As a writing teacher, I am ashamed to say that I have never given my students a formal set of guidelines to follow when writing book report, mainly because we don’t do that in my room. I have always asked for them to write book reviews. “Whats the big difference?” you ask? The big friggin’ difference is that a book report tells the factual information about a novel; a book review is when you get to tell the world why they should or should not read said novel. It’s my favorite because I’ve never been shy about giving away my opinions. And because I’m a teacher, I believe that it is my responsibility, nay my duty to provide my audience with the proper techniques and approach to writing a book review.
1. Read a book.
2. Fall madly in love with the main character. It’s best if you can fabricate real life relationships with these fictional people, that way you won’t feel quite so sad when you choose to cancel plans to continue reading your book.
3. Make a decision: what is your overall impression of the book? Was it worth your time to read? How well were you drawn into the plot? Did you care about the characters?
When you finished the last page, did you want to throw the book in the fire or muse about the “happily ever afters” that you hope are developed in the sequel? Once you’ve established your official position, you’ll be more likely to be able to write a well rounded review.
4. Take a stance. There is a lot to consider here. There are many different methods of analysis when it comes to reviewing a book. Do you want to focus on the effectiveness of the character development, or perhaps how well the author is able to make the theme thrive throughout the book? In another direction, you could challenge the social commentary that is played out in words and actions. Down yet another avenue, and my personal favorite, is just a general spewing of random thoughts and impressions that you’ve formed during your 250-400 page journey.
5. Get your own voice. It’s important that you’re not just one more monotone voice out there that doesn’t say anything new about the novel. There are over 280,000 hits on Google when you search for “the Hunger Games book review.”
That’s what you’re competing with, so yea it’s going to be difficult to have a unique opinion, but you can discover an exclusive method of presenting that opinion.
So those are my five tips for writing a book review that you will be proud of, and that people will want to read. And in the end, remember to have fun. Nothing worth stressing yourself out about.