Spoilers Anyone? – Let’s Discuss

Posted August 29, 2015 by Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction in Let's Discuss / 45 Comments


Let’s talk spoilers. Just recently, I wrote a review that was barely a review because I could think of almost nothing to say that wasn’t going to spoil the book. And I had been spoiled for that very book – I just didn’t want to do it. (After thinking about it for longer, there are things I could have said. But I’m still okay with my non-review in this case – I just flailed a little and told people to read it.)

But here’s the thing, the review for this book didn’t really say anything actually spoilery. It merely mentioned that something happened that changed everything – something I’ve done in tons of reviews. For whatever reason, in this case, I just immediately knew what was going to happen and I was then waiting for it through the whole book. I still loved the book, but I just couldn’t bring myself to say anything about it and spoil it for anyone else.

Just yesterday, I read another review for this same book that basically told what happened without any spoiler tags at all!! I mean, I guess they were slightly vague about it, but they gave away WAY too much information. (I mentioned in the comments that they should warn people about the spoilers. Hopefully the blogger wasn’t upset about that, but I couldn’t help but point it out.)

So, my question is, what do you consider a spoiler? In some ways, I feel like it’s impossible to write reviews that don’t give anything away. Is the mere mention of the fact that there’s a twist a spoiler? Is saying that you loved that thing that happened during the ending giving away too much? Heck, even mentioning that there is a spoiler could be one, right?

I’m one of those people who often figures out twists, and I’ve been spoiled by little details in reviews occasionally, but I’ve never really felt upset about it. This was the first time I’ve felt like I missed out because I was pretty darn sure of what was going to happen. I don’t know that I’ll change much about my reviews and I certainly don’t expect anyone else to. Honestly, most of the time I think that knowing something exciting happens just heightens my anticipation for a book, so I don’t think the mere mention of twists is bad. Still, it’s a slippery slope.

Oh, I WILL say that if you are going to completely give away something in a book that surprised you, you should mark it as a spoiler! Please!


How do you feel about spoilers in reviews? And what do you consider a spoiler? I want to know!



45 responses to “Spoilers Anyone? – Let’s Discuss

  1. I’m not that disturbed by spoilers…but then I’m someone who skips to the end on occasion before reading the middle. On the other hand, I don’t see the point of “reviews” that are basically just a plot summary. Yes, you have to give a certain amount of background, but then I want to hear about what your reactions were, not a blow-by-blow recounting of every detail. Finding the balance there is actually what I find most challenging about writing a review.

    I wouldn’t personally consider merely mentioning that there is a twist to be a spoiler. It’s pretty certain that that’s been mentioned on the jacket copy or blurb anyway. But I suppose hyper sensitive readers might not want to know — they should probably stay away from reviews altogether!

    I think anything that is mentioned within the first 50 pages of the book is fair game, which should allow you to give the basic direction of the plot, setting and characters. Beyond that I usually keep details pretty vague unless there is something I have to highlight in order to explain my reaction.

    Lory @ Emerald City Book Review recently posted: Blog vacation
    • I agree that first fifty pages is pretty much safe to mention (unless it’s something shocking – then I still try to avoid it). And I mention that there’s a twist all the time, so I don’t consider that a spoiler – it was just this one instance that threw me!

      As far as plot summary goes, I agree with you. Mine are VERY minimal (sometimes I even just say that the blurb summarizes it well enough and skip it completely). I totally skip over those when I’m reading reviews.

  2. My general rule that I try to stick by is not to give away anything that isn’t in the books summary already. I will say if I saw something coming or not but try to be really vague. I also add if I liked the ending or not but don’t give details. It is really hard sometimes to know what to say and what might be a spoiler!

    Grace @ Rebel Mommy Book Blog recently posted: Review ~ Everything, Everything
    • Exactly – there’s no such thing. I guess if people know that they hate to know anything about books then they just shouldn’t read reviews. Every once in a while, if there’s a book that I am going to read soon and I’m nervous about being spoiled, I’ll just skim reviews and only really look at the number of stars and overall impressions.

  3. I dislike spoiler reviews, especially without a warning. Even the ones that try to hide the spoilers, I usually read them anyways thus spoiling the book for myself. I don’t think saying that the book had a twist is a spoiler. Although, I did see a blogger (i could have swore it was you, but i guess my memory is wrong) say that mentioning the book had a twist is a spoiler. I am so guilty of that. Sometimes I include spoilers, hidden ones, because it seems like everyone has already read/talked about this book and I want to discuss it as well.
    It is a slippery slope, but if I see a blogger write a spoiler, I will most likely not read anymore reviews/posts from that blogger. I trust the blogs I subscribe to, to not ruin books for me.

