ARCs are often referred to as “unicorns” – a title which conjures up images of magical things that are capable of solving all the world’s problems (yes, the world would 100% be fixed by the existence of these mythical creatures). But as much as unicorns seem like glorious creatures that could do no evil, sometimes they just can’t help it. What’s that horn used for, if it’s not for stabbing its enemies – and our feels? I don’t know where exactly I’m going with this metaphor but the point is – ARCS AREN’T ALWAYS ALL RAINBOWS AND SUNSHINE.
Don’t even get me started on the way some people are willing to sell their souls for ARCs of particular books (Exhibit A: a strange girl from Melbourne that relies too heavily on coffee and bad jokes). I’ve “sold my soul” so many times I’m not sure how I’m still alive and functioning. Wait… emotions are actual THINGS? Things that I should have? OOPS. Guess those got taken away along with my soul sometime in the past ten years.
So today I’m going to share all the reasons why ARCs don’t really stand for “Advance Reading Copy” – instead, it stands for “Actually Reviewers Crying”. AND HERE’S WHY…
Screaming into the void.
Have you ever been the first one out of your friends to read a book and feel like there’s no one you can fangirl with? IMAGINE THAT, BUT 100x WORSE. Like, you want to spread your love of this book that’s coming out soon, but at the same time, you know no one will truly understand. IT JUST FEELS LIKE YOU’RE SCREAMING INTO THE VOID. Which, I mean, could be entirely true. Who knows if whatever is going on is actually just taking place inside your subconscious… *cue existential crisis*
What’s this book even about?
I can hardly remember what happened in the last book I read, let alone recall enough details about a novel I read three months before the release to review it. Seriously, if Goodreads wasn’t a thing, I’d have extreme trouble in making my reviews coherent—not that I’m sure you could call my rants about books “reviews”. But until a book is officially released, there’s not a lot on Goodreads about them. Want to talk about that dog you adored in the novel, but you can’t remember its name? TOO BAD.
I DEMAND THE NEXT BOOK IMMEDIATELY.
You know what’s the worst feeling in the world? Whining about a book you’ve read before release because it’s going to be another year before you can get your hands on the next one in the series. While most people are complaining it’s too long to wait until the release of the book you’ve JUST READ, you’ve already moved onto the torment of waiting for the next in the series after that cliffhanger that metaphorically KILLED YOU. Or literally. I don’t know your circumstances.
Why are you so against bookstagram?
ARCS JUST AREN’T AS PRETTY AS FINISHED COPIES, OKAY?! I know that some have really nice covers, or just a slight alteration to the finished copy, and maybe I’m just being superficial, BUT IT’S NOT THE SAME AS HAVING A SHINY FINISHED BOOK IN YOUR HANDS. Don’t even get me started on the publishers just print ARCs with a plain cover and the title. Like, I know it’s better than nothing… BUT BOOKSTAGRAM. Netgalley is clearly worse though, because taking photos of ebooks is almost impossible unless you want to take time to photoshop the book cover into your photo somehow – and everyone KNOWS we don’t have time for that.
The reading struggles.
Sometimes ARCs are just HARDER TO READ. Hear me out, okay? I was lucky enough to receive an early copy of Gemina – you know, the second book in that wildly popular Illuminae series by my baes, Amie and Jay? WELL THE ARTWORK PAGES WERE JUST LABELED “TK”. For a book that relies a lot on visuals, this made reading it ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE. I JUST WANTED THE PRETTY PAGES, PLEASE AND THANK YOU. But not just that. I’m probably just a technology pleb and have no idea how to change the font size from the Netgalley books I’m reading on my phone… BUT THE FONT IS SO SMALL. I LITERALLY CAN’T. #help
And now for some reviews!
ARCs I read recently…
I CAN’T EVEN BEGIN TO EXPRESS HOW MUCH I ADORED THIS BOOK. Honestly. I’ve always been a fan of the creeper YA novels, and this one certainly didn’t disappoint. It was a book that got me hooked from the very first page, and refused to let me go until the last word on the last page. I ended up binging this book one night and finishing it at 2am, but the downside to that was that I was too scared to venture into my kitchen for a soothing tea after it. IT WAS JUST SO DAMN SCARY, AND I LOVED IT.
