{Aside} Goodreads Drama – Why I’m Done Apologizing

Fair Warning: Unpopular Opinions Incoming!

About 2 months ago I wrote an Aside about Goodreads drama, and how some users have a penchant for rating books before they actually read them due to perceived slights they heard about from other reviewers. (Check it out here) I wish I could say that the drama has quieted after that, but of course things aren’t so simple in the YA community and after finding myself at the eye of the latest drama storm I felt compelled to write this post.

In my review for Rebel Spring, I voiced a lot of complaints about the quality of the writing being quite low. It was my intent to explain how the story suffered from poor plotting and badly drawn characters who swapped personality traits when it was convenient for the story. A certain reviewer on Goodreads came across my review and made it her personal mission to attack my character, both there and on Twitter.

To really understand what happened, I have to explain the aspect of the story I took issue with though, so there will be minor spoilers for the book below.


One of the examples I cited in my review involved the character of Nic. Keep in mind that this is the second book in a series, and that the moment I took issue with happened 900+ pages in. And that this was just one more out-of-character moment that ALL of the characters in this book experienced. Nic is/was a fairly under-developed character. His only defining trait from the moment he was introduced in the first book is that he’s Cleo’s best friend, and madly in love with her/jealous of her interest in other men.

Two chapters from the end of Rebel Spring, Nic is given a strangely out-of-place POV chapter in which he finds himself in a bar meeting with a prince from a faraway land. He and the prince share dialogue and drinks. The Prince encourages Nic to drink more, until he’s inebriated, and Nic ends up becoming frightened, thinking that the Prince is threatening him. He leaves the bar, and there’s a suspenseful chase scene in a dark alleyway before Nic is grabbed by the Prince. In fear for his life, you think he’s about to be stabbed or otherwise murdered, before the Prince kisses him and it’s revealed that Nic is into it, and the chapter ends. 


My issue with this was the way that Nic’s sexuality was used as a final shocking twist 2 chapters from the end, and that it takes place when he is drunk and scared. It felt disingenuous, and it emotionally manipulative. Not to mention that it also felt like yet another moment where Rhodes  attempted to create the biggest “GOTCHA” moment of the book for her readers.

Unfortunately, this complaint was then seized upon by one Goodreads user, who screenshotted my review and shared it with her Twitter followers with the following tag:

“I’m so angry, omg. WHY DO PEOPLE HAVE TO BE BIPHOBIC.”

Of course I was crushed. It was not my intention at all to be biphobic. I was merely calling out what I viewed as a poor plot twist, and more badly drawn characterization in a sea of bad storytelling. Could I have worded my review better? Absolutely. I immediately went back and made my review a bit more clear.

But when I took responsibility for that and tried apologizing/making clearer what I meant, this was the response I got from that person:

Fuck you and fuck that response.

She then went on to tell me again that I was being biphobic, harmful and that my opinion was not a valid one to have. On twitter, her followers meanwhile were ripping me to shreds with similar accusations and insults.

Let me make one thing abundantly clear:

My opinion of this book has absolutely no basis on my opinions in real life. When I write a review, I’m not talking about people in the real world and their many intricacies that make us so diverse and wonderful. I’m talking about the basic rules of writing: plot, pacing, and characterization being key elements.

The fact of the matter is: characters in books are literary constructs with no external life outside of the pages they appear on, so when you don’t grow a character naturally and organically, instead going for shock value 900 pages in, it rings false to readers. 

This is the response I got when I tried explaining that on Twitter:

really


Is the fact that I’m reviewing a book not implication enough that I view a character as a literary construct and not a real person?
Why do people allow themselves to take a review of a book so personally? And why does that perceived personal offense give you the right to attack, belittle and slander another human being over the internet?

I was also told by another person on Twitter that I am not allowed to critique a book because I have no best sellers to my name.

bestsellers


Which is of course ridiculous, because if we book bloggers need to be best selling authors in order to review books as a hobby, I think a lot of us are in trouble. 

The original offended party even admitted that she agreed with me that the way Nic’s bisexuality was revealed as a plot twist was offensive – but that didn’t stop her and her followers from continuing to attack me for hours last night.

Original reviewer.jpg

So if you agree with me, why then am I still the source of ire? Why am I still being belittled and threatened on social media?

I fully consider accusations of biphobia to be slanderous and offensive to me. It is really almost funny to me, how keyboard warriors on twitter will defend a badly written book (the majority of which admitted they had not actually read) while personally insulting and offending real human beings along the way. 

