How to write a five star book review

In the information age, time is a valuable commodity.

Online book reviews play a very important role in letting the public know what it is worth spending time, and money, on. They are descriptive, personal and concise. Bite-size recommendations that are perfect for a world of sharing, liking and personal endorsement.

The good news is that writing a book review need not be a difficult task. To help you write a five-star review, we've got these five tips for you to consider before submitting your reviews into our Scottish Children's Book Awards Review Competition.


1. Find your own way of making notes 

Firstly, find your own method of prep. Do you take notes whilst reading the book?  It might be worthwhile to do chapter reviews or character reviews along the way. This could help shape your ultimate verdict on the book. If you prefer to be fully immersed in the text and then capture your thoughts at the very end, that’s fine too! Whatever works best for you is the right way. After all, it’s your review.

2. What to include

A book review should not simply be a compilation of plot, character and scene. Here are some aspects of the book you might want to include in a review:- 

  • A very brief synopsis of the plot.
  • What is the book's genre?
  • What are its key themes?
  • Who is the intended audience? And, is the author’s style suitable for the intended audience?
  • How strong or weak are the characters?
  • What does the story's setting bring to the narrative?
  • What are key plot devices? What is driving the story?
  • How successful is the novel's ending?  Does it leave you wanting more? Was it disappointing? Remember to watch out for giving away spoilers! 

3. Stay balanced

A valued critic’s opinions can sometimes make or break a book, which is why it is important to offer a fair, interesting, and succinct judgement. It is important to give a balanced account and yet hold back enough information so that there’s still plenty for the reader to discover themselves.

4. Find the right tone

Find balance in your review by measuring the books pros and the cons. Okay, the dialogue might have been bad but was the plotting exciting? A good tip is to imagine you are discussing the book with your best friend, what would you tell them?

5. Show off your style

A book review is a personal piece so remember to bring you to it; show off your flair and individual style. Ain’t no thang! *finger snap*.


Feel ready? Then enter then enter our Scottish Children's Book Awards Book Review Competition!


Get a feel for book reviews, what you like, and what irks you by visiting Cool Reads and reading other people's book reviews