HOW TO WRITE A BOOK REVIEW

Writing a book review? Yay! Other readers will always be interested in people’s opinions of books. It helps them find their next great read. But what I’ve noticed is not many people look for the reviews of young readers when, really, your opinions are the most important of all. I mean, you’re the ones these books are written for!

So, let’s create a unique digital library of reviews for people to come and visit. I can’t wait to read what you think. 

DO YOU KNOW HOW TO WRITE A BOOK REVIEW?

First, let me say that there is no right or wrong way to write a book review. You’re writing what you think and feel about the book, and there is no wrong way to express your thoughts. 

But you do have to be mindful. You have to think about the author of the book and the people who are reading your review. To help you write a great review that is kind and considerate, look at the guidelines below. 

WRITING A BOOK REVIEW

Before we get to the structure, keep in mind a few things:

  1. Don’t include spoilers! While it’s important to tell us what the book is about, don’t give away the ending, please!
  2. Be kind. It’s absolutely okay to say you don’t like a book, but you need to be constructive and tell us why. Maybe you don’t think the character is believable. Maybe you think the story is slow or that some are hard to understand. Constructive criticism is great – authors like to know how they can improve their writing for their next book. But before you start, just remember that someone out there put their heart and soul into writing this book, so be kind. Avoid words like:
    • boring
    • stupid
    • terrible, and
    • bad.

When you write your book review, try and imagine you’re talking to someone who asked you whether you think they should read the book.

STRUCTURE

Heading 

Book Title.

Subheading 

Author’s name (and the illustrator too!).

Body

Tell us what the book is about (again, no spoilers, please!). You can tell us things like:

  • Who are the main characters
  • Where they are (if it’s important…like Ancient Greece or Nevermoor!)
  • The genre (whether it’s a fantasy, historical, mystery etc.)
  • The main plot.

Then talk about what you think. Tell us what you like about the book and what you don’t. You can talk about who your favourite character is and why, or what you think about the story. Do you like the way it was told?

You can try answering some of the following questions:

  • Do the characters feel real?
  • Does the story keep you turning the pages?
  • What is your favourite part of the book, and why?
  • Are certain types of scene written well – like, sad scenes or mysterious ones?
  • Does the book make you laugh? Cry?

If you don’t like parts of the book, you can talk about what doesn’t work for you. For example:

  • Is the ending frustrating? Why?
  • Do you dislike one of the characters? Do you know why?
  • Is the story too scary or mysterious for your liking?

YOUR FINAL PARARAPH

Summarise your thoughts and then suggest the type of reader you’d recommend the book to, for example: 

  • younger/older readers.
  • fans of drama/mystery/comedy stories.
  • fans of another book. 

You can compare it to another book, and feel free to give it a rating out of 5!

E.g., I think fans of the Inkheart series will really like this book because it is just as adventurous. I give it 5 out of 5!

Finish your review by signing off with your name and age.

E.g., This review was written by Geni Kuckhahn, age 32.

HOW LONG SHOULD YOUR BOOK REVIEW BE?

There is no word limit, not exactly. But if it’s too short, you won’t be able to tell the reader enough to understand if it’s a good book for them, and if it’s too long, you might be giving too much away. Try and aim for around four to six paragraphs like this:

Paragraph 1 – The introduction and story overview

Paragraph 2 – What you like about the book

Paragraph 3 – What you didn’t like about the book

Paragraph 4 – Summary, who would like the book and your rating.

You can add more paragraphs in the middle if you have more to say.

That’s it! Head over to the book reviews and read a few to get an idea of how to write a review if you’re stuck. I’m happy to answer any questions, so send me a question here if you need help.

You can submit your book review by clicking here

Some final thoughts:

  • I might gently edit your review if there are mistakes in grammar and punctuation for clarity, but I will never take away from your ‘voice’.
  • If you don’t have access to a computer, you can handwrite your review, take a photo of it and upload the photo – I’ll type it up for you.
  • If you would like to draw some illustrations to go with your review, feel free!
  • Each review will be posted with a photo of the book. If you would like to take the photo or be in the photo with the book, that’s great! Just make sure you have a grown-up’s permission to have your photo published on the website.

FOR THE GROWN-UPS WITH VERY YOUNG READERS

Reading books mindfully is a great way to develop skills as a writer, even from a very young age. If you have a moment, it would be helpful to send us a quick review of what your babies and toddlers think of the books – whether they were engaged with the pictures and whether they enjoyed the rhythm of the words.

You can encourage your young readers to tell you what they like and don’t like about their books as soon as they can voice their opinions. Click here to find a short list of questions you could ask them, and I’d love you to send me their answers to publish!

And just remember – no spoilers, please!

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