Discussion: Writing Negative Reviews


Ah, the most dreaded situation for many bloggers and reviewers. You read a book that you absolutely hated, for whatever reason, and now you have to review it.  To make things even worse, it was sent to you by the publisher!  What do you do?  Do you write the negative review?   Do you post negative reviews at all?


Personally, I’m all about negative reviews.  I find they’re often more important than gushing five-star reviews, particularly in the YA community where there is so much enthusiasm.  When there’s level-headed criticism, I can much more easily decide if a book is going to appeal to me.  When there isn’t level-headed criticism and people are bashing a book for something like the inclusion of a strong and unlikable lady lead in a sci-fi novel, I know that if this terrible person hates the book then I will absolutely be interested in reading it.

I actually really enjoy writing negative reviews.  I feel like they’re so much easier to write because I have more to say and it’s easier to put into words.  It can be difficult to put into non-spoilery words why I liked a book and it can, quite frankly, sound so boring.  I’d rather have a much more interesting, perhaps controversial, review that can spark some conversation.

Controversial?  Count me in.

That being said, I will never bash an author or a book.  I feel like that’s uncalled for.  And I would never in a million years criticise anyone for liking a book I hated.  If you do this, you are a bad person.  End of story.

That’s obviously just me!  I know everyone has different views on negative reviews.  Some people don’t post reviews for books they rate under 3 stars.  Some will boost their star rating in order to not potentially hurt the author’s feelings (me before I actually started writing reviews).  Some will trash a book/author/the people who love it.


So tell me, how do you approach negative reviews? Do you love reading and writing them?  Do you hate the thought of trying?  Do you just avoid them all together?  Let me know!

15 thoughts on “Discussion: Writing Negative Reviews

  1. My policy is the only posting reviews above 3 stars one, as I really don’t like writing negative reviews as I get too carried away and I hate how negative i sound. I even struggle with 3 stars and 3.5 stars reviews 🙈. I do find them interesting to read though, if I’ve not read the book.
    Amy x

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I just wrote a three star review on my blog…I feel like if I only post positive ones, then people won’t trust my judgment- there’s always bound to be a bad book, right?
    I don’t think I’ve had to write a two star review…maybe once? But I think honesty is the best policy!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree! I feel that negative reviews can be just as important and helpful as positive ones. I do my best to not trash a book,the author, or the audience that likes it. Now that I think of it, I’ve never written one that was less than 2 stars.


  3. My one main rule when it comes to reviews is that I try to make my reviews as honest as I can, even if it is a negative review, whilst being respectful of the author and their work.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think that’s a really great rule! That’s what I aim for too — I never want to trash someone’s work here, but I want to be as honest as possible. Sometimes this means I have to go back and edit my rants before publishing a post 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I don’t particularly enjoy writing negative reviews, but I will always be honest in what I write. When I’m choosing books to read I personally find negative reviews really helpful, so I think they’re important – as long as they’re done in a polite and respectful way.

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  5. I find it much easier to write negative reviews! If I really enjoy a book, it’s hard to bring together specific examples why, where I can easily point out the things that didn’t work for me. And I also like reading negative or mixed reviews, too. Like you mentioned, when there’s a title with tons of hype surrounding it, I find the less-than-gushing opinions much more helpful when deciding if I want to read a new book 🙂

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  6. I agree you should never bash an author. A lot of work goes into writing a book, even a bad book, and it’s simply unprofessional as a blogger/reviewer to attack a person. I hate reviews that just bash on the books, I’d really like to know what didn’t work and prefer reading reviews that actually discuss failings of the book rather than blanketing their negative opinions with a simple “This sucked.”

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  7. I stopped accepting books for review because I felt so self-conscious about the possibility of an author reading potentially negative thoughts. I do still post negative reviews (and sometimes they get a bit ranty if they contain masses of misinformation or stereotypes), but I try to keep it civil. I tend to feel that, that way, if an author stumbles across it, it’s their fault for clicking on a post entitled “Little Deaths: Book rant” or whatever. Now I tend to feel more self-conscious about the fans of a book reading the review. I have had a few people tell me that I didn’t understand the books that I don’t like, but I blog for my own pleasure and I don’t might writing negative reviews, so I’m going to keep writing them where appropriate.

    Liked by 1 person

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