I will admit that I lost probably 3 friends on Goodreads over this drama, one who privately messaged me to tell me that I had personally offended her. I apologized to her, and I apologize ONLY to those people who somehow took offense to my original review. My feelings about poorly written books have absolutely no basis on how I view my friendships with any of you – because you’re real people, not a character in a book.

But I’m not going to keep apologizing. I’ve said sorry countless times, and it’s enough.

So I’m done. I’m done apologizing. I’m done saying sorry for reviewing a book based on literary elements.

As member of the LGBTQIA community, I love and crave diversity, but not when it’s being inserted into a story at the 11th hour of a series right before a book ends. It felt like pandering to me, and I had to call it out, and I had to call out the mentality that attacking a book reviewer who is doing this as an unpaid side hobby with slander and insults/death threats is okay.

It’s not okay, and I refuse to be silent in the face of it, and I continue to encourage others to call out that hivemind mentality that makes it difficult for reviewers to discuss literary elements without fear of catching fire.


xoxo

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103 thoughts on “{Aside} Goodreads Drama – Why I’m Done Apologizing

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  1. Well that sucks! I don’t read Y-A, it’s not for me and I much prefer my grimdark adult fantasy but damn, there always seems to be something kicking off with Y-A fans!

    Earlier this year I posted a reasons to love fantasy post and joked about Y-A and made a comment about rescuing the maiden and in fantasy being anything that you want and I got ripped over it by a blogger. Yes, the Y-A bit was a bit off I guess, but I’m sarcastic and add humour into my posts and anyone who reads the blog knows that. Rescuing a maiden, not sexist but I got told it was and that it happens far too much in fantasy! I was reading Red Sister at the time and the book before 2 out of the 3 main characters were female and the main character in the secondary story arc was female. And, being anything that you want I got told applied to females too, which yes of course it does but when I’d wrote anyone can be whatever they want I presumed it meant both male and female.

    Apologies for the ramble, point is, there’s always someone about to take offence at something when none is meant, it’s life and it sucks as it makes you feel that you can’t express your honest opinion without fear of upsetting someone.

    I don’t blame you for not apologising anymore, you said sorry, that’s enough especially with all the stuff they are writing, they should be apologising to you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. To put it quite simply, I’m over the YA community on Goodreads and heavily debating switching over to solely reading adult fiction and fantasy entirely just to kind of move away from that group. There’s simply too many people in it that don’t understand that as a book reviewer, I review based off of elements of fiction and the quality of writing. Nothing I say in a review is indicative of the real world or real people.

      It sucks that you’ve been through it too. I think we’re kind of at the point where everyone has been through it or will be exposed to at some point. The worst part about it is having my review taken to twitter and exposed to a platform of individuals who spin what I said in order to validate some sense of self importance on their end. I’m not about that.

      I’m just here to read books and chat about their quality and stories. Why does everything have to be the end of the world?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Because it’s the society that we live in today that makes everything the end of the world when someone takes offence to something. They take offence, twist and spin it to put them in what they perceive to be the right and then kick off about it due to their own perceived self importance and that you’ve offended their delicate sensitivities.

        It must have been awful having it put on Twitter though, terrible and unfair. If the person had such an issue they could have acted like a mature adult and spoken with you about it not slandered you and the review over twitter.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. A lot of it is virtue signaling. They play up how great they are by targeting something new daily. The same girl who put my review on Twitter also put a Goodreads’ reviewers review of “When Dimple Met Reshi” on blast too for being racist when the reviewer simply said she hated the main character. These people care less about protecting groups and more about earning brownie points.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow that is terrible. I haven’t read this book. I feel you on this in terms of the diversity conversation! And as a black/Moroccan Muslim girl obviously I’m not against diversity (nor are you!). Sadly, the conversation has really just turned into a call out culture. If someone is screen shot-ing you instead of respectfully stating why they disagree with you…to me it feels like its more for RTs then for diversity. Isn’t it better to reach out to someone respectfully and explain your POV and have a meaningful discussion and exchange of ideas/opinions? Instead of screen shot-ing someone where they have no ability to be part of the discussion and explain/put context to their own statements. I think its a very immature thing to do. Sorry this happened to you! And keep reviewing! Hopefully the conversation around diversity can move more towards nuance and less towards a call out culture.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks for replying Salmah! 🙂

      You are so right when you say it’s become a “call out culture” on social media, especially. Those people have discovered that by calling people out and sharing it for internet points, they can develop tiny follower groups. What they don’t realize is that those groups become echo chambers, which is really quite dangerous in terms of the mentalities that develop within them. It becomes a “you’re either with us, or you’re against us and absolute trash” sort of thing.

