The Write Practice

How to Write a Book Review: The Complete Guide

by Sue Weems | 23 comments

If you've ever loved (or hated) a book, you may have been tempted to review it. Here's a complete guide to how to write a book review, so you can share your literary adventures with other readers more often! 

How to Write a Book Review: The Complete Guide

You finally reach the last page of a book that kept you up all night and close it with the afterglow of satisfaction and a tinge of regret that it’s over. If you enjoyed the book enough to stay up reading it way past your bedtime, consider writing a review. It is one of the best gifts you can give an author.

Regardless of how much you know about how to write a book review, the author will appreciate hearing how their words touched you.

But as you face the five shaded stars and empty box, a blank mind strikes. What do I say? I mean, is this a book really deserving of five stars? How did it compare to Dostoevsky or Angelou or Dickens?

Maybe there’s an easier way to write a book review.

Want to learn how to write a book from start to finish? Check out How to Write a Book: The Complete Guide .

The Fallacy of Book Reviews

Once you’ve decided to give a review, you are faced with the task of deciding how many stars to give a book.

When I first started writing book reviews, I made the mistake of trying to compare a book to ALL BOOKS OF ALL TIME. (Sorry for the all caps, but that’s how it felt, like a James Earl Jones voice was asking me where to put this book in the queue of all books.)

Other readers find themselves comparing new titles to their favorite books. It's a natural comparison. But is it fair?

This is honestly why I didn’t give reviews of books for a long time. How can I compare a modern romance or historical fiction war novel with Dostoevsky? I can’t, and I shouldn’t.

I realized my mistake one day as I was watching (of all things) a dog show. In the final round, they trotted out dogs of all shapes, colors, and sizes. I thought, “How can a Yorkshire Terrier compete with a Basset Hound?” As if he'd read my mind, the announcer explained that each is judged by the standards for its breed.

This was my “Aha!” moment. I have to take a book on its own terms. The question is not, “How does this book compare to all books I’ve read?” but “How well did this book deliver what it promised for the intended audience?”

A review is going to reflect my personal experience with the book, but I can help potential readers by taking a minute to consider what the author intended. Let me explain what I mean. 

How to Write a Book Review: Consider a Book’s Promise

A book makes a promise with its cover, blurb, and first pages. It begins to set expectations the minute a reader views the thumbnail or cover. Those things indicate the genre, tone, and likely the major themes.

If a book cover includes a lip-locked couple in flowing linen on a beach, and I open to the first page to read about a pimpled vampire in a trench coat speaking like Mr. Knightly about his plan for revenge on the entire human race, there’s been a breach of contract before I even get to page two. These are the books we put down immediately (unless a mixed-message beachy cover combined with an Austen vampire story is your thing).

But what if the cover, blurb, and first pages are cohesive and perk our interest enough to keep reading? Then we have to think about what the book has promised us, which revolves around one key idea: What is the core story question and how well is it resolved?

Sometimes genre expectations help us answer this question: a romance will end with a couple who finds their way, a murder mystery ends with a solved case, a thriller’s protagonist beats the clock and saves the country or planet.

The stories we love most do those expected things in a fresh or surprising way with characters we root for from the first page. Even (and especially!) when a book doesn’t fit neatly in a genre category, we need to consider what the book promises on those first pages and decide how well it succeeds on the terms it sets for itself.

When I Don’t Know What to Write

About a month ago, I realized I was overthinking how to write a book review. Here at the Write Practice we have a longstanding tradition of giving critiques using the Oreo method : point out something that was a strength, then something we wondered about or that confused us, followed by another positive.

We can use this same structure to write a simple review when we finish books. Consider this book review format: 

[Book Title] by [book author] is about ___[plot summary in a sentence—no spoilers!]___. I chose this book based on ________. I really enjoyed ________. I wondered how ___________. Anyone who likes ____ will love this book.

Following this basic template can help you write an honest review about most any book, and it will give the author or publisher good information about what worked (and possibly what didn’t). You might write about the characters, the conflict, the setting, or anything else that captured you and kept you reading.

As an added bonus, you will be a stronger reader when you are able to express why you enjoyed parts of a book (just like when you critique!). After you complete a few, you’ll find it gets easier, and you won’t need the template anymore.

What if I Didn’t Like It?

Like professional book reviewers, you will have to make the call about when to leave a negative review. If I can’t give a book at least three stars, I usually don’t review it. Why? If I don’t like a book after a couple chapters, I put it down. I don’t review anything that I haven’t read the entire book.

Also, it may be that I’m not the target audience. The book might be well-written and well-reviewed with a great cover, and it just doesn’t capture me. Or maybe it's a book that just isn't hitting me right now for reasons that have nothing to do with the book and everything to do with my own reading life and needs. Every book is not meant for every reader.

If a book kept me reading all the way to the end and I didn’t like the ending? I would probably still review it, since there had to be enough good things going on to keep me reading to the end. I might mention in my review that the ending was less satisfying than I hoped, but I would still end with a positive.

How to Write a Book Review: Your Turn

As writers, we know how difficult it is to put down the words day after day. We are typically voracious readers. Let’s send some love back out to our fellow writers this week and review the most recent title we enjoyed.

What was the last book you read or reviewed? Do you ever find it hard to review a book? Share in the comments .

Now it's your turn. Think of the last book you read. Then, take fifteen minutes to write a review of it based on the template above. When you're done, share your review in the Pro Practice Workshop . For bonus points, post it on the book's page on Amazon and Goodreads, too!

Don't forget to leave feedback for your fellow writers! What new reads will you discover in the comments?

How to Write Like Louise Penny

Sue Weems is a writer, teacher, and traveler with an advanced degree in (mostly fictional) revenge. When she’s not rationalizing her love for parentheses (and dramatic asides), she follows a sailor around the globe with their four children, two dogs, and an impossibly tall stack of books to read. You can read more of her writing tips on her website .

title on chalk board

23 Comments

Azure Darkness Yugi

The Ice Dragon by George R.R. Martin is about a girl that shows no emotion befriending a ice dragon.

I chose this book based on the cover that had a little girl riding a ice dragon, and wondered what is about.

I really enjoyed the interaction the little girl had with the dragon.

I wondered how how the girl’s bond with the dragon.

Anyone who likes a coming of age story set in a fantasy will love this book.

Sue

Thanks for sharing your practice, Azure!

You’re welcome.

Christine

A interesting, at times perplexing, subject! And one on my mind lately,as I’ve agreed to do a few. I do enjoy giving reviews and am delighted when I can say, “This was a great book!” Or even, “I enjoyed this book.” It gets perplexing when I agree to review a book — and simply don’t like it. Then what to say? I hate to disappoint the writer but I’ve promised to give my honest opinion.

I’ve found some books mediocre and yet I see a dozen other reviewers saying “A great story!” Tastes do vary. But when there are obvious flaws I tend to skip all the best-friend-and-cousin reviewers and find the first person who says, “This writer has a problem with…” Usually there’ll be a number of reviewers who spot the same problems I do.

I like upbeat main characters, but not aggressive, belligerent, and/or self-centered ones. I like to meet in a story the kind of people I’d like to meet in real life— not people I’d avoid if possible. I recently read a book where the main character came across as insipid and the story only mildly interesting. Other reviewers said it was great and I know for this specific audience — readers who want a certain slant to a story — it was quite suitable. So I tried to cut the book some slack. Everyone has their limit as to how much blood and gore, smooching and snuggling, they are willing to read about.

Once I agreed to review a book and would have tossed it after the first chapter — for several reasons. A lot of “writer inserting facts for reader’s benefit”; teach/preach paragraphs; excess of description; attitudes of MCs. Once it’s live on seller’s sites like Amazon, what can you say? The one thing good it had going for it was the story line or theme. With a pro editor’s help it could have been a great story.

As for a review, one book I read lately was “A Clue for the Puzzle Lady” by Parnell Hall. It’s one of those “Stayed up half the night to finish it” books; I think anyone who likes a compelling cozy mystery would probably like it. Downside: I didn’t care for the “Puzzle Lady.” She’s a lush, hangs out at the bar getting sloshed. The upside: her sensible niece has a starring role —trying to keep her aunt on the straight-and-narrow and the mystery keeps you guessing until the end.

Christine, Thanks for sharing your insight! It sounds like you are approached often to review new books. It does make it tricky if it’s a request, especially outside your own preferences. Thanks for chiming in about your process, as I’m sure others will appreciate the perspective too. I’ll have to take a look at the Puzzle Lady– I do enjoy cozy mysteries. Sue

Here’s another cozy mystery book review in case you’re interested. I’m not approached by writers that often, but there are the Story Cartel, Book Bub and Goodreads, all sites where authors ask for review volunteers.

Reel Estate Ripoff by Renee Pawlish

The detective Reed Ferguson is a fan of Humphry Bogart, movie memorabilia of that era, and fancies himself a bit of a Sam Slade. Though not your super-sleuth, rather inept at times, he’s a likeable character. Told in first person, the story has a Philip Marlowe tone to it, but much tamer. Dialogue and story line are well done, the story well plotted and believable. I’d gladly read more stories about this particular gumshoe.

