It’s NOT COOL to Hate on Books You Haven’t Read!

SPARKLING LETTERS BOOK BLOG- It's NOT COOL to Hate on Books You Haven't Read.jpg

I’ve been on goodreads for 5 years and I never write reviews for books I haven’t read, let alone books that aren’t even published, so I really need to rant about this. If you’ve been following the bookish community, you might have noticed a couple of recent cases in which this happened. Let me refresh your memory 🙂

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Last month, a lot of people gave a 1-star rating for Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas. This happened around a week before and after its publication date. At first I panicked! I freaked out and was super disappointed because I had a high expectation for EoS. I didn’t read any of the reviews because I was staying away from spoilers, so I didn’t know what made people rated it so low. I assumed it was because the book was that awful.

So I tweeted something about being nervous because of all the negative reviews and one of my follower told me that those are fake ratings from people who wanted to bring the whole rating down. I was shocked!! I personally have issues with Throne of Glass series but I would never intentionally do that.

That was when I actually read the reviews and one reviewer (one that I respect and whose blog I follow) said A LOT of bad things about it being so awful and insulting and that she was never gonna read it. I was like… wait, you didn’t even read it? I found out later that her opinions were based on spoilers she read on the internet. I must admit I lost some respects for her 😦 If she said all those things AFTER she read the book, I wouldn’t mind. I would’ve rant with her.

The same thing happened to Girl Out of Water by Laura Silverman. It’s a debut novel that is scheduled to be published on May 2017 and it doesn’t even have a cover! Yet these groups of white supremacists tried to bring the rating down by giving it a lot of 1 star rating AND super mean, awful comments! If you saw this for yourself, you must have known how rude those comments were.

I never even HEARD anything about this book nor the author but I know that it’s a mean and awful thing to do. She never writes anything before, so what’s the deciding factor on giving it 1-star beside unreasonable hate and prejudice? A lot of people rallied to the author’s side and helped her by giving the book 5 stars and reporting all the fake reviews. That’s a really a nice thing to do, but now that goodreads already took care of it, I suggest everyone delete their ratings because rating it 5-stars isn’t fair either. It makes the average rating higher than it really is 🙂

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You might also saw similar case with Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven. Many people said that the synopsis was OFFENSIVE, rated it 1-star, and shelved it on their ‘never gonna read’, ‘hell no’, ‘NOPE’ shelves on goodreads. Pfffttt what is wrong with you people? Even if the synopsis was indeed offensive (which really isn’t according to me), that’s a mean thing to do. Like… if you found a synopsis boring, plain, or even offensive to you, then DON’T READ IT. Is it really necessary to bring it down altogether? 

The first time I discovered this book, I freaked because I was excited! I enjoyed All the Bright Places (despite its flaws) and I couldn’t wait to read more books by Jennifer Niven. I was again shocked when I read the negative reviews saying that the synopsis was extremely offensive and the book shouldn’t even be published. I read the synopsis probably a million times and I couldn’t find anything offensive about it!

Sure she used the phrase ‘World/America’s Fattest Teen’ but I think it’s how the MC perceived herself. Or even how her friends called her and if it happens, then it’s not that offensive. Many people said that this WHOLE BOOK is offensive and I’m sorry but how would you know??? If you don’t read it, you wouldn’t know what messages the author is trying to convey! Maybe she’s going to break the stereotype about fat people and maybe she was trying to encourage fat people to feel good about themselves by sharing Libby’s story on her book. Niven has personal experience with mental illness and suicide so I’m sure she takes this kind of thing seriously. She wouldn’t just make fun of people.

Or maybe I’m the only one insensitive here for finding nothing offensive from the synopsis. But even if that’s the case, I still don’t think it’s fair to judge the whole book. So my question is…

Is it okay to rate books we haven't read.jpg

My opinion is NO. It’s so not okay to rate a book 1-star before we even read the book, let alone write some super negative reviews about it. I think this is an extremely unfair, mean, and childish thing to do. It’s not fair to the author, it makes the rating unreliable, and it confuses people who actually look for real reviews. Same goes for pre-read 5-stars, there’s no guarantee that a book would be that amazing despite its marvelous synopsis. But today I kinda want to focus on the fake low stars 😛

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind negative reviews! I respect people who rate my favorite books so low and I personally rate plenty of books lowly. That’s okay if we have actually read the book! It means that we think the book is bad and it’s definitely not for us. And I’m not talking about the case of DNF-ing either! It’s okay to DNF a book, it shows that the book is just simply bad/boring that you can’t even finish it. Most people said ‘DNF at __%’ on the beginning of their reviews and I actually respect that because then I know how much of the book their reviews are based on.

