A Quick Disclaimer Before My Book Review Today…

Danika Ellis

Associate Editor

Danika spends most of her time talking about queer women books at the Lesbrary. Blog: The Lesbrary Twitter: @DanikaEllis

[A TikTok video begins, showing a bubbly BookToker in good lighting. They are sitting in front of a wall of bookshelves displaying an array of beautiful collector’s editions of BookTok’s favorite books. A single title may have five different special editions. Several books are shelved backwards to show off the beautifully painted edges.

The BookToker is smiling and personable, expertly framed and focused in the shot. The color correction is dialed in. They have hundreds of videos. They have studied the algorithm. They have employed a thoughtful hashtag and background music strategy. They are prepared. They begin.]

Hi, everyone! Today I wanted to talk to you about one of my most anticipated books of the year, A Storm of Socks and Solitude by J. M. Pseudomynn.

[BookToker holds up the book.]

As you know, this was my most anticipated book of the year, and I even preordered it in the Barnes & Noble edition with the exclusive sock bookmark as well as the UK edition with the cover design that matches her previous series, The Hats of Hackney Hollis. I cleared my schedule to read it this weekend, and I filmed my reaction so you can see exactly what my face did when I reached Chapter 17.

[They raise their eyebrows and side-eye the camera.]

So, did it live up to my expectations? Well, let’s just say I’m not going to be putting this on my favorites shelf… But before I get into my review, I want to give a quick disclaimer.

First, please don’t watch this review if you’re the author, or friends with the author, or live near the author and might bump into them in the grocery store. You will get your feelings hurt, and then you might start an argument in the comments section and then a dozen other BookTokers will stitch this video to report the drama. Neither of us wants that.

This review isn’t meant to be an attack on the author. When I say this book had grammatical mistakes, I don’t mean that the author is illiterate and everyone who likes this book is stupid, just to be clear.

Also, just because I didn’t like this book doesn’t mean I think the author should never be allowed to publish a book again and should be tarred and feathered. I loved her other series and will be reading what she writes next. I also want to go on record that I believe in the first amendment.

Please don’t tag the author in the comment section. I chose not to because it’s rude to tag them in a negative review, and the human brain is not designed to handle hearing every stranger’s criticism of you. Imagine having to live like that. Imagine having to constantly digest a stream of strangers’ random criticisms about every aspect of your appearance, personality, opinions, and word choice in some sort of Faustian bargain in order to have a chance of reaching an audience…

[BookToker stares into distance before a jump cut.]

Before deciding whether to read this book, please read and watch other people’s reviews and make your own decisions! I am not the authority on what’s worth reading. Book reviews are subjective. We all have different opinions about books, and that’s great! I promise that a stranger’s opinion of a book you liked is not a valuation of your worth.

If we disagree about whether a book is worthwhile, it’s not because I’m lying about reading the book. I literally have a video recording every second of me reading it to prove it. We just have different opinions! Please don’t include me in another one of those “Can BookTokers Be Trusted?” videos.

I’ve put the trigger warnings on the screen.

[BookToker gestures to the right, where a screencap from The StoryGraph has been inserted.]

Please take care of yourself, and there’s no shame in skipping this one if those apply to you.

I got this book for free on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review, so thank you to Random Ostrich for the complimentary review copy. My thoughts and opinions are my own, but if you think I can be bought for a PDF, you probably didn’t think I had any integrity in the first place.

With that disclaimer out of the way, I’m out of time! Like and follow for part two!

A Quick Disclaimer for This Post:

This is a work of satire and any resemblance to specific BookTokers, BookTubers, Bookstagrammers, or other bookish content creators is a coincidence.

I watch and enjoy BookTok and BookTube videos. Any critique of BookTok, BookTube, or Bookstagram implied in this post is not meant to advocate for banning the platform or bullying creators.

This post is also not intended as a misogynistic attack on women or women’s interests. Disclaimer on that disclaimer: that is not to say that all BookTokers, BookTubers, or Bookstagrammers are women or that BookTok/BookTube/Bookstagram or books and reading in general are only for women.

I do not intend to imply young people these days are too sensitive, and using my words to defend that position is going against the author’s wishes.

This post should also not be considered a critique of trigger warnings. It should also not be interpreted as either advocating for or opposing collecting special editions of books, though feel free to interpret it as a critique of capitalism as a whole.

You might also enjoy the posts Writing for the Bad Faith Reader and The Danger — and Necessity — of Paranoid Reading. Disclaimer: you also might not enjoy those posts, or this one, or anything at all. You do you!