One of the things I enjoyed most about this book was how I wasn’t sure whether I could trust the characters. Was what Tash was seeing actually real? Had her gruesome imaginary friend from her childhood actually come back? And if so, were the only people offering to help her actually not who they appear to be. I always love an unreliable narrator, so getting to know Tash was just such a treat. I’M SO HERE FOR UNRELIABLE NARRATORS.
And finally, I also felt that the nonlinear narrative helped flesh out the story and allow us to understand the impact Sparrow had on Tash’s childhood. It was delightfully creepy and every page had me guessing who Sparrow actually was, and if he was really REAL, and I just loved how this book kept me on the edge of my seat. I know it’s a cliche, but I’m not lying when I say that this book is jaw-droppingly good. I’M STILL SHOOK.
Thanks to Walker Books Australia for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!
WOW. THIS BOOK. Let me just begin by saying that it’s an incredibly tough read and people that are affected by descriptions of self-harm, suicide, abuse, and eating disorders should definitely consider whether they’re in the right mental state to read this book because it’s very full-on right from the get-go. I’ve struggled with some of the issues discussed and while I feel as though they were portrayed in a really realistic manner, I think it’ll be tough for a lot of readers to get through. So just a heads-up!
But what I loved most about this novel is how raw and genuinely it portrayed the characters with mental illnesses. It’s so important to see accurate representations of mental health in YA, and I’m thrilled that we can add another brilliant #LoveOzYA novel to the list. This book didn’t shy away from the really tough topics, and that’s something I admire about Margot McGovern. I’m already looking forward to what she writes next.
I also adored how incredibly atmospheric Neverland is. The island… the descriptions of the ocean and the surrounding areas… it was all so descriptive and well-written. And the Peter Pan references! Despite being a tough book to get through, Neverland is definitely a novel that won over my heart. I absolutely adored it.
Thanks to Penguin Australia for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!
Erin Gough’s previous YA novel, The Flywheel, was the first queer novel I ever read – which is why it has such a special place in my heart – and I had extremely high expectations for Amelia Westlake. I knew it was going to be hard to compete with the love I have for The Flywheel, but I still really enjoyed this book! Although I feel it missed the mark a little in talking about intersectional feminism and used the words “swinging both ways” instead of bisexual (which is a pet peeve of mine), it was still a fun read that shared important messages about sexism and standing up to those in positions of authority.
While I wasn’t absolutely BLOWN AWAY by this novel, I still felt that the discussions it raised about people who have to deal with sexist remarks on a daily basis incredibly important. I’m sure most of us would have situations we can recall about sexual harassment or inappropriate comments, and that’s not okay. This book shows teen readers that inappropriate comments shouldn’t be tolerated and that we have to call out this behaviour, no matter what kind of position the perpetrator is in. And most importantly, we have to stand up for those around us. UNITE AGAINST SEXISM. This book is a must-read for everyone who loved Take Three Girls or Moxie.
Thanks to Hardie Grant Egmont for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!
THIS WAS SUCH A FUN READ. Honestly, after reading book after book about death and depression, this was such a pleasant change. Even though I don’t read nearly as much middle grade as I’d like, this was such an exciting, captivating novel – and I’m so pleased to see Amie finally write a book with just HER name on the cover! Amie is an angel and I don’t know how she has time to write so many books with so many different people, but it’s so great to finally see her keep the spotlight all to herself. She deserves it.
This book had everything that my middle grade-craving heart desired: feuding groups, shapeshifting, POC on the cover, and most importantly, DRAGONS. I adored the friendship elements in this novel, and of course, the action was absolutely ON POINT. Amie sure knows how to write a book, because like every other book I’ve read by her, this one definitely didn’t disappoint. I’M GOING TO PROCEED TO PUSH THIS INTO THE HANDS OF EVERY YOUNG READER I KNOW.
But one of the best things about it is that you don’t HAVE to be a middle grade reader to fall in love with Ice Wolves. It’s a timeless story about friendship, finding where you truly belong, and magic – which everyone needs a bit of in their lives. AND THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE TWINS. MY HEART. SOMEONE HOLD ME. I fell in love with these characters from the very first page, and I know they’ll remain in my heart for quite some time to come.
Do you receive ARCs, or read books before any of your friends get the chance to? Do you FEEL MY PAIN? Have you read any of the books that I reviewed? What are you currently reading? I’d love to know!