But rating and reviewing books negatively before they even tried to read it? Or even before it is published and not even the ARCs are out? I think those (non) readers are not entitled to even give rating. How about you actually read the book before attacking it with hateful comments?

P.S. I don’t refer to those one line reviews-without-rating of how much you like the blurb, the cover, or the author. It’s even okay to say that a synopsis is offensive, like the case above, but there’s just no need to judge the whole book or rate it lowly. That’s just a first impression reaction. 

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What do you think about rating and reviewing a book before even reading it? All those fake 1-star rating? Or fake 5-stars? Do you think it’s cool to hate-review a book based only on its synopsis and spoilers we find around the internet? ANYWAY, could someone please enlighten me on WHY the synopsis of Holding Up the Universe was considered offensive? I’d love to hear your thoughts! ♥

As always, I encourage and welcome every opinions as long as everyone is being respectful 🙂

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55 thoughts on “It’s NOT COOL to Hate on Books You Haven’t Read!

  1. I definitely agree that books shouldn’t be rated if you haven’t even read them. I feel so strongly about this that even if I DNF a book, I WILL NOT rate it, because I feel that I can’t give it the accurate rating it deserves if I didn’t even read it all the way through. So I definitely, 100% agree with you that books shouldn’t be rated if they haven’t been read!! Great post!

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  2. I totally agree! I absolutely HATE when I find people rating books that they clearly could not have read yet. The other day I found a 2018 book that I was adding because afjdksalfd it sounded amazing!! And I noticed a 1-star rating on it already. I mean, what?? there is no way that person had read it yet. It’s just rude and immature and spiteful honestly and I HATE how people do that! It’s really sad. 😦 And it makes no sense. Whyyy do humans have to be so mean?! I think this goes the other way too…don’t rate books 5-stars if you haven’t read them yet either!!

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    • Whattt?? A 2018 book has been rated 1 star? I bet the author doesn’t even finish editing! Yes indeed it makes so sense! Like why do people have to do that why not just leave it alone?! I think we agree that no pre pub (or pre read) rating should be allowed 😛

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  3. I’ll never understand why people rate books they’ve just never reader and it’s so infuriating. Besides all of the great points you make I’ll always wonder if these people do anything else because that’s just so much wasted effort on a book you never even read, I’m assuming those people just have nothing else to do.

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    • Infuriating indeed! Well beside the fact that they’re so mean… they probably don’t have anything better to do 🙂 like creating a shelf for books they don’t even WANT to read because they assume they’re going to be bad? That’s actually too much work 😛

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  4. You cannot honestly rate or review anything before it is read. As far as I am concerned, it is in the poorest form and a direct attack. It is as if they are reviewing the author and not the actual work, which akes it more repulsive.. I will never follow or condone anyone who open behaves like this 😦

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  5. I agree with you on this. Sometimes there were comments of why they have rated it 5 stars – “OMG! My favorite author! AHHH!” or something like that. In my mind, I was thinking, “what if you ended up not liking the book? Then you’ll feel foolish for rating it 5 stars to start with.” I rather you to judge the book when you have read it, not before then. Publishers actually looked at the reviews to make decisions on whether to keep printing the books, decisions on whether to keep paying these authors to write new books, etc. For people to rate it the way they do, it actually hurts the authors and their abilities to be paid.

    I think I know who you were talking about, that young woman who rated it 1 stars because of reasons. I was like, you haven’t read it. I saw some people replied to that, and she kept saying it’s her opinion and she would do whatever she felt is right for her, which I respected but she hasn’t read the book, what if the spoilers were lies and were created to fool people from NOT to read the book.

