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Book Review Quick Guide

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Writing a book review can be a great way to enhance reading comprehension and writing skills. It also gives readers a way to express their thoughts and help others find books that might interest them. Effective reviews aren’t hard to write, but if you or a someone you know needs some pointers, here are some to get you started.

Remember that a book review is a way to help people decide if a book is worth reading, and is not the same thing as a book report.

 

Main Elements of a Book Review:

  • The book’s title and author
  • A brief summary of the plot that doesn’t give away too much—no spoilers!
  • Comments on the book’s strengths and weaknesses
  • Your personal response to the book with specific examples to support praise or criticism. Whether you liked it or not, do you think other people would?

Useful Things to Think About and Include:

  • Does the book fit into a genre, like mystery or romance? How does the book compare to other books on the same topic or in the same genre?
  • When and where does the book take place? Does the author do a good job of making you feel like you are there? How?
  • Are the main characters believable? Do you know anyone like them? Does the author adequately describe them?
  • What do you like or dislike about the author’s writing style? That is, do you like the way the author uses words? Is it funny, serious, complex?
  • How long is the book? Is it an easy or a challenging read?
  • Is there anything that would be helpful for the reader to know about the author? For instance, is the author an expert in the field, the author of other popular books, or a first-time author?
  • Is the book written in a formal or informal style? Is the language remarkable in any way?
  • What ages is the book geared to?
  • Did the book feel complete, or did it feel as though key elements were left out?

Further Guides for Writing Book Reviews:

Mensa for Kids: Book Review Guide
Read Write Think: Help a Child Write a Book Review
Barnes & Noble: 7 Tips for Helping Kids Write Good Book Reviews

Teen Rave Reviews:

Check out book reviews submitted by teens, for teens, on our Teen Rave Reviews blog!

South Pasadena Public Library
1100 Oxley Street | South Pasadena | CA | 91030
626-403-7350 | library@southpasadenaca.gov | www.southpasadenaca.gov/library
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