Review Writing Tips

The thing to remember about your reviews on this site is that people will read them.  With any luck, the authors of the shortlisted books will be amongst our readers!  For this reason, we need to write as professionally as possible, and make sure that we balance our opinions by referring directly to what we did or didn't like about the books. 

If you thought it was great, what was so great about it?  If you thought it sucked like a Dyson, what was it that you didn't like?  You must bear in mind that though you might dislike something, there will be others in the Shadowing group who really love it.  Opinions are just that - opinions, and though everyone has the right to their own, they stand up much better if you can back them up! 

  • Check your spelling and punctuation. One exclamation mark is always enough! (Grrr...) 
  • If you're referring to yourself, always use a capital I. 
  • Read your review through before you submit it to make sure that it all makes sense.  It can help to read it aloud.  
  • If you're referring to the author, call them by their last name.  e.g. 'In creating this world, Ness has managed to...' 
If you get stuck, imagine that you're just having a conversation with the reader about the novel.  For help with structuring, please use the guidelines below.


A one or two sentence outline of the plot.  Don't give away the ending! 

What did you think of this book and why? 

Full-Length Reviews

Short paragraph on the plot, like the blurb from the back. (Don't just copy the blurb though!) 

Main body: 
What was the book like?  Write a couple of paragraphs.  You might want to consider: 
  • Characters.  Who did you like and who didn't you?  Were the characters believable?  What did you think of the narrator(s)?
  • Plot.  Was this a gripping story?  Did it run fast or slow?  Did you get lost at all, did it have you guessing? Is this book part of a genre?
  • Writing.  What did you think of the way the author wrote?  Was there anything in particular that you noticed they did very well - romance scenes, tension, fear, description etc? Was it written in the first or third person, and did this affect your reading?
Overall, what did you think of it?  You can write about your favourite scene here, or if you didn't like the book at all, you can explain why!

Sign off with your first name and your year group.

Lastly, please TAG your review post with the word 'review' and the name of the book written out in full.  That way people can quickly search the site for specific titles.