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    • Exactly! We really can’t tell whether a book is going to be a hit or miss. Like sometimes the synopsis are so great but poor execution or when an author second book paled in comparison with the first one. Those things happen! Nahhh I agree, fake ratings hurt the books, authors, and publishers, right? I’m so sad 😦

      Hahahaha yeah!! I think we’re talking about the same person? 😛 I don’t really mind the review bc she said it is based on spoilers, but I don’t appreciate her rating it 1 star bc it would bring the average rating down (even only a little).

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      • I read/watch the reviews of EoS and they all say it isn’t that bad in the book. I wish they judge the book on their own merit, not on other people’s opinions. Like I said, never know if they were made up. Just frustrated on how they acted in that review. Basically being very negative. I don’t mind negative reviews but that were over the top in some way.

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        • Exactly! It’s not so bad. I mean, a lot of things are irritating to me, but there are also a lot of good things from it. Like, I don’t know, THE PLOT? Which people would know only if they read the book haha yeah totally, I don’t get why people are so mean sometimes 😦

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          • I know. I don’t understand that either. Yes, I agree with you on many points. It’s okay to love a book that are problematic but there is no reason to NOT to read it based on spoilers.

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  6. What a fantastic post, and I completely agree with you on that. I hate when this happens, when people rate and judge a book they haven’t even read. I read Holding Up The Universe, and I really enjoyed it, and it wasn’t offensive – well, I didn’t think so, at all. It really is so wrong to rate a book and review it before even having read it.

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  7. YES! SAY IT AGAIN FOR THE PEOPLE IN THE BACK! It drives me nuts when people either rate books poorly or say they don’t like a book but never read it. I remember when Twilight was extremely popular and someone told me about how much they hated the books. They never read the books! They simply disliked them because everyone else loved them. It’s not fair nor polite to judge a book before even cracking the spine. Such a lovely post. I wish more people thought that way.

    Happy Reading!

    Amber @ bibliomaniacbibliophile

    Liked by 1 person

    • HAHAHA YASSS! 😛 Ughh what?? That’s annoying! Twilight is really problematic but at times I loved it hahaha I was a teenager and also it was addictive so… my point is, there’s really no way to tell whether you’re gonna like a book or not without even reading it! Thank you & I hope so too ❤

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  8. I totally agree with this! If you haven’t read the book, don’t rate it, it’s quite simple! I think they should make it so that you can’t rate a book on Goodreads until the book is actually published. Of course, some people may have ARC copies, but they could just post it on their blog. Or they have to prove they have an ARC copy in some way. It’s just not fair to the author or readers to rate a book without reading it. But yeah, if you read a book and you think it’s awful, then go ahead and say so, negative reviews are fine and often constructive. However, don’t rate it until you’ve read it. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Exactly! I once read a post about allowing pre pub rating on goodreads. Amazon doesn’t allow it, right? And people think that goodreads should do the same and have this way to verify an ARC. I think that would be a great thing to do! Though fake rating would still exist even after the book is published…. thank you! ❤

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      • Yeah Amazon doesn’t allow you to review until the book is available, but they’ve got this new approved reviewer system so maybe they’ll allow these trusted reviewers to post reviews before publication. Yeah of course you’d still get some fake reviews but it would cut out the worst of it to begin with at least. 😊

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  9. I couldn’t agree more! How can anyone give a justified review if they don’t even open the first page? With Throne of Glass, sure people might take flaw of the series with it’s previous books (I know I do – I mean, the only 2 explicitly stated characters of colour were killed off, and worse to further the storylines of white characters, and I don’t think that should be ignored) but a constructive criticism of a book cannot be given unless you’ve read it. Not only does it bring the rating down, but if people are so petty to review without reading then it kind of reduces the reviews of anyone who has written a genuine criticism of the book. If people have a problem with a series I don’t think it should be taken out on the future books they haven’t read.
    Awesome post!

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    • Agreed! I had my ups and downs with Throne of Glass series but there’s really no way for me to tell whether I’m going to like the next book or not. Like, if you’re disappointed with QoS then don’t take it out on EoS, right? I just think it’s unfair to rate a book without even giving it a chance. Thank you! ❤

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  10. I don’t understand how people can rate or review books they haven’t read! Personally, I don’t even read reviews to judge whether I want to read a book or not, but it can be really damaging to an authors career – and imagine how they must feel to read bad things about a book that isn’t even out yet! It’s a horrible way to treat another person.

