviewer X back in March* and is already a hugely popular reviewer. Apart from reviews, she works with Kristi (The Story Siren) to do a weekly post called "The YA Connection," listing reviews, contests and interesting posts happening in the YA blogosphere. I'm so glad Steph could join us!
-
INN: Why did you start reviewing books online?
-
Steph: Really, I just liked the idea of giving a full account of my opinion on a book for the whole world to see. (I know how self-involved this sounds, but it's the truth.) That said, my blog wasn't created on impulse—rather, it was a slow and gradual process, with maybe a year in between taking root in my subconscious, seeing an interview of Libba Bray (an author I honest-to-god worship) on 3 Evil Cousins, realizing two of my best friends had started their own blogs, and, finally, taking action myself.
-
My opinions have yet to be seen by the whole world, but Reviewer X has attracted a much bigger audience than initially intended (I only expected my two blogger friends to come around), and I've interacted with some very awesome people I'm proud to call my readers.
-
INN: What's the best book (or top three if you can't pick) that you've read and reviewed for your blog?
-
Steph: Oh, lord, this will be a toughie. If I go over the limit, forgive me. I'm a hard person to please, so finding a book I love with no reservations is no small feat. However, I have fallen head over heels since starting the blog. Catherine Ryan Hyde's The Year of My Miraculous Disappearance comes to mind, as does I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone by Stephanie Kuehnert, Madapple by Christina Meldrum, and The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson.
-
INN: Have any crazy things happened since you've started reviewing?
-
Steph: Yes. One of the wildest things that has happened is the fact I talk with some authors regularly. And not just one or two "business" emails while in the middle of doing a review, interview, and/or other promotional stuff. I'm saying actual talks, both about the industry and those that go on a personal level. These, via email, once in a while IM, and even the phone once. Seriously—not for a second expected beforehand.
-
Second thing is the fact there are people who actually want my opinion on a book. This, too, blows my mind. I mean, we reviewers get email blasts all the time about authors hitting many blogs simultaneously. Which is fine and I understand where they're coming from, but when you get someone who wants you specifically, you can't deny how much better that deal is. (Well, not so much if you give them a negative review...)
-
And thirdly, I have readers. Not just beloved friends, but people who came by and kept coming by. People who subscribe. People who sometimes comment. And people who sometimes email telling you they enjoy something you've done. It's elating, that's what it is.
-
INN: Is there a classic book (from Herodotus to Steinbeck) that you think deserves a one star or no rating at all?
-
Steph: I'm here to tell you that my readership of English-language classics is shameful. In fact, I've only read some Jane Austen and Shakespeare. That is to say, I haven't even read Catcher in the Rye! (But I plan to. I really do.) So let's push that aside and talk about classics in my native language. (Sidestepping what my native language actually is because I prefer to share my location only on a need-to-know basis.)
-
I'm adding a disclaimer here that I may sound a little constipated. That's what many an in depth class lit class with one hell of a teacher. Anyway, our lit can be summarized with: existential, focusing on social differences based on location, income and education. Most of our renowned lit either explores human psychology or talks about these existential topics, drawing parallels between a person's wealth and their location and weather, their mastery of language and how it impacts the control the elite have on them, etc.
-
It's fascinating on a theoretical level, but once you get down and read the texts, they're so dry, or alternately, so dense, they hardly captivate me. But studying the geopolitical parallels is awesome. And yes, this makes me a dork.
-
INN: What's your advice for other teen reviewers?
-
Steph: I'm not sure I'm in the position to "impart wisdom", so to speak. I'm a girl, I'm a teen, I'm a blogger, and I'm just doing the best I can. There's no secret to that. Really, I'm just like every other blogger out there, except maybe with less experience. I'm here to absorb the advice of others. (This is why I run discusions for reviewers and authors regularly on my blog.) If you've got some, no matter who you are, I'm all ears. :)
-
However, if you want some cheap advice from me anyway, allow me to say this: Never make your blog your top priority. It's not. Real life is. Never fall behind on that.
-
Thank you, Steph!
-
Tomorrow we go Behind the Blog with Kristi, the Story Siren
*I originally said April 2008, which is obviously incorrect to anyone who reads Steph's header. Woops!

4 comments:

Chelsea said...

Haha. I love Steph. She's so smart and hilarious. She is, without a doubt, my FAVORITE reviewer. Although I have a ton of others that I love.

Steph said...

Chels, you're so awesome :) Thank you! (And I quite LOVE, ADORE, OMG HAVE ORGASMS AT your blog too! <3)

And honestly, thank you Gabrielle, for this experience. It was awesome - your entire event is.

Steph

YA Book Realm said...

Great interview! And I LOVE Steph's advice. Once school started I haven't been able to read let alone review books. And I felt horrible about that. But she's right, I can't make the book blog my top priority right this momment, especially since it's crucial I do well in the classes I'm enrolled with.


I really enjoy reading Behind the Blog interviews!

Book Chic said...

Great interview! I love Steph's blog and I'm so glad I found it, and that Steph and I have become pretty good friends, I'd say, through our GMail chats, lol. Yay Steph!