Skip to main content

Writing a Book Review: Home

Book Review Assignment


 

What is in a book review?

A good review consists of two different parts: A SUMMARY and an OPINION

  • SUMMARY
    • Short summary of the major characters
    • Any important plot points or major conflicts, without giving away any major surprises!
    • Share what Genre the book would be classified as (historical fiction, historical nonfiction, realistic fiction, fantasy, science fiction, nonfiction, mystery)

 

  • OPINION
    • Did you like the author's writing style? Why or why not? 
    • Did the author execute the theme well? 
    • Did the plot keep you engaged or did you become bored? 
    • Would you recommend this book to others? Why or why not? 

 

Review Checklist

Question Check!
Does my review include a basic summary? 

Do I list/describe the major characters?   
Did I include the major conflict and/or plot points, without giving away any endings?   
Did I include my opinion of the author's execution of the characters/plot/theme?  
Did I include my THOUGHTS section, or overall verdict of the book?   
Did I include a correct MLA citation for the book?   
Did I include my name at the bottom of the review?  

Book Review Examples

Iturbe, Antonio. The Librarian of Auschwitz. Translated by Lilit Thwaites. Henry Holt and Company, 2017. 978-1627796187. 432 p. $19.99. Gr. 9-12.

Spanish author Antonia Iturbe tells a fictionalized story of the little-known “Librarian of Auschwitz,” a young girl whose task it was to protect the few books in the possession of Jews in the Auschwitz concentration camp. Dita Kraus arrives at Auschwitz after living in the Terezin Ghetto, and is “lucky” enough to be sent to the family camp instead of directly to the gas chambers. In this part of the camp, there is a school run by Freddy Hirsch, who sees in Dita a strong young woman willing to protect their beloved texts. The story moves back and forth between Dita’s life in the ghetto, the lives of other prisoners and Jews, and the backstory of the enigmatic Hirsch. The novel starts out slow and on occasion the language seems a bit stunted (which might be a result of reading it as a translation). However, the story and characters do shine through, and the reader becomes engrossed in this story of both the cultural and physical survival of a people. 

THOUGHTS: Highly recommended for high schools, especially to complement memoirs and other readings about the Holocaust.

Historical Fiction    Lindsey Myers, Shady side Academy



Larson, Sara B.. Dark Breaks the Dawn. Scholastic, 2017. 978-1-3380-6869-6. 320 p. $17.99. Gr. 8 and up.

Sara B. Larson’s Dark Breaks the Dawn is a fast-paced, dark YA romance based on the story of Swan Lake. In order to save Eadrolan, the Light Kingdom from King Bain, the nefarious and ruthless ruler of Dorjhalon, the Dark Kingdom, newly crowned Queen Evelayn must do what her parents could not – end the war between the kingdoms. In both kingdoms, children come into their full magical abilities at age eighteen – those in Eadrolan can harness the power of light, and are at full strength at the summer solstice; those in Darjhalon can harness the dark, and are at their full strength during the winter solstice. Evelayn is not only new to her powers, but also new to ruling a kingdom. With the help of her advisors, and her too-good-to-be-true love interest, Lord Tanvir, she concocts a plan to trap King Bain and kill him. Meanwhile, over in Dorjhalon, Bain’s son, Lorcan, raised in the shadows of his father’s wrath and cruelty, seems to have plans of his own. THOUGHTS: There is very little character development here (the good guys are really good, the bad guys are really bad), and there are some gaping plot holes (for example, if Bain is truly 300 years old, why wait until now to make war against Eadrolan?), but readers probably won’t care, because this action-packed, slim novel will suck them in, and the ending will leave them begging for the next installment. Hand this to fans of Sarah J. Mass and Leigh Bardugo.

Fantasy      Lauren Friedman-Way, The Baldwin School