      Which is ironic, because they’re usually the same people speaking on behalf of miniority groups as though they can’t speak for themselves. I was told by one person on twitter that it didn’t matter that I was gay, and that I was scum for not removing my review, which is ironic that these people go about defending against perceived slights by offending another minority group.

      That girl who originally shared my review on Twitter actually ended up clamming up pretty quickly when I called her out for sharing my review. I think they’re totally unprepared for when people actually stand up for themselves.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I agree ! i’ve noticed it’s always the same small crop of people who just happen to very loud ! good for you for saying something ! hopefully the conversations n can move towards meaningful dialogue because the current environment is pretty exhausting !

        Liked by 1 person

  3. My bet is that most of them don’t actually care about diversity (as evidenced by their responses to you). It would seem that they are more concerned about virtue-signaling than they are accurate representation. I can’t vouch for the book one way or another because I haven’t read it, however, your argument seems perfectly well-reasoned and I can’t see how any rational person would classify it as “biphobic.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Rachael, I’m totally in agreement with you. I think a lot of these people care more about internet brownie points and building a following online than they do actually promoting equality and fair treatment of others. You’re right on with the virtue signaling. Still, it’s frustrating when they decide to place you against your will in the path of their echo chamber and pretend that your literary critique of a character in a book is an assault on real people.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I am so sorry you’ve had to deal with this. You and your feelings are so completely beyond being valid. I just, I can’t even believe this person. I’m so sorry love. Thank you for all your wonderful discussions and for being such a bright light in this community, Bentley. ❤ xx

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Okay. This is absolutely disgusting! I am so sorry you’ve been put through this Bentley. I swear to God this is just another example of how civility is going down the tubes, especially online. It’s one of the reasons why I’m not on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. For the most part I’ve found WordPress and Goodreads to be safe. From what I’ve read of your review, nothing you wrote deserved this unwarranted vitriolic response. I swear, some people just don’t take the time to read and process what someone has written before jumping to completely wrong conclusions. Anyway, I apologize for the rant, and I hope you’ll keep reviewing any YA Fiction that you read.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much for the support. ❤

      I agree with you that it seems like civility goes out the window when someone decides to place you at the center of their ire. I wish people could separate a book review from the real world. I mean, literary elements are actual things that real critics look at when they review a book – why am I somehow immune to that and why do these people act as though I must have meant personal offense to everyone?

      I love Goodreads, but the YA community seems to be particularly volatile. Makes me want to steer clear of it for awhile and I'll probably focus on some adult fiction instead for the next few weeks.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I can’t say one way or the other about the book because I have’t read it, but your critique seems perfectly well-reasoned. I’m bisexual and from the way you describe the book it does sound..well awful. I mean yes, in real life I basically just had an “oh crap…i’m bisexual…ok then” and moved on moment but I wasn’t drunk or scared, nor was it an 11th hour plot twist. I’m not sure i’m saying it right but you don’t sound biphobic to me, it’s calling out bad writing.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. 🙂 I see how it was originally worded could cause offense, but I also see you admitted it could have been worded better and fixed it, so i’m not sure why people are still outraged exactly. As I said I haven’t read it so I don’t know how i’d feel about it but you are allowed to not have liked how it was handled in the book and have your opinion about that. I can see you didn’t mean any offense to real people.

        As another person said they tend to be young people, so that factors into it. And biphobia being a real life issue, people relating to characters, and actual bisexual people getting crap from both sides I think all factors into why they are up in arms. Sorry you ended up on the receiving end of a lot of drama and hate.

        It seems no matter what someone does for a hobby there is going to end up with drama in it. I don’t read for drama and stress in real life.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. This whole situation disgusts and disheartens me. I cannot even begin to express how sorry I am that you have experienced this. It saddens me most that others can find this behavior acceptable 😦 I really hope that you do not allow this to affect your ability to continue reading what you love and posting your reviews in the same honest and appreciated manner you have. I for one nothing but respect for you and the posts you share. You are a wonderful and valuable member of this community. I wish I had better words right now, but I am actually disgusted over this. Sending love ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for commenting and for the support. ❤