Beth Schmelzer

If you like cozy mystery books, I’ll send you a list later, Sue. Love them too and I’ve met many authors who write in this genre. Back on topic– you inspire me again to add some reviews to my Blog. I have been reading and writing many middle grade mysteries for a project! My latest favorite: “The World’s Greatest Detective” by Caroline Carson (who I hope to meet tomorrow in Arlington, VA!) My 12 year old grandson borrowed it and finished it before I could. “It’s the best mystery I ever read, Grandma! You’ ll never guess the ending with unpredictable twists!” What better review could we read. The target audience and I both highly recommend this 2017 mystery.

Adding it to my stack, Beth. Thanks!

Kelly Hansen

Not wanting to sound life an idiot, but willing to risk it here among friends: What exactly is a cozy mystery?

Glad you asked! It’s a subgenre of mystery. The best examples of cozy mysteries are those by Agatha Christie. They usually avoid profanity, excessive gore/ violence, and sex. They focus more on the puzzle, sleuth, and their smaller world. Hope that helps!

Thanks, Sue.

Daniel McDonald

Wonderful article. The first I have read by you. It especially gets those of us who don’t feel we have the formula down for review writing to be introduced to a form we can build upon with experience. You’ve kept it simple but you have given us the main ingredients needed for a good review. I printed this one off to look at the next few times I write reviews. Thank you.

Glad you found it helpful. Thanks for reading and commenting!

Dave Diss

I haven’t gone into all this. It’s a matter of time, Joe. I gad about all over the place, not knowing where I am or where I’m going. Within weeks, I’ll be 87. I’ve books of my own that I’d like to see reviewed. Even sorting them out, however, even finding where any of them are, would be a time burden. You see the fix?

Hi Dave, You aren’t alone in feeling the press of time for getting your stories out into the world. May I gently offer this: start with finding and sorting one. If you can’t find it, write it anew. You’ve probably grown in time and perspective since you wrote the first draft, which will make for a stronger story. Good luck. I’m cheering you on!

TerriblyTerrific

This is an article for me, because I am happy to receive a rating. I haven’t sold many books. But, at least some thinks that it was worth the time to read. That was refreshing. And, I think I wrote two reviews, so far. It was on Amazon.com. Thank you.

You’re welcome!

John Grumps Hamshare

Hi, Sue. Thanks for the helpful advice. I did a review on Amazon for the first of a 7-part thriller titled ‘Mosh Pit (The Rose Garden Incident)’ by Michael Hiebert. [Here it is.]

“5.0 out of 5 stars Advance copy review. By A fellow author on September 18, 2016 Format: Kindle Edition I Recommend This Book Strongly

I enjoyed reading this first part of the thriller. The author’s opening chapter/prologue was fast paced, and set me in the middle of the inciting incident along with two of the main characters. After that thrilling opening, I felt the ensuing chapters moved at a more leisurely pace, and was about to grade them as less praiseworthy when I watched a lecture by Brandon Sanderson on YouTube about building three dimensional characters and realised Michael Hiebert had done exactly that by introducing the reader to the minutiae of other characters who had parts to play in the development of the story. So, instead of cardboard cutouts of bland stock characters, the author shows us real people with real concerns that the reader can relate to.and actually care about. I look forward to reading the rest of this intriguing thriller, and highly recommend it to all lovers of well-written, and well-crafted thrillers.”

I also reviewed Part 2 of the series, but that review is too long to post here.

Footnote: The author, Michael Hiebert, was so pleased with my reviews, he recently asked me to beta-read a short story collection he plans to publish in November.

Great review, John! I like how you shared a bit of your process as a reader too, in recognizing what the writer was doing with their characterization. Thanks!

John Hamshare

Thank you, Sue.

Five out of five stars When I picked up a copy of “The Girl with All the Gifts,” by M R Carey, at the used book store, I somehow had it in my head that it was a YA dystopian novel along the lines of “Divergent” or “The Hunger Games.” While I would definitely say that I was not right about that, I wouldn’t say that I was completely wrong. I was, however, completely unprepared for a zombie novel–which is a good thing, cause I wouldn’t have read it, and I’m glad I did. Think “The Walking Dead” meets (why do I want to say ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night”?) “Peter Pan.” I really enjoyed seeing things from, the main character, Melanie’s point of view. Her limited knowledge of her own situation was intriguing, to say the least (and probably why I thought of “The Curious Incident”). I was a bit disappointed when the POV changed to another character’s, but, as the novel progressed, I found myself sympathizing with nearly all the characters–with one exception, and I’ll leave that for you to ponder when you read it. I wondered how much of the science was real, but not enough for me to research it myself. Although, based on other reviews, I guess most of the science about the fungus is real. I also wondered about the fate of the remaining ‘lost boys’ of the cities. If you liked…. well, I don’t know. I’m not typically a fan of things zombie, so I don’t have a comparison, but the book was somewhat similar to “Divergent” and “The Hunger Games” in that the main character goes through a hellluva time and comes out the other side with a plan for her future.

RAW

“Tuesdays with Morrie” by Mitch Albom is a true story about how one man found meaning in life when his doctors gave him a death sentence. Morrie was a college professor who passed on his new found wisdom in the last year of his life to a favorite student, the author, who chronicled his professor’s perspectives on death and dying.

I chose this book because of its philosophical topic, and because it is so well written that the words just jump off the page.

Knowing we are all mortal beings, I especially liked the insights, the tidbits of wisdom imparted by the dying man. Death is a subject that few, if any of us, ever talk about seriously with friends and family. The subject of death is verboten. We deny its existence. And, if we are religious, we pretend we will not really die, but we deceive ourselves and think we will live on in some afterlife existence for all eternity. But the professor, Morrie, learns some valuable life lessons from his impending death, and Mitch Albom was gracious enough to capture them in this short but eminently readable book.

I really liked the book because it is timeless. This true story will impart serious life lessons for all future generations, and will help us gain perspectives on our lives and the relationships with those we love the most.

R. Allan Worrell

Cathy Ryan

Sue, I’ve been meaning to come back since this was first posted to tell you thanks for a great article. I seldom review books for alllllll the reasons you listed. This is a perfect tool and I’ll surely use it. Cathy

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  • Professional Development -> accessiblity – Live love and learn - […] https://thewritepractice.com/how-to-write-a-book-review/?hvid=2AUcFm […]

Submit a Comment Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Submit Comment

Join over 450,000 readers who are saying YES to practice. You’ll also get a free copy of our eBook 14 Prompts :

Popular Resources

Book Writing Tips & Guides Creativity & Inspiration Tips Writing Prompts Grammar & Vocab Resources Best Book Writing Software ProWritingAid Review Writing Teacher Resources Publisher Rocket Review Scrivener Review Gifts for Writers

Books By Our Writers

Box of Shards

You've got it! Just us where to send your guide.

Enter your email to get our free 10-step guide to becoming a writer.

You've got it! Just us where to send your book.

Enter your first name and email to get our free book, 14 Prompts.

Want to Get Published?

Enter your email to get our free interactive checklist to writing and publishing a book.

The Writing Center • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Book Reviews

What this handout is about.

This handout will help you write a book review, a report or essay that offers a critical perspective on a text. It offers a process and suggests some strategies for writing book reviews.

What is a review?

A review is a critical evaluation of a text, event, object, or phenomenon. Reviews can consider books, articles, entire genres or fields of literature, architecture, art, fashion, restaurants, policies, exhibitions, performances, and many other forms. This handout will focus on book reviews. For a similar assignment, see our handout on literature reviews .

Above all, a review makes an argument. The most important element of a review is that it is a commentary, not merely a summary. It allows you to enter into dialogue and discussion with the work’s creator and with other audiences. You can offer agreement or disagreement and identify where you find the work exemplary or deficient in its knowledge, judgments, or organization. You should clearly state your opinion of the work in question, and that statement will probably resemble other types of academic writing, with a thesis statement, supporting body paragraphs, and a conclusion.

Typically, reviews are brief. In newspapers and academic journals, they rarely exceed 1000 words, although you may encounter lengthier assignments and extended commentaries. In either case, reviews need to be succinct. While they vary in tone, subject, and style, they share some common features:

  • 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. This involves your reactions to the work under review: what strikes you as noteworthy, whether or not it was effective or persuasive, and how it enhanced your understanding of the issues at hand.
  • Finally, in addition to analyzing the work, a review often suggests whether or not the audience would appreciate it.

