The Don’ts of a Book Review


Last night I was browsing through the Barnes and Nobles book store on my Nook.  I came across some books that sounded interesting and were on sale, so I started reading the customer reviews to read some of the comments.  As I was reading some reviews for one book in particular, I was very disappointed (as were many other readers) that reviewers had included the ending of the book!!  After knowing what happens in the end, it is rather pointless to buy the book.  So, I started to think about what NOT to include in a book review.

The Don’ts of a Book Review:

1.  Recap-  When I read a review, I don’t want to read a revised version of the synopsis. If I’m reading a review, it’s because I have already read the synopsis and am interested in the book.  I don’t want to basically re-read the synopsis in your words.

2.  Spoilers-  Obviously, I don’t want to know the ending. I also don’t want to know what happens in between the pages, such as specific answers to questions the author has included in the synopsis.

3. Rewrite-  It is inappropriate to include what should have done differently with the characters, critique the author’s decisions regarding characters and plots, and add a different ending.

4.  Not Read the Book-  When I went online at the B&N book store, I was surprised at how many reviews were posted by people who hadn’t even read the book!  Yet, these very same people were already rating the book.  If a book hasn’t been read, why would anyone think it is appropriate to rate the book?

5.  Personal History-  Books can bring up personal feelings, especially if the story truly resonated with the reader.  However, the review should not include these personal issues.  

There is an Exception to the Dont’s Listed Above!!

One exception to the “Dont’s” listed above, is a blogger writing a review on her site.  Bloggers may include spoilers (but usually will let their readers know beforehand), and all the other “Dont’s” listed.  However, that very same blogger will post her review on other review sites (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, etc) with a condensed version of her original review posted on her blog. 

There are many reasons why a blogger may choose to include one or all of the don’ts listed in a blog review.  Readers can decide to read or not read that particular review.  However, at a review site, the reader is limited to reading the reviews posted and won’t be alerted, especially with spoilers included.  That is the difference! 

Next Friday:  “The Do’s of a Book Review!”

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6 thoughts on “The Don’ts of a Book Review

  1. I have a question. I write book reviews primarily for my own blog, but then post to Amazon, B&N, etc. My reviews always follow the same formula: Paragraph 1 is a condensed, incomplete synopsis, more of a teaser, really. I write Paragraph 1 for those who may not be familiar with the book. Paragraphs 2-3 are my review. I do not include spoilers, and I try to stay away from personal experiences, feelings, etc. Obviously, some reviews are better than others. Following this formula, how bad are my reviews? It’s okay to be honest. If I didn’t want to know, I wouldn’t ask.


    • I actually love your reviews and read them! In my opinion, blog readers really want to know what you thought and if you’d recommend it. I’m like you, in that I have also varied the way I write my reviews. Every book calls for something different. Some books, I absolutely love and will write more depth. Then, there are other books that just need a simple review. That is what I love about reading so many different blogs! The variety of reviews from the same book can be quite interesting!

      My “Don’t” list was really geared towards those who post their reviews on sites for e-book purchases, like Amazon and Barnes & Noble. While I am sure I have also written reviews with a few “don’ts”, I refrain from spoilers and have never rated a book without reading it.


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