On Saturday, we will officially be one month away from the release of All Unquiet Things. Honestly, and I know people say this a lot but that’s because it’s true, time flies. I really feel like we just started this journey a couple of months ago, but actually it was over a year ago. I just can’t believe that, except I have to because that’s what my calendar says. Yikes!

Being so close to the release means a lot of things. It means that marketing and publicity efforts are gearing up, it means finished copies are almost here, and it means that the reviews are starting to trickle in. A few weeks ago, Random House released copies of All Unquiet Things via the Amazon Vine program. ARCs of AUT have always been scarce, so this was the first time, with a few exceptions, anyone managed to get their hands on a copy of it. Terrifying! In mostly a good way, thankfully.

So far, the reviews have been positive. Actually, I’d really considered not looking at reviews at all. I know that can be a dark spiral, whether reviews are positive or negative. I didn’t want to use positive reviews to inflate my ego, or negative reviews to pointlessly flog myself. But Tirzah from The Compulsive Reader (which is an excellent book blog everyone should read) emailed to let me know that she’d reviewed AUT on her site. I knew Tirzah was reading the book because I saw it on Twitter, and I knew she’d have a lot of interesting things to say, and I wasn’t disappointed–her commentary is thoughtful and lovely. But it gave me the fever. Suddenly, I had to read every available review. See? Dark spiral.

There aren’t that many reviews of AUT online, but there are some, and of course I eventually came across a negative one, as you do. I was shocked at how not upset I was. The reviewer really did not like my book, and yet I was fine with it. I question some of the comparisons the reviewer made, and I think there were some errors of understanding in his (the gender of the reviewer is an assumption) reading of the book, but I was mostly unbothered by his strong negative reaction to it. He doesn’t seem very easily impressed. Neither am I, so I can relate to that. I think I wrote a damn fine book, but so do a lot of people, and I often disagree with them on that point. I also know that not everyone is going to fall in love with my characters. I respect and encourage varying opinions and reactions to them, and to the story. It makes the dialogue so much more robust and fantastic.

AUT has already been reviewed by Booklist, but just yesterday my editor passed along another trade review–this time from Kirkus. I don’t know how closely readers of this blog follow the trades, but we found out today–a scant twenty-four hours after I got my Kirkus review–that the company that owns Kirkus is folding it, as well as Editor and Publisher, which is a journalism trade publication. This is upsetting for a lot of reasons–lost jobs for one–but as newspaper and magazine coverage of books continues to shrink, it’s terrible to see a publication completely devoted to books succumb. Goodbye, Kirkus. We will all miss you. And thank you for giving my little book space in one of your last issues. I really appreciate it.

Here’s the full text of the Kirkus review, if you’re interested.

“Neily Monroe is struggling to adjust to life following the murder of his ex-girlfriend Carly and the guilt he feels for not responding to her final attempts to reach him. Their breakup had been especially painful and embarrassing for Neily. When Carly’s cousin Audrey suggests the real killer is still at large, he thinks she is just trying to clear her father, who is serving time for the crime. Gradually, the two find clues in Carly’s diary that make someone else a plausible suspect. What had appeared to be a family tragedy triggered by a dispute over money now threatens to expose the darker side of an upscale and privileged clique. This is a sophisticated teen mystery, more introspective than action-oriented. Told as it is through the voices of both Neily and Audrey, readers get to know as much about the troubled girl they both loved as they do the principals. The adults are well drawn, and the impact of their unresolved issues intriguing. Less successful as a mystery than as a subtle look at family tensions and entitlement, at which it excels. (Mystery. 14 & up)”

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