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Anatomy of a Book Review

What to include...

Evaluate or analyze the merits of the book. Offer sound reasons based on style and other literary elements, discussing both the strengths and weaknesses of the book. For fiction or literary works, consider

  • How effective was the author at developing complex characters?
  • Was the plot believable?  Were details consistent?
  • How were literary devices used to enhance the reading experience?
  • Is the resolution satisfactory or compelling?
  • How does the book compare to exemplary books in the same genre?

For nonfiction titles, ask yourself:

  • How useful was the information presented in this book?
  • How effective was the author in conveying his ideas? 
  • Did the author back up arguments and conclusions with evidence of verifiable research?  
  • Were there obvious biases or important related concepts the author failed to address?

The Critics Vocabulary

The following terms may spark your “critical” mind, as you write your book review.

 

  • Abstract
  • Agenda
  • Allusion
  • Ambivalence
  • Analogy
  • Audience
  • Characterization
  • Climax
  • Concept
  • Conflict
  • Context
  • Definitive
  • Dialogue
  • Element
  • Episode
  • Ethnic
  • Fantasy
  • Fiction / Fictional
  • Figurative
  • Flashback
  • Foreshadow
  • Formula
  • Generalization
  • Genre
  • Hero / Antihero
  • Highlights
  • Identity
  • Image / Imagery
  • Implication
  • Interpretation
  • Irony / Ironic
  • Jargon
  • Literal
  • Macabre
  • Masterpiece
  • Metaphor
  • Mood
  • Mystery
  • Mythical
  • Narrator / Narrative
  • Objectivity
  • Parable
  • Paradox
  • Parody
  • Perception
  • Personification
  • Point of View
  • Predictability
  • Prejudice
  • Problematic
  • Protagonist / Antagonist
  • Quotation
  • Random
  • Rational
  • Reactive
  • Realism
  • Reference
  • Reveal
  • Rising action / Falling Action
  • Romance
  • Saga
  • Satire
  • Sensitivity
  • Sentimentalism
  • Sequence
  • Series
  • Significance
  • Snap-shot
  • Story
  • Style
  • Subconscious
  • Subject
  • Surreal
  • Synopsis
  • Symbolism
  • Theme
  • Thriller
  • Tone
  • Traditional
  • Uncanny
  • Unconscious
  • Universal
  • Utopia
  • Vehicle
  • Voice

 

Library Information and Media Center - Monona Grove High School - Monona, Wisconsin

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