Becoming an expert reviewer: three short examples

Reviewing can be a daunting task. Someone has asked for your opinion about something that you may feel unqualified to evaluate. Who are you to criticize Toni Morrison’s new book if you’ve never written a novel yourself, much less won a Nobel Prize? The point is that someone—a professor, a journal editor, peers in a study group—wants to know what you think about a particular work. You may not be (or feel like) an expert, but you need to pretend to be one for your particular audience. Nobody expects you to be the intellectual equal of the work’s creator, but your careful observations can provide you with the raw material to make reasoned judgments. Tactfully voicing agreement and disagreement, praise and criticism, is a valuable, challenging skill, and like many forms of writing, reviews require you to provide concrete evidence for your assertions.

Consider the following brief book review written for a history course on medieval Europe by a student who is fascinated with beer:

Judith Bennett’s Ale, Beer, and Brewsters in England: Women’s Work in a Changing World, 1300-1600, investigates how women used to brew and sell the majority of ale drunk in England. Historically, ale and beer (not milk, wine, or water) were important elements of the English diet. Ale brewing was low-skill and low status labor that was complimentary to women’s domestic responsibilities. In the early fifteenth century, brewers began to make ale with hops, and they called this new drink “beer.” This technique allowed brewers to produce their beverages at a lower cost and to sell it more easily, although women generally stopped brewing once the business became more profitable.

The student describes the subject of the book and provides an accurate summary of its contents. But the reader does not learn some key information expected from a review: the author’s argument, the student’s appraisal of the book and its argument, and whether or not the student would recommend the book. As a critical assessment, a book review should focus on opinions, not facts and details. Summary should be kept to a minimum, and specific details should serve to illustrate arguments.

Now consider a review of the same book written by a slightly more opinionated student:

Judith Bennett’s Ale, Beer, and Brewsters in England: Women’s Work in a Changing World, 1300-1600 was a colossal disappointment. I wanted to know about the rituals surrounding drinking in medieval England: the songs, the games, the parties. Bennett provided none of that information. I liked how the book showed ale and beer brewing as an economic activity, but the reader gets lost in the details of prices and wages. I was more interested in the private lives of the women brewsters. The book was divided into eight long chapters, and I can’t imagine why anyone would ever want to read it.

There’s no shortage of judgments in this review! But the student does not display a working knowledge of the book’s argument. The reader has a sense of what the student expected of the book, but no sense of what the author herself set out to prove. Although the student gives several reasons for the negative review, those examples do not clearly relate to each other as part of an overall evaluation—in other words, in support of a specific thesis. This review is indeed an assessment, but not a critical one.

Here is one final review of the same book:

One of feminism’s paradoxes—one that challenges many of its optimistic histories—is how patriarchy remains persistent over time. While Judith Bennett’s Ale, Beer, and Brewsters in England: Women’s Work in a Changing World, 1300-1600 recognizes medieval women as historical actors through their ale brewing, it also shows that female agency had its limits with the advent of beer. I had assumed that those limits were religious and political, but Bennett shows how a “patriarchal equilibrium” shut women out of economic life as well. Her analysis of women’s wages in ale and beer production proves that a change in women’s work does not equate to a change in working women’s status. Contemporary feminists and historians alike should read Bennett’s book and think twice when they crack open their next brewsky.

This student’s review avoids the problems of the previous two examples. It combines balanced opinion and concrete example, a critical assessment based on an explicitly stated rationale, and a recommendation to a potential audience. The reader gets a sense of what the book’s author intended to demonstrate. Moreover, the student refers to an argument about feminist history in general that places the book in a specific genre and that reaches out to a general audience. The example of analyzing wages illustrates an argument, the analysis engages significant intellectual debates, and the reasons for the overall positive review are plainly visible. The review offers criteria, opinions, and support with which the reader can agree or disagree.

Developing an assessment: before you write

There is no definitive method to writing a review, although some critical thinking about the work at hand is necessary before you actually begin writing. Thus, writing a review is a two-step process: developing an argument about the work under consideration, and making that argument as you write an organized and well-supported draft. See our handout on argument .

What follows is a series of questions to focus your thinking as you dig into the work at hand. While the questions specifically consider book reviews, you can easily transpose them to an analysis of performances, exhibitions, and other review subjects. Don’t feel obligated to address each of the questions; some will be more relevant than others to the book in question.

  • What is the thesis—or main argument—of the book? If the author wanted you to get one idea from the book, what would it be? How does it compare or contrast to the world you know? What has the book accomplished?
  • What exactly is the subject or topic of the book? Does the author cover the subject adequately? Does the author cover all aspects of the subject in a balanced fashion? What is the approach to the subject (topical, analytical, chronological, descriptive)?
  • How does the author support their argument? What evidence do they use to prove their point? Do you find that evidence convincing? Why or why not? Does any of the author’s information (or conclusions) conflict with other books you’ve read, courses you’ve taken or just previous assumptions you had of the subject?
  • How does the author structure their argument? What are the parts that make up the whole? Does the argument make sense? Does it persuade you? Why or why not?
  • How has this book helped you understand the subject? Would you recommend the book to your reader?

Beyond the internal workings of the book, you may also consider some information about the author and the circumstances of the text’s production:

  • Who is the author? Nationality, political persuasion, training, intellectual interests, personal history, and historical context may provide crucial details about how a work takes shape. Does it matter, for example, that the biographer was the subject’s best friend? What difference would it make if the author participated in the events they write about?
  • What is the book’s genre? Out of what field does it emerge? Does it conform to or depart from the conventions of its genre? These questions can provide a historical or literary standard on which to base your evaluations. If you are reviewing the first book ever written on the subject, it will be important for your readers to know. Keep in mind, though, that naming “firsts”—alongside naming “bests” and “onlys”—can be a risky business unless you’re absolutely certain.

Writing the review

Once you have made your observations and assessments of the work under review, carefully survey your notes and attempt to unify your impressions into a statement that will describe the purpose or thesis of your review. Check out our handout on thesis statements . Then, outline the arguments that support your thesis.

Your arguments should develop the thesis in a logical manner. That logic, unlike more standard academic writing, may initially emphasize the author’s argument while you develop your own in the course of the review. The relative emphasis depends on the nature of the review: if readers may be more interested in the work itself, you may want to make the work and the author more prominent; if you want the review to be about your perspective and opinions, then you may structure the review to privilege your observations over (but never separate from) those of the work under review. What follows is just one of many ways to organize a review.

Introduction

Since most reviews are brief, many writers begin with a catchy quip or anecdote that succinctly delivers their argument. But you can introduce your review differently depending on the argument and audience. The Writing Center’s handout on introductions can help you find an approach that works. In general, you should include:

  • The name of the author and the book title and the main theme.
  • Relevant details about who the author is and where they stand in the genre or field of inquiry. You could also link the title to the subject to show how the title explains the subject matter.
  • The context of the book and/or your review. Placing your review in a framework that makes sense to your audience alerts readers to your “take” on the book. Perhaps you want to situate a book about the Cuban revolution in the context of Cold War rivalries between the United States and the Soviet Union. Another reviewer might want to consider the book in the framework of Latin American social movements. Your choice of context informs your argument.
  • The thesis of the book. If you are reviewing fiction, this may be difficult since novels, plays, and short stories rarely have explicit arguments. But identifying the book’s particular novelty, angle, or originality allows you to show what specific contribution the piece is trying to make.
  • Your thesis about the book.

Summary of content

This should be brief, as analysis takes priority. In the course of making your assessment, you’ll hopefully be backing up your assertions with concrete evidence from the book, so some summary will be dispersed throughout other parts of the review.

The necessary amount of summary also depends on your audience. Graduate students, beware! If you are writing book reviews for colleagues—to prepare for comprehensive exams, for example—you may want to devote more attention to summarizing the book’s contents. If, on the other hand, your audience has already read the book—such as a class assignment on the same work—you may have more liberty to explore more subtle points and to emphasize your own argument. See our handout on summary for more tips.

Analysis and evaluation of the book

Your analysis and evaluation should be organized into paragraphs that deal with single aspects of your argument. This arrangement can be challenging when your purpose is to consider the book as a whole, but it can help you differentiate elements of your criticism and pair assertions with evidence more clearly. You do not necessarily need to work chronologically through the book as you discuss it. Given the argument you want to make, you can organize your paragraphs more usefully by themes, methods, or other elements of the book. If you find it useful to include comparisons to other books, keep them brief so that the book under review remains in the spotlight. Avoid excessive quotation and give a specific page reference in parentheses when you do quote. Remember that you can state many of the author’s points in your own words.

Sum up or restate your thesis or make the final judgment regarding the book. You should not introduce new evidence for your argument in the conclusion. You can, however, introduce new ideas that go beyond the book if they extend the logic of your own thesis. This paragraph needs to balance the book’s strengths and weaknesses in order to unify your evaluation. Did the body of your review have three negative paragraphs and one favorable one? What do they all add up to? The Writing Center’s handout on conclusions can help you make a final assessment.

