YA Authors Read Snarky Reviews

June 18, 2014 2014, amie kaufman, cynthia hand, dan krokos, jay kristoff, kat zhang, Kate, leigh bardugo, sa bodeen, video feature 216

ya authors read snarky reviews

Ever read a review that made you cringe because you loved the book so much? Well, imagine how the author feels!

As bloggers, we can’t constantly be thinking about how an author will receive critical observation, or we’d be so crippled by the thought that we’d never say anything at all–which is entirely contrary to the spirit of citizen reviewing. BUT. There are times when things get so snarky that you do feel bad for the undoubtedly lovely person who put pen to paper, especially if you’ve gotten to know the author online.

While many writers choose not to read their negative reviews (or just aren’t admitting it), the savvy ones who do, learn to put this stuff into context and try not to take it too much to heart. But never let it be said that The Midnight Garden allows its guests to rest upon their laurels! We invited 9 of our favorite YA authors to read snippets from some of their ouchiest reviews so that for a few brief moments, we could experience what they go through on a regular basis.

We were partly inspired by Jimmy Kimmel’s Celebrities Read Mean Tweets feature, and a few months ago a group of children’s authors also did something similar. But as booknerds and YA fans, we think you’re going to get a special kick out of what our guests came up with.


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YA Authors Read Snarky Reviews

So here it is in all its glory. Turn up your speakers, and enjoy!

Please feel free to share and embed the video if you enjoyed it.

You may also check out the video on YouTube! We just opened a brand new channel, so please be gentle with us. And hey, if you’re active on YouTube, please consider subscribing, because who knows what other authors we might maneuver into uncomfortable situations in the future. Ahem.

divider vine croppedAcknowledgements

Huge thanks to the following intrepid authors who didn’t laugh derisively in our faces when Kate and I sent out email invites, and were willing to face the snark with the same playfulness and graciousness that we’ve come to admire over the years:

Leigh Bardugo
S.A. Bodeen
Julie Cross
Cynthia Hand
Amie Kaufman
Jay Kristoff
Dan Krokos
Mike Mullin
Kat Zhang

We love and respect every single one of these authors, both as writers and as all-around hilarious, down-to-earth people, and sincerely appreciate that they trusted us enough to participate in this project. This was all done in the spirit of fun, and we thank them for being such great sports. All the spouses and partners who helped out also deserve a round of applause, both from our guests and on our side.

Special thanks to my partner in crime and co-blogger Kate. When I said, “We should make this video!” she didn’t even blink at the idea, even though neither one of us had ever been involved in something quite like it. In between flying out of the country and shooting a TV guest spot, she learned new software and edited everything together, as well shooting the introduction to the piece. This project would have been a whole lot harder–and a lot less fun–without her.


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So…tell us what you think of our project! Weren’t our authors fantastic?! We’re already mulling over what our next video topic should be…

Wendy signature teal










216 Responses to “YA Authors Read Snarky Reviews”

  1. Mia

    Did the video get removed on youtube? I was dying to see Jay Kristoff’s reaction, lol

  2. Nikki Robinson

    This video was fantastic. I feel like readers sometimes forget actual people with actual feelings wrote these books. I like to read the reviews on goodreads that are only 1 or 2 stars after I read a book just to see what people did not like about it. Interestingly, I usually like what they didn’t. (Character development? Ha, who needs that!)

  3. Aaliyah

    HAHAHA! I love the mean tweets video so this was hilarious! Leigh Bardugo is awesome lol that checklist though ;D

  4. bethany

    I think I tweeted at Wendy about this, but I’ve loved the Mean Tweets series, and looove how you did this with authors! Sometimes I read reviews on Goodreads and can’t believe what people are willing to write/say but could never imagine an/the author reading (which I bet they do).

  5. Irene

    This is one of the best things I’ve ever seen! It got me interested in those authors that I don’t know already. Had me laughing as well. Especially the words one! :D
    Irene recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday

  6. J. Oh

    Normally, I don’t watch videos friends send me unless they’re shorter than one minute long (I know, I know). My attention span for videos is just so much shorter than my attention span for books.

    But I was really intrigued here, because whenever I read a particularly snarky review, even of a book I didn’t like, I’m always feeling, “Ouch!!!” for the author, because, for the most part, a book that got published probably went through a long process from inception to publication. And this was so funny! I loved the intro and Wendy’s picture, as well as the good-humored authors who participated. :)

  7. Lyn Kaye

    I know, I FINALLY came over here. I knew I was going to have to clear some time off the calendar to enjoy this. TONS of respect to authors who took this all in good humor. KUDOS for making something kinda icky into something kinda funny. Jay was hilarious, and Cynthia was a doll. Also, Leigh cracked me up, and Mike is adorable.
    Lyn Kaye recently posted…Stacking the Shelves #91

  8. Melissa of craftgasm

    Ha! Amazing. (Though the “vampires, werewolves, Seattle” checklist was my favorite.) :)

  9. starryeyedjen

    I saw this the other day but didn’t have a chance to watch until today. But this is the best idea ever! I especially love their reactions, namely Leigh Bardugo’s and Jay Kristoff’s. I haven’t read Kristoff’s books yet, but I want to even more now. I hate the adjective “moist”. Blech. Please do more of these!!! :D
    starryeyedjen recently posted…{Audiobook} Review: The Thousand Dollar Tan Line by Rob Thomas

  10. Paige G

    This is hilarious! I know it’s hard to get negative reviews, especially ones that aren’t constructive, but at least make it funny! Go YA authors with senses of humor.

  11. Emily Anne

    Wow, what a creative (and extremely funny) video :) I’m so happy you had the idea and went through all the work to make it happen! Also, kudos to the authors who participated and made me laugh! I’m still cracking up at the Twilight checklist… :D
    Emily Anne recently posted…Stacking the Shelves #26

  12. Kristin @ My ParaHangover

    Fan-freaking-tabulous! There’s an adjective Kristoff can love! Thanks for asking those awesome authors for doing this and for all the work you put into this! The authors were so brave to put themselves out there like that. Do more! Do more!

