The purpose of any book review is to evaluate a given work and offer readers a sneak peek at what the book is like.


The Steps Involved in Writing a Book Review…

    1.  The first step of writing a book review is always to choose the right book …Being honestly interested in a book will help you write a strong review

      2.  Next you should get to know the book…

        a.  Book Jacket/Cover/Printing…

        • Does the book jacket provide any interesting details or spark your interest in some way?
        • Are there pictures, maps, or graphs?
        • Do the binding, page cut, or typescript contribute or take away from the work?

        b.   Genre…

        • What type of book is this: fiction, nonfiction, romance, poetry, youth fiction, etc.?
        • Who is the intended audience for this work?
        • What is the purpose of the work?

        c.   Title…

        • Where does the title fit in?
        • How is it applied in the work?
        • Does it adequately encapsulate the message of the text?
        • What does the title promise the book will cover or argue?

        d.  Author…

        • Who is the author?
        • What else has s/he written?
        • Has this author won any awards?
        • What is the author’s typical style?

        e.  Preface/Introduction/Table of Contents…

        • What does the table of contents tell you about how the book is organized?
        • What does the preface promise about the book?
        • Does the author provide any revealing information about the text in the preface/introduction?
        • Does a “guest author” provide the introduction?
        • What judgments or preconceptions do the author and/or “guest author” provide?
        • How is the book arranged: sections, chapters?


        3.  Now read the book...As you read the book, try to read from the vantage point of your audience—actively and critically—not simply to discover the author’s main point or to dig up some facts.

        As you read, take notes on the book’s key points and any particular passages you might discuss in the summary portion or background structure of your review.


          4.  Finally write and publish your review, using the following advice and questions as a guideline…


          a.  Write the summary
          . Start writing at the end of whatever you’re trying to say. Keep your summary brief. People honestly are more interested in what you personally thought about the book.

          b.  Begin with a couple of sentences giving a short summary
          of what the book is about. Limit your review to only the first couple of chapters. Be careful not to give too much of the story away.

          c.  Now share enough of the main ideas and main characters
          to help your readers decide if reading the book would be worth their own time. Needless to say, you will not be able to cover every idea and character in the book.Deal only with the most important ideas and characters.

          a.  Main Idea 

          • Who are the main characters?
          • Who was your favourite character, and why?
          • Give your honest opinion of the work.
          • As you write your review, ask yourself the following questions…

          b.  General Questions

          • What is the main idea of the work?
          • What is your honest opinion of the work?
          • Who are the main characters?
          • Who was your favourite character, and why?

          c.  Positives

          • What did you particularly like about the book?
          • What was your favourite part of the book, and why?
          • What are the book’s strengths?
          • What worked well for you?
          • Did the book make you laugh or cry?
          • Did the story grip you and keep you turning the pages?
          • Did the book appeal to you on an emotional or logical way?

          d.  Negatives

          • Was there anything that you disliked about the book?
          • Did you wish there was a different ending?
          • Did you find it difficult to understand one of the main characters?
          • Was the story too scary for your liking?
          • Was the story too focused on a theme that you didn’t find the book interesting?

          e.  Reader Appeal

          • Does the book reach the intended audience adequately?
          • Will some readers be lost or find the text too easy?
          • What type of reader would you recommend the book to?
          • Were certain types of scene—such as sad scenes, tense scenes, mysterious ones—written particularly well?
          • How clearly is the book written?
          • How would you describe this author’s particular style?
          • Is it accessible to all readers or just some?

          f.  Read-Alikes

          • Are there any books or series you would compare it to?
          • Is the book is part of a series?
          • If so, do you think you’d need to have read other books in the series to enjoy this one?

          g.  Conclusion

          • Does the book fulfill its purpose?
          • How well does the book fulfill the promises the author makes in the preface and introduction?
          • What rating would you give the book?
          • Where can other people get the book—publisher, price of the book, year published, and ISBN.


          The following is a fill-in-the-blank template that I often use when writing book reviews…Thought someone else might find it handy also…(and wanted to be able to stash it somewhere to find it later.)

            1.  Introductory Paragraph…This book is a ____ book about ____ written for _____ to show _____. This book sparked my interest because _____. 

              2.  Title…The title, _____, is appropriate for the book because the book ____. This theme is carried out throughout the book as evident by _____ and adequately pinpoints the message of the book because _____.

              Having first read the title of the book, I expected the book to discuss _____. 


                3.  Author…The author of the book is _____…who has also written _____ and has won awards, including _____. He/she typically writes _____.

                  4.  Introduction…Guest authors that also helped introduce the book were _____. According to the introduction, this book promises to _____. The book is organized into chapters/sections/parts. 

                    5.  General…The main idea of the book is _____. The main characters include _____. My favorite character was _____ because _____.

                      6.  Positives…My favorite part of the book was _____ because ____. I particularly liked the fact that the book because ____. This book made me feel _____.

                        7.  Negatives…The book was hard to understand/not as interesting as I had originally hoped because _____. The one thing that I disliked most about the book was…

                          8.  Reader Appeal…I would recommend this book mainly to readers who _____. Some readers may find that the book _____. 

                            9.  Conclusion...I honestly do/do not think that the book fulfills the purpose and promises that the author makes in the preface and introduction and would give the book a rating of ____ on a scale from one to ten.

                            The book was published by ____ in _____…and can be found ____ for _____.

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