WHAT MAKES A GOOD BOOK REVIEW?

Here are some things I think make a book review good :)

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Comments

Jamie Yerk says:

Some of the worst reviews I’ve seen for a book were for No One is Coming to Save Us by Stephanie Powell Watts. Almost every negative review was because the book was marketed as an African American Gatsby, and it wasn’t Gatsby-Esque. Okay, but true actual book wasn’t reviewed.

juliaspaperback says:

I think a short synopsis is ok if your review is on a platform that the synopsis is not present. For example, a YouTube, blog, or Instagram review makes perfect sense to give a brief overview of what the book is about. I personally don’t think there is a need for a synopsis on Goodreads or any other website that has what the book is about already and then you just scroll down to see what people thought. What is your thought in that?

skijumpnose says:

I think a good book review is saying the book is the stupidest book ever and also criticising the color of clothes the character wears,oh wait,that is a bad book review!

Ihopetherespudding says:

What a great idea for a video! I’m just starting becoming public with my thoughts on books so this is really helpful. I love your non-disclaimer disclaimer! lol at your past book review self imitations. Also OT how do you get your hair up like that it looks how you have such long thick hair?

TimeAndChance says:

IMHO there’s only 2 ways to review a book.
1)Here’s a book. I liked it. 5 stars. I call this group the hedonics.
2)The 1/4 to 4/4 pedantic way. Some sort of critical/analytical thinking is brought to bear. I call this wide spectrum the pedantic umbrella group.
Diff’rent strokes for diff’rent folks.

Beatrice says:

I personally avoid reading book reviews before I read the book because I feel like it influences my opinion. Usually I only read reviews of books I either really loved or really didn’t like because negative reviews of books I liked but didn’t love sometimes ruin my opinion of the book. On the other hand, critical reviews can draw your attention to problematic aspects.
For me a good review has to include 3 aspects: a short synopsis (or maybe a few additional informations for new readers if the synopsis above is very short), the things the reviever liked/didn’t like about the book and (if it’s a positive review) a short interpretation of some deeper aspects of the book.
I also admire the people who write amazing in-depth reviews because I feel like I could never do it, haha.

Bookem Christy says:

I listen for the “wow”s. If a person seems passionate about the book and is so glad they read it and they think everyone should, I tend to write the title down.

Michael Feeney says:

I do the same thing with reviews! Movies as well. Sometimes I gain a new perspective.

@feeney86

Jennifer Peterson says:

I feel like synopsis isn’t that important in a review, unless it’s being used as a point for why you liked/disliked a book. It just feels repetitive to me when you can find the synopsis on the book, amazon, goodreads, etc. Just my opinion otherwise I agree with you. I usually just give a star rating on goodreads and I have a reading journal for my personal thoughts. I do it this way because I have a lot of anxiety issues and just don’t like putting my thoughts out to be judged. I want to get out of my comfort zone a little bit though so one of my goals for 2019 is to leave more of a review for my records and to hopefully help people find good books. I will definitely be keeping these points in mind.

Collin Carter says:

So what you’re saying is you want people to writing book reviews to be intelligent. I think you might be asking for a lot… :)

Hayley Marie says:

OOOH I was just about to film my first book talk so this is super helpful, and i have a lot to consider now for when I plan that video!

Rachael Marie Book Junkie says:

I don’t add synopses on amazon or goodreads reviews… because the synopsis is above and I find it redundant

Konrad Malthe Klingest says:

Alright now this is interesting

readwithcindy says:

i love how thoughtful you are with your book reviews and explained the structure of what makes a good review! it’s interesting that you bring up synopses because i realize that i prefer booktube videos to not spend the majority of the time explaining what the book is about, but i don’t have that standard for reviews on goodreads. i’m not sure why that is, but it might be because i like seeing how written reviews try to explain the story (because it differs depending from person to person), whereas booktube tends to summarize it in a more generic way (no shade tho) and i’d rather spend less time waiting for them to go through it and more time hearing their opinions. BUT, i might feel that way because i tend to watch reviews of more popular books that i would already know the plot about. IDK, basically my opinion seems to be the reverse of most people, but i never realized that until watching yours and now i have a lot to re-think about!

Myn Kobayashi says:

I think this is right on. I don’t always do book reviews because I don’t normally take extensive notes so I often feel like I cannot convey things accurately. But yes people’s emotions get in the way so often and it frustrates me.

Plots And Points says:

I’m glad you made this video! There are definitely some things we could work on in terms of book reviews here on booktube and from what I’ve seen it comes to not going deep enough into the whys of what you’re saying.

Take your point about pacing if someone says “this book had slow pacing it was bad” doesn’t give me a lot, it just says the pacing is slow, however if you wanted to turn that into a more fleshed out criticism you need to explain why you thought it was bad.

“the pacing in the middle section of the book is slow, and this was really jarring in comparison with the intro which had incredibly fast pacing and the end which was even faster, the middle part of the book was slowed down by a lot of subplots that didn’t add a lot to the overall themes and elements of the book which made it feel like padding and left the middle bogged down and just overall too slow for what the writer was trying to convey. ”

Sure that’s a much wordier way of saying the same thing but it gives the person reading that review more context. Not every negative thing said about a book can be boiled down to personal preference.

When I review a book I try to think about what an author was trying to do and analyse how well they did it. I’m not going to criticise shallow character development when the point of the book isn’t to develop the character for example. I could comment on it and say “there isn’t a lot of character development for the protagonist. The author used a very rigid and set in their ways character to highlight how he clashes with the other characters who do get fleshed out a lot, he’s more of a window into the world than the primary agent of change. ”

My guideline is
Point – making a statement about what is in the book (E. G. Great world building)
Example – giving an example of how this was done well (e.g. The magic system is explored in great detail during the magic tournament scenes)
Analysis – how did this enhance / detract from the story overall (E.g. By explaining exactly how the magic system works in these scenes it made the novel feel more grounded and let the author play with elements of his system without making it feel cheap at the end of the book)

When in doubt P. E. A.

bookellenic says:

At first I didn’t like giving a synopsis and I was very vague about giving away key elements, because I like going into books knowing next to nothing, so I didn’t want to ruin it for anybody. However, reading back some of my reviews, I now try to briefly cover those points (still a bit vaguely), because I feel it makes more sense even to me, and remember I’ve read the book already, so I think it will be more helpful for the person considering picking it up.

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