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Guide to Writing a Book Review
Deciding what to say about the book can be challenging. Use the following ideas as a guide, but remember that you should not put all of this into a single review — that would make for a very long review! Choose the things that fit this particular book best.

[GENERAL INFORMATION]

• What kind of book is it? (Science fiction? Nonfiction? Fantasy? Adventure?)
• Does the book belong to a series?
• What ages is the book geared to?
• Is the book written in normal prose? If it is written in poetic form (verse), does it rhyme?
• Are there any illustrations through the book? If so, do they add to or take away from the story?

[PLOT]

Writing about the plot is the trickiest part of a review because you want to give the reader a feel for what the book is about without spoiling the book for future readers. The most important thing to remember is that you must never give away the ending. No one likes a spoiler.

Try to avoid using the tired phrase "This book is about…" Instead, just jump right in to talking about what happens.

[CHARACTERS]

Reviews should answer questions about the characters in fiction books or non-fiction books about people. Some possible questions to answer include:

• Who are the main characters? Include the protagonist and antagonist.
• What makes them interesting? Were you bored by their story?
• Are they human? Faeries? Werewolves? Aliens? Robots?
• What conflicts do they face?
• Could you relate to any of the characters in the story?
• Who was your favorite character, and why?

[THEME]

What is the book really about? This isn't the plot, but rather the ideas behind the story. Is it about the triumph of good over evil or friendship or love or hope? Some common themes include: change, desire to escape, facing a challenge, heroism, the quest for power, and human weaknesses.

Sometimes a book will have a moral — a lesson to learn. If so, the theme is usually connected to that moral. As you write about the theme, try to identify what makes the book worth reading. What will the reader think about long after the book is finished?

[SETTING]

The setting is the time and place the story occurs. When you write about the setting in a review, include more than just the location. Some things to consider:

• Is the book set in the past, present or future?
• Is it set in the world we know or is it a fantastical world?
• Is it mostly realistic with elements of fantasy (animals that can talk, for example)?
• Is the setting unclear and fuzzy, or can you easily make the movie in your mind?
• How much does the author draw you into the setting and how does s/he accomplish that?

[OPINION & ANALYSIS]

This is where the reviewer shares his/her reactions to the book that go beyond the essential points described above. You may spend half of the review on this section. Some possible questions to address include:

• Why do you think other readers would enjoy it? Why did or didn’t you enjoy it?
• Does the book engage your emotions? If a book made you laugh or cry or think about it for days, be sure to include that.
• What do you like or dislike about the author's writing style? Is it funny? Is it hard to follow? Is it engaging and conversational in tone?
• How well do you think the author achieved what s/he was going for in the writing of the book? Do you think you felt what the author was hoping you would feel?
• Did the book feel complete, or did it feel as though key elements were left out?

Borrowed from Mensa for Kids Book Review Guide
http://www.mensaforkids.org/teach/lesson-plans/book-review-guide/

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Sample Reviews
Cather does not like to go out drinking like most college freshmen she knows. Instead, she likes to stay in and write fan fiction for a fantasy series she is obsessed with. Meanwhile, her identical twin has tried very hard to distance herself from Cath so that they can start anew in college. Cath slowly assimilates to college including getting used to her unusual roommate and her friendly male friend who seems to be in Cath’s room a lot. There is a fair share of drama in Cath’s life (including a father who is struggling with his new empty nest), but the one thing that always balances things out is her love of writing, which is why she’s so excited for her fiction writing class. Unfortunately, even that does not go exactly as planned…

Fans of John Green or any of Rainbow Rowell’s other books will become obsessed with these characters. The story is interesting enough, but it’s the characters that make it hard to put this one down. Cath is very relatable to anyone who’s ever been new to a place and trying to find your way. She has trouble knowing who to confide in, who to trust, and who to run from. Eventually she starts gaining more confidence in her new life and starts making proactive choices instead of reactive ones. It’s a very compelling coming of age story that will leave readers wanting more. – Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

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After reading The Giver, I rate it a 5 out of 5 stars. It is a science fiction book about a boy named Jonas who lives in a dystopia. In this dystopia, many things have been taken away from the people. For example, they cannot see any colors or feel emotions. They also don’t know what the past of the world is or what animals are. Jonas is my favorite character from The Giver because he is very courageous. When Jonas is chosen to be the Receiver of Memory, he is taught about the past. He learns about how people used to feel love and happiness and about how there are such things as elephants or giraffes. He is also taught about war and pain and hatred. Jonas believes that everybody should be able to see and experience all of the beauty and pain of the world. In order to do that, he has to cross the “border.” It will be a very dangerous journey, but he is willing to do whatever it takes. Read more about Jonas’ journey in The Giver. – The Giver by Lois Lowry

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I would rate the book Paper Towns a 4 out of 5. It is the perfect book for you if you enjoy a mystery with a little romance and drama weaved into it. I definitely recommend it to anyone who is looking for a good book to read. Paper Towns is a book about a young boy named Quentin Jacobsen. He starts off as your average teenager. He has a crush on the girl who lives next door, Margo Roth Speiglman. Margo has always been a little suspicious. She is the type of girl who sneaks out of her window to go places in the middle of the night. However, nobody ever knows where she is going. One day, Margo shows up at Quentin’s window and asks him if he wants to go an a little adventure with him. That night, Quentin and Margo play pranks on people and break into Sea World. Quentin had the night of his life. The next day, Margo appears to be missing and now Quentin has to find out where she is, which requires him to go on a long adventure. Read about Quentin’s long adventure in the book Paper Towns. – Paper Towns by John Green

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