I was talking to a friend recently about the novels we were reading. Hers was We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves which you may know is longlisted for this year’s Man Booker. I knew that there was a twist in it both from Twitter and mentions in the trade press but not having read it yet myself I didn’t know what it was – I tend to avoid reviews until after I’ve read the book which may seem strange to you but it works for me. Even if I had read it I would never have dreamt of revealing said twist which seems to be a crucial part of the book so I was amazed when she told me that she’d read a review in the national press which had spelled the whole thing out. This seems downright rude – an open and shut case of bad reviewing – but it got me thinking: what makes a good review? It seems to me that the bare bones of the book should be outlined followed by a critique picking out particularly impressive points and those that weren’t, all wrapped up in a little context where it’s relevant. I’m not a fan of long reviews but I know some people like them. What do you think makes a good review? Do you like to see quotations? How interested are you in the author? Do you like comparisons to similar novels? How about plot, particularly tricky for crime novels? And what about those spoilers – just how far should a reviewer go?