How to Write a Good Book Review (2022)

  • Writing

Have you ever thought about writing a book review, but weren’t sure where to begin? You aren’t alone. Sharing your feedback with other book lovers can feel intimidating. Plus, if you write it, you want to make sure other people are going to read and benefit from it.

(Video) How to Write the Perfect Book Review

Reviewing a book is more than just summarizing the plot. It’s about sharing your experience with other readers to help them gauge if it is something that they would enjoy reading as well. A good book review includes a definitive opinion, shares your own personal experience, and offers a recommendation on what type of person would like the book. Read on to find out how to implement these elements when writing a book review.

Get Started Writing a Book Review

Before putting pen to paper (or in this case fingers to keyboard), there are certain preliminary steps that will help you get started writing a good book review.

First, take some time to think about what initially drove you to pick up the book, what kept you reading, and what you want other readers to know about your experience. You may want to spend some time researching book review examples or revisiting specific reviews that drove you to read a certain book.

Next, decide what it is that you want to say in your book review. Then gather specific examples from the book that support your position. The more you can offer a strong, yet subjective position supporting your view, the more credibility you will have with your reader.

Finally, identify your target audience. Since not every genre of book is going to appeal to every reader, you want to be specific about who will enjoy it. Let your readers know who the review is geared towards. For example, the audience for a review about a science fiction book is going to be different than the audience for a cookbook.

How to Write a Good Book Review (1)

(Video) How to Write a Book Review

Tips for Writing a Good Book Review

Now that you’ve prepped what you want to say, how you want to say it, and who you want to say it to, it’s time to start writing. Below we’ve gathered our favorite tips to help you write a good book review. Wait… make that a GREAT book review.

1. Include general information

Make sure to include all the relevant book information for your audience, including the title, author, genre, and publisher in your review. While not necessary, it is also helpful to include the number of pages, list price, and ISBN number.

2. Provide a brief plot summary

After the hook, you can then move on to the brief plot summary. This summary shouldn’t be too long, but it can be a paragraph that explains the basic plot so that the reader better understands if it’s a topic of interest. One pitfall to avoid is to give away spoilers in the plot summary. Don’t give away any plot twists, and err on the side of caution if you feel that the information is too much. For example, tell the reader that the plot has unexpected twists rather than explain any surprises in the summary.

3. Focus on the book, not the author

Keep in mind that your main job as a reviewer is to share your opinion on the book, not to critique the author. Keep the focus on the story. Avoid referencing pitfalls in any of the author’s past books or what you about them as a writer. You can provide a brief introduction to the story mentioning the author and past books, but don’t spend too much time focused on the author. The review should focus on the content of the book and its characters.

4. Be clear and specific

It is not enough to just say that you did or didn’t like the book. Let your readers know why. Make your thoughts clear as early as possible and explain the reasons why you liked or disliked specific storyline components and characters. Be specific about what you loved about the writing, what drew you to the characters, or what left you feeling lukewarm about the plot. You don’t need to explain every aspect of the book, but the reader should walk away with a sense that they understand the basic plot and determine from the review if they want to read the book for themselves.

How to Write a Good Book Review (2)

(Video) How to Write a Book Review | Best Tips | Guide 2021

5. Remain subjective

Not all book reviews have to be glowing, but they should be subjective. Rather than just saying you didn’t like something, support it by letting your readers know why. We all gravitate towards different things, so what may not appeal to you may appeal to someone else. If you remain subjective, then you can explain to the reader the basic story and let them decide for themselves. The review can include your likes and dislikes, but they should focus on what you felt the story did well and what parts of the story you didn’t like. However, the main focus of the review should be to explain the story so that readers can determine if they want to read the book further.

6. Avoid spoilers

We know it can be tempting, but do your best not to let any spoilers slip in your book review. Have you ever been excited to see the latest blockbuster hit (or watch the season cliffhanger to your favorite TV show) and then someone spoils the end before you even have time to watch? That is exactly what you don’t want to do to your reader. As you explain the book in your summary, ask yourself if what you are explaining ruins any surprises or twists. As you write the review, keep it vague. For example, explain that there is a major plot twist but don’t go into the specifics.

