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Guest Blog: Bethany Smart’s top eight tips on how to write a book review

Hi, my name is Bethany Smart and I am a fourteen-year-old from Surrey. I have just finished year 9 and during the year I won a national competition for a book review I wrote. The prize includes my review to be published in the Oxford’s new set of classics. I have always been interested in literature, especially writing, therefore, I have been practising my book reviews as well as other writing techniques.

I love to read a mixture of classics and modern books with my favourite genres being murder, mystery and adventure. These are the top eight tips I have for anyone planning on writing a review:

        i.            Decide your feelings. Lots of people go into writing a book review, not knowing how they actually feel about a book. Are your feelings positive or negative or are they mixed? Do you really know? Get your feelings straight in your head, before contemplating writing a review.

       ii.            An overview. Start with a swift overview of what happens.This should be a couple of lines, about the size of a small paragraph. Don’t give too much away and never include a spoiler. If you are struggling, you may be able to use the blurb to help you describe roughly what happens.

      iii.            Why did you read the book? What made you read the book? Is it your favourite genre or written by your favourite author? Perhaps your friend recommended it or you have read other books in this series? What drew you to this book?

     iv.            How did you feel? Start with your own feelings. What made you feel this way?

       v.            Positive and negative. Mention one positive thing that the author did and one negative thing that you wished hadn’t happened.

     vi.            Improvements. Suggest how the author could improve upon the story and they could be better their work in the future. Never just say negative things as it makes the review no use to anyone.

    vii.            Connections. Could you connect to the characters? Did that improve the story? How did you feel connected? Did you have a similar experience or did you just empathise with the character.

  viii.            The future. Do you want to read more in this series or by this author? Are you excited to read more of this genre?

Snapshot_20140803-300x225I hope this advice has helped you to write a review. I encourage everyone to read and write. Literature is a way to learn about the world and different cultures. Books provide a whole new world with fantastical and factual settings, able to set you free. With a passion for books comes a passion for adventure. When I read I imagine myself being the main character, and therefore I can do anything I want as I am set free by the words on the page.

Thank you for reading this, if you would like to check out my book review as an example, please click here.

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