Dear EW: Please make your book reviewers read the books.
This absurd review by Tina Jordan (Entertainment Weekly) of Gayle Forman's spectacular, heartbreaking IF I STAY annoyed me more than it surprised me. It's short, so I'll quote it in its entirety:
Though it's touted as the next Twilight — with a fat movie deal in place and Catherine Hardwicke set to direct — Gayle Forman's slim novel is no Twilight. If I Stay is a sweet little piece of fluff, beautifully written, but lacking the compulsively readable story line and brewing sexual tension of Stephenie Meyer's blockbuster. Budding cellist Mia, 17, is in the car with her parents and little brother when it spins out of control on an icy road, killing everyone except Mia. She soon clings to life in a nearby ICU, shuttled in and out of the operating room. Should she make the effort to will herselfback or should she take the easy route and allow herself to die? You can read the book and find out — or just wait for the movie. B
First of all, it's not "touted as the next Twilight." One widely quoted story wondered if it was, but the author really meant "is it the next big YA hit, the next big YA movie," not the "next Twilight." It was badly worded, and then, I suppose, badly quoted. What made the whole thing...worse, I guess...is that Catherine Hardwicke (Twilight's director) is attached to direct IF I STAY. So there are four similarities between these books: they're both YA; they're both about teenage girls; they're both by female authors; they're both turned into/being turned into movies directed by the same woman. That's it.
I hope IF I STAY isn't full of brooding sexual tension; its main character is a GIRL IN A COMA. And it's not a piece of fluff. I mean, seriously - even if you hated the book you'd never say it was a piece of fluff. Forman is an immensely skilled writer and IF I STAY is many things - wrenching, funny, lovely, riveting. But fluff? No. It features one of the most authentic teenage voices I have ever read, and is easily one of my favorite books of the last decade. My gut tells me that EW's review was written by someone who read A. the jacket copy and B. some things they found through Google, rather than the actual book itself.
But a major media outlet would never do that...right?
Hey, EW: there are about...oh, nine million people who would write you a review that made it clear the reviewer had read the book, AND get it right, AND not encourage people to skip the book entirely in favor of waiting for the movie (???). You might want to try hiring one of them.