Finally, a few general considerations:

  • Review the book in front of you, not the book you wish the author had written. You can and should point out shortcomings or failures, but don’t criticize the book for not being something it was never intended to be.
  • With any luck, the author of the book worked hard to find the right words to express her ideas. You should attempt to do the same. Precise language allows you to control the tone of your review.
  • Never hesitate to challenge an assumption, approach, or argument. Be sure, however, to cite specific examples to back up your assertions carefully.
  • Try to present a balanced argument about the value of the book for its audience. You’re entitled—and sometimes obligated—to voice strong agreement or disagreement. But keep in mind that a bad book takes as long to write as a good one, and every author deserves fair treatment. Harsh judgments are difficult to prove and can give readers the sense that you were unfair in your assessment.
  • A great place to learn about book reviews is to look at examples. The New York Times Sunday Book Review and The New York Review of Books can show you how professional writers review books.

Works consulted

We consulted these works while writing this handout. This is not a comprehensive list of resources on the handout’s topic, and we encourage you to do your own research to find additional publications. Please do not use this list as a model for the format of your own reference list, as it may not match the citation style you are using. For guidance on formatting citations, please see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial . We revise these tips periodically and welcome feedback.

Drewry, John. 1974. Writing Book Reviews. Boston: Greenwood Press.

Hoge, James. 1987. Literary Reviewing. Charlottesville: University Virginia of Press.

Sova, Dawn, and Harry Teitelbaum. 2002. How to Write Book Reports , 4th ed. Lawrenceville, NY: Thomson/Arco.

Walford, A.J. 1986. Reviews and Reviewing: A Guide. Phoenix: Oryx Press.

You may reproduce it for non-commercial use if you use the entire handout and attribute the source: The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Make a Gift

How to Write a Book Review: A Comprehensive Tutorial With Examples

blog image

You don’t need to be a literary expert to craft captivating book reviews. With one in every three readers selecting books based on insightful reviews, your opinions can guide fellow bibliophiles toward their next literary adventure.

Learning how to write a book review will not only help you excel at your assigned tasks, but you’ll also contribute valuable insights to the book-loving community and turn your passion into a professional pursuit.

In this comprehensive guide,  PaperPerk  will walk you through a few simple steps to master the art of writing book reviews so you can confidently embark on this rewarding journey.

What is a Book Review?

A book review is a critical evaluation of a book, offering insights into its content, quality, and impact. It helps readers make informed decisions about whether to read the book.

Writing a book review as an assignment benefits students in multiple ways. Firstly, it teaches them how to write a book review by developing their analytical skills as they evaluate the content, themes, and writing style .

Secondly, it enhances their ability to express opinions and provide constructive criticism. Additionally, book review assignments expose students to various publications and genres, broadening their knowledge.

Furthermore, these tasks foster essential skills for academic success, like critical thinking and the ability to synthesize information. By now, we’re sure you want to learn how to write a book review, so let’s look at the book review template first.

Table of Contents

Book Review Template

How to write a book review- a step by step guide.

Check out these 5 straightforward steps for composing the best book review.

Step 1: Planning Your Book Review – The Art of Getting Started

You’ve decided to take the plunge and share your thoughts on a book that has captivated (or perhaps disappointed) you. Before you start book reviewing, let’s take a step back and plan your approach. Since knowing how to write a book review that’s both informative and engaging is an art in itself.

Choosing Your Literature

First things first, pick the book you want to review. This might seem like a no-brainer, but selecting a book that genuinely interests you will make the review process more enjoyable and your insights more authentic.

Crafting the Master Plan

Next, create an  outline  that covers all the essential points you want to discuss in your review. This will serve as the roadmap for your writing journey.

The Devil is in the Details

As you read, note any information that stands out, whether it overwhelms, underwhelms, or simply intrigues you. Pay attention to:

  • The characters and their development
  • The plot and its intricacies
  • Any themes, symbols, or motifs you find noteworthy

Remember to reserve a body paragraph for each point you want to discuss.

The Key Questions to Ponder

When planning your book review, consider the following questions:

  • What’s the plot (if any)? Understanding the driving force behind the book will help you craft a more effective review.
  • Is the plot interesting? Did the book hold your attention and keep you turning the pages?
  • Are the writing techniques effective? Does the author’s style captivate you, making you want to read (or reread) the text?
  • Are the characters or the information believable? Do the characters/plot/information feel real, and can you relate to them?
  • Would you recommend the book to anyone? Consider if the book is worthy of being recommended, whether to impress someone or to support a point in a literature class.
  • What could improve? Always keep an eye out for areas that could be improved. Providing constructive criticism can enhance the quality of literature.

Step 2 – Crafting the Perfect Introduction to Write a Book Review

In this second step of “how to write a book review,” we’re focusing on the art of creating a powerful opening that will hook your audience and set the stage for your analysis.

Identify Your Book and Author

Begin by mentioning the book you’ve chosen, including its  title  and the author’s name. This informs your readers and establishes the subject of your review.

Ponder the Title

Next, discuss the mental images or emotions the book’s title evokes in your mind . This helps your readers understand your initial feelings and expectations before diving into the book.

Judge the Book by Its Cover (Just a Little)

Take a moment to talk about the book’s cover. Did it intrigue you? Did it hint at what to expect from the story or the author’s writing style? Sharing your thoughts on the cover can offer a unique perspective on how the book presents itself to potential readers.

Present Your Thesis

Now it’s time to introduce your thesis. This statement should be a concise and insightful summary of your opinion of the book. For example:

“Normal People” by Sally Rooney is a captivating portrayal of the complexities of human relationships, exploring themes of love, class, and self-discovery with exceptional depth and authenticity.

Ensure that your thesis is relevant to the points or quotes you plan to discuss throughout your review.

Incorporating these elements into your introduction will create a strong foundation for your book review. Your readers will be eager to learn more about your thoughts and insights on the book, setting the stage for a compelling and thought-provoking analysis.

How to Write a Book Review: Step 3 – Building Brilliant Body Paragraphs

You’ve planned your review and written an attention-grabbing introduction. Now it’s time for the main event: crafting the body paragraphs of your book review. In this step of “how to write a book review,” we’ll explore the art of constructing engaging and insightful body paragraphs that will keep your readers hooked.

Summarize Without Spoilers

Begin by summarizing a specific section of the book, not revealing any major plot twists or spoilers. Your goal is to give your readers a taste of the story without ruining surprises.

Support Your Viewpoint with Quotes

Next, choose three quotes from the book that support your viewpoint or opinion. These quotes should be relevant to the section you’re summarizing and help illustrate your thoughts on the book.

Analyze the Quotes

Write a summary of each quote in your own words, explaining how it made you feel or what it led you to think about the book or the author’s writing. This analysis should provide insight into your perspective and demonstrate your understanding of the text.

Structure Your Body Paragraphs

Dedicate one body paragraph to each quote, ensuring your writing is well-connected, coherent, and easy to understand.

For example:

  • In  Jane Eyre , Charlotte Brontë writes, “I am no bird; and no net ensnares me.” This powerful statement highlights Jane’s fierce independence and refusal to be trapped by societal expectations.
  • In  Normal People , Sally Rooney explores the complexities of love and friendship when she writes, “It was culture as class performance, literature fetishized for its ability to take educated people on false emotional journeys.” This quote reveals the author’s astute observations on the role of culture and class in shaping personal relationships.
  • In  Wuthering Heights , Emily Brontë captures the tumultuous nature of love with the quote, “He’s more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.” This poignant line emphasizes the deep, unbreakable bond between the story’s central characters.

By following these guidelines, you’ll create body paragraphs that are both captivating and insightful, enhancing your book review and providing your readers with a deeper understanding of the literary work. 

How to Write a Book Review: Step 4 – Crafting a Captivating Conclusion

You’ve navigated through planning, introductions, and body paragraphs with finesse. Now it’s time to wrap up your book review with a  conclusion that leaves a lasting impression . In this final step of “how to write a book review,” we’ll explore the art of writing a memorable and persuasive conclusion.

Summarize Your Analysis

Begin by summarizing the key points you’ve presented in the body paragraphs. This helps to remind your readers of the insights and arguments you’ve shared throughout your review.

Offer Your Final Conclusion

Next, provide a conclusion that reflects your overall feelings about the book. This is your chance to leave a lasting impression and persuade your readers to consider your perspective.

Address the Book’s Appeal

Now, answer the question: Is this book worth reading? Be clear about who would enjoy the book and who might not. Discuss the taste preferences and circumstances that make the book more appealing to some readers than others.

For example:  The Alchemist is a book that can enchant a young teen, but those who are already well-versed in classic literature might find it less engaging.

Be Subtle and Balanced

Avoid simply stating whether you “liked” or “disliked” the book. Instead, use nuanced language to convey your message. Highlight the pros and cons of reading the type of literature you’ve reviewed, offering a balanced perspective.

Bringing It All Together

By following these guidelines, you’ll craft a conclusion that leaves your readers with a clear understanding of your thoughts and opinions on the book. Your review will be a valuable resource for those considering whether to pick up the book, and your witty and insightful analysis will make your review a pleasure to read. So conquer the world of book reviews, one captivating conclusion at a time!

