real-talk YA book reviews

Hi! I’m an American high school girl who has loved to read ever since I learned how. I created this book review blog to review YA books– or whatever books I’m reading, really; I’m a YA, so I consider anything I read to be YA enough for this blog– from the perspective of a typical reader, rather than an intellectual critic’s perspective. I review books based not on their grand literary qualities, but on how the experience of reading them actually was. Popular YA books are often under-respected because they’re considered to be beneath really serious, dense works of literature; not so here. I’ll tell you the books you’ll actually enjoy, if you’re anything like me!

I plan to post a new review every Saturday. Sometimes I’ll review really recent books, but more often I’ll probably be unearthing ones that have been out for a few years. A good book has no expiration date.

How to Contact Me

If you have any questions, comments, concerns, or want to ask me to review your book, please e-mail me at I’d love to hear from you.

 How IBTJ Works

Now to explain the grading systems I’ll be using here at I’ll Be the Judge.

Smileys: Each book will get an enjoyability score out of five smile ‘s. This is a rating of simply how much I enjoyed the book while I was reading it, generally speaking.

Brains: Then there’s the “deep thoughts” score, out of five brain ‘s. The term “score” is sort of a misnomer on this one. A low brain score does not mean the book was bad. Like I said, I don’t believe a book has to be “deep” in order to be worthwhile. I just thought it would be nice for readers to know going in whether the book aims to be really philosophical, examine life and the human condition, etc., or if it’s purely light reading. That way, you can choose based on what you’re in the mood for.

Special Awards: Then there will be special awards for certain books. There is no scale for the awards- you either get one or you don’t. They are:

sqee Squee: Awarded for excellence in romance

eagle Soaring Eagle: Awarded for great inspirationalness

comedy mask ROFL: Awarded for comedic excellence and hilarity

moon All-Nighter: Awarded to extremely gripping books

lightbulb Illuminator: Awarded for excellence in thought-provokingness

music notes Muse: Awarded for excellence in beautiful, lyrical language

That’s really all there is to it! If I find a need for more grading symbols in the future, I’ll let you know.


4 Comment(s)

  1. CJ

    April 18, 2013 at 8:16 pm

    Love the rating system (especially the “brains” and the special awards)! I’ll look forward to reading more of your YA book reviews–I agree with you on their under-ratedness.

  2. TheGirl

    December 14, 2013 at 4:51 pm

    That’s a cool system for grading, great to see more young’ins reading and taking pleasure in doing so!

  3. Jane Lorraine

    August 5, 2014 at 5:34 pm

    Hi Tova! I’ve nominated you for the One Lovely Blog Award because I think you are awesome! Check out my post for more details

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