Our Book Review Site Grew From Books
First as a site for kids and now a site for adults, too.
Seth Cassel hoped to become a baseball player...luckily he started reading.
In 2002, when Seth Cassel was in fourth grade, he started Flamingnet.com with his dad, Gary Cassel. The site allowed them to combine Seth’s passion for reading and reviewing young adult (YA) books with his dad’s web development hobby. Flamingnet received a lot of national recognition and awards.
Article in YALS about Flamingnet
Hundreds of book reviews later, authors and publishers began to ask Seth to review their new titles. As the number of book review requests and visitors to the website grew exponentially, Seth and his dad realized they had hit upon a simple yet powerful idea – the most important opinions about literature come from readers...and readers want to read books reviewed by other everyday readers. This is particularly true for literature written for teens and young adults, but it also holds true for adult literature, too.
Seth and Gary also realized that their reading and reviewing model of providing free reading books to people for review and then giving them feedback on their written book reviews was an innovative way to promote literacy and writing, making reading a fun and social experience. Thus, because of the positive feedback from reviewers, booksellers, parents, educators, authors, and publishers, they expanded their reading and reviewing program to include reviewers from around the world. Considering that they had only run the website as a part-time hobby and financed it primarily out-of-pocket, their initial website and concept was quite successful, with the potential to reach even more people if expanded…enter LitPick.
While attending Harvard, LitPick Book Reviews was created by Seth and a group of college friends in 2011 based on his Flamingnet experience. Initially just for kids but later expanded to include adults too, they enhanced the selection of free books to read and review and they began offering free reading books to ADULTS and STUDENTS by increasing the list of available eBooks and print books online that can be requested for review.
The site's online interactive reading reading and writing program was also expanded to encourage teachers and librarians to use LitPick for their book clubs and reading groups, besides recommending LitPick to individual adults and students who may also want to become a LitPick book reviewer. Numerous other improvements were made to Seth's original Flamingnet concept and LitPick's continued growth and success helps reinforce our passion for our site and for our mission to help make a difference by promoting reading and writing as well as connecting authors with readers.