    So glad you’ve sparked this discussion!
    Astrid
    http://www.astridkaniele.com/

    Liked by 1 person

    • Exactly! I mean, sometimes I feel a little bad to write negative reviews for books I HAVE READ, like I’m afraid to hurt the authors’ feelings? haha but fake negative reviews must be worse 😦 I don’t read reviews as much either because I’m afraid of spoilers, but I look at the rating so fake ratings are misleading and dangerous! 😦 Thank you! Glad you shared my opinion 😀

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  11. THIS POST!! I LOVE this post! I was nodding along with you the whole time, because YES to all of this! As soon as I saw the title, I thought “AH, Holding Up the Universe” because that made me SO mad. It was a BLURB, for goodness sake! And the author didn’t even WRITE said blurb. The whole thing was ridiculous, she hadn’t even finished the book! And the whole Throne of Glass series in general has been like this, and it is so frustrating, because like you said, you cannot review internet spoilers! That isn’t a thing that makes sense!

    As for Laura Silverman, that was so awful I don’t even have words. No one should have to go through that, EVER. But yeah, I agree with you completely- unless you have read (or attempted to read, in the case of a DNF) a book, then you really have no business rating it at all. Put it on a “never read” shelf if you must, whatever- but don’t RATE it- that isn’t fair to anyone, authors OR readers! Awesome post!

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    • Ahhh THANK YOU! ❤ That was JUST a blurb?? Gosh what is wrong with people?!! Exactly, you cannot review internet spoilers, I like that sentence haha yes yes it was SO awful I read all the comments on goodreads and no wonder she locked her account immediately. It could totally kill her confidence but I'm glad a lot of people rallied to help and support her 🙂 Thank you ❤

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  12. Wow. I had no idea that happened for Empire of Storms. (I guess partially because I’m not reading the series?) But things like that are how bloggers get a reputation for being unpleasant or vindictive. If you have something to say about a book, I can see leaving a Goodreads comment. I would not, however, rate a book unless I had actually read it.

    I remember the outage over the summary for Niven’s book. I wasn’t planning on reading it before that mainly because I don’t read much contemporary and hadn’t even heard of it. But I completely agree with you. I did not read the summary as fat-shaming or offensive. I thought it was meant to be written in the protagonist’s own voice, and SHE is self-conscious about her weight. I do not think THAT is fat-shaming either. Teens are insecure about their bodies for all kinds of reasons. I think it’s perfectly reasonable to portray that in a book. It’s realistic. Having a character who’s self-conscious about X body issue is not remotely the same as actually saying they SHOULD be self-conscious or that there’s actually something wrong with them.

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    • It did! Probably not too surprising since the whole series were controversial, but still an awful thing to do! 😦 EXACTLY! I really don’t mind people commenting but rating is a completely different business. I know right! And even if that is what people are saying (that she is america’s fattest teen) I still think it’s okay because that’s what happened in the book. That’s the story that the author is trying to tell so I really didn’t see the problem there. Thank you for the thoughtful comment! ❤

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  13. You are so right, it is not cool to do that to authors. I don’t follow bloggers/reviewers that do that and would un-follow any I saw were doing that. I admit I don’t always agree with authors posting their views on Twitter, but I un-follow them there. In fact, I almost follow no authors because I don’t want to read their views, I only want to read their books.
    I saw a lot of hate for Empire of Storms and I just knew it was haters. People need to get a life and stop trying to ruin people.
    Great discussion topic!

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  14. In my humble opinion, you should never review or rate a book unless you have read it (or at least attempted to read it). I know it is cliche, but I firmly believe in the saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” The same thing goes for the synopsis and author. You cannot really judge something without proper information. I mean, you would never review a restaurant without eating there first, right? I think it is vengeful and awful to pre-rate a book with an unflattering review because it does not jive with your beliefs.
    I totally agree with your point about rating a book 5 stars without reading it. It is still unfair, even if you think you are doing a good thing. For all you know, that book could actually be terrible and you just blindly promoted it!
    Ratings are a powerful things, especially on Amazon and Goodreads. Readers and bloggers should not tamper with the power of the (rating) stars.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Exactly! Synopsis are often misleading, let alone BLURBS, so people really shouldn’t rate books based on those alone. YESSS in the case of restaurant, we would be like… ‘my friend says the food is bad/the service is crappy’ but who knows right??!