    Just my two cents: if someone is going to write a scathing review of a book, they better tell me why it was so bad, not just that “it sucked” and attach ten .gifs. Free speech, y’all, but make it good. Not that I’m particularly good… :D

    • Wendy Darling

      Hah hah, I bet Jay would agree.

      I totally agree with you about backing up why they dislike a book, too. People can do whatever they want, but I personally need reasoning, not just ranting. Although to be fair, in the case of these reviews quoted for the video, the quotes are taken out of context, and it could very well be that there were great reasons provided…just not reasons I agreed with. ;)

      And thank you! We’re pleased that people are enjoying the video so much, and we’re definitely hoping to do more of these in the future. Thanks so much for linking to us in your weekly round-up as well.

  13. Boyanna

    This was lovely. I kinda love every single one of this authors now even tho i didn’t love all of their books! :)

    On the side not: I love critical review. They prepare me for the worst parts of the book and i find my self i mind then (the glitches) a lot less. and therefore enjoy the book more.
    Boyanna @The Bookmaidens
    Boyanna recently posted…[random] YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE

    • Wendy Darling

      Goodness, there would be absolutely no point to reading any reviews if they were all positive. Can you imagine? One gushfest after another? They would cease to have any value whatsoever! I don’t trust reviewers who don’t occasionally write negative reviews, tbh.

      That’s interesting re: preparing yourself for the worst parts of the book, too. Sometimes I’ll read something extremely negative about a book (I try really hard not to read ANYTHING about books anymore before I read them myself, although it’s hard) and I’ll end up loving it anyway, or even loving that specific thing that the reviewer was criticizing! So interesting how people can respond so differently to the same book.

      • Boyanna

        Yes, that happens often too – loving the part that others did not liked (hated).
        Very hard to avoid not reading anything about the book before reading it yourself, especially if the book is hyped and popular, you have to avoid every social network there is just to stay spoiler free. I’ve given up on that idea.
        I don’t trust too positive reviews either, tho I’m very impressed with the ability to see at least one good think in a book you didn’t like. When book frustrates me i only see its shortcomings…

        (very inconvenient that wordpress has no edit button on the comment after posting, the spelling mistakes I’ve made astonish me and like a cruel punishment they are there for the world to see – forever! so frustrating…) :)
        Boyanna recently posted…[random] YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE

    • Wendy Darling

      I actually don’t agree with this at all.

      Everyone has their own opinions and is free to express it but if its done tastefully and positively.

      While we wanted to do this humorous feature to gently poke fun at this whole business of blogging, this is not the message I hope anyone takes away from this at all. The whole point of non-professional reviewing is to share your opinions with your friends and fellow readers, and as long as it doesn’t cross the line into serious threats or personal attacks, I think it’s pretty presumptuous to say people “should” do it any particular way. If you read blogs to decide whether there are books you want to buy/support, you need critical reviews or else you’ll be wasting a lot of your time and money. I personally tend to find reviews that aren’t too scathing the most useful, but there is an audience for every single kind of reviewing, from the harshest, most gif-filled rant to the most dry intellectual analysis. Choosing to listen/not listen to a review because of its style is one thing, but I think we have to be careful about policing other reviewers’ work.

      That said, I’m glad you enjoyed the video. We all do respond to books differently, and it’s just another reminder that reading and writing are both subjective and personal experiences.

        • Wendy Darling

          I’m glad we can agree on this!

          And um, sorry for the long-winded response to your first comment. I believe strongly in the rights of reviewers (as do the authors who participated in this video), so it’s a sensitive area for me. Thanks for stopping by, we appreciate the discussion.

  14. Jolie du Pre

    This video was shared at Writers’ Cafe at Kboards, and we authors all loved it. My book is selling, and as a natural result, it’s being read. When your book is read by many people, you’ll receive various reviews – some good and some bad. I’m learning how to handle the bad reviews, and I actually thinks it’s disrespectful to my readers to give the bad reviews more of my attention than the good reviews. People who like what I write will buy my next book, “like” my Facebook page, follow me on Twitter, join my mailing list, etc. A person who leaves me a bad review won’t do that. So why am I allowing the people who leave me bad reviews to occupy my thoughts? They don’t deserve more consideration than my good reviews. However, after reading a wonderful article by author Liz Long, I’ve decided I’m going to work toward the goal of NOT reading my reviews at all, good or bad. As Liz says, “Reviews are for readers. They exist for readers to connect and engage, to discuss what worked and what didn’t, and why other readers might enjoy a title or want to make a different choice. Reviews are not for writers.” – http://lizclong.com/2013/11/14/why-authors-shouldnt-read-reviews-of-their-books/
    Jolie du Pre recently posted…Benton: A Zombie Novel, Volume One is Here!

    • Kate Bond

      I think it’s important to know yourself and what you can handle. My husband is a professional writer, and he actively seeks out reviews that are both positive and negative to get a feel for how the audience is responding, but I have plenty of friends who go out of their way to avoid any sort of feedback at all.

      Regardless, I agree that it’s important to remember that reviews are for the readers, and that websites like Goodreads are a bit like a sewing circle or a group getting drinks at a pub–it’s just a bunch of people with a common interest congregating to have fun discussing it. Authors should insert themselves into that as little as possible.

