I have a new book about to be born. With CRAZY BEAUTIFUL set to publish in just 27 days, the early reviews are rolling in. Like having a baby, you always hope that the world will be kind to your new book. But when you've been doing this as long as I have, you know that no books inspire universal love, even the most popular. Why, look at Stephenie Meyer. A glance at Amazon shows that among the 4,642 reviews currently posted for the fourth book in the Twilight series, Breaking Dawn, 954 of them are one-star reviews. That's a lot of dissatisfied readers. And yet I'd be happy to have even a fraction of that many people hating on my book because that would mean a lot of people actually read my book. And hopefully some of them even liked it.
These early reviews of CRAZY BEAUTIFUL have been mixed. The venerable Kirkus found several faults before concluding, "Somehow, this romance transcends all of its potential pitfalls to create a powerful story about recovery and friendship" - from Kirkus, I'll take it. Other reviewers have found fault, variously, with the length (too short), the plot (that certain things are not spelled out in black and white for the reader), as well as a host of minor details. Still others have written unqualified raves. (For some of those, here's the relevant page on my website: CRAZY BEAUTIFUL reviews).
The thing with reviews, you realize after a while, is that there is no objective reality. It's all subjective, having as much to do with the person reading the book as it does the actual book in question. This notion was brought home to me most strongly when I saw back-to-back two-word reviews on one of those reader-library sites. One reviewer wrote, "amazing book" while the next one immediately down wrote, "awful book." It doesn't get much clearer than that, the idea that different people can view the exact same thing and conclude exactly the opposite.
Which leads me to the idea of book as Rorscach Test.
Card I in the Rorschach Test yields the following results: 53% of people say it's a bat while 29% viewing the exact same image say it's a butterfly. I hope people will understand when I say that it's my wish that the results for CRAZY BEAUTIFUL are reversed and that more people see it as butterfly than bat.
But really, butterflies or bats, I just hope the book gets widely read.
Wish me luck.