How to Become a Book Reviewer

Teen Volunteer Book Reviewers


Teens ages 13+


  • Books published within the last 2 years.
  • We will only accept reviews of books available at the Alameda Free Library or Advance Readers’ Copies of books provided by the library. Before you write your review, please check to see if the library owns it by going to searching the book’s title.
  • Teen books (fiction, nonfiction, or biographies)
  • Graphic novels or manga


  • You’ll receive 1 hour of community service for each review, as long as it meets the requirements. If it does not, we will send it back to you and give you a chance to make changes.
  • Community service hours are given for the review only, not for your time spent reading (the reading is for you, the review is for us!)
  • Limit to 1 book review a month.


Completed reviews should be emailed to

We suggest typing your review into a Word document, spell-checking it, and then pasting it into the body of an email. Please do not attach a file.

Please include:

  • Your name (only your first name will be shared)
  • Your grade
  • The title of the book
  • The author
  • What year it was published
  • How many pages are in the book
  • The number of stars you would give this book. Here’s a general guide:
    • 1 star: I didn’t like it at all
    • 2 stars: the book was just okay
    • 3 stars: the book was pretty good
    • 4 stars: the book was GREAT
    • 5 stars: the book was AMAZING

The review itself:

  • Should be between 200 and 500 words
  • Should be checked for spelling or grammar errors
  • Should be your own words. Please do not borrow from anyone else’s writing or have anyone else write it for you.
  • Should avoid spoilers! Get people interested in the book but don’t give away the ending.
  • Remember: Even if you hated a book, please try to find something positive to say. Everyone likes different things, and you don’t want to discourage someone from reading a book just because it wasn’t for you. It’s totally okay to not like a book, but always explain why.

Here’s a basic outline of a review:

  • 1st paragraph: a few sentences telling us what the book is about. (If the book is a part of a series, be sure to mention that.)
  • 2nd paragraph: your thoughts on the book. What did you like about it? What didn’t you like about it? Who was your favorite character? How did the book make you feel?
  • 3rd paragraph: Would you recommend this book? Why or why not? Who do you think would like this book? Did it remind you of any other books?


  • Aireana will email you within a few days to let you know if your review has been approved. If it has not been approved, she will send it back to you with some suggestions.
  • When a review is approved, it will be uploaded to the blog & printed to be put in the binder at the information desk. Reviews may also be posted in the teen room.
  • Aireana will keep a log of the reviews & community service hours. If you need to know how many hours you have earned, or need a letter verifying the hours, you may email


Name: Katie

Grade: 9th

Title: The Poet X

Author: Elizabeth Acevedo

Published in: 2018

Pages: 368

Rating: 5 stars


“The Poet X” is about a teenage girl named Xiomara who is dealing with people judging her body and her religious mom constantly trying to control her. Xiomara secretly wants to be a poet and she writes poetry in her notebook to cope with everything going on in her life. When Xiomara falls in love with a boy and joins her school’s slam poetry club, she learns how to speak up for herself even when other people don’t want her to.

This book was amazing. I loved that it was written in poetry so it felt like you were reading it right out of Xiomara’s notebook since you could really feel her emotions. The poetry also made it a really fast book to read. I liked that the book talked a lot about Xiomara’s relationship with her family and how that starts to change when she grows up. Xiomara learned to think for herself and make her own choices in life. “The Poet X” had a feminist vibe but was also about a lot of other things, like love, family, self-expression, and religion. I also liked that Xiomara was Dominican-American, since there are not a lot of books about Dominican families.

I would recommend “The Poet X” to all teens, even if you don’t like poetry. It was a really fast book to read and I think that all teens will relate to what Xiomara goes through even if they haven’t been in the exact same situation. It reminded me of the book “I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter” by Erika Sanchez and “Piecing Me Together” by Renee Watson, so if you liked those books you should definitely read “The Poet X.”