  15. Rachel

    When I read the title of this I thought, oh, it’s like actors reading the snarky tweets, and then I read that’s what partially inspired this post. Bravo to the authors who participated in this video, and their ability to laugh at some of the bashing! I think it would be hard as an author to detach from the feelings of hurt that would come from such harsh criticism, but I have to say that a negative review doesn’t always mean a negative response. I’ve picked up books after reading a negative review because the issues the reviewer had with the book was something that wouldn’t bother me or would actually work for me. “Character development and words” work for me in a story so that negative review would make me want to read the book! Lol! Great post! :)
    Rachel recently posted…Review: Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

    • Kate Bond

      Wendy and I talk about this a lot–I’ve read many books because of a negative review. Particularly books where the reviewer thought the female main character was unlikeable or the sex too graphic. Negative reviews are just as helpful as positive ones.

  16. Amir

    This is just brilliant! I’m so glad I didn’t watch this in the bus because I would’ve been like a crazy person laughing minutes after watching the video. I often wonder about author reactions and as a big fan of JK’s Mean Tweets, this was the perfect way to talk about the elephant in the room sometimes…when authors read your negative reviews. I love this! Please do make some more and kudos to the amazing authors for being great sport. I think I’m going to check books I haven’t read in that video now..
    Amir recently posted…Gushing and Ravings: The Lizzie Bennet Diaries

    • Kate Bond

      The authors are so, so brave–and such good sports! I was really pleased with what they did. They made my job as an editor much easier than it could have been.

  17. Marianne @ Boricuan Bookworms

    I commented on the video, but I want to leave a comment here. Guys this was brilliant. My favorite reactions were: Amie’s, Dan’s, Jay’s & Leigh’s. Those made me laugh so much! I’ve read some of these books, but now I want to read all the books by all the authors. Hahaha great post gals, I really want to read more! :D
    Marianne @ Boricuan Bookworms recently posted…2nd Review: Camp Boyfriend by J.K. Rock

    • Kate Bond

      My husband wants to hang out with Jay now, which I think is exactly how we all feel after seeing how chill he is. Wendy actually recorded Leigh’s video while they were at lunch together! I can’t believe she was brave enough to do that in public! I’d be too shy!

      I love all the clips, though. They all did such a good job!

    • Kate Bond

      Man, I REALLY admire these authors for having a sense of humor about themselves. It makes me so happy.

    • Kate Bond

      Didn’t the authors do SUCH a good job? It’s completely because of them that this was so funny. They killed it.

    • Kate Bond

      THANK YOU! I was so excited when Wendy suggested that we do it. I want to make more, with ALL my favorite authors!

  18. Shanty

    Nooooo Amie don’t throw TBS in the trash give it to me!! xD

    Hahahaha this was so funny, that checklist was hilarious!! I’ll be looking forward to the next video ;)

  19. Ella

    Oh my, this is so hilarious and the authors are so nice! I kind of feel bad whenever I review a bad book but never will I trash the book nor the author because I think that’s just plain rude. Maybe badmouth the character or the pacing or what happened but not the person who wrote the book. I feel bad for authors receiving ridicule from bloggers but please do more of this! I love Amie Kaufman’s reaction! :P
    Ella recently posted…Review: More Than Music by Elizabeth Briggs

    • Kate Bond

      I’ll be honest: I’ve bad mouthed authors. I’ve done it not a little bit. I get really upset about misogyny and racism and things like rape used for titillation, and when and author condones them in a book, I call them out on it.

      I spent a few years working on political campaigns, so I’m especially politically-minded, and I can’t in good conscience let things like that go.

      That said, I have never said I wanted to hit an author with my car–not even Jay, who surely has it coming.

      • Ella

        Well, if you put it that way I guess authors really deserve to be called on that. They are writers and they should be the first one to have sensitivity regarding a topic, especially those you have mentioned.

        Those were thought provoking thoughts Kate, thanks :)
        Ella recently posted…Review: Perfect Kind Of Trouble by Chelsea Fine

  20. Faye D'Social Potato (@kawaiileena)

    This really was marvellous! I was laughing my rear end off! It’s nice to see authors just laughing off negative reviews like this :) It makes them even more awesome because they don’t take it too seriously. This is what I also do when I’m faced with hardships. I wallow for a bit, and then laugh them off, because life is so much more than that. I’m glad to see these authors emulating that ^_^ Great job, you guys!
    Faye D’Social Potato (@kawaiileena) recently posted…ARC Review: Come Back to Me by Mila Gray

    • Wendy Darling

      You gotta wallow…but wallow in PRIVATE. In APPROPRIATE WAYS. And yes, if you’re able to laugh it off, you are an exemplary human being. Love these authors for being so gutsy.

  21. Cait @ Notebook Sisters

    This was absolutely brilliant!! It’s seriously awesome to see the faces behind these awesome books. But *sigh* It’s honestly made me not really ever want to negatively review a book again. :| *hides reviews in a corner*
    Cait @ Notebook Sisters recently posted…How I Write 2nd Drafts

  22. Linnea Pietsch

    This is the best video I’ve seen in a while. I loved the Leigh Bardugo one the most!

  23. Alyn

    I love this video. For a while there I thought that one of the reviews read off was mine, but then I realized I never read the book.

    • Wendy Darling

      Thanks Alyn! Hey, do you mind if I ask you…would you have been offended if it had been one of your reviews that the authors read from? We tried to be pretty respectful of both reviewers’ rights and author feelings in this post and project, so I’m kind of curious. I was actually waiting to see if one of the authors used my review of her book, hah. But there probably weren’t quotes that were interesting/funny enough to pull out of context.

      • Alyn

        I wouldn’t have been offended at all unless they personally attacked me.

        • Kate Bond

          I’m never gonna stop being curious about which one you thought was you. Are you the person who wants to hit Jay with your car?

          • Alyn

            Goodness no! I have never thought about running anyone over with my car because I only have one car. I can’t afford to damage it by running someone over.

    • Wendy Darling

      I was kind of hoping one of our authors would pretend to totally lose it and cry really hard, but that didn’t happen, hah. But it would have been funny.