How to Write a Book Review: Step 5 – Rating the Book (Optional)

You’ve masterfully crafted your book review, from the introduction to the conclusion. But wait, there’s one more step you might consider before calling it a day: rating the book. In this optional step of “how to write a book review,” we’ll explore the benefits and methods of assigning a rating to the book you’ve reviewed.

Why Rate the Book?

Sometimes, when writing a professional book review, it may not be appropriate to state whether you liked or disliked the book. In such cases, assigning a rating can be an effective way to get your message across without explicitly sharing your personal opinion.

How to Rate the Book

There are various rating systems you can use to evaluate the book, such as:

  • A star rating (e.g., 1 to 5 stars)
  • A numerical score (e.g., 1 to 10)
  • A letter grade (e.g., A+ to F)

Choose a rating system that best suits your style and the format of your review. Be consistent in your rating criteria, considering writing quality, character development, plot, and overall enjoyment.

Tips for Rating the Book

Here are some tips for rating the book effectively:

  • Be honest: Your rating should reflect your true feelings about the book. Don’t inflate or deflate your rating based on external factors, such as the book’s popularity or the author’s reputation.
  • Be fair:Consider the book’s merits and shortcomings when rating. Even if you didn’t enjoy the book, recognize its strengths and acknowledge them in your rating.
  • Be clear: Explain the rationale behind your rating so your readers understand the factors that influenced your evaluation.

Wrapping Up

By including a rating in your book review, you provide your readers with an additional insight into your thoughts on the book. While this step is optional, it can be a valuable tool for conveying your message subtly yet effectively. So, rate those books confidently, adding a touch of wit and wisdom to your book reviews.

Additional Tips on How to Write a Book Review: A Guide

In this segment, we’ll explore additional tips on how to write a book review. Get ready to captivate your readers and make your review a memorable one!

Hook ’em with an Intriguing Introduction

Keep your introduction precise and to the point. Readers have the attention span of a goldfish these days, so don’t let them swim away in boredom. Start with a bang and keep them hooked!

Embrace the World of Fiction

When learning how to write a book review, remember that reviewing fiction is often more engaging and effective. If your professor hasn’t assigned you a specific book, dive into the realm of fiction and select a novel that piques your interest.

Opinionated with Gusto

Don’t shy away from adding your own opinion to your review. A good book review always features the writer’s viewpoint and constructive criticism. After all, your readers want to know what  you  think!

Express Your Love (or Lack Thereof)

If you adored the book, let your readers know! Use phrases like “I’ll definitely return to this book again” to convey your enthusiasm. Conversely, be honest but respectful even if the book wasn’t your cup of tea.

Templates and Examples and Expert Help: Your Trusty Sidekicks

Feeling lost? You can always get help from formats, book review examples or online  college paper writing service  platforms. These trusty sidekicks will help you navigate the world of book reviews with ease. 

Be a Champion for New Writers and Literature

Remember to uplift new writers and pieces of literature. If you want to suggest improvements, do so kindly and constructively. There’s no need to be mean about anyone’s books – we’re all in this literary adventure together!

Criticize with Clarity, Not Cruelty

When adding criticism to your review, be clear but not mean. Remember, there’s a fine line between constructive criticism and cruelty. Tread lightly and keep your reader’s feelings in mind.

Avoid the Comparison Trap

Resist the urge to compare one writer’s book with another. Every book holds its worth, and comparing them will only confuse your reader. Stick to discussing the book at hand, and let it shine in its own light.

Top 7 Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Writing a book review can be a delightful and rewarding experience, especially when you balance analysis, wit, and personal insights. However, some common mistakes can kill the brilliance of your review. 

In this section of “how to write a book review,” we’ll explore the top 7 blunders writers commit and how to steer clear of them, with a dash of  modernist literature  examples and tips for students writing book reviews as assignments.

Succumbing to the Lure of Plot Summaries

Mistake: Diving headfirst into a plot summary instead of dissecting the book’s themes, characters, and writing style.

Example: “The Bell Jar chronicles the life of a young woman who experiences a mental breakdown.”

How to Avoid: Delve into the book’s deeper aspects, such as its portrayal of mental health, societal expectations, and the author’s distinctive narrative voice. Offer thoughtful insights and reflections, making your review a treasure trove of analysis.

Unleashing the Spoiler Kraken

Mistake: Spilling major plot twists or the ending without providing a spoiler warning, effectively ruining the reading experience for potential readers.

Example: “In Metamorphosis, the protagonist’s transformation into a monstrous insect leads to…”

How to Avoid: Tread carefully when discussing significant plot developments, and consider using spoiler warnings. Focus on the impact of these plot points on the overall narrative, character growth, or thematic resonance.

Riding the Personal Bias Express

Mistake: Allowing personal bias to hijack the review without providing sufficient evidence or reasoning to support opinions.

Example: “I detest books about existential crises, so The Sun Also Rises was a snoozefest.”

How to Avoid: While personal opinions are valid, it’s crucial to back them up with specific examples from the book. Discuss aspects like writing style, character development, or pacing to support your evaluation and provide a more balanced perspective.

Wielding the Vague Language Saber

Mistake: Resorting to generic, vague language that fails to capture the nuances of the book and can come across as clichéd.

Example: “This book was mind-blowing. It’s a must-read for everyone.”

How to Avoid: Use precise and descriptive language to express your thoughts. Employ specific examples and quotations to highlight memorable scenes, the author’s unique writing style, or the impact of the book’s themes on readers.

Ignoring the Contextualization Compass

Mistake: Neglecting to provide context about the author, genre, or cultural relevance of the book, leaving readers without a proper frame of reference.

Example: “This book is dull and unoriginal.”

How to Avoid: Offer readers a broader understanding by discussing the author’s background, the genre conventions the book adheres to or subverts, and any societal or historical contexts that inform the narrative. This helps readers appreciate the book’s uniqueness and relevance.

Overindulging in Personal Preferences

Mistake: Letting personal preferences overshadow an objective assessment of the book’s merits.

Example: “I don’t like stream-of-consciousness writing, so this book is automatically bad.”

How to Avoid: Acknowledge personal preferences but strive to evaluate the book objectively. Focus on the book’s strengths and weaknesses, considering how well it achieves its goals within its genre or intended audience.

Forgetting the Target Audience Telescope

Mistake: Failing to mention the book’s target audience or who might enjoy it, leading to confusion for potential readers.

Example: “This book is great for everyone.”

How to Avoid: Contemplate the book’s intended audience, genre, and themes. Mention who might particularly enjoy the book based on these factors, whether it’s fans of a specific genre, readers interested in character-driven stories, or those seeking thought-provoking narratives.

By dodging these common pitfalls, writers can craft insightful, balanced, and engaging book reviews that help readers make informed decisions about their reading choices.

These tips are particularly beneficial for students writing book reviews as assignments, as they ensure a well-rounded and thoughtful analysis.!

Many students requested us to cover how to write a book review. This thorough guide is sure to help you. At Paperperk, professionals are dedicated to helping students find their balance. We understand the importance of good grades, so we offer the finest writing service , ensuring students stay ahead of the curve. So seek expert help because only Paperperk is your perfect solution!

What is the difference between a book review and a report?

Who is the target audience for book reviews and book reports, how do book reviews and reports differ in length and content, can i write professional book reviews, what are the key aspects of writing professional book reviews, how can i enhance my book-reviewing skills to write professional reviews, what should be included in a good book review.

Order Original Papers & Essays

Your First Custom Paper Sample is on Us!

timely deliveries

Timely Deliveries

premium quality

No Plagiarism & AI

unlimited revisions

100% Refund

Try Our Free Paper Writing Service

Related blogs.

blog-img

Connections with Writers and support

safe service

Privacy and Confidentiality Guarantee

quality-score

Average Quality Score

Literacy Ideas

How to Write a Book Review: The Ultimate Guide

' data-src=

WHAT IS A BOOK REVIEW?

how to write a book review | what is a Book review | How to Write a Book Review: The Ultimate Guide | literacyideas.com

Traditionally, book reviews are evaluations of a recently published book in any genre. Usually, around the 500 to 700-word mark, they briefly describe a text’s main elements while appraising the work’s strengths and weaknesses. Published book reviews can appear in newspapers, magazines, and academic journals. They provide the reader with an overview of the book itself and indicate whether or not the reviewer would recommend the book to the reader.

WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF A BOOK REVIEW?

There was a time when book reviews were a regular appearance in every quality newspaper and many periodicals. They were essential elements in whether or not a book would sell well. A review from a heavyweight critic could often be the deciding factor in whether a book became a bestseller or a damp squib. In the last few decades, however, the book review’s influence has waned considerably, with many potential book buyers preferring to consult customer reviews on Amazon, or sites like Goodreads, before buying. As a result, book review’s appearance in newspapers, journals, and digital media has become less frequent.

WHY BOTHER TEACHING STUDENTS TO WRITE BOOK REVIEWS AT ALL?