7. Be transparent

Always share if you received an incentive to review the book, got an advance copy, or have any connection to the author. Your readers will appreciate your honesty. Plus, it helps you avoid the negative impact on your credibility if they find out later. Getting paid for a review is a perfectly reasonable excuse to read a book, but it does allow readers to determine if you’re being unbiased. By specifying if you have any relationship with the author, the reader can better trust your opinion, even if they feel you’re being more biased.

8. Keep it short

While book reviews can be any length, it is always best to keep it short and succinct. Pull in your reader with a strong first sentence that sets the tone of the review and end with your recommendation. Remember, most people start to scan when something gets too long. A book review is a short summary, so writing a novel-length review loses reader interests. Keeping it short will ensure that your readers will dive into your likes and dislikes and use your reviews to determine if they have an interest in the books.

9. Proofread before posting

The quickest way to lose credibility is to post a review filled with typos. Make sure to give your final book review a thorough read before posting it and double check the spelling of any character names or places that you mention. Even better, ask someone else to read it over. It is always good to have a fresh pair of eyes proof to catch any typos. If you don’t have a family or friend who will help with proofreader, you can join a writing community where members offer test reads and proofreading. Make sure that you don’t post the review publicly, because search engines will index it and the review will no longer be unique content.

Also, keep in mind that you will want to write different book reviews for different sites. Don’t just copy and paste the same review. Google search engines scan for duplicate content and if flagged, your review won’t appear.

(Video) How to Write a Killer Book Review in 5 Easy Steps | YaashaMoriah.com

10. Add a hook

The hook is one or two sentences that grab the reader and convince them to keep going. It should be interesting, but it should also stick with the topic without misleading readers. The hook could be a simple statement that explains the main character of the book, or it could ask a question that resonates with the reader. Don’t make the hook too sensational to avoid sounding like a sales pitch. It should simply provide an introduction that grabs reader interests.

11. Explain what you liked about the book

Writing your own book review is a way to explain what you liked about it, and what you liked could be of interest to another reader. This section allows you to personalize the review. You can explain what you liked about the characters, who was your favorite character, what part of the book was your favorite, and if the book invoked any personal feelings (e.g., you laughed or cried).

12. Explain what you disliked about the book

You likely have something that you disliked about the book, and this section explains what you wish would have been different about the storyline or the characters. Just like the other sections, make sure that you do not reveal too much and give away important plot lines that could be considered spoilers for the rest of the story.

13. Include brief quotes as examples

Brief quotes provide readers with better insight into characters. Using quotes from characters will help the reader follow the plot summary and determine if the characters are people they can relate to. Avoid using excessively long quotes. Since the reader hasn’t read the book, a long quote could ruin plot twists or overpower the review.

14. Reference similar books

A great way to introduce readers to a specific book is to compare your book review with other books. For example, you can explain to the reader that they will like the current book you’re reviewing if they like another similar book. Alternatively, you can also compare characters between books to provide better insight into the story’s characters and the dynamic between individual characters.

Ready to make your own book? Get started quickly and easily with our free bookmaking software, Bookwright.

(Video) How to Write Better Book Reviews (in 2 Steps)

FAQs

What are the 4 stages in writing a book review? ›

The four stages of writing a book review are: introducing the book, outlining its contents, highlighting parts of the book by selecting particular chapters or themes, and giving a detailed evaluation.

What does a good book review contain? ›

First, a review gives the reader a concise summary of the content. This includes a relevant description of the topic as well as its overall perspective, argument, or purpose. Second, and more importantly, a review offers a critical assessment of the content.

What are the 3 main features of a book review? ›

A book review is a critical examination of a book that includes a plot summary, details about the main characters and main themes, and a positive or negative review of the author's writing style.

