Fact checking is well, checking the facts presented in a book. Now, I get YA is composed of books of fiction, but every book, even fictional ones, have to have some elements of what we call reality. Honestly, I don’t really fact check. I won’t read something that is presented like a fact and then go look it up. If a character claims 60% of cavities are caused by drinking soda, okay, whatever. But if a “fact” contradicts something I know, whether in depth or just a little bit about, that’s when I feel the need to fact check. And if it’s wrong, I can’t help but dislike the book a tiny bit.
I’m a big mythology nerd. Or at least Greek mythology. My love for Greek myths and Greek gods (and goddesses) was what convinced me to start reading the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan in the first place. But my knowledge about them kind of became annoying when I read Only Everything by Kieran Scott. The book itself was fine but I could not get over how the Greek mythology was twisted in it. Eros, who is a married man in the myths, became a girl who fell in love with a guy who’s a constellation, Orion, who, according to some myths, loved Artemis. And while I could understand the twists and even though the book provided pretty good explanations for the discrepancies, I couldn’t help but go “wrong, WRONG, WRONG!” in my head. I still liked the story though – I gave it a four out of five stars in my review, but I probably would have rated it higher if it just stuck to the myths instead of twisting them.
The fudged up facts don’t have to be blatantly obvious to annoy me either. For example, sometimes I’ll mentally fact check when I read mystery books and the book details the forensic evidence and the way it is processed. “Scanned the fingerprint into IAFIS (Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System) and got an exact match” IT DOESN’T WORK THAT WAY! It’s a lot more complicated than that in reality. IAFIS only gives possible matches, which then have to examined by a fingerprint expert to determine the closest match (according to my Forensics textbook and teacher). It’s the small facts like these that bother me.
As you can see, I’m really picky. I pick at all the little things when in books the big thing should matter the most. When it comes to fact checking, I hate it when I’m right and the book is wrong because the wrong facts kind of put a damper on my reading experience of that book. Sigh.
Do you fact check?
Can fact checking affect your opinion of a book?