Even in the heyday of the book review’s influence, few students who learned the craft of writing a book review became literary critics! The real value of crafting a well-written book review for a student does not lie in their ability to impact book sales. Understanding how to produce a well-written book review helps students to:

●     Engage critically with a text

●     Critically evaluate a text

●     Respond personally to a range of different writing genres

●     Improve their own reading, writing, and thinking skills.

Not to Be Confused with a Book Report!

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A BOOK REVIEW AND A BOOK REPORT?

book_reviews_vs_book_reports.jpg

While the terms are often used interchangeably, there are clear differences in both the purpose and the format of the two genres. Generally speaking, book reports aim to give a more detailed outline of what occurs in a book. A book report on a work of fiction will tend to give a comprehensive account of the characters, major plot lines, and themes in the book. Book reports are usually written around the K-12 age range, while book reviews tend not to be undertaken by those at the younger end of this age range due to the need for the higher-level critical skills required in writing them. At their highest expression, book reviews are written at the college level and by professional critics.

Learn how to write a book review step by step with our complete guide for students and teachers by familiarizing yourself with the structure and features.

BOOK REVIEW STRUCTURE

ANALYZE Evaluate the book with a critical mind.

THOROUGHNESS The whole is greater than the sum of all its parts. Review the book as a WHOLE.

COMPARE Where appropriate compare to similar texts and genres.

THUMBS UP OR DOWN? You are going to have to inevitably recommend or reject this book to potential readers.

BE CONSISTENT Take a stance and stick with it throughout your review.

FEATURES OF A BOOK REVIEW

PAST TENSE You are writing about a book you have already read.

EMOTIVE LANGUAGE Whatever your stance or opinion be passionate about it. Your audience will thank you for it.

VOICE Both active and passive voice are used in recounts.

A COMPLETE UNIT ON REVIEW AND ANALYSIS OF TEXTS

how to write a book review | movie response unit | How to Write a Book Review: The Ultimate Guide | literacyideas.com

⭐ Make  MOVIES A MEANINGFUL PART OF YOUR CURRICULUM  with this engaging collection of tasks and tools your students will love. ⭐ All the hard work is done for you with  NO PREPARATION REQUIRED.

This collection of  21 INDEPENDENT TASKS  and  GRAPHIC ORGANIZERS  takes students beyond the hype, special effects and trailers to look at visual literacy from several perspectives offering DEEP LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES by watching a  SERIES, DOCUMENTARY, FILM, and even  VIDEO GAMES.

ELEMENTS OF A BOOK REVIEW

As with any of the writing genres we teach our students, a book review can be helpfully explained in terms of criteria. While there is much to the ‘art’ of writing, there is also, thankfully, a lot of the nuts and bolts that can be listed too. Have students consider the following elements before writing:

●     Title: Often, the title of the book review will correspond to the title of the text itself, but there may also be some examination of the title’s relevance. How does it fit into the purpose of the work as a whole? Does it convey a message or reveal larger themes explored within the work?

●     Author: Within the book review, there may be some discussion of who the author is and what they have written before, especially if it relates to the current work being reviewed. There may be some mention of the author’s style and what they are best known for. If the author has received any awards or prizes, this may also be mentioned within the body of the review.

●     Genre: A book review will identify the genre that the book belongs to, whether fiction or nonfiction, poetry, romance, science-fiction, history etc. The genre will likely tie in, too with who the intended audience for the book is and what the overall purpose of the work is.

●     Book Jacket / Cover: Often, a book’s cover will contain artwork that is worthy of comment. It may contain interesting details related to the text that contribute to, or detract from, the work as a whole.

●     Structure: The book’s structure will often be heavily informed by its genre. Have students examine how the book is organized before writing their review. Does it contain a preface from a guest editor, for example? Is it written in sections or chapters? Does it have a table of contents, index, glossary etc.? While all these details may not make it into the review itself, looking at how the book is structured may reveal some interesting aspects.

●     Publisher and Price: A book review will usually contain details of who publishes the book and its cost. A review will often provide details of where the book is available too.

how to write a book review | writing a book review | How to Write a Book Review: The Ultimate Guide | literacyideas.com

BOOK REVIEW KEY ELEMENTS

As students read and engage with the work they will review, they will develop a sense of the shape their review will take. This will begin with the summary. Encourage students to take notes during the reading of the work that will help them in writing the summary that will form an essential part of their review. Aspects of the book they may wish to take notes on in a work of fiction may include:

●     Characters: Who are the main characters? What are their motivations? Are they convincingly drawn? Or are they empathetic characters?

●     Themes: What are the main themes of the work? Are there recurring motifs in the work? Is the exploration of the themes deep or surface only?

●     Style: What are the key aspects of the writer’s style? How does it fit into the wider literary world?

●     Plot: What is the story’s main catalyst? What happens in the rising action? What are the story’s subplots? 

A book review will generally begin with a short summary of the work itself. However, it is important not to give too much away, remind students – no spoilers, please! For nonfiction works, this may be a summary of the main arguments of the work, again, without giving too much detail away. In a work of fiction, a book review will often summarise up to the rising action of the piece without going beyond to reveal too much!

how to write a book review | 9 text response | How to Write a Book Review: The Ultimate Guide | literacyideas.com

The summary should also provide some orientation for the reader. Given the nature of the purpose of a review, it is important that students’ consider their intended audience in the writing of their review. Readers will most likely not have read the book in question and will require some orientation. This is often achieved through introductions to the main characters, themes, primary arguments etc. This will help the reader to gauge whether or not the book is of interest to them.

Once your student has summarized the work, it is time to ‘review’ in earnest. At this point, the student should begin to detail their own opinion of the book. To do this well they should:

i. Make It Personal

Often when teaching essay writing we will talk to our students about the importance of climbing up and down the ladder of abstraction. Just as it is helpful to explore large, more abstract concepts in an essay by bringing it down to Earth, in a book review, it is important that students can relate the characters, themes, ideas etc to their own lives.

Book reviews are meant to be subjective. They are opinion pieces, and opinions grow out of our experiences of life. Encourage students to link the work they are writing about to their own personal life within the body of the review. By making this personal connection to the work, students contextualize their opinions for the readers and help them to understand whether the book will be of interest to them or not in the process.

ii. Make It Universal

Just as it is important to climb down the ladder of abstraction to show how the work relates to individual life, it is important to climb upwards on the ladder too. Students should endeavor to show how the ideas explored in the book relate to the wider world. The may be in the form of the universality of the underlying themes in a work of fiction or, for example, the international implications for arguments expressed in a work of nonfiction.

iii. Support Opinions with Evidence

A book review is a subjective piece of writing by its very nature. However, just because it is subjective does not mean that opinions do not need to be justified. Make sure students understand how to back up their opinions with various forms of evidence, for example, quotations, statistics, and the use of primary and secondary sources.

EDIT AND REVISE YOUR BOOK REVIEW

how to write a book review | 9 1 proof read Book review | How to Write a Book Review: The Ultimate Guide | literacyideas.com

As with any writing genre, encourage students to polish things up with review and revision at the end. Encourage them to proofread and check for accurate spelling throughout, with particular attention to the author’s name, character names, publisher etc. 

It is good practice too for students to double-check their use of evidence. Are statements supported? Are the statistics used correctly? Are the quotations from the text accurate? Mistakes such as these uncorrected can do great damage to the value of a book review as they can undermine the reader’s confidence in the writer’s judgement.

The discipline of writing book reviews offers students opportunities to develop their writing skills and exercise their critical faculties. Book reviews can be valuable standalone activities or serve as a part of a series of activities engaging with a central text. They can also serve as an effective springboard into later discussion work based on the ideas and issues explored in a particular book. Though the book review does not hold the sway it once did in the mind’s of the reading public, it still serves as an effective teaching tool in our classrooms today.

how to write a book review | LITERACY IDEAS FRONT PAGE 1 | How to Write a Book Review: The Ultimate Guide | literacyideas.com

Teaching Resources

Use our resources and tools to improve your student’s writing skills through proven teaching strategies.

BOOK REVIEW GRAPHIC ORGANIZER (TEMPLATE)

how to write a book review | book review graphic organizer | How to Write a Book Review: The Ultimate Guide | literacyideas.com

101 DIGITAL & PRINT GRAPHIC ORGANIZERS FOR ALL CURRICULUM AREAS

how to write a book review | digital graphic organizers 1 | How to Write a Book Review: The Ultimate Guide | literacyideas.com

Introduce your students to 21st-century learning with this GROWING BUNDLE OF 101 EDITABLE & PRINTABLE GRAPHIC ORGANIZERS. ✌ NO PREP REQUIRED!!! ✌ Go paperless, and let your students express their knowledge and creativity through the power of technology and collaboration inside and outside the classroom with ease.

Whilst you don’t have to have a 1:1 or BYOD classroom to benefit from this bundle, it has been purpose-built to deliver through platforms such as ✔ GOOGLE CLASSROOM, ✔ OFFICE 365, ✔ or any CLOUD-BASED LEARNING PLATFORM.

