Like 'em or hate 'em, reviews are the barometer for a book. They're subjective, of course, as what one person likes, another may not; what works for one person, may not work for another. That's to be expected.
We all love the reviews from people who like/love our book, but it's also interesting when you get reviews from readers and reviewers who take the time to tell you what worked for them or what didn't; again subjective, but also valuable in that it provides insight to the writer.
Thanks to Kristin from Blood, Sweat & Books who took the time to read GIRL Z: My Life as a Teenage Zombie and gave her thoughts on what worked for her and what didn't. The best part? Yes, she liked it:
Normally, I don't respond to reviews except to say thank you. But as her review is so detailed, I thought I'd share a few of my own thoughts on things she mentioned:
I laughed at her comments about Becca's diet (even if she spilled the beans so to speak as I haven't really revealed what she eats). She thought it too much; for me, it was a personal preference, I guess. I thought it would be weird, odd and kind of funny. As Becca doesn't eat brains, she has to eat... well, something, and why not make it kind of gross and monotonous? Isn't that what zombies usually do?
Zombies - yes, I guess I'm a "zombie lite" writer. I don't overdo the gore. I like a little or just enough but that's me.
Not enough zombies?
I did have zombies appear in most sections - at school with Becca (part-zombies with their own problems, especially the males;) on the road, at a friend's and on the way to and in Chicago; they were in most of the important scenes. To me they fit without going overboard on making it a full-blown totally apocalyptic world which she also mentions. My world is one where things are getting cleaned up, the full zombies are getting taken care of and part-zombies are part of that world. The part-zombies like Becca still face prejudice and fears, giving Becca something else to deal with. It is mostly Becca's story.
Should Becca's aunt have let her leave the hospital -- at all?
Becca's world is one where drugs are offered as treatment. They may or may not work, but Becca is young and hopefully can fight off the effects and prevent the full Z disease from taking over. That is something she fears.
Is Becca's family too nonchalant about the change in Becca's life?
Since Becca is a teen I didn't want it overly maudlin or too dramatic. She's still part-human yet too and had to have freedom to try to live. So her family is close, yes, but not hysterical or overly cloying. This could've been handled many different ways, I'm sure.
The great thing about a review is it gives you something to think on and consider when writing a sequel. It is indeed food for thought and much appreciated. Some suggestions I will keep in mind as I work on part two.