Monday, October 13, 2014

How to Write a Book Review

I am always afraid of suggesting a book people might dislike or – gasp – hate. The possibility of giving a friend or acquaintance a story that they won’t absolutely adore makes me uncomfortable. That’s why I love book reviews. Sure, you can read the book blurb and what the publisher or author says the book is about, but there’s nothing like a comprehensive, honest-to-the-bone book review to set you on the right track.

I recently started a Goodreads account because I can write book reviews to my heart’s content. Not only is it nice to have a place to go back to in order to remind myself how a book made me feel, it’s a great resource to find new books. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from Goodreads, though, it’s that some people are terrible at book reviews.

In my mind you can’t say “This was the best book ever. Loved it” just as much as you can’t say, “No one should read this book, it was awful.” Why not? There’s nothing to go on! A good book review not only gives your opinion, it includes the “why” to that subjective judgment.

In my very humble opinion (feel free to disagree), a good book review isn’t all sunshine or all doom and gloom. It balances pros and cons and takes subjectivity into account. Some of my favorite book reviews ever come from Forever Young Adult. I. Love. This. Site.

Their catchphrase is, “A site for readers who are a little less Y and a bit more A.” They do book reports, movie reviews, and all sorts of other things that have to do with great story.

FYA takes book reports very seriously and they write each one with the same format. This, people, is how you write a book review. Take their review for The Fault in Our Stars as an example – if you read through it before you pick up the book, you get a really good sense of what the book is about and what it will feel like. Reading through the review now, after having read the book, I totally agree with it in almost every way. And I can’t help but love that they all have a “Casting Call” where the reviewer “casts” actors and actresses in the lead roles. It’s magical.


What do you think makes up a good book review? 




Not gonna lie, writing YA book reviews is one of Michelle’s dream jobs. Seriously, you guys. That would be awesome. Until then, though, she will continue to devour YA lit, superhero movies, and DIY project ideas from her home in Colorado. 

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