How do you structure a book review? ›

Classic book review structure is as follows:

One or two paragraphs summarizing the book. One paragraph on the book's strengths. One paragraph on the book's weaknesses. One paragraph on your assessment of the book's strengths and weaknesses.

How does the book review begin? ›

Introduce the topic of the book (what is the issue at hand, and why should we care?) Introduce the title and author of the book. State the purpose of the book (including the author's thesis or major findings) State your thesis (or the purpose of your review)

What is first step of book review? ›

An early paragraph saying what the book is about, and putting it in context. Information about the intended audience. A critique of the argument/content of the book. Remarks on the strengths and limitations of the book.

What are the five pointers for writing a book review? ›

How to write a book review
  • Start with a couple of sentences describing what the book is about. ...
  • Discuss what you particularly liked about the book. ...
  • Mention anything you disliked about the book. ...
  • Round up your review. ...
  • You can give the book a rating, for example a mark out of five or ten, if you like!

How do you end a book review? ›

How to Finish a Review
  1. Evaluation. Not, actually, as important as you might think; it's going to be hard to get to your conclusion without having made it pretty clear what you think of the book. ...
  2. Summation. ...
  3. Culmination (narrative) ...
  4. Culmination (thematic) ...
  5. Culmination (yours) ...
  6. Slingshot. ...
  7. Speculation. ...
  8. Reframing.
18 Sept 2010

Which book review is best? ›

1. Goodreads. Goodreads is arguably the leading online community for book lovers. If you want some inspiration for which novel or biography to read next, this is the book review site to visit.

What is a book review format? ›

The book review format includes an introduction, body, and conclusion. Describe the book cover and title. Include any subtitles at this stage. Include the Author's Name.

What are the two general approaches to reviewing a book? ›

There are two approaches to book reviewing: Descriptive reviews give the essential information about a book. This is done with description and exposition, by stating the perceived aims and purposes of the author, and by quoting striking passages from the text.

What is the unique feature of book review? ›

Basically, the book review must be a well-written and well-organized paper that analyzes the source and helps the readers to understand the ideas. Then, the style must be formal and academic to be clear with the readers. Moreover, the structure of the paper must represent the logical work on the source.

Is a book review written in first person? ›

What is a Literature Review? Here are seven simple rules that cover the most common literature review mistakes, in no particular order. Refer to these rules before submitting any written work: Do not write in the first person (no I or we).

What are the types of book review? ›

We will be covering four of the most common: endorsements, trade, reader, and editorial reviews. It is important to note that any one of these reviews can help your book become a success but using a combination of all four will give you the best chances.

What is the purpose of a book review? ›

A book review is a descriptive and critical/evaluative account of a book. It provides a summary of the content, assesses the value of the book, and recommends it (or not) to other potential readers. A book report is an objective summary of the main ideas and arguments that the book's author has presented.

Does a book review need references? ›

If you have used a book review in your work, you will need to cite and reference it correctly.

What is your best basis in creating titles for a book review? ›

A book review title should be based on your total impression of a book.

How many pages should a book review be? ›

Standard length is 4-5 typed pages (approximately 1000-1250 words). You should use standard 12 point font and standard margins (1 inch on each side and one inch top and bottom of the page). c.

How do you write a 7th grade book report? ›

How To Do The 7th Grade Book Report
  1. Be sure to include the author and title of the book.
  2. Theme and main idea of ​​the work.
  3. Where and when events are depicted.
  4. Write down which episodes impressed you most.
  5. Indicate what you liked, what did not, and why.
  6. Write about the heroes of the book, their actions, exciting cases.

How do you write a book review without reading the book? ›

4 Ways to Write a Book Report Without Reading the Book
  1. Use a summary website. There are dozens of websites and resources that offer complete summaries and critiques on major texts. ...
  2. Stay general, then use a few specific details. ...
  3. Use a writing service. ...
  4. Skim and question.