      I agree with feeling sad that people actually support this behavior. Especially when it seems that they forget that there are real people on the other end of their computer screens they're insulting and threatening while they're virtue signaling to their followers on twitter. I kind of feel like I'm going to distance myself from YA for awhile. The adult fiction and fantasy communities are a lot more levelheaded about reviewing being for fun and recognizing that they're not filled with personal insults. Seems a bit safer than the murkier waters on Goodreads and Twitter I've been dumped into lately.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I do understand. I enjoy YA at times (mainly because I am so partial to retellings) but I have also seen enough to know where you are coming from. I don’t review YA enough to be heavily active in that side of the community. I hope the break (or shift) is a satisfying one and look forward to following you down whichever path you choose! Be well 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh B3! Why are people ultra sensitive and then aggressive, instead of asking for clarification and finding a respectful way to go forward. You have been unfairly treated and we all know it. I can’t say anything more than your other friends have already said on here. Just want to add more support for you and let you know we’re behind you! Imagine if people didn’t have the wall of internet? They’d back themselves into a corner and be unable to deal with a true discussion. You rock. You’re teaching them all the better way to be just by posting something honest and fair like this message. Virtual hugs. Xoxo

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Jay! You know my heart and that my intentions have never been to offend. ❤ I absolutely agree that these people would never dare to say these sort of things to a person if they were face to face. Funny how the anonymity of the internet makes them act so rude.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m so sorry this is happening to you Bentley. Not everyone is going to love the same books and you were only being honest. Why the hell do people feel it is their right to belittle others for voicing their opinions? Stop apologizing!! You did nothing wrong!!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Something to keep in mind, and this is just for your own sanity… YA attracts a young audience generally. Not all the time. I read some YA myself, and I’m not a spring chicken anymore. But the point I’m making is you’re facing off against some young, passionate people. Not excusing them by any stretch of the imagination. They shouldn’t be excused for ganging up on someone and choosing to misunderstand a very simple concept in a book review. But passion accounts for a lot in the younger crowd. They feel like they’re fighting for a cause, and it gets them all fired up, and in a few years, they’ll be deathly embarrassed they acted like that at all. They’ll probably be wishing they hadn’t done it where everyone could see and could just make the internet disappear with all their mistakes along with it. Maybe it’s not a comfort right now, when they’re hounding you all over the place. But they’re young and silly. Hopefully they won’t be that way forever. If you can look at them in that light, I hope it will actually lighten the load for you. Also, you gotta know this is about fandom for many of them at the end of the day, so keep that in mind, too. Let the shallowness roll off you.

    And if any of these people are my age or older, then just for shame.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh I definitely think you’re right! Age is for sure a factor in the level of passionate responses from these people. I also think it explains a little bit as to why they refuse to relent, and accept that my original review came from critiquing literary elements and that I was not trying to attack real people. It definitely is heartening to think that perhaps one day, these people will be able to stop and just check themselves a little bit before they engage in this sort of behavior again. I can say for sure that every person who was attacking me was between 16 and 20 years of age, so I think you’re absolutely right.

      Like

      1. Yep, it sounds like they’re simply not mature enough to have a conversation without it turning into a conflict. But you know you have support, so just let their voice fade into the background, as much as is possible.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Pardon my language, but what the everloving fuck? I’m so sorry you had to go through something like this. It sounds like you reacted with so much grace and these people, particularly the tweeter, should be ashamed of themselves. I haven’t read this particular book, but it sounds like you made a very valid criticism and they saw it as a chance to show how open minded they are — which is of course completely backwards. Don’t let assholes like this ruin a genre you enjoy! From the look of the comments on this post, you have a lot of people in your corner 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Justine!! And the language is totally fine, I’ve let a few fly over the last few days myself because of all this drama. XD

      I am so happy that I found such a wonderful community of fellow readers. It’s clear that they’ve got my back, and of course I’ve got their backs as well. I think that’s the only way to get through this sort of attack – sticking together through it as best we can and discussing things like adults.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I cannot believe this. My friend Tweebs on Goodreads suffered the same backlash on her review that did not, at all, anything that reflects racism, but lo and behold, people were calling her racist for long liking a book that has an Indian protagonist. Dear God what is wrong with these people? Reviewers review books. It’s what reviewers do. They tell people what they like and dont like about a book. I dont think its fair for people to say bad things about a reviewer that doesnt agree about their thoughts about a book. This is so shallow. I am ashamed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was tempted to split my post and write about Tweeb’s drama too – because she and I were both targeted by this exact same reviewer on Goodreads, who brought our reviews to Twitter so she could virtue signal to her followers. Those people who cannot separate real life from critique of literary elements must lead incredibly sad lives. One girl on twitter told me that I only had 100+ likes on my review on Goodreads because hundreds of people on Goodreads are biphobic. Like what?? They need to play the victim in order to make themselves the center of attention. It’s very frustrating.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That is ridiculous. I’d hate to say it but I think she’s doing all this drama just for the sake of it. What she’s saying doesn’t really make sense. Yeah i saw your comment on Tweeb’s post too. I’m sorry you guys have to experience this though. I hate that there are people in this world who cant understand the concept of opinion. Kudos to you for doing this post. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Nah man, that sucks.. No one should ever justify their (negative) reviews. And no one should ever be offended by a negative review about a book they like. People take everything too damn personal nowadays.. Maybe I am too old, but when I was a teenager, people did not get offended that easily. It seems like everyone is getting more precious and delicate day by day.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh I definitely think you’re right. It’s an issue that is worsening, and it’s due to Social Media. People turn Twitter feeds into personal echo chambers, and then “virtue-signal” to each other by calling people out and then sharing it with their followers. They’ll reach and abuse other people for any perceived slight as long as it makes them look like a good person online. It’s very sad behavior.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Exactly! And worse on twitter for some reason. One of the reasons I don’t have an account haha. I like to stay away from the drama as good as I can. I am too chill to join in.