  24. A Canadian Girl

    I come back from my mini blogging break to see this?! Is this the secret project you guys were working on? Regardless, I love the idea! And it was awesome of the participating authors to read some of their negative reviews. Leigh’s reaction was especially funny.
    A Canadian Girl recently posted…Review: Free to Fall by Lauren Miller

    • Wendy Darling

      Yesss, the secret is out! And our authors did an amazing job. It took a lot of guts and spirit and humor to do this with us.

  25. Lauren @ Love is not a triangle

    I love you guys so much for doing this! I’m a huge fan of Kimmel’s celebrity mean tweets segment, and you two are the cleverest for adapting it to YA authors. This was hilarious, but also uncomfortable and humanizing. I think we forget sometimes that authors are people too – I’ve definitely written a snarky review in my life. But it’s also fun to see them being a little silly about it all. I cannot wait for more of these too come. Keep being awesome and revolutionary, ladies!
    Lauren @ Love is not a triangle recently posted…Ten Books I Plan to Read this Summer

    • Wendy Darling

      Oh yeah, we’re so clever for using Jimmy’s idea, hah. I’m glad you enjoyed it! I’ve totally written snarky reviews–I mean, we all like talking about books to our friends, and if you have any sort of sense of humor, it’s natural that that rears its head every once in awhile. Lauren, I am SO sarcastic in real life, it’s hard for me to reign in in online, hah. But yeah, the occasional gentle reminder that there are people on the other end who sometimes come across these things is kind of nice.

  26. Anya

    Woohoo! So I’m normally not a fan of vlogs and skip over them, but I watched this one all the way through and quite enjoyed it. I want to give all the authors a hug though, they looked so sad! It’s always interesting to hear negative opinions about books I adored, I sometimes feel like we couldn’t have read the same book, haha.
    Anya recently posted…Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo {5 Stars}

    • Wendy Darling

      I’ll tell you a secret. *whispers* I don’t always get the vlogging thing, either! We thought it’d be fun to try our hand at this, though, and I’m glad our experiment turned out well. :)

      And I know, I often feel extremely indignant on behalf of books I love, so I can’t even imagine how their creators feel. But I’ve disliked plenty of books in my time, too.

    • Wendy Darling

      Yay! I’m so happy you liked it, Christine. It was tons of fun to plan and execute. A lot of work, but also very rewarding.

    • Kate Bond

      Thank you, Keertana! My little sister cuts my hair, and she did such a good job this last time.

      The authors all killed it, but Leigh’s checklist really was especially awesome.

  27. Meredith

    This was perfect! I loved their humor and sarcasm. I know that it has to hurt for people to be mean towards basically their baby, but the authors should be the bigger person who walks away with their head held high. These authors were fine examples of that.
    Meredith recently posted…Dear John Review

    • Wendy Darling

      Yep. There will be people who are just plain mean for the sake of being mean, and people who are just plain WRONG about what they assume or think. But authors are the professionals, and I, for one, expect them to behave that way. I’m glad to know authors like these who interact with their readers in such positive and supportive ways.

  28. Charlene @ Bookish Whimsy

    This was a fantastic idea!! And so nice to see the authors reading these reviews with such class (I think it’s a little generous to call some of those reviews ‘snarky’! It just seemed more mean). The Twilight checklist was the best! ;) I hope you do another video of authors reading reviews sometime – but I am looking forward to seeing what other topics you come up with!
    Charlene @ Bookish Whimsy recently posted…Ruin and Rising Launch Party

    • Wendy Darling

      I voted for “snarky” because it seemed more humorous than “negative!” And reviewers don’t always set out to be mean, I don’t think–sometimes, maybe, but not always. People feel very passionately about books, and sometimes that can swing towards the extremely negative, too.

      But yes, we’ve talked about a few ideas for future projects. I’m partial to the “Authors Laugh Over Your Tears” one, but I’m not sure exactly how that would work, hah.

  29. Holly U

    Oh wow! I can get pretty snarky in my reviews, but I try not to personally attack the author or say mean things like, “this is trash.” (I did LOVE These Broken Stars, so I was sad when I heard that). But the video was pretty hilarious, and I loved Leigh Bardugo’s reaction with the Twilight checklist!

    Thank you for doing this video! I think it’ll be very helpful for authors, as well as maybe make reviewers a little more conscious about how they say things.
    Holly U recently posted…Michigan Author Event Recap + Giveaway

    • Wendy Darling

      Let’s face is: snark can be super fun. And it’s fun to snark with people you know, so I’ve done it and I know a lot of other people do, too! But yeah, sometimes there are lines that are blurry or crossed, and you just hope that authors are able to take it with as much as grace as these did. Or at least that they have friends and family and ice cream to help with it.

      And thanks! We certainly don’t want to imply reviewers should always be considering authors’ feelings, nor that authors should always accept everything reviewers say, but the gentle reminder that there are humans on both sides of the equation, with opinions and feelings, isn’t a bad idea.

  30. Jess @ Such A Novel Idea

    AHHHH THIS WAS THE BEST! I think the best part was getting to hear some of my favorite authors talk (coughamiekaufmancough). Bravo to all the authors who participated, esp. since I agreed with NONE of the snarky reviews (b/c all those books were great!)

    And Leigh Bardugo – you just rock. <3
    Jess @ Such A Novel Idea recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday (54)

    • Wendy Darling

      You know, I enjoyed that part, too! I’ve emailed/tweeted with all these authors before, and met some, but it was the first time seeing some in motion and speaking as well. They all deserve a huge round of applause. :)

  31. Larissa

    Oh my god. Was this the project you all kept under wraps for awhile now?? Either way it’s hilarious and I love it. Sometimes I do write snarky reviews ( I swear mine aren’t too mean lol) when I dislike a book. However when you simply just type out a review you don’t see the reaction of the author. This video has enlightened me in seeing their reactions haha c: It’s also funny to me because I’ve noticed a trend where people are hyper critical of books, like to the point where they find bad in everything and are quite frankly stepping over the imaginary line of just bashing the book. I hope these people stop and go “Hey maybe I should chill.”

