A Book Review

You have been reading your books for a while now and I sincerely hope you are enjoying it. But… hurry up if you haven’t finished because your writing test is coming… sorry to give you bad news. I have already made up my mind to do it on Thursday April 22 in class.
Here are some considerations and tips about writing book reviews. I hope you find them useful.What is the difference between a book report and a book review? A book report is completely factual. It includes information on the author, title, place and year of publication as well as a summary of the content of the book. A book review, on the other hand, is much more personal. It is really an expression of the reader’s opinion of the work, or of specific aspects of the work. The review will probably include much of the same factual content as the report, but it is the reader’s personal opinions that are most important.

You have read your book. Your next step will be to organize what you are going to say about it in your report. Writing the basic elements down in an outline format will help you to organize your thoughts.What will you include in the outline?
The description should include such elements as:

The setting-where does the story take place?
The time period-is the story set in the present day or in an earlier time period? Perhaps it is even set in the future!
The main character(s)-who is the story mostly about? Give a brief description. Often, one character can be singled out as the main character, but some books will have more than one
The plot-what happens to the main character? WARNING! Be careful here. Do not fall into the boring trap of reporting every single thing that happens in the story. Pick only the most important events. Here are some hints on how to do that. First, explain the situation of the main character as the story opens. Next, identify the basic plot element of the story-is the main character trying to achieve something or overcome a particular problem? Thirdly, describe a few of the more important things that happen to the main character as he/she works toward that goal or solution. Finally, you might hint at the story’s conclusion without completely giving away the ending.


•Before you begin writing, make a few notes about the points you want to get across.
•It’s usually best to use the present tense when writing about the book or the author and the past tense when discussing the subject of the book
•Try to mention the name of the author and the book title in the first paragraph – there’s nothing more frustrating than reading a review of a great book but not knowing who wrote it and what the title is!
•When mentioning a character for the first time don’t forget to use his/her full name.
•Try to get the main theme of the book across in the beginning of your review. Your reader should know right away what he or she is getting into should they choose to read the book.
•Think about whether the book is part of a genre. Does the book fit into a type like mystery, adventure, or romance?    What aspects of the genre does it use?
•Make sure your review explains how you feel about the book and why, not just what the book is about. A good review should express the reviewer’s opinion and persuade the reader to share it, to read the book, or to avoid reading and m ake sure that someone who has not read the book will understand it after reading your review.

•Try to avoid using the first person as much as possible. A review is already your personal opinion. Say. This is a very interesting book” not “I think this is a very interesting book”
•Long quotations from the book
Click here to see some words and expressions you can use when writing your book review

Tips from Rodman Philbrick

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