        Really sucks that you have to deal with insults… From what I’ve seen of you online, you are one of the nicest and most genuine people and don’t deserve that AT ALL

        Liked by 1 person

  14. Hey, I’m so sorry you were literally harassed on social media because of your opinion on a poorly used plot device, not even the character…the internet can ruthless! You just do you. Kind of disappointed in the YA community (in general). One would expect book readers to be civil, at the very least. And to target you the way they did, gaahh. Like you said, they’re keyboard warriors and that’s all they’ll be to you. ALSO, PROPS TO YOU FOR BIENG CALM ON TWITTER!! WordPress is better anyways 😛

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much. You have no idea how much I appreciate the support. ❤ I would have hoped that the book community could be open for respectful discussion, but social media brings out the worst. Especially Twitter, where 140 characters is the only space you have to defend yourself. I definitely prefer my WordPress family for sure!! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  15. You are awesome dude! You should never apologize for your opinions. hate it when people make it their mission to do that. That’s not empowering to me at all. We can agree to disagree, but sometimes just scrolling down and not saying anything, to me, is much better. We’re always here for you! WordPress is definitely the awesome group lol

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Very well said Bentley. I can’t comment on the book since I haven’t read it, but your critique sounded very valid to me and it’s awful that people are misinterpreting your words and your criticism of the way in which his bisexuality was revealed in the book for shock value as an attack on bisexuality itself. I’m so sorry that you’ve been receiving such awful messages and harassment from people over this!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Chelsea, that is exactly what I meant. It’s really upsetting that people have used it as a means to attack me personally over this. I love and support all groups and diversity, and I had an issue with the way it was incorporated, not that it was at all.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Bentley I just want to give you a huge hug. I have absolutely no tolerance for SJW on the internet. I feel like too often people find a view they don’t like and simply jump the gun and go hog wild with the pitchforks. They don’t stop to ask for clarification, they just judge and sling hate left and right. You are incredibly kind and you’re reviews (in my opinion) are very well written. Don’t let them get you done.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I saw some of this craziness on Twitter this morning. I’m sorry you were targeted like that. Everyone is just looking for something to get offended about these days. I swear, more and more I just want to stay off of social media. Just another example of people championing love and tolerance being anything but.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Stephanie. My greatest fear is that some of the friends I’ve made over my time blogging would take these claims at face value and think I’m actually bigoted when I am the furthest thing from it. I agree that social media is the crux of the problem. Lots of people virtue signaling and using that as an excuse to treat others like crap.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think anybody who actually took the time to read your full review would know what your intent was. Any “friends” who would just take one line out of context and immediately jump to the worst (incorrect) conclusion are not people you need in your life. Keep your head up and keep doing what you’re doing. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  19. This is beyond debatable. I cannot understand how people no longer take a minute to critically read! To look between the pages. TO THINK BEFORE SPEAKING. Where did all our manners go? Or is social media some sort of exception to manners. I am so sorry you had to go through something like that. It’s shameful on their part. Ya, you could excuse their ignorance and passion to “youth” but nothing excuses vile behaviour. Nothing excuses harassment and death threats! You have every right to stand up for yourself and you shouldn’t give a hoot about what others say unless they have a valid and well informed point. Also, the whole “trigger” debate that’s been going around…….well you should watch Francina Simone’s video about it. It says it all. Once again, I am sorry you had to go through all that. Life is harsh and short. You don’t need that negativity to be around you. There is just no time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you RK! I’ll have to check out that video. I really dislike buzzwords like problematic and triggered, because they’ve turned into phrases that people use to rip apart things they don’t like under the guise of morality and superiority that they then share with their followers to prove how nice they are. It’s ironic because they don’t care who they hurt in the process.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m so sorry, I sent you 2 messages talking about the same thing because I forgot how word press comments works and thought my comment got deleted so had to rewrite the entire comment! >_< SORRY

