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WRITING A BOOK REVIEW

There are no exact rules to follow when you write a book review. A book review is basically a personal opinion. However, you need to remember the reasons why you are writing it, otherwise you could end up simply giving the plot away (never do that) with no other useful information. Here are some suggestions for points to consider before structuring your review:

  • What was the story about?
  • Who were the main characters?
  • Were the characters believable?
  • What did the main characters do in the story?
  • Did the main characters run into any problems? Adventures?
  • Who was your favourite character? Why?

Your personal experiences

  • Could you relate to any of the characters in the story?
  • Have you ever done, or felt, some of the things the characters did?

Your opinion

  • Did you like the book?
  • What was your favourite part of the book?
  • Do you have a least favourite part of the book?
  • If you could change something, what would it be? (If you wish you could change the ending, don't reveal it!)

Your recommendation

  • Would you recommend this book to another person?
  • What type of person would like this book?

SAMPLE BOOK REVIEW 1

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: Roald Dahl
A visit to a chocolate factory must be every child's dream. Charlie Bucket, from a poor but honest family, has to go through the usual deprivation and cravings before he finally gets lucky. He wins one of five tickets for a daylong tour of a chocolate factory and a lifetime's supply of treats. Willy Wonka is the eccentric and reclusive owner whose fear of rival and spies has made him keep the factory hidden for years before he decides to hold the contest. The ultimate prize is the factory itself.

Charlie is a sympathetic character, but his fellow winners are a less pleasant bunch – TV obsessed Mike Teavee, spoilt Veruca Salt, gum-chewing Violet Beauregarde, and greedy Augustus Gloop. They all receive their comeuppance in the end but not before making themselves thoroughly disagreeable as they are taken on the tour of the factory and encounter various mishaps.

The idea for the book originated in Roald Dahl's own childhood, when a reputed chocolate firm would occasionally send chocolate samples to his boarding school and ask for the children's opinions.

The book, written in the third person, is sharp and witty and Willy Wonka's eccentric personality is emphasised through his frequent outbursts and nonsensical vocabulary, such as "hornswoggles", "snozzwangers", words guaranteed to amuse children. Even the staff in the factory goes by the odd name of Oompa-Loompas.

The "accidents" that happen on the guided tour are weird and funny: Augustus falls in the chocolate lake; Violet, ignoring Wonka's advice, tries some of his three-course-dinner gum in the and swells up like a blueberry upon reaching the blueberry pie dessert; Veruca, after a failed attempt to obtain one of the sorting squirrels in the Nut room is thrown by them down the garbage chute, and Mike tries to use the Television Chocolate machine and ends up shrunken to about 6 inches high.

The ending is satisfying if you've been cheering on the underdog, but no surprise. The book itself is slightly cruel, and the villains are children not adults or monsters, but this is likely to be the very thing that appeals to its young readers. Anyone who loves chocolate and enjoys strange, imaginary tales will probably like this book.

SAMPLE BOOK REVIEW 2

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – J.K. Rowling
The conclusion of the hugely successful Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling has been greeted by its fans with a mix of eager anticipation and heavy hearts – no more thrilling adventures of the hero who has become a household name.

The book is a rollercoaster ride of the magic and mystery we have all come to expect from the author and the earlier books have signalled the increasingly deep and dark undertones that have crept into the stories. The last in the series pulls no punches and delivers the most breathtaking journey of all. I loved all the books but this is my favourite by far.

As Harry comes of age, he faces his most terrifying dangers and challenges and readers finally find out the fate of all the characters including the main protagonist Voldemort in the battle between good and evil, where the Horcruxes are, the truth about Dumbledore and the true nature of Snape. The story is crammed with twists and turns and a host of characters and the pace never slackens.

To reveal more would give too much away and ruin the experience of this truly brilliant story. It is a fascinating and absorbing read and I promise you will not be disappointed.




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