    I hope this will be like a series thing c: Haven’t laughed so hard over a video in awhile. The authors’ reactions were truly priceless.

    • Wendy Darling

      Hah hah, yeah, this is the one Kate and I have been working on for ages. It’s been such a crazily busy summer for us blog-wise and personally, but somehow it all came together.

      I have written my fair share of snarky reviews, too. Snark is FUN! And there’s nothing better than talking about books with your friends, and poking fun at stuff is part of that. I’ve never said anything in a review that I would be ashamed of if I ever met the author, though. Embarrassed by, sure, because who wouldn’t be if you said something even as mild as “these characters were underdeveloped?” It’s like someone hearing that you didn’t like their hairstyle, or thought their kid ate messily or something.

      Critical reviews are important, and I don’t think reviewers can or should be thinking about authors too much as they write them. I do think that for my personal taste, some reviews are so overly ranty and FULL OF RAGE AND FEELING that I have a hard time understanding how they can be useful if you’re trying to decide whether you yourself want to read a book. But people respond to different things, and there’s totally an audience for all those gify rants, and as long as they don’t cross the line towards personal attacks or threats, I think reviewers are well within their rights to do whatever they please.

      But yeah. Poor authors. Sometimes you can’t help but think about them, especially if you like them.

  32. Zoe @ The Infinite To-Read Shelf

    Oh. My. Gosh. This is absolutely perfect! I absolutely love it! I too laughed at Kat’s reaction at “too much character development” (still kind of mulling that over as I’m not quite sure how a book can have “too much” character development), at Leigh’s Twilight” checklist, and at Jay Kristoff’s hilarity.

    It’s so great to see authors who are able to take criticism respectfully instead of creating a bunch of drama out of it. Each of these authors are incredibly talented and successful at what they do, and with such great attitudes, it’s not hard to see why.

    I’ve read books from most of these authors, but will definitely be picking up copies from those I haven’t read because of this.

    Thanks for sharing Kate and Wendy, and BRILLIANT video! Hope to see more of this in the future! :D
    Zoe @ The Infinite To-Read Shelf recently posted…Dangerous Girls

    • Wendy Darling

      It’s so crazy, most reviews are all “NOT ENOUGH CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT, AUTHOR,” so it’s pretty funny to see the one complaining about Kat doing exactly that in her book! It just goes to show how we all respond differently to books, though–there’s just no explaining it sometimes.

      It’s so great to see authors who are able to take criticism respectfully instead of creating a bunch of drama out of it. Each of these authors are incredibly talented and successful at what they do, and with such great attitudes, it’s not hard to see why.

      I agree with this completely. It can’t be easy to listen to people savaging something you created (not that these particular reviews would necessarily be considered savage, I just mean in general), but learning how to deal with everyday people appropriately is part of public life. We admire these authors so much for their grace and humor, and like you said, it’s not hard to see why so many readers love them and love their books.

      Thanks so much for the thoughtful and lovely feedback! We’ve got other tricks up our sleeves, I’m sure. ;)

  33. Jasprit

    I love this post so much ladies, some of the reactions from the authors were absolutely hilarious! Some of the stuff that people write in their reviews I can’t believe! But these authors are so great just taking it on the chin and not making a big deal! Thank you so much for coming up with this great idea!
    Jasprit recently posted…Review: Flat-Out Celeste by Jessica Park

    • Wendy Darling

      Hah, well–these quotes are taken out of context, so some of the reviews probably have lots of reasoning to back up their points in their POV. BUT the exaggerations and ranting are head-scratchers sometimes. Poor Jay.

      I admire our authors so much for doing this, too. Such class acts.

    • Wendy Darling

      Oh yay, I hope you will check out the other authors’ books sometime! With some of them, the humor they showed here is definitely in their books as well. They’re just great people as well, we’re really glad to have gotten to know them in some capacity.

  34. Nereyda @Mostly YA Book Obsessed

    OMG….I don’t even know where to start.
    This was hilarious! Bravo to the authors for doing this. There just had to be a Twilight comparison in there. I agree with Jay Kristoff, moist and throbbing have to be some of the worst words to EVER exist! And Mike Mullin has an awesome voice, he would be great for audiobooks…
    Hope to see more of these ladies!
    Nereyda @Mostly YA Book Obsessed recently posted…Waiting On Wednesday (113)!

    • Wendy Darling

      I would love to hear Mike Mullin narrating an audiobook–he really does have a great voice for it!

      It sounds like Jay has been reading too many romance novels, honestly.

  35. kindlemom1

    Oh my heck I absolutely LOVED this! Krokos reaction was so classic. In fact, I loved them all but some of them seriously had me laughing.

    I love that you did this!
    kindlemom1 recently posted…My WoW Pick of the Week

    • Wendy Darling

      Dan’s reaction was SO deadpan, and both Kate’s husband and mine literally laughed out loud when they watched his segment.

  36. Kelly

    This is brilliant! I cringed when I see the title thinking, oh crap, this is like one of those National Geographic documentaries, When Authors Turn Wild. My gawd this was hilarious! I second that, I really hope this becomes a regular feature, it’s absolutely hysterical.

    Mr Kristoff doesn’t seem to like sexy words. LOL.
    Kelly recently posted…I’m Disturbed: Breaking Butterflies by M. Anjelais

    • Wendy Darling

      Hah hah, noooo! Although maybe WHEN AUTHORS ATTACK is a good idea for a future video. ;) We’re definitely hoping to do a part two sometime down the road, although we have other ideas we’ll probably experiment with first. We have to keep you guys on your toes, you know.