        Liked by 1 person

  20. That’s horrible. Goodreads should not be a drama zone, and certainly not a hate zone.The world is full of enough drama, people. You don’t have to pull down other REAL people with differing opinions than your own. You don’t gain anything by it… Uh, this just makes my blood boil. Sorry you had to go through that. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Oh man, you don’t need negativity like that in your life. There is just no time. Props to you for standing up for yourself. You did nothing wrong and you really shouldn’t give a hoot about what people are saying unless they come from a valid and well informed perspective. I really don’t know why people throw critical reading out the window. Or why they don’t look between the pages. Or why, especially, they don’t BOTHER WITH MANNERS! What, does social media give you a bypass on being polite? On quietly asking a person? Doesn’t the thought of, “You may be taking this the wrong way?” enter their minds? I know you could boil this down to “youth” but nothing excuses vile behaviour. Nothing excuses harassment and death threats. Honestly, if someone is sending such messages to you, don’t even bother anymore. They obviously can’t handle simple conversation. And don’t even get me started on the whole “trigger” debate. I’ll just direct you to Francina Simone’s video on triggers. Once again, I’m so sorry you had to go through something like that. You’re better then them because the whole time you maintained professionalism by being calm and polite. By trying to explain to their misunderstanding to them. It’s not your fault if their too ignorant to care. Props to you mate.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Wow..i’m so sorry you had to experience that! That is cyber bullying and incredibly juvenile. It’s sad that we live in a world where we have to use disclaimers. It’s a book review! We are all entitled to our opinions on whether we enjoyed what we read or not. Personally, I did not think your intial statement sounded biphobic. What’s even worse is when a person says shit but doesn’t have their facts straight!!
    Stop apologizing. You did nothing wrong. If anything, the person who started this bullshit should be apologizing to you!
    Not cool!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for adding your voice here. ❤ I agree, the whole cyber bullying thing is super distressing to me. Of book reviewers no less! You'd think readers would be more open to civilized discussion, especially around miscommunications/misunderstandings. But these people didn't want to hear it. Thanks again. I really appreciate it!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No problem! I think because it’s YA, it tends to be more younger readers. Thus, more childish behaviour unfortunately. I hate that you went through this. Really makes a bad name for the YA community really.
        I’m glad you are in good spirits though! I think you have a lot of support from us grown ups! 😉
        Keep up those great reviews and fuck em! (Excuse the potty mouth)

        Liked by 1 person

  23. Oh mate that is so harsh. We are bloggers that put out a balance review on what we read. At the end of the day it is just an opinion and same as others. To be viciously attacked like you were is outrageous. Bullying at its worst. I truly feel for you.
    Your reviews are ace and always explain your personal reasoning behind what you put out. Don’t say sorry anymore. Her attack was personal against you, not even making a justified comment on the book. So sorry but don’t let it change you. You are a brilliant blogger.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Susan for the support. ❤
      It is definitely unfortunate that some people can't simply allow people to their opinions. Personally, I don't think a book review would ever get me super heated. It's strange that some people take them so personally and act offended. It's taking my review without my consent to a different social media platform and framing me as a bigot that I definitely take issue with. Anyone who knows me, knows my heart and that I'm anything but!! Thanks for lending your support. Makes me feel like this whole blogging thing is still worth it to know that there are good people out there.

      Liked by 1 person

  24. I wasn’t aware of all this drama until yesterday that I saw your review on goodreads and I feel that you really don’t have anything to apologize for, some people are very intense and I don’t think you deserve all that hate, considered that it’s very valuable to have a own opinion and express it with respect as you have done, so here I’m just expressing my support to you, I’m also a loyal follower of your reviews and I love them! 😊😊❤

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Hi Bentley, I’ve read your review of Rebel Spring. Actually I liked that series, but your review gave me another aspect of thinking about that book. I liked that review 👍 (the “Incredible. It’s even worse than the first one.” got me laughing) The Goodreads drama was horrible…I didn’t know people in book community could be so mean. Don’t apologize for what you don’t like about a book! Everyone has different opinions. 💛

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Remi! You’re so right. The differences of opinion and civilised discussion is one of the things I like most about goodreads. I just hate that someone decided to take my review to another platform and frame me as a bigot to make herself look morally superior. That’s messed up. I’m glad that my WordPress family knows my heart and that I would never purposefully offend.

