IS HYPE HELP OR HARM?
This is a question that I’ve been considering for many years but keep going back and forth with my answer. I don’t know that I will ever say definitively yes or no on either side, but I’m looking to see what some of you bookworms have to say about it.
I recently picked up The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert. If you’re a part of the book community then you’ve been seeing this book A LOT over the last few months. It’s been everywhere and the hype surrounding is has only been building as the release date got closer. I was lucky enough to get an ARC copy from Raincoast Books Canada (THANK YOU!) but when I picked it up, I was nervous. Early reviews started coming out and they weren’t as positive as expected. But the thing that I noticed in every review was that each person was expecting something else. And I myself was expecting something else as well! The internet buzz about this book built something up in my head that it was going to be about a girl who traveled to a dark fairy tale land that her author grandmother created to find her mother. From the hype, I ASSUMED that I was going to be immediately thrust into a dark fairy tale land and I was all over it. But that’s not really how this book works.
So how did I assume this? How did I conclude that this is how the book was going to work? How did I know what to expect of this book when I hadn’t even read a single review? Hype – that’s how.
Because I followed the hype of this book, an idea was placed inside my head that I already knew what the book was about. And if I wasn’t able to clear my head before going into it, I would have been disappointed – because it was not like the picture I had inside of my head. Yes, there were still elements of the story that the hype created, but there was so much more to it.
So that’s MY problem. I start assuming what the book will be about and when it doesn’t measure up I’m disappointed. But here’s the thing – if I didn’t go into the book EXPECTING something, then I would be able to allow myself to take the story as it was written and appreciate it (or dislike it) for what it is. So for me personally, the hype helps me get interested but it harms me in the long run because I go into books thinking I know what it will be about. And when the story doesn’t measure up to my expectations, then I’m not enjoying it to its fullest potential.
So now I’m working hard to go into hyped books with a clear head – and it’s hard sometimes! But when I’ve been able to step away from my assumptions, I’ve enjoyed the book more.
What are your thoughts? Does hype help you? Or does it build up an unrealistic picture in your head? Are you able to step away from those assumptions? Curious minds want to know!
Until next time, happy reading!