Book and Movie review writing examples (Student Writing Samples)

Below are a collection of student writing samples of book reviews.  Click on the image to enlarge and explore them in greater detail.  Please take a moment to both read the movie or book review in detail but also the teacher and student guides which highlight some of the key elements of writing a text review

Please understand these student writing samples are not intended to be perfect examples for each age or grade level but a piece of writing for students and teachers to explore together to critically analyze to improve student writing skills and deepen their understanding of book review writing.

We would recommend reading the example either a year above and below, as well as the grade you are currently working with to gain a broader appreciation of this text type .

how to write a book review | book review year 3 | How to Write a Book Review: The Ultimate Guide | literacyideas.com

BOOK REVIEW VIDEO TUTORIALS

how to write a book review | 2 book review tutorial28129 | How to Write a Book Review: The Ultimate Guide | literacyideas.com

OTHER GREAT ARTICLES RELATED TO BOOK REVIEWS

how to write a book review | transactional writing guide | Transactional Writing | literacyideas.com

Transactional Writing

how to write a book review | text response | How to write a text response | literacyideas.com

How to write a text response

how to write a book review | compare and contrast essay 1 | How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay | literacyideas.com

How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay

how to write a book review | expository essay writing guide | How to Write Excellent Expository Essays | literacyideas.com

How to Write Excellent Expository Essays

Blurb Blog

Home » Writing » How to Write a Good Book Review

how to prepare 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.

Write a 5 star book review

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.

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 .

This post doesn't have any comment. Be the first one!

This is a unique website which will require a more modern browser to work! Please upgrade today!

This is a modern website which will require Javascript to work.

Please turn it on!

Gateway Seminary logo

  • My Library Account
  • Gateway Seminary
  • GS Student Resources

How to Write a Book Review: Introduction

  • Introduction

Steps to Write a Book Review

  • Other Resources on Writing Reviews

Writing Book Reviews

Academic book reviews are helpful in enabling people to decide if they want to read a given book. A book review is not a book report, which you may hae done in elementary school. A book report describes the basic contents. Book reviews go far deeper than that. This guide will explain what an academic book review is and how to write one well.

Introduction to Writing Book Reviews

  • What is a Book Review?
  • Benefits of Writing Book Reviews

 What is a Book Review?

  • Describes the purpose of the book
  • Describes the contents of the book (subject of each chapter)
  • Analyzes the approach/argument(s) of the book: Does it seem accurate? Does it make sense? Is the argument strong or weak?
  • Assesses whether the book did what the author said it would do
  • Suggests potential audiences for the book (pastors, students, professors, lay people) and potential uses, such as a textbook
  • Based upon a careful reading of the entire book
  • Uses a structured, formal, academic tone
  • Most often appears in academic journals, though more informal versions may appear in magazines and blogs
  • May include comparisons to other works in the same subject, e.g., if you are reviewing a book on Paul's theology, it would help to compare it briefly to another book on Paul's theology
  • In an academic setting, a review assumes an academic audience

A book review requires the reviewer to read the book carefully and reflect on its contents. The review should tell a reader what the book seeks to do and offer an appraisal of how well the author(s) accomplished this goal. That is why this is a "critical" book review. You are analyzing the book, not simply describing it. A review assumes that the readers know the vocabulary of the discipline. For example, a reviewer of a book on the Gospel of Matthew could use "Q" and not need to explain it because it is assumed that the audience knows what Q is in the context of talking about the canonical gospels.

A book review does not

  • Seek to be entertaining and/or engaging
  • Describe your feelings regarding the book, e.g., “I loved it,” “it was terrible,” or “I disagree completely.”
  • Superficial treatment similar to the blurb on the back of the book
  • Offers an ad hominem (against the person) attack on the author

Here are two examples of typical academic book reviews:

https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=lsdar&AN=ATLAiFZU171223002713&site=eds-live&authtype=ip,sso&custid=s8984749

https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=lsdar&AN=ATLAi9KZ180630003303&site=eds-live&authtype=ip,sso&custid=s8984749

You may see non-academic book reviews that are more inform al or use humor but that is not appropriate for an academic book review.

Why would you write a book review? There are a few reasons.

  • Meet a course requirement
  • Understand a book better and grow as a scholar
  • Write reviews for publications in the future, such as magazines

1. Your professor assigned it. You are probably reading this page because a professor gave you an assignment to write a review. This is straightforward. Your professor may have a specific set of requirements or directions and you need to follow those, even if they differ from what you read here. In either case, assume that your review is for a large audience. 

2. Writing a review will help you understand a book better. When you are going to write a good book review, you need to read the entire book carefully. By assigning a book review, the professor is seeking to help you understand the book better. A book review is a critical assessment of a book. “Critical” here means analytical. What did the author seek to do and how convincing was it? Your professor wants you to read the book carefully enough to explain both. A critical assessment recognizes that the status of an author/scholar is no guarantee that the book accomplishes its goal. The skill of critical assessment is valuable in all your research work, both now and after graduation.

3. You may have an opportunity in the future to write a book review for a denominational publication, a magazine like Christianity Today , a church newsletter, or in a blog post, which is very common.

So, a book review can fulfill a course requirement, make you better at critical assessment of the views of others, and create opportunities to use that skill for various publications.

Step 1: Read the book carefully.

Step 2: Write the basics.

Step 3: Fill in the details.

These steps are explained in the next tab of this research guide.

This is not for Book Reflections

If you have a (personal) reflection on a book assigned, what this guide says, besides step #1, likely does not apply to your assignment. You need to ask your professor for guidance on writing a reflection. There are two reasons.

1. A book reflection is not a standard, academic type of document. Therefore, general help based upon reading book reviews is not relevant.

2. Book reflections are heavily dependent upon exactly what a professor asks for. These frequently require comparing good and bad points of the book. That is not a feature of book reviews as such and reviews do not include your personal reflections.

Library Links

  • Library Catalog
  • A to Z Journal Databases & Ebook Collections
  • Library Hours
  • Library Policies & Procedures
  • More Research Guides & Reference Helps

Profile Photo

Need help? Ask us!

Ask a Librarian!

Make an Appointment with a Librarian

how to prepare book review

  • Next: Steps to Write a Book Review >>
  • Last Updated: Jun 20, 2022 4:36 PM
  • URL: https://gs.libguides.com/BookReviews

Sheila Loves Books

This blog is about my passion for books

how to prepare book review

Step-by-Step Guide: How to Write a Book Review for Beginners

Writing a book review can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience for book lovers. It allows you to share your thoughts and opinions about a book while helping others make informed choices. it provides an opportunity to connect with a community of readers who share similar interests. Here are the steps to write a book review and some tips for writing an effective one.

Why Write a Book Review?

  • Share Your Opinion: Writing a book review allows you to express your thoughts, feelings, and insights about a book.
  • Help Others Make Informed Choices: Your review can assist potential readers in deciding whether a book aligns with their interests and preferences.
  • Connect with a Community: Engaging in book reviews allows you to connect with fellow readers, exchange recommendations, and participate in meaningful discussions.

Steps to Write a Book Review:

  • Read the Book Carefully: Take your time to read the book thoroughly, paying attention to its themes, plot, characters, and writing style.
  • Take Notes and Highlight Key Points: Make note of important ideas, memorable quotes, and significant moments that stand out to you while reading.
  • Structure Your Review: Organize your review into sections such as introduction, summary, plot analysis, writing style evaluation, personal thoughts, and conclusion.
  • Begin with an Engaging Introduction: Capture the reader’s attention by providing a brief overview of the book and its significance.
  • Provide a Brief Summary: Summarize the main plot and introduce the central characters without giving away any major spoilers.
  • Discuss the Plot and Characters: Analyze the plot’s development, pacing, and twists. Evaluate the strength of the characters and their impact on the story.
  • Evaluate the Writing Style and Organization: Assess the author’s writing style, use of language, and overall organization of the book.
  • Share your Personal Thoughts and Opinions: Express your likes, dislikes, and thoughts on the book’s themes, messages, and overall impact.
  • Give Examples and Supporting Evidence: Support your opinions with specific examples from the book, such as quotes or scenes, to strengthen your arguments.
  • Write a Clear and Concise Conclusion: Sum up your review in a concise manner and provide a final verdict on whether you recommend the book or not.

Tips for Writing an Effective Book Review:

  • Be Honest and Balanced: Present both the strengths and weaknesses of the book in a fair and balanced manner.
  • Avoid Spoilers: Be mindful of not revealing major plot twists or giving away the ending to preserve the reader’s experience.
  • Use Clear and Concise Language: Write in a clear, concise, and engaging manner to keep the reader’s attention.
  • Provide Context: Include relevant background information about the author, genre, or any historical context that may enhance the reader’s understanding.
  • Support Your Opinions with Evidence: Back up your opinions with examples, quotes, and references from the book to add credibility to your review.
  • Consider the Target Audience: Keep in mind the book’s intended audience and tailor your review accordingly to address their interests and expectations.