How do you write a book review for high school? ›

Here are six steps for how to write a book review for school and beyond.
  1. Begin with a brief summary of the book. ...
  2. Pick out the most important aspects of the book. ...
  3. Include brief quotes as examples. ...
  4. Write a conclusion that summarises everything. ...
  5. Find similar books. ...
  6. Give it a star rating.
14 Feb 2019

Why are book reviews important for authors? ›

Book reviews give books greater visibility and a greater chance of getting found by more readers. On some websites, books that have more book reviews are more likely to be shown to prospective readers and buyers as compared to books with few or no book reviews.

What is book review in simple words? ›

A book review is a form of literary criticism in which a book is merely described (summary review) or analyzed based on content, style, and merit. A book review may be a primary source, opinion piece, summary review or scholarly review.

What are the stages of writing a book? ›

How to Write a Book
  • Establish a consistent writing space.
  • Hone in on your book idea.
  • Outline your story.
  • Do your research.
  • Start writing and stick to a routine.
  • Finish your first draft.
  • Revise and edit.
  • Write your second draft.
2 Mar 2022

What are the four parts of a book? ›

What are the parts of a book? TEMPLATE. Design and content make up the entirety of the book, including the title, introduction, body, conclusion, and back cover.

What are the stages in writing? ›

The general steps are: discovery\investigation, prewriting, drafting, revising, and editing.

What are 5 key features of summary writing? ›

There are five key steps that can help you to write a summary:
  • Read the text.
  • Break it down into sections.
  • Identify the key points in each section.
  • Write the summary.
  • Check the summary against the article.
23 Nov 2020

What are the 3 basic points to consider in writing process? ›

Writing is a process that can be divided into three stages: Pre-writing, drafting and the final revising stage which includes editing and proofreading. In the first stage you research your topic and make preparatory work before you enter the drafting stage.

What are the writing skills? ›

There are several types of skills that combine to make someone a strong writer, including:
  • Research. Before you write a single word, you need to do your research about the topic you're writing on. ...
  • Planning and/or Outlining. ...
  • Grammar and Clarity. ...
  • Revising and Editing. ...
  • Communication Skills.
9 Apr 2021

What is Arrr approach in writing? ›

Revising

Everyone needs to revise – even talented writers. The revision stage is sometimes summed up with the A.R.R.R. (Adding, Rearranging, Removing, Replacing) approach: Adding. What else does the reader need to know?

What was the first book ever written? ›

The first ever books

The first book ever written that we know of is The Epic of Gilgamesh: a mythical retelling of an important political figure from history. In the 14th century, the Jikji was printed in Korea in movable (metal) type: a collection of Buddhist Zen teachings.

What are the 5 parts of book review? ›

How do you write a book review? A book review comprises three critical parts: the summary and background, details about the author, and critical analysis. The layout of most book reviews is as follows: bibliographical information, introduction, thesis, supportive context, summary, critical analysis, and conclusion.

What is the very first page of a book called? ›

Front matter (or preliminaries; shortened to "prelims") comprises the first section of a book, and is usually the smallest section in terms of the number of pages.

What's the beginning of a book called? ›

A preface, prologue, and foreword are all a part of a book's front matter, the introductory pages of a book before the main text—often numbered with Roman numerals—that include the title page and table of contents.

What should come first reading or writing? ›

We thought so. Many people think that children first learn to read and then learn to write. Some even see writing as a completely separate skill. But research shows that reading and writing develop along a similar timeline in young children 1.

How many times should I proofread? ›

How many times should you proofread your writing? At a minimum, at least twice by you, once by someone else, and one check with a reliable online grammar tool. But the more times you proofread and check your work, the better. You might use a checking tool while you write or shortly after you finish your text.

What age should you start writing? ›

Writing. By ages four to five, children will start writing letters. Children will learn to write the alphabet in preschool and kindergarten, but it may be beneficial to have your child practice writing his/her letters at home.

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