Booktok app has lost its way

After everything I have written this has been something I have wanted to do for a long time, but I never thought anyone would care to read it. But the more I think about it, the more I see how important it is. Booktok is problematic and can be unsafe for users under the age of 18. 

Booktok is a community on TikTok, where people make videos on books that they have read, want to read, authors and book drama. There was a time when I went on to BookTok to see what new books were out, and at first, I didn’t notice anything wrong. It was a place where people made videos about books, but after a while, I started to see where the issues came from. 

First, Booktok feels like fast fashion. But what does that mean? The publishing industry keeps pushing out books because they know people who are influenced by social media reviews will buy them, even though there are a lot of issues with the book. What I keep seeing is books with terrible grammar and sometimes spelling being published when it was not ready to be.

A book that I keep seeing that people are calling Booktok fast fashion is Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros. Now, I have never read Fourth Wing, but I never want to. I keep seeing it all over Booktok, but it’s never about what the book is about. All that I see about this book is the special edition that everyone wants. But even then from what I understand, there isn’t anything really special about the special edition. Now, I don’t know how true this is because I have never read Fourth Wing, but tell me why you would put Scottish Gaelic in your book when you don’t know how to pronounce it correctly. How did you not get people who understand it to read it before it was published? Why didn’t anyone notice this before? 

Books take time to make and I believe that I would rather wait years than be given a book that was rushed just to make money and not made with care. But I do have to say even if this book wasn’t popular on Booktok, I would still not read it because I am a picky reader and there is nothing about this book that is interesting to me. 

I don’t know what it is with people fighting tooth and nail trying to defend the books they love from bad reviews. Some go as far as to harass people online because how dare they say they didn’t like a certain book. You have to be kidding me! As someone who has very strong opinions about books I read, I also understand that my opinions are not going to be the same as someone else’s opinions, and that’s OK. 

Like I love Divine Rivals, but I can understand why some people don’t like this book because it’s not for everyone. It is not a big deal if someone else doesn’t like it because at the end of the day it’s a book, and people are going to have opinions you don’t like, and you should just ignore it. 

The only thing that I don’t like about how people review books is that if they don’t like it they would only say it’s overhyped? There are more reasons as to why you didn’t like the book, and the hype can be a reason why you read the book, but that should not be the only reason why you didn’t like the book. This makes me think of two things. One, did you even read the book or are you afraid of the community coming after you for sharing your opinions? If that is the case, that is awful! You should have the right to say what you want as long as it is respectful, and you shouldn’t be afraid of how people would react to what you feel about a book.

Tik Tok is a 12+ app, but that does not mean that this app is safe for those who are young, and sadly Booktok is slowly becoming an unsafe place. I do want to say that there is nothing wrong with reading dark romance books that are full of sexual themes, but that is all Booktok is pushing anymore to the point that people think that is all Booktok is about. 

What I think is worse is when adults would recommend these books but not put the proper warning about what the book contains. An example is for books like Hunting Adeline, an adult book full of content that is not for people that are under 18. The author has said many times to not recommend or give this book to minors because of the book’s contents. Ice Breaker isn’t a dark book, but it is a book made for readers who are 18+; it’s on the back of the book, so it is not like people don’t know this, yet I am seeing readers under the age of 18 reading this book, and this gives me a mixed feeling. One, readers know what they can handle and should decide what they want to read. Plus, it is mainly high schoolers that I have seen reading Ice Breaker, so it’s not too bad compared to Hunting Adeline, but I feel that anything that is labeled 18+ should not be easy to get a hold of when you are underage. Now don’t get me wrong. I think it is important for teenagers to read books with a few sexual themes, but YA is not the same as adult books. I feel like books like these are the only books that get popularized here, and there is not a good selection of different types of books anymore. 

Now here we go to what made me want to write this paper, which I like to call this one: Reader X Biker guy? More like, Creepy Booktok Woman X Jail time. I feel like everyone knows about this, but this is what I mean if it was an older man doing this to a 16-year-old girl people would have stepped in faster to stop it, but there has been this whole new obsession with biker guys on Booktok, and why that is, is very odd. It started with a video of this woman going to a Barnes & Noble where she saw a cool bike out in the parking lot, and this woman lost her mind and wondered if the guy was in the store. Sure enough, he was, and the woman went up to him and said ‘OwO’ to him. Booktok lost their mind over this, and the whole Reader X Hot biker guy became the thing on Booktok. I have never seen this video, and I never want to, but you can not tell me that video was not planned because there is no way in the year of very late 2023 that someone would go up to the random person and go ‘OwO’ to them. But it didn’t matter, because Booktok was obsessed with it. Usually, this would not be an issue until you bring a 16-year-old boy into this. There was nothing about this boy’s account that was inappropriate, or that he was an adult, and even if he was, there should be no way you should go to someone’s page and be sexual to them. All he did from my understanding is, he made a video with his biker mask on and had The Hunger Games books in his hands, and Booktok went crazy over it. And it was older women over the age of 18 who were leaving inappropriate comments about him or would recommend books that are for adults. YOU HAVE TO BE KIDDING ME! This behavior is weird and should not be happening, and I don’t know why it took so long for anyone to step in and stop it, and why people do not talk about it anymore. Because I promise you if this was a 16-year-old girl dealing with this, everyone would stop the guy and make sure he never came back on the app, but why can we not have the same energy for this? 

This is my most unpopular opinion that would start an argument with someone, but I also believe that if you see something you don’t like, you should speak up and take a stand. 

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