  37. Carina Olsen

    Oh! I love this :D And I adore all the authors in this video. <3 Ack. Thank you all for making it and coming up with the idea :D I love it. Thank you for sharing. <3 (Sigh, Leigh is so adorable, isn't she? So jealous that you got to meet her, Wendy. <3)
    Carina Olsen recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday #140

    • Wendy Darling

      I adore them all, too–I did before the video, and that’s doubled after seeing them be so self-deprecating and cool about all this.

      I hope you get to meet Leigh one day–she’s so down to earth and funny and smart, you’d just love her.

    • Wendy Darling

      Hee, thank you! Those two are always hilarious, so we knew they’d be awesome for this video–and they did not disappoint.

  38. Celina

    This was so perfect!! I loved Leigh’s so much!! Hahahaha

    • Wendy Darling

      I love it when Leigh says, “I am terrible at this” at the end, hah. She really does suck at modeling her book after TWILIGHT.

  39. Christina (A Reader of Fictions)

    Guys, this is fabulous. The authors did an amazing job with their reactions too. Love Kat’s face in response to “too much…talking…and character development.” Also, Leigh’s failing at her Twilight checklist. Worst retelling of Twilight ever.

    • Wendy Darling

      Oh man, I was holding the camera for Leigh’s videos (I couldn’t get my dumb tripod to work), and I had such a hard time not laughing when she was doing all her takes. The expression when she’s plotting with the checklist is priceless! And Kat’s face is so, so great. I love them all for doing this with us.

      Thanks so much, Christina–appreciate hearing the feedback!

    • Wendy Darling

      Kat is such a funny, sweet person online–seeing her wry, “Really?” look makes me laugh every time. And LEIGH. Leigh is the best.

  40. Stephanie @ Inspiring Insomnia

    This is awesome, and I hope you guys will do more of these. Maybe some authors who were initially reluctant to participate will do so once they see how this turned out. I can’t stand it when an author bitches and moans about a bad review, so to see these authors laughing at it and having a good time makes me like them even more. I haven’t read all of these authors, but this short video makes me want to check them out. Bravo to all of them for having a sense of humor and for not behaving as though a bad review is a life-shattering event.
    Stephanie @ Inspiring Insomnia recently posted…Review: The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey

    • Wendy Darling

      Maybe some authors who were initially reluctant to participate will do so once they see how this turned out.

      I hope we’ll have more authors in the future as well, though we’re so happy that so many authors came on board for the first one. I think most people got what we were trying to do with this.

      I can’t stand it when an author bitches and moans about a bad review, so to see these authors laughing at it and having a good time makes me like them even more. I haven’t read all of these authors, but this short video makes me want to check them out.

      I can’t stand it either–venting to friends OFFLINE is the place if you hope to have a career in the public eye. Or if you don’t give a crap what anybody thinks of you. Very few authors are bullet-proof enough that they can do and say whatever they want with impunity.

      And yeah, one person’s opinion is just…that. Ever single book has negative reviews. There is no perfect book, and no book with a perfect review average.

  41. Hilary

    I laughed so much during this video. This is such a creative idea and I hope you do more of these soon!

    • Wendy Darling

      Yay! I’m so glad. We thought it was hilarious, but you still never know how people will respond to things until it’s out in the world, you know? Thanks for letting us know you enjoyed it.

  42. Sarahbotbonkers

    I love this so much. I laughed so hard about Jay Kristoff loving every adjective he ever met. I happen to adore Stormdancer. And I can’t believe someone would hate Unearthly or Shadow and Bone. But bravo to these authors for being so chill and awesome sports. I hope you make more, Wendy!

    • Wendy Darling

      I love those three books, too! But I guess we always have that indignant feeling when someone doesn’t like a book that we like. :) I’m so, so awed by these authors and what they go through–it can’t be easy to read negative reviews with such grace.

    • Wendy Darling

      You know, I only recently read ASHFALL but really, really enjoyed it, and am so looking forward to the sequels!

      Mike is so fantastic. There have been a lot of dust-ups between reviewers and authors, or with influential people in the industry diminishing the role that bloggers play, but he’s spoken out numerous times about how much he respects readers’ rights. I admire him so much for that. It’s so easy to say nothing, but he’s gone out of his way to express his support many, many times.

    • Kate Bond

      It came together a lot better than I’d expected. I’m glad Wendy had the idea, and that the authors were brave enough to play along.

  43. Lizf

    Great work you gals! And BRAVO to the authors for being good sports, I was cracking up!

    Ps. Wendy, you sneaky gal you! You’re looking a little 2 dimensional in that video! ;) <3

    • Wendy Darling

      Oh, you know–Wendy is like that animal in the zoo that never comes out when the visitors are pressing their faces against the glass, and who gleefully darts around after hours. This is why Kate and I make such a good team!

    • Kate Bond

      We want to make more! We’ll have to find more authors who are willing to play along with us! These guys were all such good sports!

  44. Sherry Soule

    Wow. I have had some rather harsh reviews of my books, too. It can crush a writers ego flat. But I realize that fiction is too subjective a subject matter for writers to hope that we can please everyone who reads our work. Besides, we all have different tastes in literature. I like the saying: “One reader’s trash is another reader’s treasure.” The thing is to focus on the booklovers who enjoy your writing style…because they are the ones we are writing for. ;-D

    • Kate Bond

      Yes! This is it exactly! I HATE the Game of Thrones series–I’ve read every book–but they are ENORMOUSLY popular books, so my opinion can’t matter to the author.

    • Kate Bond

      Thank you! I hope more authors are interested in participating–we’d love to do a whole series of these, but it just depends on whether or not people are interested.

    • Kate Bond

      Hahaha. I actually own Stormdancer and Kinslayer, but I’m waiting to read them until the series is complete. I’m not good at waiting patiently on the last book in a series.