    Karen Blue recently posted: ARC AUGUST Updates Week 4
    • Wasn’t me – I know Jamie over at Perpetual Page Turner has said that. She’s the first person I remember seeing with this opinion and I thought it would be really hard to avoid talking about a twist at all – I often say that I loved a twist or that I saw one coming.

  4. Becca and I actually had a post about this last month too. We both HATE spoilers. People are very quick to spoil books, especially on Twitter and Goodreads. I like to know basically NOTHING when going into a book. I don’t even read the synopsis again prior to reading, and I never read reviews until AFTER I’ve read the book myself because I like to go into each book as blind as possible.

    That being said, I’ve never thought about the mere mention of SOMETHING happening, or stating there was a TWIST at the end, to be a spoiler. And you’re right… some may think that it is. In my experience, it seems like almost every book has some kind of twist or something surprising that happens, so when I see that mentioned it goes right in one ear and out the other. But I have mentioned that type of thing in my reviews before, and now I’m wondering if maybe I shouldn’t be? If you consider that a spoiler, others may too. I try to keep my reviews extremely vague. I don’t talk about the story in detail any more than the synopsis does. I usually point out things I liked, like a good sibling relationship, supportive parents, or a substantial friendship. But I’ve never thought about any of this being a spoiler. But I guess it totally could be. Say we’re discussing a mystery book. Someone is committing horrible crimes against Jane and we’re trying to figure out who it is. Well, if I write something like “I really enjoyed the strong friendship between Jane and Sarah”, then I guess that makes Jane’s friend Sarah automatically NOT a suspect anymore. Spoiler, right? I guess it definitely could be. Ugh. You’ve really got me thinking now… LOL Great post!

    Lisa @ Lost in Literature recently posted: Lisa’s Weekly Recap ~ 8.29.15
    • I actually don’t consider the mere mention of a twist a spoiler – it was only in this one circumstance that it kind of ruined things for me, and that was why it shocked me so much. I’ve seen other people say that they thought mentioning this was a spoiler and thought it would be nearly impossible to avoid spoilers if it’s defined so broadly. This was the first time that I kind of saw their point! But I still don’t plan on really changing anything, and I don’t expect anyone else to either. It just made me see that other side to the story. I think you have the best method – if you’re the type of person who really doesn’t want to know anything about a book before you read it, you just don’t read reviews ahead of time!

  5. I think it’s difficult to keep a book completely spoiler free. I mean, even most book summaries give away some things. I believe as long as you don’t ruin a big twist or something, it’s fine. Even telling me there is a twist is fine to be honest – it sometimes just makes me more excited to read a book.


    ShootingStarsMag recently posted: Blogger Help: Let's Talk Online Friendships
  6. Spoilers are much more subjective than we give them credit for. For some people, any information relating to plot at all in spoilery, for others they can find out lots of little bits of information, but if the general plot isn’t given away they are fine. When I write a review, I try to think of what I would say to someone in real life to convince them to read the book. I can’t write reviews without giving something away, so I will talk around an issue, rather than talk about it directly, or I will say “There’s so many great things, but I can’t talk about them too much, without spoiling it for you” – that appears a lot in my reviews because at least then the reader will know there was lots I enjoyed, I just can’t talk about it! R x

    Rachel recently posted: A Way Into YA
  7. I sometimes find it hard to avoid using spoilers in reviews! I find it hard to not talk about the aftermath of something big that happened in the book or I find it hard to talk about the effects or how much I liked/disliked how the author incorporated this big twist without giving it away. I also do this with love triangles because I’ll say something like ‘I always wanted (insert name) to be with (insert name)’ and then I’ll go on to later say ‘I was very happy with who (insert name) ended up with’ and I’ll be completely oblivious that I’ve just accidentally given something away 🙁

    Awesome post!

    Lily (chapterspageswords.blogspot.com) recently posted: Stacking the Shelves 29/8/15
    • Yes – I’ve had this too. I don’t think the mere mention of a love triangle is spoilery, but I HAVE wondered before if saying that I was happy with the way things turned out is giving something away because people can tell from my review who I was rooting for without me even meaning to. But I think we’d drive ourselves crazy if we tried to say nothing in our reviews!

