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Jun 16
2014

How to Write a Book Review -- Teen Summer Reading

Posted by: heather

Teen readers grades 7-12 can enter our book review contest as part of our Annual Summer Reading Program, "Spark a Reaction," to win a Kindle FIRE!

But how to write a winning book review?

  1. Pick a book that interests you!
  2. Look for some examples of book reviews. Your favorite magazine may be a good source, or you can also find book reviews online at the Books section of The New York Times, the Powell’s Books Review a day, People Magazine, Booklist, Teenreads.com, Teenink.com, Good Reads, or Kirkus Reviews. The library will have some links up on their webpage for you.
  3. Pick out the main elements, which should include:
    • The book’s title and author
    • A brief summary of the plot that doesn’t give away too much
    • Comments on the book’s strengths and weaknesses
    • The reviewer’s personal response to the book with specific examples to support praise or criticism
    •  
  4. Take notes while reading the book you are reviewing, so you can remember what points you want to make later and what specific scenes or quotes you might want to use to support those points.
  5. Make an outline for the book review before writing, using one paragraph for each point you want to make about the book.
  6. Some ideas to keep in mind while writing the review:
    • Does the book fit into a genre, like mystery or romance, and why? If you aren’t sure, ask your librarian for help!
    • When and where does the action in the book take place? Does the author do a good job of making you feel like you are there? How?
    • Are the main characters believable? Do you know anyone like them? Does the author adequately describe them?
    • What do you like or dislike about the author’s writing style? That is, do you like the way the author uses words?
    • Use concrete examples to back up your points, such as describing a scene that really moved you or using a couple of short quotes from the book.
    • Don’t forget to include your opinion of the book, whether you liked or disliked it and WHY!
  7. Do some background research on the author. Sources might include the author’s personal website, the website for the book’s publisher, or biographies of the author. Learning information about the author and knowing what other books he or she may have written can add context to a review. Ask a librarian for help finding sources, if you can’t find any on your own.
  8. Don’t forget to ask for help! The librarians at the Dayton Library are here to help you!

For more information or to pick up an entry form, please talk to the librarians at the Dayton Library. :-)

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