    • Kate Bond

      I mean, I think it’s fine to write snarky reviews–they’re such a lot of fun to read, and writers shouldn’t take themselves too seriously–but we reviewers need to be able to make fun of ourselves when we use SUCH intense language about something we didn’t enjoy reading.

  45. Fry

    Oh, Jay Kristoff is precious. I also hate the word moist.

    And Leigh Bardugo’s checklist? Priceless.

    • Kate Bond

      I know. My husband LOVED Jay. He just seems so cool.

      Moist is a terrible word. Does ANYONE like it, you think?

    • Wendy Darling

      I feel as though it’s possible the person with the car might even be won over by Jay if he/she saw this video. Maybe. I’d find it impossible to resist.

    • Kate Bond

      It was so, so brave of these guys to do this with us, and they were all so funny! I hope they didn’t let the negative reviews make them feel bad–we invited them to join the project because we’re fans of their work!

  46. Nikki

    Best post ever! I’m quite seriously considering reading some of their work that I wasn’t initially inclined to JUST because of how fabulous they are to do this!

    • Kate Bond

      I KNOW. There are a few of them whose books I’ve bought but not read yet (I’m waiting for Jay’s series to be completely written before I read the first two books, for example), and this made me want to just read all of them now now now.

    • Kate Bond

      I loved Leigh’s, too. I’m glad she was able to squeeze doing this into her busy schedule–things are crazy for her with Ruin & Rising’s release.

    • Kate Bond

      Thank you! Mean Tweets is one of my favorite things on tv right now. What we asked these authors to do was way harder than what the celebrities do on Kimmel, I think, because these are direct criticisms of their work, where the Mean Tweets tend to be absolutely ridiculous and silly.

    • Kate Bond

      Weren’t they great? I love that it looked like Jay didn’t read his until he was actually on camera.

  47. Thomas

    Oh, this post made my day. I agree with all of what you write regarding authors and reviews, but I love how this video took a step back from the author/reviewer conflicts and approached it from a humorous standpoint. I haven’t read any of these authors besides Cynthia Hand, though I really want to now. The monotone reactions made me crack up the most. Wonderful idea for a post and I hope the Youtube channel gains much success!
    Thomas recently posted…An Unquiet Mind by Kay Redfield Jamison

    • Kate Bond

      Thank you, Thomas! The authors did such a good job of setting a light tone in their individual videos; the success of this is really on their shoulders.

      Also: wasn’t Cynthia lovely in this? She’s so chill. Like, I want to hang out with her.

    • Wendy Darling

      Yeah–after so much negativity in the blogosphere, I really wanted to do something that interjected some levity into this business that we sometimes take too seriously. And the authors we invited all support reviewer rights, and some we invited specifically because of history with this sort of thing, and I think it sends a nice message that they were able to partner with us on this.

      And thanks! We were a bit nervous about this new video venture, but we’re pretty excited that people seem to be enjoying our first one so much.

  48. Andrea @ Bookish

    I have to agree with whoever reviewed The Hybrid Chronicles. I hate when there’s character development. Boo developing characters! Boo progression! Boo!!!

    Okay, now let’s stop with the jokes and be serious. This was fun! I love those videos on Jimmy Kimmel and when you are able to laugh about the haters, I think that says a lot about yourself as a person. Also, I agree with none of those reviews, so that’s a plus for those lovely authors! :)
    Andrea @ Bookish recently posted…MELT by Selene Castrovilla [ Early Review Blog Tour-Jen Halligan PR ]

    • Kate Bond

      I love all these authors, but even if I agreed with all the negative reviews, it would still be fun to laugh about the language we use when we don’t like something–especially now that we’re all interacting with people we’re not accountable to in person. I find myself going from zero to “This is fucking garbage” in like 0.3 seconds.

  49. Jessica @ Rabid Reads

    So I just lost the last 30 min. of my life watching ALL 6 mean tweet videos, AND the other one, AND this one too, LOL. I’m curious–was it the same review that claimed the worst thing to ever happen in their WHOLE LIFE happened, AND nothing at all happened (Cynthia Hand), or was it two separate reviews? And I admit . . . I’m a rather superlative person, myself, but even I find both of those claims to be rather ridiculous. ALSO–Leigh Bardugo is hilarious. I like her. I also have to admit to being relieved. When I first saw “snarky reviews,” I was like “uh-oh,” but what you are kindly referring to as “snarky” here, is what I call juvenile, poorly thought-out, and/or filled with wild exclamations but not much substance.

    Great post, and well done to Kate for learning how to do all of that.
    Jessica @ Rabid Reads recently posted…Review: Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris

    • Kate Bond

      Oh man, those mean tweet videos. Hahaha. They’re so, so good.

      I don’t know whether Cynthia’s clips came from one review, or if they were separate. Huh.

      I have to say, one of the things that surprised me the most (although it shouldn’t have) was how much I genuinely liked the authors after seeing their videos. They’re so lovely and charming and brave!

    • Wendy Darling

      Oh Jessica, I’ve watched all those videos SEVERAL times. Not all at once, but off and on, so don’t think you’re alone. (I sent the authors links to a few so they’d know what I was talking about, too.)

      It is pretty hilarious how much people exaggerate in reviews, sometimes. I think it’s people who jot down reviews like they’re conversing with friends, though, and it’s natural to speak more casually in that case.

      And I thought we should use the word “snarky” to soften the impact of the “negative” thing, if you see what I mean, since this is a humorous take on the whole business of reviewing. Also, “snarky” is just a funny word.