  8. Sometimes it’s hard to review a book without spoilers. In those cases, I try to hide the spoilers behind a clicky spoiler tag. So people have to actively click the spoiler to be spoiled.

    But sometimes it’s hard to tell what might end up being a spoiler. The obvious things like character deaths, or a huge turning point in a book you can easily gloss over or skip without spoiling things.

    But things like love triangles where you love one of the possibilities, but don’t love the other? I want to gush about the character I love! But I always second-guess, wondering if by gushing about him/her, if that lets the reader know that’s who the character picked (or occasionally Didn’t pick)?

    I’m most likely guilty of the occasional small spoiler when it comes to books I didn’t care for. It’s hard to explain exactly why it wasn’t for me if I don’t explain what irked me. But I try to keep them to minor non-important spoilers. (And I would certainly be happy if someone told me I’d gone to far! That would tell me to go back and use spoiler tags if I hadn’t realized.)

    • Those are both really good points – love triangles are really hard because you might be rooting for one character and your happiness or displeasure could make it obvious which person gets chosen if you’re not careful! And I totally agree that books you don’t love are the hardest not to spoil – I feel like when I rant, I almost always spoil – but I give LOTS of ample warning ahead of time! Luckily, I don’t feel the need to rant all that often. We could drive ourselves crazy by examining each and every word to decide if it might be spoilery!!

    • I think we’ve ALL done it! I agree that the mention of a twist can’t be considered a spoiler – this was the first time I’ve ever felt spoiled by such a thing (and I definitely don’t blame the reviewer – the other reviewer who ACTUALLY spoiled things made me a bit crazy, though!).

  9. Sigh. I hate spoilers so much, so I completely agree with you. Which is why my reviews usually focus on other things like how *I* felt about the book, what I thought of the writing, and then I include a general logline of the book. I don’t really think reviews should rehash the book anyway, and I see lots of people who do that.

    In fact, plenty of reviews on Amazon have completely spoiled my own books! I try not to look at my own reviews because that way leads madness. But a few months ago, I decided to go in and grab quotes from Amazon reviews to include on my website. I came across a 3-star review of Released (2nd book in my series) where the reviewer had plenty of negative things to say (totally fine and reasonable as it’s a review) but then went on to spoil the entire storyline. I noticed that they got down voted pretty hard (the book was on sale twice this year and got a lot of traffic), came back, and edited the review to say that *I* had seen the review and told all of my friends to down vote. I never laughed so hard in all my life. It never occurred to her that she spoiled the book for everyone and that’s why it down voted! I rolled my eyes and clicked away. Some people will never learn.

    S. J. Pajonas recently posted: Writing Update – August 26, 2015
    • I was reading reviews from one of my authors recently and found a review that told EVERYTHING that happened!! I actually flagged it for spoilers – I tried to make my message really nice by saying it was a great review but needed to be hidden for spoiler purposes – hopefully that does the trick! I agree that some people will never learn!

  10. I tend to avoid reviews for books I’ll be reading soon, if I really want to go in with a fresh slate, because everyone seems to have a different opinion of what actually consists of a spoiler. That being said, for my own reviews, I generally try to stick to stuff that’s discussed in the blurb and not give away anything additional. With certain books, it can make them a pain to review but I’ll pay that price rather than spoil a book for another reader! Usually, my reviews cover plot, characters, world-building and pacing so I can usually discuss those without running the risk of spoilers. I agree that it can be tough though 🙂

    Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews recently posted: Fandom Mashup #17
    • That seems like a good rule of thumb. It’s definitely hard when something big happens that you loved or hated though not to at least say you loved or hated it (without mentioning what it was!). I still stand by my thought that that’s not a spoiler – even if it spoiled it for me one time! 🙂 I agree that the best way to go about this is to just avoid reviews for books you know you’re reading soon (or at least just skim them!).

  11. I feel like I used to give away little details that were spoilery or I mentioned something that was a big giveaway. This summer, someone left a nasty comment on an Amazon review about it. That got me thinking about the say I structure my reviews. I just write and get it all there on my draft, and then I revise. So I changed what I do to review, and created a structured format that I hope circumvents me doing this.

  12. Ugh, I hate spoilers. And I think I accidentally included a spoiler in one of my reviews recently (for The Kiss of Deception), because I didn’t know the twist was supposed to be twisty because I figured it out very early on and just read the book like it was completely normal that I knew it. That’s never happened to me before and I was really sorry I wrote that because I think I spoiled one of my readers… 🙁

    That said, I avoid spoilers like the plague. If I’m really excited about a book, I won’t even read reviews until I’ve read the book because even a hint of something can be counted as a spoiler (as you said) and I want to go in as cleanly as possible.

