So, I finished a fabulous book today called Skinny. It is amazing and horrific all at the same time. How it does that I have no idea, well I do but I won’t give it away! But the author, Donna Cooner really did do a great job of dealing with some real pressure, not only in society but within our own heads!
And although I’ve been reading books all of my life this particular one got me thinking. How do you rate books?
I mean normally I’m like, OMG I LOVE IT! Or, wow… what a waste of time. And then there’s lots of middle range books, they all know where they fall. But WHY do they fall into those categories? And what do you do when you find a book that is not in any of those particular categories?
This book was so good I wanted to give it a five but something held me back. But what? And then I thought, no I want to give it a five. It was great, it took me through all of my emotions and I wasn’t even strapped in! It did everything a good or an even great book was supposed to do but I was thinking, it’s a young adult very easy to read book. Should it get a five?
Insert new criteria:
1. Plot movement! Does the plot move? And even better did it move me? If I had to trudge through a bunch of blah,blah,blah then the answer will be no. I don’t want to know so much about the architecture that I can get a degree! In Skinny the plot was amazing. It was very easy to read and kept me engaged.
2. Good entertainment factor? Let’s be honest here. I am not reading for my health, I am reading because I enjoy getting lost in between the pages. I want the story to drag me out of me real life and take me away, kind of like Calgon but without all that water and bubbles. Does this book do it for you? Definitely for Skinny! As I said above, easy to read, fast paced plot that kept me on the edge of my seat.
3. How strong was the plot? Again with the plot! But seriously, did I figure it out on page two? IF I did was the story interesting enough to stick with anyway? Or was it so convoluted that nothing could possibly come together by the end? The plot was strong but maybe not THE strongest I’ve read. But even though I knew what may happen I kept with it because it was so worth it. And it was!
4. What did you think of the characters? Even if the plot is great, if the characters are thin it could take away from a great plot and vise versa. Did the characters engage me, make me fall in love with them, hate them, etc? Oh, Ever in Skinny makes me go through a myriad of emotions! If you read this make sure you have tissues. But you will also be rewarded with laughter, fear, and love.
5. Does it have a character arc and is it believable? People will not change without reason. It’s a simple rule and sadly it’s true. Was the character arc enough to make the character change in whatever way they did, if they did? Absolutely a perfect character arc for these characters. I can see why they did what they did and why they changed, and how!
6. How was the writing style? Obviously something that Shakespeare wrote is going to be different than say, Stephen King. Did the style of writing grab you and never let you go? If I”m not into the style of writing I’ll probably put the book down within the first chapter. Very, very easy to read. Nearly too easy.
7. How was the attention to detail? This goes with #1, Plot movement. I want some detail but not so much that I know what’s going on everywhere in the world but not with the story. Not too much, not too little. The more we get to know Ever the more we see her and her environment.
8. How does it close the loose ends? First of all, does it? If there’s an upcoming sequel this may not matter. But I hate when a book ends and questions are not answered. Skinny ends very poetically. I may have been left crying but I was not left with tons of questions!
9. Thought provoking? Am I thinking about this book five days later or when I’m supposed to be sleeping? Hmm… Let’s see, I finished this book around noon and I’m still typing about it at nearly 8pm, so yes!
10. Any worldly relevance? Does the book have anything to do with what is going on or has happened with the world? Books do not HAVE to have worldly relevance but we all know which books really do and which don’t. I’m not going to take a point away if it doesn’t but I may give extra points if it has impact on people. Once again this gets a yes. Skinny is about a young girl who has gained a lot of weight after her mother died. It’s not only about losing yourself to grief but about how to overcome your grief and really see yourself. It’s about that evil little voice that we all have and making that voice shut up!
So, with all of that being said, it is now pretty easy to see why I would give Skinny a 5. There’s not even a hesitation on any of the answers. I loved this book, I loved the characters. I can not wait to share the full book review with everyone but that will not be until Sep 13th! But trust me, if you enjoy young adult with a little romance and a lot of character growth, this is worth the wait!
This is just a basis. A top 10 of what I look for in a book but that doesn’t mean that if a book is missing something it may be so great in something else that it doesn’t even matter on the first point. I mean it is only a five point system anyway!
Another blog posted (and I’m so sorry that I didn’t bookmark that blog!) that they start with a 3 and then they give or take away with whatever is pertinent. I think this is a very easy way of rating and I may try that along with my above criteria, in my future book reviews.
Great post and I like all the points you mentioned. To me world-building and depth of characters are key and everything else adds or takes away. Without the first two I don’t get emotionally involved.
World building! I didn’t even THINK of that! Mind if I steal that? 😉
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