Sometimes you read a book so special that you want to carry it around with you for months after you've finished just to stay near it. —Mark Zusak
Are you a lover of books? Particularly young adult fiction? Owlcrate is a monthly subscription box that sends their members a recent young adult release along with several bookish items like jewelry, tote bags, bookmarks, candles, chapstick, and lots of cool things.
It's also where I get a lot of my inspiration for my photos, my reviews, and even my art! Click the link below to subscribe to owlcrate now.
how do I evaluate books?
Scroll down for a quick overview of the literary
elements I try to factor into all of my book reviews.
Looking at concept is not just about how realistic the idea is. I try to consider how captivating the concept is and its originality. If the story idea seems too worn-out, predictable, or overtly capitalized on, I probably won't recommend it too highly.
PLOT / STRUCTURE
Structure alone is important to me. While most stories are linear and easy-enough-to-follow, I significantly appreciate structures that enhance the story even more.
Beyond basic structure, I try to also consider the flow and pacing of the plot. While there isn't a distinct formula that pleases me, these elements should be consistent throughout a book to retain the reader the whole way through.
Everything is interconnected, but character development is super important to me. Part of what I love about books (as opposed to film and other art forms) is the ability to truly dive into the heart and soul of a character, or characters. My favorite novels generally give depth and relatable complexity to several characters (not just the main few).
This can be as small as grammar and punctuation errors or as large as overall lacking imagery. While I may list writing as the last factor in this list, it's actually often the first thing I noticed when I start reading a book.
No matter how compelling the story idea or characters are, an author's writing style can take a book to the next level. On the other hand, I've also encountered repetitive, poorly polished writing styles that completely turned me off even though I wanted to keep reading.
Like most retailers, booksellers, and social sites, I use a 5-star system. But I will also often use 1-2 decimal places to get a bit more specific with where books sit on that spectrum. Here is a brief outline of how I rate books:
Really, everything matters—my highest rated books on this site ultimately exceeded my expectations on all fronts.
But you can click on "Rating" to learn how I use the typical 5-star system.
Books are a uniquely portable magic. —Stephen King