    I’m not sure about really old books, though. I recently spoiled myself quite thoroughly for Jane Eyre and I was livid – how can people just assume everyone’s read a book just because it’s a classic? Like I don’t know how far along that thing I read is in the plot but I’m assuming it’s pretty darn critical to the whole story so I think people really shouldn’t go writing stuff like that. And it wasn’t even a review, it was just an unimportant remark… Eh.

    Great post! 🙂

    Kaja recently posted: Challenges and Resolutions
        • Oooh! That sex thing is a REALLY good point – and I’ve definitely struggled with it. I do point out pretty specifically whether or not there’s sex (even telling whether or not it’s shown) because I think it’s important – especially for YA books. I have a 13-year-old and sometimes I even go back and check the content rating on my own reviews to remember whether or not the book would be appropriate for him to read. This is a bit of a compromise on my part, but I’m sticking with it because I feel like it’s something some people really want to know!

  13. SPOILERS. They make me stabby. Someone actually posted a review with a spoiler in the TITLE that I saw on Bloglovin. That person has since been UNfollowed, for obvious reasons. Luckily, some jerk had already spoiled this thing on Twitter but STILL. Stop with the spoilers, people!

    True story- I went to my blog to make sure it wasn’t me 😉 I try to be SUPER careful- heck, I even took out part of a book’s synopsis because it was giving stuff away!- but you never know, I guess! I just posted some spoilers in a review, BUT I marked them VERY clearly as such. I don’t like to post them at all, but this particular thing NEEDED to be said to make it clear why I hated the book so much.

    Personally, I try not to read reviews for books I know I’ll be reading soon- at least not in depth. I may read the first and last sentences, just to get the gist of how the blogger felt, but I figure I better not risk it! And then I try to remember to go back later 😉

    Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight recently posted: This Week At Midnight (76)
  14. Ah, for me, a spoiler would be stuffs that weren’t in the blurb/summary. That way, I would know what to write and what not to right. But there were times when I felt that my review NEEDS to have spoilers for it to be a review, and since I couldn’t do that, I would just FLAIL and explain my reactions while reading throughout the book, eg “When I came to THAT part of the book, I was like OH. MY. GOD.”

    HAHAHA yeah. But really, I think everyone should be careful with spoilers, because sometimes spoilers could make someone NOT want to read a book. And you’re making it difficult for the author to sell their books, you see? :/ Like someone would be like “Oh, I know the plot, not gonna read the book then.” And there goes one less sale.


    Maryam Dinzly recently posted: Just One Day (Just One Day #1) by Gayle Forman
  15. Deb

    Great discussion! I hate spoilers and think about this issue a lot when I write reviews. I always try to read my reviews a few times just to be sure I haven’t accidentally given something away. For example, saying that a book made me cry doesn’t tell you what happened but I still think it’s a spoiler. I try to stick to plot points in about the first quarter of a book, or things already in the book summary. But I’m always frustrated by how much I can’t say in a review.

  16. I think I know what book you’re talking about because the same happened to me and I guessed the plot twist in advance because of it. It’s hard because a lot of reviews will mention that there’s a crazy twist, but you expect that in certain books but not in, say, contemporaries. :/
    I don’t really mind spoilers, though! I do think reviews should tag for specific spoilers because that’s only fair, but hints at one don’t bother me.

    Danielle @ Love at First Page recently posted: Top Ten Characters I Didn’t Click With
  17. I actually don’t mind spoilers. If it’s a huge spoiler that’s going to ruin the whole book for me – like Allegiant’s ending – I might be a bit upset, but otherwise I don’t mind much. In fact, most of the time, when I read a book, I go into it knowing half of what happens. And it’s impossible to stay away from spoilers these days. Might as well get used to it!

    Mishma @ Chasing Faerytales recently posted: Channelling my inner supervillain
  18. I actually really don’t like spoilers in reviews. Sure, mention that there is a twist and some things, but not like, tell us the plot twist itself. And if you are going to do so, label it as something that includes a spoiler! The internet is full of spoilers on funny pictures these days as well. I have become the master at avoiding them. I still don’t know how Harry Potter ends (haven’t read that far yet) and I am sure it is all over. I am dodging things like crazy xD

    Olivia Roach recently posted: The Fast and Furious (Movie Review)

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