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NCLR Book Reviewer Style Sheet

Find reviews in NCLR Online since 2012 to see models of various book reviews and for illustration of the guidelines that follow.

  • NCLR review essays run at least 1000 words per book reviewed. Reviewers may go over this word count.
  • If you are reviewing multiple books, you will do so in a single review. 
  • NCLR asks reviewers, if possible, to put the new book(s) into some larger context; e.g., the author’s canon, if reviewing only one book; perhaps the genre, particularly as it is represented by North Carolina writers.
  • Review (or the reviewed author’s bio) should indicate the North Carolina connection of the author and/or the book reviewed.
  • Reviewer’s bio note (inserted at the end of the review) should include any information that reflects reviewer’s “expertise” in the genre/subject of the book reviewed.
  • Include a bio note for each reviewed author too. (Find bio note examples in NCLR reviews.)
  • Submit as a Word (or .rtf) file.

Book Review Heading:

  • Book reviews should be headed by a brief title that does not include the book title, which will appear in the citation immediately following the review title.
  • Insert reviewer’s name preceded by a review by; e.g., a review by Jane Doe
  • Book citation(s) follow below byline, flush left, in MLA style (author’s full name, complete title, publisher, year) except that:
    • author’s names are first, last (not last, first)
    • one space after periods
    • no hangline indention
  • When reviewing more than one book, put citations in alphabetical order.

NCLR Punctuation/Capitalization/Abbreviation Styles:

  • Space once (not twice) after periods, colons, question marks.
  • Use italics rather than underlining. Italicize unfamiliar foreign words and phrases, but if used regularly in English no need to italicize.
  • Follow book titles mentioned (other than reviewed book[s]) with year of publication in parentheses.
  • For dashes, use an en-dash with a space before and after. 
  • Do not use ellipses at the beginning or end of quotations, and do not add words in brackets at the beginning of a quotation (rather, start the quotation with the first quoted word). Change ellipses from … to . . . (i.e., space before/after first and last period of ellipses.) If a period precedes ellipses, no space before period; space after period, before ellipses.
  • Capitalize South, Southern. Use US not U.S. Use 1960s (preferably) or ’60s, not sixties. Use BA, MA, PhD (without periods). 
  • Use abbreviation NC after city/town names referenced in reviews.
  • Write out eighteenth and nineteenth, etc. (rather than 18th and 19th). Except when quoting, spell out numbers that can be written out in two words. Use numerals for numbers requiring three words to spell out.


  • For fiction/prose, follow quotations from book reviewed with page numbers in parentheses. 
  • No page numbers necessary for quotations from poetry collections, although it would be helpful for the NCLR quote-checkers and readers if each quotation is clearly connected to a poem title.
  • Use block quotations only if passage is more than 4 lines (before indention), including more than 4 lines of poetry. No blank line space before/after block quotes. 
  • Quotations from sources other than the book(s) reviewed should be cited in footnotes.

The NCLR student staff will format your review upon receipt, so don’t stress over any of these guidelines beyond understanding what all we need to have: a title of the review, page numbers of quotations, book citations, reviewer and author bio notes.