      Like

  26. I’m so sorry to read about you having to go through this 😦 I had a rather different experience, as nothing to do with books, but similar in terms of the cyber bullying side happen to me a few months ago. I couldn’t believe the lies being told about me online by an organisation. It wasn’t enough that they had left me heart broken. They had to spread lies about me to complete strangers on Facebook. I felt like the whole situation was completely out of my control. Strangers were looking at my facebook page and making very unfair and cruel assumptions about me. I felt exposed and vulnerable and had to increase the privacy on my account after that. I cried for days, was so stressed and even felt scared they would come to my house and physically hurt me!

    With that experience being so recent for me, I can fully understand your frustrations at the way your words have been twisted and people who don’t even know you, making false claims about what you meant. This kind of behaviour is definitely one of the reasons I’m reluctant to read YA fiction.

    Jules x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jules, your story is so distressing to hear. Even though we as bloggers share so much of ourselves with our followers and friends in the community, we also expect a level of anonymity in anything we do across the internet. Even though your particular scenario was not related to books, it’s still wrong that that level of privacy was violated by people seeking to harm your reputation. It’s so crazy to me that people hiding behind a keyboard and screen often lose that empathic part of themselves that reminds them not to treat the people they encounter like crap.

      You’re right too that it’s mostly in the YA community that people go overboard with their warped sense of policing morality. It makes me not want to read much YA going forward either. I’m still hooked on the genre, so I’m sure I’ll still read a few but I’m going to start branching out more to places where I’m less likely to draw ire.

      Liked by 1 person

  27. This makes me so sad. There’s no need to attack others for their opinion. Straight up. Don’t apologize!! It’s not needed. As a book reviewer we share our opinions of how things worked (or didn’t) within a book. I feel like lately diversity is being thrown in just for the sake of being diverse. It’s not doing anyone any favours! Does it mean that I don’t like diversity if I say that the relationship didn’t work or is out of place?? Absolutely not!! You aren’t being hateful or “phobic” if, in your opinion, something didn’t work. I’m so tired of people being critical and attacking others. I’m so happy that diversity is a focus in books. Let’s be honest it was needed! BUT – do the subject proud. Research and carry it through instead of throwing it in there just for diversity sake! Sexual preferences are a choice and a life style – NOT A PLOT TWIST!! I’m so sorry you’ve had to deal with all of this ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for adding to the discussion. I agree, the fact that these people attack others for their opinions really drives me crazy. I mean, as book reviewers, what else are we supposed to do? How far does that policing of other people’s thoughts and views go? If we say: “hey, you can’t say that,” to one idea, where do we stop?

      And I agree with you that lately in YA in particular, it seems like a race to write and publish the most diverse book possible even if it’s just diversity for diversity’s sake. I’m all for equal representation, but not when it’s only thrown in for the sake of getting internet points. That’s exactly the issue I took with the bisexual “plot twist” in Rebel Spring. It felt like it was done only to say there was a bisexual character in the book, and not because the author actually wanted to properly write and build a great character.

      Liked by 1 person

  28. Wow. I totally agree with everything in this post. Of course using bisexuality as a plot-twist is both out-dated, offensive and quite frankly, bad storytelling. Never apologise for your opinions… especially when its to do with fiction!

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Well Bentley where can I befriend you on Goodreads to make it up to you? Now seriously I’m always appalled when reading such reactions. Of course we review books and characters in books, not real life people! And as you said if we have to write best sellers to be able to express our opinion about books we are in big troubles.
    All in all I find these kind of reactions extreme compared to REAL PROBLEMS like world hunger, cancer etc.
    I love arguing about books and if people have another opinion all better it’s more interesting. As long as it’s expressed with respect.
    As you have seen I loved this book that you “criticized” but I also loved reading your review and all your valid points.
    When I read your call to respect for authors (rating without reviewing on GR) I grasped you’re respectful of others opinion.
    This is not the first time I see such escalation unfortunately and it won’t be the last. But chin high there are bigger problems in life even if I understand and support your need to explain all this.
    That said read you soon 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can’t believe we’re not already friends on Goodreads! You can find me here: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/7971097-bentley-bookbastion-net

      You are so right that these reactions are what I would call: “first world problems.” Where the issues aren’t really all that groundbreaking (or really issues at all) but teens on Twitter and Goodreads are going to complain about whatever they can because they’re not old enough to realize their dreams of getting out into the world and making an actual difference offline.

