Edited to add: In case you miss it in the comments, I want you all to know how much I appreciate your wonderful comments on this post. Reading all of them made me get teary all over again. Thank you all, so much.
I received some reviews this past week for MATCHED. Some official reviews.
And they were lovely.
And two of them (Kirkus and Publisher’s Weekly) even had stars. Stars. Never in my life did I think I would see a starred review for something I’ve written.
Here is why.
I have only written one other national market title besides MATCHED, a book called FRESHMAN FOR PRESIDENT with my first publisher. I worked hard on FRESHMAN. I loved writing it. At the time, I felt it was the best thing I’d ever written. And when my publisher sent it off for review, I knew it wouldn’t rock the world, but I also thought it was a good little book. I thought it would be fine. When the first reviews came in, they were fine. Nothing starred, certainly, but all right. And then this one came in (I remove anything spoilery-y from the reviews because I am a complete spoiler-phobe):
FRESHMAN FOR PRESIDENT.
Condie, who has published two novels about Mormon teens under the name Allyson B. Condie, starts with an interesting premise. Milo aside, the characters don’t develop much beyond one dimension, however. The text is repetitious and larded with unnecessary scenes, and the pacing is truly glacial. Could be useful for integrating civics and language arts, but not much else.
So maybe you will understand why I was so surprised, and happy, and why I might have cried a little when I read this, from the same journal:
Condie peels back layer after dystopic layer at breakneck speed, Dylan Thomas reverberating throughout. If the Society’s at war, who’s the enemy? …A fierce, unforgettable page-turner in its own right.
Do I think the other review is fair? Yes, because the reviewer has to call it like they read it.
Am I equally proud of both books? Yes, because I did the best I could on both of them. My best was different.
Do I like the starred review better than the other one? Um, yes.
So keep writing. Even if someone says your pacing is larded and glacial. Don’t give up.
(I kind of can’t believe I just posted that other terrible review. Don’t hold it against me.)