A book review is a personal assessment-critique-explaining how well an author has covered a specific topic. As a reviewer, you analyze the book for how well it tells a story or conveys information. And more than that, you evaluate the quality of writing and organization. It is important that your review enables the reader to arrive at his or her own decision about reading the book. It is a fresh and creative approach, or has it been said before? Above all, has the book helped in your understanding of the subject at hand? Before you begin to write, here are some sample questions to consider:
· What is the genre of the book? (fiction, non-fiction, biography, autobiography, fantasy, romance etc)
· How does it provide information about the author and his/her background?
· What is the plot? Who are the main characters? When and where does the main action take place?
· How does the story unfold? Why is the story told in this manner?
· What point of view is expressed?
· What are the book’s strong and weak points?
· What examples illustrate my overall feelings about the book?
· How strong is the writing?
· How could this work be improved?
· Why does the book succeed or fail?
· How did the book affect you? Have your opinions about the topic changed?
· Is the book interesting, memorable, entertaining or instructive? Why?
§ If you are writing a book review, don’t give away the ending! You’ll kill the reader’s interest if you divulge the entire plot. Keep an element of suspense.
§ Try to learn the difference between what’s objective and what your own personal taste is. Leave out the stuff that’s your own taste.
§ Your review should include the book’s title, characters, author, publisher, and price.
Title: Tomorrow, When the War Began
Author: John Marsden
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Characters: Ellie, Lee, Fi, Corrie, Kevin, Robyn and Homer
Price: $ 550
If you are to travel on the bus and read along the way, each book falls into one of two categories: those that make you miss your stop and those that don’t at all. Deep into John Marsden’s imaginary work, ‘Tomorrow, When the War Began’, I missed my stop once and barely made it next time. This absorbing novel is about seven teenagers who go on a trip for a week to a secluded wilderness called ‘Hell’.
When the group returns home, they discover that their country has been invaded and their families have been taken prisoners. After a series of adventures, the group retreat to Hell for safety reasons. While there, they decide that they will try to win back their country and fight against the enemy.
The story is told from the point of view of Ellie, one of the teenagers. Her story illustrates how seven normal teenagers can change from being innocent high school pupils into courageous heroes fighting for their country.
Ellie describes each of the seven teenage characters quite early in the book. By the end of the book, the characters seem to have changed. They have all grown in each other’s eyes and learned a great deal about war, about life and death, and about themselves.
Tomorrow, When the War Began is a tense, exciting and frighteningly realistic story, the first of a seven-part series. I found it unputdownable. In fact, I read it in one day. I would recommend it to everyone—both adolescents and adults. It is one of Marsden’s best.