Professional vs. Amateur Reveiws

by ambercertain

I read This One Summer Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki and Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty by Greg Neri, both are graphic novels. I wanted to read what reviewers had to say about these two very different YA graphic novels. I decided to look at both professional writers and amateur writers to see what exactly they had to say and how they went about saying it.

What I have noticed is that professional reviews are exact and right to the point of the story. They have specific guidelines they have to follow and really can only use about 250 words. The reviewers’ tone is descriptive but the review is never personal.

When reading amateur reviews I found that some are simple and to the point, but do not use the same language that the professional reviewers use. For example “Read this book if you liked this book…” They are extremely personal, using the word “I” and sometimes less descriptive.

The other main this I noticed is that professional reviews have deadlines. New titles come out all the time and books need to be read in advanced so that they can be published on particular dates. Amateur reviews can be published at anytime.

Professional reviews seem to be written for a completely different audience. Many young adults are not going to look at Kirkus or School Library Journal to see what the latest book is, but they will go onto Goodreads or Amazon to check out what other people their age have to say about the book.

Both professional and amateur reviews are useful for different reasons and both should be used when trying to find titles.

*I also read to professional blog posts from School Library Journal. They were extremely long and used both a mixture of professional language and personal language to talk about the books. One blog post actually used curse words, which I did find quite surprising. Blog post reviews are much different from both the professional and amateur reviews. But I do feel that if you have found a blogger who you trust and enjoy following then sometimes it might be fun to read their reviews. I found both reviews extremely long and almost diverging too much information, that made me not want to continue to read them…

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