      • Jessica @ Rabid Reads

        Snarky IS a funny word. My favorite MCs are often snarky. And yeah, I know you’re right about exaggerations in reviews, and people reviewing like they’re sharing bookish thoughts between friends, but I get . . . bothered (<—–nicest word I can come up with) when those casual conversations include things like not hitting the brakes for an author were he in the middle of a road. SO. Sorry for my mini-rant. People who live in glass house, right? ;)
        Jessica @ Rabid Reads recently posted…Review: Chasers of the Wind by Alexey Pehov

  50. Valerie


    Please tell me we get to see more of this in the future? Though I do feel bad for the authors though. But personally I LOVE reading snarky reviews just because of how hilarious and entertaining they are.
    Valerie recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday #15

    • Kate Bond

      Thank you! I hope hope hope we can do more–it’ll depend on a few things, but the biggest one is whether any more authors are interested in participating! Fingers crossed, though–I’d love to make some more of these. Snarky reviews are the best.

    • Wendy Darling

      We’ve already had some authors tell us they’re totally on board for a sequel, so…let’s see what happens! We have some ideas for other fun video projects, too. They can’t ALL be this epic, because Kate and I could never do anything else, but we’re pretty stoked that people enjoyed our first video so much!

  51. Megan (Adrift on Vulcan)

    Oh, you guys, this is AWESOME. I’ve watched Jimmy Fallon’s Celebrities Read Mean Tweets a couple of times and absolutely loved them, but I love this one more! It’s so incredible you managed to get hold of so many amazing authors and their reactions to some of the negative reviews were PRICELESS. I love Leigh Bardugo’s Twilight list the most. Oh my God, people can be so stupid sometimes. I want to say all the time, but I have to tell myself not to be a pessimist, so.

    And Kate, loved the video editing — the scenes all worked wonderfully together.

    DO MORE OF THIS, YOU GUYS. Though… no pressure. ;) I’m sure you’ll come up with an equally as funny and awesome idea for the next video!
    Megan (Adrift on Vulcan) recently posted…What I Learned About Guys From YA Lit

    • Kate Bond

      THANK YOU! I had A LOT of help from my husband, editing-wise. I can trim the clips and cut them together on my own, but all the other stuff–like, the audio things we had to do–was waaaaay beyond my capabilities when we started this thing.

    • Wendy Darling

      Kate did such an amazing job with the editing, especially considering she learned it as a total newbie–I’ve tried to figure this stuff out and the software I have is NOT at all intuitive.

      We’re lucky we had authors willing to play with us, too. ;)

  52. Chyna @ Lite-Rate-Ture

    I love the idea! I have an author friend who saw my auto-tweet saying “Chyna has finished reading (Said book)” and she assumed I hated it because I didn’t leave a rating, but I had only forgotten. She quickly DMed me telling me that she hopes we can still be friends even if I didn’t like her book. I was awww-ed by her tweet, I never met such an understanding author. I corrected her that I loved her book with all my heart and that got her giddy. LOL I loved that moment.
    Chyna @ Lite-Rate-Ture recently posted…To all the books I’ve loved before TAG! JOIN THE FUN!

    • Kate Bond

      That is so sweet and sad! OMG! Your poor friend! She must have been so upset! What would you have done if you hadn’t liked the book, I wonder? I have different policies for people I’m friends with in real life and people I met as a blogger.

    • Kate Bond

      I hope we are able to make more of these, because it really was a lot of fun to see the other side of this. I so admire the authors! They were all so funny!

  53. Pili

    I love this idea so VERY MUCH!!! Wendy & Kate you ladies are awesome!! Brilliant idea!

    The video was hilarious and the authors were fantastic!! And I love Mr Kristoff’s accent! (also, are you sure you got Jay Kristoff and not Dave Grohl?? Every time I see them I keep on thinking they really are long lost twins!!).

    Big kudos to all the authors for being such great sports and so awesome! I particularly loved Amie Kauffman throwing These Broken Stars to the rubbish bin (I might have done a bit of a nooooo! moment at that) and Kat Zhang’s face at the “too much character development” comment! Also, Leigh Bardugo and the Twilight Checklist?? Hilarious!!

    I’m now subscribed to your Youtube channel and looking forward to whatever else you might come up with!!
    Pili recently posted…Waiting On Wednesday #47!!

    • Kate Bond

      I know Jay is sick of hearing the Dave Grohl thing, but I think he kind of likes it–otherwise he’d cut his hair or shave his face, right? I mean, it’s not like we’re telling him he looks like someone hideous.

      The authors all KILLED it. I’m so impressed with them.

  54. Rashika

    I absolutely LOVE IT!

    I was laughing so hard :P Especially at Leigh Bardugo’s reaction :P Her twilight check-list was so accurate :D

    Also, Wendy, I guessed wrong when I said I had an idea but I actually thought you might do something like this a while ago when you first mentioned the new project! :D Close enough?

    ANYWAY I CANNOT WAIT to watch the next video and I do hope this will be a regular feature! :)
    Thank you so much for sharing this you guys!
    Rashika recently posted…ARC Review: The Things You Kiss Goodbye by Leslie Connor

    • Kate Bond

      Thank you! Wendy is just chock-full of brilliant ideas. It’s kind of ridiculous.

      I laughed out loud when I saw that checklist. Oh man.

    • Wendy Darling

      Heee, I’m glad you enjoyed it, Rashika! Kate and I had such fun doing it together.

      And yeah, if people were paying attention on Twitter, I had mentioned briefly ages ago that I’d had the idea to do it but wasn’t sure if I could. Thanks to Kate’s mad skillz, it all worked out. Hopefully we’ll have more stuff for you guys in the future.

  1. Blogworthy: June 2014 | Oblivilate

    […] YA Authors Read Snarky Reviews on The Midnight Garden is a simultaneously thought-provoking and hilarious post. Well, it’s a post of a video. Whatever, just check it out. It’s brilliant. […]

  2. Sunday Post #35: How You Doin’? | My ParaHangover

    […] to the internet?  That is exactly what Wendy and Kate at The Midnight Garden did.  They asked YA authors to read snarky reviews of their own books.  Yee-ouch and FUNNY!  My favorite is Leigh Bardugo; she’s so freakin’ […]