Author Rejects Claims Xenophobic One-Star Book Review Was a Twitter Hoax

A teen author was given a one-star review on Goodreads after the reader discovered she was an immigrant, but the story has since continued to unravel online.

Dominika Pindor, 14, was born in Poland and now lives in Illinois with her family. On TikTok, she has over 250,000 followers on her account @the.teen.writer, where she makes videos about books and writing.

In March, Pindor self-published her first book, Wings and Shadows, using Amazon's KDP program. The book is a young-adult fantasy novel, and she documented the process of its creation online.

Wings and Shadows received positive reviews on popular site Goodreads, where readers can post their views on books they've read. However, one review criticized the writer for being an immigrant.

"Someone just left me a one-star review because i'm a (LEGAL) immigrant. I can't do this today," tweeted Pindor along with an image of the Goodreads review.

The review, left by someone named Alex Peterson, begins, "Book was good, daughter enjoyed it. Was going to give five stars then found out the author was an immigrant. Not sure if illegal or not but I will not be supporting someone whose family damages America's economy. She did say she was trying to get rid of her accent but her efforts are either weak or not there at all; I can still hear it in her voice."

"I hope this serves as a lesson to all immigrants to STAY IN YOUR OWN DAMN COUNTRY!!! If your country has problems FIX THEM. Don't infest our nation with your existence and steal the jobs of hard working Americans," continues the review.

"Had I known this author was an immigrant leeching off our language to get a bigger audience I would have never bought this crap. Pindor if you see this, write in your own language."

Someone just left me a one star review because I’m a (LEGAL) immigrant. I can’t do this today.

— Dominika P. (@dominikapin) May 12, 2021

Pindor told Newsweek she was in a health class when she found the review: "Until yesterday, most of my reviews were positive. But when I refreshed the page last morning and saw that my one-star reviews had gone up by one, I felt my stomach drop. The more I kept reading the review, the angrier I got," she says.

"It wasn't things my family and I hadn't heard before, but the fact that it was on my book's review page instead of in my dms, which is where I typically get comments like that, is what truly upset me. So I turned to Twitter, one of my smaller platforms, so I could rant about it in hopes that enough people would report the review and get it removed."

After sharing the tweet, Pindor received an influx of support in the replies, with many purchasing Kindle copies of the book. One Twitter user even purchased five copies, tweeting links for other users to redeem the books to read themselves.

"I'm sorry that you have to deal with this. I know it's a small consolation, but I bought five copies of your book, free to anyone interested," they tweeted.

"Thank you everyone for your kind words and for helping me flag down the review. I can't see it anymore, so i'm assuming it has been deleted by Goodreads. Either that, or it's under review," tweeted Pindor in a follow-up tweet.

The review is no longer visible on Goodreads at the time of publication. Seemingly, the account was created for the sole purpose of leaving the review, with it being the first and only review.

However, questions over the legitimacy of the review appeared on Twitter just hours later, after some users became suspicious of the review with both the author and reviewer being from Illinois.

An account soon surfaced claiming to be a sister of the author. The account, which has previous tweets promoting the book, shared screenshots of messages alleging a boy Pindor "rejected two weeks ago" wrote the review "to get her attention."

In a tweet, the account claims they connected the boy's phone number to Goodreads and discovered it belonging to the reviewer. As it stands, Newsweek is not aware of such a feature publicly available on Goodreads.

"My friend contacted me yesterday regarding the matter. Turns out the reviewer is a man I met online roughly one month ago," tweeted Pindor. "I never met him, but I did have his socials, and when I blocked him, he got upset."

"Now we're on pretty good terms. He apologized, promised he'd be better, and said we would be friends ONLY. That's good, so I'm letting the matter drop," she continued.

Now, the original tweet by Pindor displaying the review has been deleted.

"The review was left by an individual I met online approximately one month ago, who I blocked after he began hinting at wanting romance, which back then made me slightly uncomfortable," Pindor told Newsweek.

"After a few failed attempts to reach me, he left the review, shortly letting my friend know that he would remove it if I unblocked him and gave him another chance at friendship, which I did," she added.

Last week, iNews reported that authors from diverse backgrounds on Goodreads have been receiving harassment in the reviews of their books, including racism and homophobia.

Goodreads told Newsweek in a statement: "At Goodreads, we take the responsibility of supporting our diverse community of readers very seriously. We require all members to follow our Community Guidelines, and hate speech, bigotry, threats, and ad hominem attacks are not tolerated. Content that doesn't meet our guidelines will be deleted and/or accounts banned, and we are constantly making improvements to better safeguard our community. We encourage people to contact us directly using our Contact Us form if they need support."

05/14/21 02.50 a.m. ET: This story was updated to include quotes from the author.

05/14/21 07:02 a.m. ET: This story was updated to include new claims and tweets from the author.

05/18/21 02:51 a.m. ET: This story was updates to include further comments from the author.

Books on desk in library
Close up of books on desk in library. An author got a one-star review after the reader found out she is an immigrant. Getty Images. Getty Images