Joint Reviews: Yea or Nay?

Posted 4 May, 2012 by Amanda / 36 Comments

I am writing this post for two reasons.  1. I’m curious and 2. I have a bit of a confession to make.  My deep dark secret1 leads to my curiosity, and, quite frankly, the aforementioned secret kind of muddles my thought process on joint reviews.  Thus far in my blogging career, I have participated in a number of joint reviews2 and have a number more in the works3.   When it comes to joint reviews, I can’t really claim innocence4.  Joint reviews and I are pretty well acquainted.

I enjoy writing joint reviews, because I like the experience of reading a book with someone else.  It usually involves a number of text messages, emails, and tweets back and forth about the awesomeness or not so awesomeness of the book.  We can discuss the book thoroughly together, without worry of spoiling anyone, before we write a review.  It’s not often we get to do this in the public blogosphere, since we obviously do not really wish to spoil events in the book for everyone else.  I also think that, generally speaking, there is less pressure to write a review, because you share the responsibility with another person.  If you are at a loss for something to say, chances are that your partner can pick up the slack.  Win-win, right?

Well, not necessarily.

Joint reviews are typically a hit or miss with me when it comes to reading them5.

I find that my enjoyment of reading a joint review depends on a number of factors:

  • My knowledge of or familiarity with both parties of the joint review.
  • How well the two people’s style of reviewing mesh.
  • The actual flow of the review.

I have no idea whether other people feel the same way, or if I’m alone in my opinions.  Maybe I am being extra judgmental6.  This leads me to the discussion portion of this post, where I want your opinions!

Do you like reading joint reviews?  What makes reading a joint review enjoyable?  Am I just thinking crazily7?


1The “deep dark” was added to the word secret for dramatic effect.  Secret is actually neither deep or nor dark.
2Six, if you want to be technical.
3Three that are scheduled, one that is confirmed, and one that is assumed.  Again, should you want to be technical about it.
4I can and will, of course, claim complete innocence in everything else.
5This is my secret. Please don’t hate me for it.
6If I am, please tell me! But I don’t want this blog to get all name-cally, so just tell me: “The giraffe shifters are watching you” instead, and I’ll know exactly what you mean.
7On second thought, I’d rather you not answer this question.

Filed under: Discussion,


36 Responses to “Joint Reviews: Yea or Nay?”

  1. Honestly, I quite enjoy joint reviews. They’re a little bit different and it’s fun to see how well two people bounce back and forth between each other. Sure, some joint reviews don’t work so well, that’s inevitable, but when they work, they’re a lot of fun even to read. (or listen.. in some cases!)

  2. I’m a weird gal.

    I tend to not read the reviews of books I know I want to read. I may skim them, but I am too deathly afraid of spoilers. And way too often people innocently give things away in their enthusiasm of sharing the book.

    Joint reviews are often the worst at this because of the sheer enthusiasm of the discussion. It’s awesome. But scary, if you’re weird like me.

    And the giraffe shifters ARE watching you… but not for the reason you think.

  3. I have never participated in a joint review but I would love to one day. I don’t have a lot of friends near my right now who are as crazy in love with books as I am. Even at work (I work at Barnes and Noble), I’m one of the only ones who read YA novels and most don’t gush over them with me.

    As to reading them. I love reading them. I have only ever read good ones. I really like when one person loves a part and the other person hates the same part. It just goes to show you that not every book is for every person.

    • That’s the beauty of joint reviews, though, you don’t need to have someone close by. All mine have been done with book blogger friends who are many states away. Or, in the case of Hannah, an ocean away.

  4. Wow. You just used footnotes. LOL.

    I love them. Love reading them. Love participating in them. I’m way more likely to read them if I know the bloggers well, but I still enjoy the sometimes opposing opinions that can be discussed, as well as the OMG! enthusiasm of it all.

  5. Rain Maiden Jen

    I love when a joint review reads as if the two reviewers are sitting down hashing out their thoughts.  Kinda like if you were at a coffee shop over hearing two people discuss a good book.  The more fun they can express the better.

