What I’m Thankful For: 8 Years of Book Reviews by Ava

Thanksgiving is tomorrow, which means I’m in Arkansas visiting my lovely relatives. This year, I have a lot to be thankful for, from my amazing, supportive family to the incredible education I am lucky enough to have access to thanks to a generous scholarship. But, one thing I wanted to highlight this season was how thankful I am for the wonderful book review community- everyone from my loyal readers to bookstore owners, librarians, publishers, publicists, authors, and many more.

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Since my first review for Warwick’s Bookstore in San Diego, book reviewing has been an integral part of my life, one that I can’t imagine my life without. As a young reader, I am grateful for the platform to share my ideas and opinions about literature. The empowerment that comes from expressing my thoughts has been integral to my growth into a young adult who is passionate about reading.

My first review followed little Lulu, a drama-queen wishing for a brontosaurus as a pet. It was three sentences long and emphasized the cute illustrations and laughable dialogue. Back then, I had my dad edit my reviews down to the sentence and only posted a review when I loved the book.

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With my sister and Brian Selznick in 2011

My latest review was Paperback Crush by Gabrielle Zevin. Although many things have changed with my reviews, the thing I am most proud of is my writing. Now, my reviews are much longer and more thoughtful, intelligent, and interesting (I hope!). Looking back through my old reviews, it’s fascinating to me to see how my voice and skill as a writer has improved.

Besides reviews, I covered author events from Brian Selznick to Marie Lu, interviewed authors such as Heidi Heilig, took a bookstore road-trip across the country, and attended festivals (even ending up on the Yallwest 2016 poster!) such as Yallwest and Yallfest. I even interned at the fantastic Golden Notebook bookstore in Woodstock, New York.  Along the way, I met many incredible people, but none of this would have been possible without my dear readers!

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Taking a selfie with Jennifer Niven and Isabela from Isabela Reads in 2016

Starting in 2016, I stopped just writing book reviews and started getting political, writing about net neutrality, voting rights, and diversity in Young Adult books. To me, this addition has been the most important part of my growth as a blogger. I have always been passionate about politics, so talking about them on my blog seemed like a natural transition, one that I hope to add upon soon. As far as other changes in the future? I guess you’ll just have to stay tuned and find out soon.

Again, thank you all for supporting me on this incredible journey. I can’t wait to read the next chapter!

2 thoughts on “What I’m Thankful For: 8 Years of Book Reviews by Ava

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