Kirkus reviews books. They primarily review them for the book publishing industry, although more recently they’ve made these reviews accessible to wider audiences. A Kirkus review often means a great deal; they’re generally considered to be fair, in-depth, and (potentially) brutal when necessary.
However, the Kirkus Indie program can be a little more contentious; rather than books submitted by publishers for review, individual authors can submit, with a fee, for the same kind of treatment. Does paying for a review lessen its value? Should authors even be able to pay for reviews? I’d like to think that Kirkus have maintained their professionalism in this area, although I’m sure there are folk out there who may disagree.
Either way, I bit the bullet a few months ago and submitted 22 Scars for review, along with the fee, and sat back, dreading the possible review. If they hated it, I’d be devastated. Moreover, it could ruin any potential future for the book, if the industry took it to be a worthless novel. If they sang its praises, could I truly trust the review? What if they were just humoring an indie author paying his way to the top?
I’m glad to say that I received the review a few days ago, and to my immense relief, it falls somewhere in-between. While they do point out some imperfections (which I was aware of, and am in fact working to address in a future edition of the book), the overall tone is one of enjoyment, and fulfillment. I was left with the distinct impression that they thought it was a good read. It didn’t get a Kirkus star (a highly coveted reward for outstanding literature), but it didn’t get destroyed, either.
Below are some of the best lines from the review:
“North’s book delivers a riveting and dynamic examination of depression and self-mutilation in a teenage girl and the lasting effects of abuse within a family.” —Kirkus Reviews
“The pacing of the couple’s story is intense as innocent domestic arguments gradually escalate into a shocking breach of trust …” —Kirkus Reviews
“A harrowing portrait of depression and the toxic legacy of abuse.” —Kirkus Reviews