A book review describes, analyzes and evaluates. The review conveys an opinion, supporting it with evidence from the book. Do you know how to write a book review? I didn’t. And even though I knew I didn’t, that didn’t stop me from firmly inserting my foot in my mouth by agreeing to conduct a book review writing workshop for my local Barnes & Noble. I blithely assured myself it would simply be a matter of picking up Book Reviews for Dummies or something to that effect. Au contraire. It’s easier to find information on bomb-making than book review writing.
1. Start with a couple of sentences describing what the book is about
But without giving any spoilers or revealing plot twists! As a general rule, try to avoid writing in detail about anything that happens from about the middle of the book onwards. If the book is part of a series, it can be useful to mention this, and whether you think you’d need to have read other books in the series to enjoy this one.
2. Discuss what you particularly liked about the book
Focus on your thoughts and feelings about the story and the way it was told. You could try answering a couple of the following questions:
- Who was your favorite character, and why?
- Did the characters feel real to you?
- Did the story keep you guessing?
- What was your favorite part of the book, and why?
- Were certain types of a scene written particularly well – for example, sad scenes, tense scenes, mysterious ones…?
- Did the book make you laugh or cry?
- Did the story grip you and keep you turning the pages?
3. Round up your review
Summarise some of your thoughts on the book by suggesting the type of reader you’d recommend the book to. For example younger readers, older readers, fans of relationship drama/mystery stories/comedy. Are there any books or series you would compare it to?
4. You can give the book a rating, for example, a mark out of five or ten, if you like!
Luisa Plaja loves words and books, and she used to edit the book review site Chicklish. Her novels for teenagers include Split by a Kiss, Swapped by a Kiss and Kiss Date Love Hate. She lives in Devon, England, and has two young children.