“Writing a Book Review” (Thursday Writing Essential)

Filed in Gather Writing Essential by on March 31, 2011 0 Comments


Writing with a Purpose:

Book Reviews


After finishing a great novel, the best way to compliment an author is to spread the word in a glowing review. Below are some guidelines for creating a solid review for a novel.

A handout for “Writing with a Purpose: Book Reviews,” as well as other teaching resources, can be found on my blog. There, you can find the PDF file under the “Writing” section. Feel free to use this and other resources for classroom or personal use.

For an example of a review, see my recent post of Evan’s Castle by Tracy Fabre.


Step One:Brainstorming


Jot down a few reasons why you liked the book.

Write a brief synopsis of the plot.

Find a favorite quote (optional).


Step Two: Writing


Long Version(3 or more paragraphs)

Introductory Paragraph

Introduce the book by giving the title and author. (Always include this in the opening paragraph.)

State the genre of the book: young adult, romance, mystery, historical fiction, adventure, suspense, etc.

Include a brief sentence or two telling what the book is about.

Body Paragraph(s): Story Elements

Describe the setting (place and time) briefly.

Name the main characters and give a short description of each. (Include age, physical description, and/or personality traits)

Briefly, state the main character’s problem (book’s conflict) and what he/she is trying to overcome in the novel. (Be careful not give away too much.)

Give a quick synopsis of the plot. Recount how the story begins and the most important events—just remember not to give away the ending.

Concluding Paragraph:

Include your favorite aspects of the book: part of the story, quote, and/or character. Explain why you like this aspect of the book.

Conclude with your recommendation, stating who would like this book and why. (Some online reviews allow you to rate the book with stars. Consider the book’s rating as well.)


Short Version(1 paragraph)

Introductory Sentence(s): Include the title and author and a very brief “What is this book about?” statement.

Body Sentence(s): Introduce the main characters briefly and give a quick retelling of the plot—and never give away the ending.

Concluding Sentence(s): End with your recommendation of the book and suggest who might like the book.


Step Three:Proofreading


After you have completed your first draft, read your review out loud to see how it sounds. Make any necessary revisions to your paper.

If possible, ask someone to proofread it for you.

Make suggested corrections.

 Finally, reread your review again before you submit it for publishing. Sometimes it is best to set your paper aside for a day or two before making your final revisions.


Step Four:Publishing


There are many online sites for book reviews, but the most popular site is Amazon. Most sites require you to have an email address and/or an account. Some are virtual bookshelves where you can list all your favorite books and write reviews for them. Here is a list of some great places to publish your thoughts:


Popular Review Sites

www.amazon.com                  www.barnesnadnoble.com


Virtual Bookshelves

www.goodreads.com              www.shelfari.com                  www.librarything.com


Kimberly Blackadar, former teacher and now author of Nothing but Trouble after Midnight, writes teen fiction and speaks to schools across the nation about reading and the writing process. Connect with Kimberly on her Facebook fan page and her blog.

About the Author ()

I'm the author of Nothing but Trouble after Midnight.

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