      I definitely love discussing books cordially, which my feed on GRs is perfect for. It stinks when people outside your friends feed decide to make you a target against your will though.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks for the link to GR Bentley! I “friendivted” you 😉 And yes I do agree it’s never pleasant when people make you a target for their frustrations. I have two teenagers and the first thing I taught them about social media (and life in general) is to always be polite and respectful. I hope they’ll always behave fairly 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  30. Actually sitting here, baffled… This should never have happened to you… Your initial opinion was valid and even though I hadn’t read the book, I could perfectly understand from your review what you meant with the critique and agreed with it.
    I think you’ve shown a complete upper hand with how you dealt with the situation, even though personally I would have just told them to stuff a sock in it and grow up… but that’s the thing- you’re a nice, kind, considerate person with heart! That’s what I’ve learned about you from this!
    You have so much support here (seeing all the comments)- and as you said- brush it off and move on! No more apologizing and always remember that your opinion matters! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Liz! I’m glad you understood my point in my review, and didn’t take offense. Frankly, from the response this post has garnered it seems like everyone I know on wordpress and call friends seem to agree that I wasn’t setting out to offend. I think it’s just that people on social media set out looking for fights to engage in, probably to validate their sense of morality. Ironic, considering they’re okay with verbally abusing people online.

      Like

  31. this is really amazing. i have so much respect for the way you’ve handled this – from the grace with which you responded to the vitriol (and to my hasty questions) down to the removal of pictures and usernames. i’m so sorry this happened to you. am hoping (perhaps against the odds) that this will become less and less frequent. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much emma for the kind words. Not going to lie, part of me wanted to include twitter handles and usernames, but I was just so over the drama and knew that would only prolong it so I removed them all. Ultimately, my post was about my personal feelings after being attacked and I don’t need to pull others into the conversation by “exposing” them the way they tried to do to me. They’ll expose themselves eventually, I’m sure.

      Liked by 1 person

  32. Why are people like this? I mean… it’s a book. And your opinion of it is valid and you can voice it and if you have a concern, you say it. That’s the whole damn point of reviewing books. If everyone had the same opinion on it, what sense would that make? and LGBTQIA might be a sensitive topic, but nevertheless you can have issues with that character/how they are portrayed/ when they are out of character. And that is damn okay.
    I personally think that it is great how you are handling the whole situation.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Kat. Unfortunately I think a lot of it comes down to the fact that this particular girl who posted my review to twitter and put her followers onto me in the first place actively seeks out things to be offended by. Her goodreads profile and twitter feed were full of similar instances, and she attacked another Goodreads user named Tweebs for a “racist” review of When Dimple Met Rishi because she gave it a 1-star.

      Liked by 1 person

  33. People these days just feel the need to turn absolutely everything into some kind of protest.

    Don’t you dare apologize. Your reviews are great and honest. They’re probably just jealous that you have more followers and felt the need to drum up some followers by trying to make it out that you were something you are not.

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Whenever I see a post like this it makes me glad I stick to adult fiction… yikes! YA Goodreads is a terrifying place that I have no interest in venturing into. Sorry this happened to you, Bentley, your reviews are nothing but honest and you shouldn’t have to apologize for that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Rachel. Trust me, this incident really puts me off the YA community. I’ve begun to realize that there is always drama within it. The latest being the newly released cover to “Tower of Dawn” by SJM, which some people on Twitter and GRs are claiming is ableist and sexist for not including a picture of the male main character. Makes me really want to start venturing into adult fiction and fantasy on a more permanent basis.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh my god?!?!? That is ridiculous. Like…… if the main character were black and the cover showed a white model okay fine that should be called out, but something like this?! Authors rarely have the final word on cover design anyway, so what even are these people trying to accomplish with this… Ugh. I wonder why there’s so much drama in the YA community – if it’s because the demographic is younger or if it’s because it’s such a bigger community or some combination… it’s so weird because there’s pretty much nothing but positivity on my Goodreads and WordPress feeds. Come join us!

        Liked by 1 person

  35. This seems really ridiculous. I mean, I think the point of a “Book Review” is to you know… review the book. I guess all your book reviews will have to come with a huge glowing sign now so that people don’t take things personally, haha. Sorry you had to deal with this, but I really liked how you explained the issue with the book. I haven’t read it but it does seem really crappy to just dump something so fundamental to the character at the very end with so little build-up.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Right?! I really don’t think any book review should have to include a disclaimer that they’re talking about characters and their stories, not real people. Thank you so much for the support. Makes me feel like maybe I’m not living in the bizarro world I was this weekend when all this drama went down.

      Liked by 1 person

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