I read a lot of books from NetGalley, where if you’re a blogger or in the book industry (eg, a buyer like me) you can apply to read advance ebook copies of books. There are a few factors that lead to you getting approved for books you want – having a strong social media presence, having a good track record of reviewing your titles on NetGalley, or your geographic region. Once you’ve finished a book you can write a review and rate it on the site – this info from early readers can be useful for publishers. If your “books received to feedback given” ratio gets too low publishers may be reluctant to allow you access to their titles.
It has a number of Australian publishers on it providing access to selected books, but it looks to be mostly populated by US & UK publishers and their upcoming titles. Being in Australia, you don’t always get approved for things that aren’t being published here yet. There’s no hard feelings from me here – I know it costs publishers money to have titles distributed by NetGalley, and it makes sense to prioritise readers who are actually in the region to which you supply.
I’m very appreciative of the publishers that have allowed me access to books on this platform and I thought it would be fun to do a quick round up of some of my favourite NetGalley finds. There are a LOT of these (I’ve been using NetGalley regularly since 2014) so this post will most likely be Part 1 of a few. To start us off:
I will forever be grateful to Quirk Books for approving my request to read this one because it is now one of my ALL TIME FAVOURITE BOOKS. It’s about a group of high school girls in the eighties – a night of fun goes awry and Abby suspects her best friend Gretchen is possessed by something very sinister.
Here are some of the things I love about this novel of deep friendship, nostalgia and horror:
- set in the 80’s and the chapter titles are 80’s songs
- the 80’s references were on point without feeling like a parody or novelty book
- the Satanic panic featured is scary and fascinating
- actually really creepy with several scenes that are straight up horrifying
- one of my favourite depictions of teenage friendships (both the good and bad aspects)
- amazing cover art for both the hardcover (the yearbook photo) and paperback (the VHS cover)
- the author seems really cool – he also wrote HORRORSTOR which is one of the reasons I’m lowkey fascinated by IKEA.
A musician reminiscent of Carole King, Joni Mitchell and Janis Joplin reflects on her life and music as she puts together a greatest hits album. As a music fan, and a big ol’ feminist, this tale of a woman’s strength and creativity in an often misogynist industry was at times enraging, always engrossing. The musician Kathryn Williams has actually recorded the songs that the protagonist Cass Wheeler writes – they can be found on Spotify at this link.
A multifaceted account of a school shooting that was full of intense emotion. At first the many different characters and their relationships to one another took a bit of effort to keep track of but this was a really fantastic read that I couldn’t put down. After reading this one I contacted the author on Twitter to let her know how much I enjoyed it, and she sent me a package (from the Netherlands!) of signed bookmarks that I put into copies of the book once they hit the shelves at my then-store. When it first came to Australia, it was only available in a $24 hardcover (not ideal for YA), but because I’d already read it and loved it, I was able to take a chance on it that I might not have otherwise. I’ve been so pleased to see the continued success of this one.
Harper is a ballerina whose whole identity is wrapped up in dancing. A major setback causes her to question everything, and through family connections she finagles herself a spot on an Antarctica science expedition. Such an original mix of subject matters, setting and well realised characters. It made me curious about Antarctica in a way I never had been before, and the slice of life portrayed out there was fascinating.
Thanks for reading – if you’ve used NetGalley as a reader, author or publisher I’d love to hear your experiences!