How I Write Book Reviews

At the top of my book reviews, you’ll find a stats card with:

  • Basic book info (title, author, publisher)
  • A cover image
  • A brief (<100 words) plot synopsis
  • Significant content warnings
  • My rating

Each rating is given out of five stars.

These guidelines are not conclusive. I award extra stars or remove stars that “should” be awarded based on things that come up while I’m reading. When that happens, I’ll do my best to make it clear and explain my reasoning in the body of the review.

☆ (Zero Stars)

Style

  • Misspellings, grammar errors, and incorrect word usage made the text difficult or impossible to read.
  • Language and sentence structure are not genre appropriate.

Character

Plot

Authenticity

  • “No one would ever say that!”
  • “No one acts like that!”
  • “What are you doing?”
  • “Why is this happening?”

 

★★★ (Three Stars)

Style

  • Few, if any, misspellings, grammar errors, and incorrect word usage
  • Language and sentence structure are genre appropriate.

Character

  • Main characters are complex and grow over the course of the novel.
  • Minor characters may be static or underdeveloped.

Plot

  • The plot is novel and no major questions are left unanswered by the end of the book or series.
  • The pacing is generally good, although worldbuilding and backstory may slow it down at times.
  • The resolution may be unrealistically positive or uplifting, but it satisfies.
  • Author attempts to address the “Why?” (e.g. “Why hasn’t anyone noticed Clark Kent is Superman?”).

Authenticity

  • Characters feel real and speak with unique, authentic voices.
  • “Yes! I’ve felt that before!” or “I know someone just like that!”
  • Occasionally, it feels as though the author tries too hard to seem “cool” or “edgy.”

 

★★★★★ (Five Stars)

Style

  • Few, if any, misspellings, grammar errors, and incorrect word usage
  • Language and sentence structure are genre appropriate
  • Prose is beautiful and suits the plot (e.g. simple, bleak sentences that mirror the post-apocalyptic landscape in The Road)

Character

  • All characters are complex and well developed.
  • All characters that stick around long enough grow and change (or refuse to grow and change) in response to major plot events.

Plot

  • Original, exciting, and well paced
  • The resolution is satisfying, necessary, and leaves no major questions unanswered.
  • Author answers the “Why?” completely and explores the consequences of the that answer.

Authenticity

  • Characters feel real and speak with unique, authentic voices.
  • “Yes! That’s something I’ve never been able to put into words.”
  • The writing feels honest and vulnerable.