What makes a "good" review?

This survey is the best thing ever. Seriously. So helpful.

Many of you have said how much you like my reviews. Thank you! I'm glad you like them (seeing as that's my #1 purpose in blogging). However, I've also had a lot of comments that go something like this:

I love your book reviews even though they're short and not very in-depth. Great job!
So my question is:
What should a review contain?

I know this is coming right on the heels of that terrible review of Enclave. I always try to make my reviews easy and quick to read, and I know that sometimes they're short, but I'd hate to have them be underdeveloped. So what do you think a good review has in it?

All review content © Enna Isilee, Squeaky Books 2007-2011


  1. I think a good review should contain
    1. A fairly in deph summary of the book, without giving any spoilers!
    2. An honest opinion on the book.
    3. If you would buy it or not.

  2. I am always searching for that answer myself. But, just want to let you know that I enjoy the length of your reviews. I usually don't enjoy reading a ten paragraph review on a book. I just want to know if it was good or not and maybe a few points of what you enjoyed or didn't! I also enjoy a little summary of the book in your own words.

    Tara @ Tamingthebookshelf.com

  3. I think the most important part of a review is your opinion of the book and why you felt that way. "I liked it" or "I didn't like it" are only helpful with an explanation of why (something my 5th grade students are struggling with right now :) )
    I think that your short reviews are easy to read because they are short and quick. Sometimes it is difficult to read the longer reviews because they give too much away.

  4. When I read a review, I want a review: not the whole book. What I love about your reviews is that you give a good idea of the style of the book, if you liked it or not, and WHY. I don't like wasting time reading every little detail, but I do want a good explanation of the highlights and lowlights-and your reviews always strike the perfect balance. Because yours strike such a balance, they are a huge help in deciding whether or not I should pick up the book, or do more research if I'm iffy about certain elements. As for your reviews being 'in depth', to me, your reviews are like the bottom line-yea or nay and why… they aren't discussions. Some reviews, which I love for different reasons entirely, are more directed at people who've already read the book-'this part was amazing wasn't it?!?'-and read more like a conversation about it with friends. I'm not saying that one style is better than another, and I read both kinds, but I know that I come to your blog for your reviews, exactly the way they are. I don't think there is any ONE answer about what a good review has, because different people are looking for different things (which is why book blogs can vary so much!). But having as many followers as you do, I'd guess you're doing something right :).

  5. Good reviews, for me, are ones that tell me about the book.Not the synopsis necessarily, but what you really thought of it, so that I know more of what to expect. And short reviews really don't do that, for me at least. Usually I don't particularly care for short reviews, but I'm on the other end of the spectrum usually - I put too *much* thought in my reviews :D

  6. Don't change your reviews at all! I love hoe they're so short, but still get their point across.

  7. Substantiated claims. I think that's the basis for any review. You didn't like it. Why? You did like it. Why? What did this part irk you? Why did this part make you salivate? Substantiating your claims will give your reviews more depth and make them appear thicker. It puts meat on them.

  8. Just my two cents....if I have a super long review pop up in my reader...I don't read it.

    Just be you. We read you for a reason =)

  9. I can tell you what makes a bad review- plot synopsis. There is nothing unique about that, nothing that cannot be found, very easily, elsewhere (often on the same page). It drives me crazy when reviewers devote tons of space to a plot summary!

    I agree with the commenter who said "substantiated opinions".

    Also, being 'squeaky clean', I would expect your take on the level of violence, sex, language present so I can make a better judgement of wether or not to read it myself.


Thank you so much for commenting! I read each and every one.

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