      Yes! Rating books blindly, be it 1 or 5 stars are wrong because then the rating becomes unreliable and I, like most people out there, count rating as a major deciding factor when picking up a new book. Thank you for commenting! ❤

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  15. Great post and necessary discussion! I 100000% agree with you and I’m starting to think that GR shouldn’t allow early reviews because people are doing this. I’ve seen people target specific books and specific authors and it is not nice or funny. How can you rate a book without reading it? And the implications are staggering — so many people decide to purchase a book based on ratings so it really can negatively affect the author. It really makes me so mad!

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    • Thank you! ❤ Exactly! Most people and myself included use rating as a major deciding factor to choose our next read and those fake ratings are definitely misleading! But I guess that's the purpose right? Like you said, to target specific authors/books and that's definitely an awful thing to do 😦 uggghhh yes that makes two of us!

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  16. All the YESES for this!!! I recently read Holding Up the Universe and loved it. I had no idea about the controversy until I went to mark it Read on Goodreads and saw that a bunch of people had marked it one star without ever reading it. I was shocked and appalled, especially since, if they had read the book, they would realize that their impressions were unfounded. The main character HAS been called (by the media) the fattest teen in America, but that’s NOT who she IS. She fights against this stereotype every single day–and there are days she believes it of herself because of the labels other people have put on her–but she doesn’t give in to the temptation of letting other people define her.

    Anyway, that’s my rant about that specific book, but the issue as a whole is people rating a book without having read it. I am completely with you on this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • AHHH thank you! ❤ I know right, I'm currently reading it and the phrase 'America's Fattest Teen' is a part of the story so I really, really don't get why it was considered offensive! Yes I think it's totally unfair for everyone and completely mess with the rating systems 😦 Thank you for sharing! ❤

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  17. I have always been really bothered by all the pre-release reviews on Goodread (unless the person read an ARC, of course). Like you say, how am I supposed to know if the book is actually any good or not. And I never think it is OK to write hurtful/harmful things in a review.

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  18. I agree that people shouldn’t rate any book they haven’t read. Like with the Niven one, how can you rate a book based off a SUMMARY? Okay, just don’t read it if you don’t like the summary. I don’t understand rating it one star because someone found the summary offensive. I’ve always said there shouldn’t be any ratings before books are released, unless the person read an ARC copy. This is something that drives me bananas because I feel like it screws with the whole integrity of the rating system. When I see a book rated low I feel like I really have to research if people aren’t liking it or if it’s not out yet and people are just being jerks. LOL. Great post! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I KNOW RIGHT! This is sooo infuriating I’m glad a lot of people agree with me 😛 people should review the book based on the book itself, not based on summary or internet spoilers. Me too! I used to realy on rating and review to decide my next read but now I have to be extra careful. Thank you ❤

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  19. I so 100% completely agree with this post! And I’m glad someone said it because it’s ridiculous to rate a book you haven’t read. Yeah, it’s allowed under the Goodreads policy to give ratings before books come out, but that doesn’t actually make it any less mean or misleading. I mean, like you said, even a 5 star rating is misleading if the person hasn’t read the book. But especially to hate-review a book that you haven’t read? Come on. Just… don’t read it. It’s really that simple. And I guess if you REALLY feel the need to talk about why you’re choosing not to read it, go ahead, but don’t give it a rating.

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    • Thank you! YESSS I was itching to say it myself 😛 it’s just ridiculous to completely hate a book you don’t even read, I mean, where did the hate come from? Yasss exactly!! I just simply don’t get it! Why do people have to be so mean? </3

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  21. I’m totally with you on this. To me the idea of writing a review for a book you haven’t read is just absurd – the entire point of a review is to read the book and then comment on it, otherwise it’s just a prediction or an assumption. It’s so unfair on authors and on other readers too! Great post! 🙂

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  23. I always read the reviews when I see low star ratings because so often the reviewer can’t provide textual details for why I shouldn’t read the book. It’s kind of like how you can read reviews for products that say “I would give this zero stars if I could because my shipment never arrived!” or “I got a paper cut trying to open the box.” That really has nothing to do with the product. It’s a supplier or postal service issue.

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