Novel Review

Use the following guiding questions to help shape your responses. Please note that these questions are intended as guides only—you are not required to respond to each question for every response. You will also notice that some questions are repeated in more than one response. Although some questions are more naturally suited to early responses and others to later responses, you are free to respond to questions in any order and in any response that you deem appropriate. Response 1 1. What were your expectations of the book when you chose it? At this early stage, is the book living up to your expectations? Why or why not? Be specific. 2. Comment on how the author begins the story. Does it start with a bang or does it build more slowly? How would you describe the overall tone of the writing? Is it accessible and easy to follow or pretentious and confusing? Does the author’s style help or get in the way of your understanding and enjoyment? 3. Select what you consider to be the most important episodes in the first section of the work you are reading. Explain briefly what happens, why you think it is important to the section, what your reaction to the episode is, and why you react this way. Please do NOT write a summary of everything that happens in this section. Limit yourself to one or two key events. You may refer to these early events later to confirm or develop your thoughts on the significance of these events. 4. Compare a character in this book to a character in another book you have read. What are the similarities? What are the differences? What is their appeal to readers? How and why do they engage our interest? 5. What do you think will happen in the next section? As you read, try to predict later events, outcomes, character changes, and future conflicts. Explain clearly your reasons for your prediction. In your next entry, you may wish to note how accurate you were in your predictions. Response 2 1. The setting of a story refers to the place, the time, and the culture in which the events occur. By now, the author will have given you a clear sense of the story’s setting. Describe this setting. What are some of the key differences between the society/culture in which the story takes place and your own society/culture? What effect do these differences have on your reaction to the setting and your sense of its significance? 2. Select what you consider to be the most important episodes in the second section of the work you are reading. Explain briefly what happens, why you think it is important to the section, what your reaction to the episode is, and why you react this way. 3. Pick out a character with whom you do not identify very closely or whom you don’t understand or sympathize with. Why do you think he or she is in the story? Don’t forget to pay attention to minor characters. Think about them and try to figure out why the author included them in the novel. 4. By referring to specific events in your book, describe how the author develops the main character. What kind of person is he or she? Do you feel that this person is a good choice as a central character? Why or why not? 5. What do you think will happen in the next section? As you read, try to predict later events, outcomes, character changes, and future conflicts. Explain clearly your reasons for your prediction. In your next entry, you may wish to note how accurate you were in your predictions. Response 3 1. By now, you should have a clear sense of how the author handles the time element in your book. Are events in time order (chronological), or does the author use flashbacks or move events out of order in other ways? What effect does this have? Is it significant in understanding or appreciating the story? Explain. 2. Identify and discuss a significant change in the personality of a character. Why did this change take place? Is it believable? You may wish to link this discussion to significant changes or growth periods in your own personality. 3. Select what you consider to be the most important episodes in the third section of the work you are reading. Explain briefly what happens, why you think it is important to the section, what your reaction to the episode is, and why you react this way. 4. Identify a theme that is beginning to emerge in the book. Explain how this theme connects to events or issues that are happening in your local community, in your province, in Canada, or around the world. 5. What do you think will happen in the next section? As you read, try to predict later events, outcomes, character changes, and future conflicts. Explain clearly the reasons for your prediction. In your next entry, you may wish to note how accurate you were in your predictions. 6. We as readers don’t always agree with a character’s actions, values, behaviours, etc. What do you see wrong with the way a character is behaving? Why is the character thinking or acting this way? Is the behaviour consistent with his/her character? What would you suggest the character do instead?

Response 4 1. Comment on the techniques used to tell the story. Is the story told in the first person (I), the second person (you), or the third person (he/she)? Why do you think the author chose to use this technique? What effect does it achieve? Would you have chosen to tell the story differently? Explain. 2. Choose a character in the book that you can relate to or sympathize with. How are you similar to this character? How are you different? Put yourself in the shoes of this person. How might you react in his or her situation? 3. Compare an event from the book with a situation in your own life. What are the similarities? What are the differences? 4. Select what you consider to be the most important episodes in the fourth section of the work you are reading. Explain briefly what happens, why you think it is important to the section, what your reaction to the episode is, and why you react this way. 5. How do you think the book will end? Explain clearly the reasons for your prediction. In your final entry, you may wish to note how accurate you were in your prediction. Response 5 1. What do you consider to be the theme or dominant idea in the book? Support your answer with references to the story. 2. How does the theme or central idea connect to events or issues that are happening in your local community, in your province, in Canada, or around the world? 3. Compare and/or contrast the theme of this book to other books you have read. 4. Was the ending satisfying? Why or why not? 5. What do you think the author’s goal was in writing this book? How well did the author achieve this goal? Use your knowledge of characterization, plot development, language and style, dialogue and description to support your answer. 6. Would you recommend this book? Why or why not?