How To Write A Book Review

The first-ever National Readathon Day (using #timetoread on Twitter) is just around the corner on Saturday, January 24th.  Participants (maybe even you) will read for four hours in the middle of the afternoon in support and solidarity for literacy.

Reading is awesome!  I got hooked as a kid and still love the thrill of finding a new favorite book.

But the truth is a lot of readers don't take the time to review what they read even if they liked it.  Why leaving reviews is important will be a post for another day, and other authors/bloggers have covered it, too.

Leaving a review is easy and can take less than 5 minutes.  You probably already know the 5 W's from speech or English class, so just use those to help you.  Answering questions like these will write your review for you:

Who - Who makes up the story, and how do you feel about them?  Who's your favorite character?  Or your least favorite?  Did you identify with the main character?  Did you fear/hate/fall in love with the villain?  Did each of the characters stand apart, or did they mesh together without individual personalities?

What - What is the story about?  Did you like the plot?  Did it move too slowly, too fast, or just right?  What surprised you?  What made you laugh/cry/feel nauseous?  What made you recommend the book to a friend - or what would keep you from doing so?

Where - Where does the book take place?  Did the details make you feel like you were there?  Did you want to travel there?  If you've already been there, did you like the author's version of that place?  Did the book stay in one location or jump around?  How did you feel about that?

When - When does the book take place?  What interests you about this depiction of the past/present/future?  Did events happen in an order that made sense?  Did they happen out of order and make sense anyway?

Why - Why do events happen as they do?  Why do the characters act the way they do?  Are these reasons explained?  Are they believable?  Did the premise of the story confuse/surprise/hook you?  Would you read more books by this author?  Why or why not?

There's also a bonus opportunity for the single H:

How - How does the writer tell the story?  Do you like what the author chooses to show and chooses to let happen off the page?  Do you like the words the author used?  Was the story told with dynamic, boring, or casual language?

I hope the next time you finish a book, you'll at least consider leaving a review for it.  You already know the questions to ask yourself about it.  You've spent hours, days, weeks, or more reading it. What's another five minutes to tell the Internet and the author how you feel about it?

Click here to learn more about National Readathon Day.

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