Anna Reads is pretty self-explanatory; the creator, Anna, reads young adult (YA) books and reviews them on her eponymous blog.
I think that the design of her blog is very appealing: the theme is simple and easy to navigate. The color scheme is bright and casual without getting too over the top. You can pretty much find everything that you need to know above the fold: the name of the blog (complete with book clip art), an about page widget, links to social media/subscription, a search bar, and a navigation bar. The footer includes copyright information and a link to the person who designed the page. The side bar is on the right and contains links to popular posts, a drop-down archive, a Goodreads widget (which is pretty important considering the content of the blog), and a few ads.
The blog is self-hosted and occasionally includes guest posts. Aside from reviews, Anna includes “Week in Review” posts where she writes snippets about her life, books she’s read in the past week, and also books she’s added to her collection. Other categories are “Best of’s” and “Things I like in Books”.
Since she adds between 5-10 books to her bookshelf every week, I initially assumed that she spends an obscene amount of money on books, but then I realized that almost all of them are sent to her by publishers (who she thanks in her posts). I’m incredibly jealous of this, but also a little wary. She says she doesn’t get paid for reviews, but I feel like if she was really critical of books then publishers would be more reluctant to send her books. So far I haven’t found a negative or ambivalent review, but she also seems like the kind of person who’s basically enamored with everything so maybe she doesn’t have a whole lot of books that she doesn’t like. I kinda wish that she would use a star system instead of just saying everything is good and that we need to go out and buy it. I also wish that her reviews were a little more comprehensive. I get that she doesn’t want to spoil anything–especially if she’s given books for free–but sometimes what she writes is no more than what you can get from the back of the book. I feel like it’s totally okay to include more specific details of books so long as you have a spoiler warning ahead.
Sometimes her mantra (in her words, “highschool + boyfriends makes for the best books”) gets really annoying, but then I really can’t say that I’ve read a whole lot of YA. To be honest, I feel like the genre itself has a tendency to get too campy. This isn’t always a bad thing, but considering that the genre is already riddled with sometimes painful tropes, it can sometimes get hard to read with a straight face. Still, there are a few YA authors I can always depend on to tell a good story.
Despite the shortcomings of the content of her blog, I can see myself using it next time I’m in the mood to find a good YA author. Also, I think that I can use her blog as inspiration for my own. I don’t mean I should review the books she’s already reviewed, but I really like how all her reviews have a certain structure to them. She also really integrates Goodreads, which is kind of like Facebook for people who read a lot of books. I think that since I’m doing a book blog I should probably do the same. All in all, I think that Anna Reads is a decent example of a book blog that I should keep in mind.