  6. Ruby

    I was going to say that my familiarity with the parties is what’s most important for me, but that’s not exactly true. The joint reviews that have inspired me the most are the ones on the Booksmugglers’ blog, and I don’t know either Thea or Anna personally. On the other hand, I was already a follower of theirs by the time I read one of their joint reviews, so in a way, I was familiar with them. 

    For me, the thing I love best about joint reviews is the back-and-forth that allows for maximum hilarity. I love to laugh and I love to talk about books. That makes doing joint reviews pretty fawesome. 

  7. I think it depends on how well the reviewers click when they’re reviewing together. Without some sort of chemistry and some good back and forth, the review falls flat. BUT… I also think that’s true with regular reviews, as well. There has to be a spark to make the review (whether joint or single) shine.

    For the record, I like joint reviews. They’re fun to do and they’re fun to read!

    PS: You *are* crazy but it has nothing to do with what you think about joint reviews.
    *blows you kisses*

  8. I love joint reviews!

    I don’t do them because I am horrible at reading on a schedule but they are so fun to read. Especially if the two people don’t necessarily agree on the book :) I also love it when there is a triangle (means I won’t read it probably) but the two reviewers are totally on separate teams! That is totally fun to read!

  9. I’ll probably be the only one here to say that I dislike reading joint reviews. I think I’d like them only if I was one of the two people writing them. It’s a thing where I think writing, rather than reading, them is better.

    When I read joint reviews I feel like I’m getting too many opinions at once. And, yes, sometimes it depends on whether I’m familiar at all with the two writers.

    Now because this was such a negative-sounding comment, here is a smiley face. :]

    • Ha. I don’t think it was a negative sounding opinion. It’s your opinion, and that’s what I wanted! Part of my back and forth feelings on joint reviews is the emotional investment thing. If I know the reviewers or I am one of the reviewers, it’s easier to love the review and the process. And since I don’t think I’ve read that many joint reviews — just written them, mainly — I was curious what others thought.

  10. I think most of my enjoyment comes from the banter, like Ruby said. Even if I don’t know the parties, you can tell whether two people are hitting it off and conversing well. Whether or not I read the review just depends on my mood and the book discussed, like any other review.

  11. Joint reviews can be really fun if the people involved can communicate with each other well and review the book together. Some people do not work well together because they review in such different styles.

    I have liked the joint reviews that you do with Kelly because you two seem to really make it work.

    Ultimately it is your blog so you can decide what to do with it :)

    • I think my joint reviews with Kelly work so well because our review styles are very similar and we talk to each other soooooo much already that writing a joint review with her is like having a conversation.

      Thanks for your input, Alexa! :)

  12. I don’t really like joint reviews – but just because sometimes it just makes the review that much longer and both people are essentially saying the dame thing. BUT I do like joint reviews where each person has a different opinion of the book – 1 loved it, 1 hated it. Then I like to see what each person things, and who I would be most likely to agree with.

    • You are right, though, a lot of times joint reviews end up being longer than a normal review — and that is a very valid point to consider, as longer posts are probably less likely to be read all the way through.

  13. I like to read joint reviews. I particularly like it when there is a good banter between the two reviewing. :)

    On the flip side I have never done a joint review. I think that is mainly because I really am not very good at organizing that sort of thing. Maybe one day.

  14. I don’t like joint reviews. I think it is because they are usually longer and I’m not a fan of longer reviews?

    Now that I don’t have as much time to read and blog, I’m finding that the short and to the point reviews really do it for me… to bad even I don’t write short ones :)

    • I’m not a fan of longer reviews, either, but there’s a difference between too long and well-written long.

      I don’t think your reviews are that long. The benefit of having reviews set up the way you do (or like I do) is that a person can pick and choose what parts of the review to read.

  15. Hell, I like writing joint reviews more than I like writing solo reviews. Getting a chance to bounce ideas and thoughts off someone else helps the review writing tremendously. I especially like reading them when they’re on the funny/humorous side.