Balancing trigger warnings and spoilers

I’ve been slow to finish the book because of that… totally my fault, but definitely not appreciated. I had gotten super excited about reading other people’s responses and how they felt about reading the same thing that one person ended up spoiling the rest of the book and deflated the fun I was having.

One fellow reader on NetGalley even posted this on the book I had been reading:

A lot of the reviews I’m glancing at on Goodreads are spoiling all of the surprises and taboos in the book. That’s why I’m not going to read them.

While I’d totally expect that from Goodreads discussion, I didn’t expect such a spoiler from NetGalley since a lot of the books that I read reviews for there don’t have such an in-depth, spoiler-rific warning that explicitly stated every single possible trigger that also happened to be major plot points to be uncovered by reading through the story. I’ve even managed to spoil a major character’s death to my BFF by reading someone’s incredibly detailed list of possible triggers for a book … definitely not a good feeling.

Photo by Valeria Boltneva on

There has to be a balance with trigger warnings. Regardless of opinions on whether trigger warnings for media are good or bad, there’s a point where some reviewers go so far as to spoil the content. Maybe some standard list of warnings to choose from? Or overarching “this book may have one of the topics in this list” kind of thing? Who knows — I’ve seen a lot of good trigger warnings but also a number of spoiler-ific bad ones, so I think we have a lot of work to do as reviewers.

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