By following these steps and tips, you can confidently write a comprehensive and insightful book review that will help readers make informed choices and engage in meaningful discussions within the reading community.

Table of Contents

Key takeaways:

  • Writing a book review allows you to share your opinion, help others make informed choices, and connect with a community of readers.
  • To write an effective book review, carefully read the book, take notes, structure your review, and provide a brief summary, character and plot analysis, and evaluation of the writing style.
  • When writing a book review, be honest and balanced, avoid spoilers, use clear and concise language, provide context, support your opinions with evidence, and consider the target audience.

Why write a book review? It’s more than just sharing your opinion on a page-turner. It’s a chance to help others make informed choices, connect with a community of book lovers, and take notes on key points that truly resonated. So, grab that pen and paper, and unleash your creativity! From an engaging introduction to a clear and concise conclusion, we’ll explore the structure, plot, characters, writing style, and more. Get ready to dive into the exciting world of book reviews!

Share Your Opinion

To effectively share your opinion in a book review, there are several key factors to consider. Firstly, it’s important to be honest and balanced in your assessment of the book. Providing a fair evaluation will give readers a trustworthy perspective. Additionally, avoiding spoilers is crucial as it allows readers to discover the plot themselves, enhancing their reading experience.

To ensure your opinion is well-understood, it is essential to use clear and concise language. This will help convey your thoughts effectively and prevent any confusion. In addition, providing context by discussing the genre, themes , and target audience of the book will enrich your review. This allows readers to better understand the book’s intended audience and purpose.

To strengthen your opinion, supporting it with evidence is vital. Incorporate specific examples from the book to back up your arguments. This will demonstrate that your opinions are well-grounded and thoughtful.

Lastly, keep in mind the target audience when expressing your thoughts and opinions. Tailoring your review to match the interests and preferences of the intended readership will make your opinion more relevant and valuable to them.

By considering these guidelines, you can craft a book review that effectively shares your opinion while providing valuable insights for potential readers.

Help Others Make Informed Choices

Writing a book review can help others make informed choices when deciding what books to read. Here are some reasons why writing a book review is important:

  • Share your opinion: Your review can give readers an insight into your thoughts and feelings about the book.
  • Help others make informed choices : By sharing your evaluation of the book, you can help others make informed choices if it’s the right book for them.
  • Connect with a community: Book lovers can connect and engage in conversations about books through reviews.

By writing a comprehensive and well-structured review, you can provide valuable information to potential readers, guiding them in their book selection process. So, don’t hesitate to share your thoughts and help others make informed choices!

Connect with a Community

Connecting with a community is one of the benefits of writing a book review. It allows you to connect with a community and share your thoughts and opinions with others who have similar interests. By engaging in discussions with fellow readers , you can connect with a community, gain new insights, recommendations , and perspectives. Writing a book review provides an opportunity to connect with a community of readers and establish meaningful connections. So, whether it’s joining a book club , participating in online forums , or attending literary events , connecting with a community is a great way to enhance your reading experience.

Pro-tip : Join online book communities or social media groups dedicated to book discussions to connect with a larger community of readers and discover new books.

Read the Book Carefully

When writing a book review, it is essential to thoroughly read the book in order to provide a meticulous and thoughtful analysis. Pay close attention to the plot , characters , writing style , and themes that are explored in the book. Take detailed notes while reading to ensure you remember the important details and impactful quotes. By comprehensively understanding the book, you will be able to offer a well-informed review that provides valuable insights to potential readers. Remember to take your time and fully immerse yourself in the book to grasp its nuances and appreciate the author’s craftsmanship .

Take Notes and Highlight Key Points

Taking comprehensive notes and highlighting key points while reading a book is crucial for writing an effective book review. Noting down significant details, memorable quotes , and important themes is essential for providing a comprehensive analysis of the book. Here’s how to efficiently take notes:

By taking comprehensive notes and highlighting key points, you’ll have a solid foundation for writing an insightful book review. Keep in mind that the purpose of a review is not only to summarize the book but also to provide your personal analysis and evaluation.

Structure Your Review

  • Structure Your Review by reading the book carefully to have a thorough understanding of its content.
  • Take notes and highlight key points that you want to discuss in your review in order to effectively Structure Your Review .
  • To Structure Your Review effectively, begin with an engaging introduction that grabs the reader’s attention.
  • Provide a brief summary of the book to give readers an overview and help Structure Your Review .
  • Discuss the plot and characters , exploring their development and impact on the story, as part of the process to Structure Your Review .
  • Evaluate the writing style and organization , commenting on the author’s technique and how well the book flows to Structure Your Review .
  • Share your personal thoughts and opinions, expressing what worked or didn’t work for you, as this is crucial to Structure Your Review .
  • Give examples and supporting evidence from the book to strengthen your review and further Structure Your Review with concrete evidence.
  • Write a clear and concise conclusion that summarizes your main points and final thoughts to Structure Your Review effectively.

Remember to be honest, avoid spoilers, use clear language, provide context, support your opinions with evidence, and consider the target audience. Have fun writing your book review!

Begin with an Engaging Introduction

When writing a book review, it is crucial to begin with an engaging introduction that grabs the reader’s attention. This introduction sets the tone for your review and piques the curiosity of your audience. You can start by providing a brief but captivating summary of the book, highlighting its main themes or unique aspects. Additionally, you can share your initial impressions or explain why you chose to read the book. However, it is important to avoid giving away any spoilers . By starting with an engaging introduction, you will hook your readers and leave them eager to continue reading your review.

In the realm of ancient literature , the art of storytelling has always held a special place in the hearts of readers. From Homer’s epic poems to Shakespeare’s masterful plays, the power of a well-crafted narrative has transcended time. Through the magic of literature , tales of triumph, tragedy, and everything in between have been passed down and cherished by countless generations. Therefore, when embarking on the task of writing a book review, it is essential to begin with an engaging introduction that draws readers into the enchanting world of words.

Provide a Brief Summary

A well-crafted book review includes the provision of a brief summary. It is essential to capture the main points of the book while avoiding excessive details or spoilers. The summary serves the purpose of giving readers a general understanding of the book’s content and what they can expect from it. A concise and clear summary emphasizes the crucial aspects of the plot, setting , and characters. By providing this brief overview, readers can quickly assess if the book matches their interests and make a decision regarding whether to read it. A noteworthy fact is that a skillfully written summary has the potential to entice readers to explore the book further, thereby increasing their interest and engagement.

Discuss the Plot and Characters

When writing a book review, it is crucial to thoroughly discuss the plot and characters in an insightful and detailed manner. Take the time to analyze the storyline , examining how the plot unfolds and develops, and evaluate how the characters contribute to the overall narrative. It is also important to assess the believability and depth of the characters, as well as explore their motivations and relationships . In addition, discuss whether the characters experience personal growth or remain stagnant throughout the book. Enhance your analysis by providing examples and specific evidence from the text to support your points. By delving into both the plot and characters, you will offer readers a comprehensive understanding of the book, allowing them to make an informed decision.

Evaluate the Writing Style and Organization

Evaluating the writing style and organization of a book is essential when writing a review. When analyzing a book’s qualities, it is important to consider the following factors:

  • Clarity: Is the writing clear and easily understandable?
  • Flow: Does the book transition smoothly between ideas, or are there sudden shifts?
  • Structure: Does the book have a well-organized structure, including a clear beginning, middle, and end?
  • Pacing: Does the book maintain an appropriate pace, or does it feel either too slow or rushed?
  • Character development: Are the characters well-developed and believable?
  • Plot progression: Does the plot progress logically, or are there any inconsistencies?

By evaluating both the writing style and organization, you can provide readers with valuable insights to guide them in determining if the book suits their preferences. It is worth noting that a well-written book with strong organization has the potential to enhance the reading experience and captivate its audience.

Share your Personal Thoughts and Opinions

When writing a book review, it is crucial to share your personal thoughts and opinions . By doing this, you allow readers to comprehend your perspective and assist them in making well-informed choices . It is important to incorporate specific examples and evidence from the book to substantiate your viewpoints. Additionally, strive to maintain honesty and balance in your assessment by presenting both positive and negative aspects of the book. Using clear and concise language is also essential in effectively conveying your thoughts. Furthermore, always bear in mind the target audience of the book and tailor your opinions accordingly. By openly expressing your personal thoughts and opinions, you can actively contribute to a dynamic and captivating book review community .

Give Examples and Supporting Evidence

When writing a book review, it is crucial to provide examples and supporting evidence to substantiate your opinions. By furnishing specific examples from the book, you can effectively demonstrate your points and aid readers in comprehending your perspective. For instance, if you discovered the characterization in the book to be robust , you could present examples of well-developed and relatable characters. Similarly, if you sensed that the plot was feeble , you could provide particular instances where the story lacked tension or resolution. Incorporating supporting evidence bolsters your review and enhances its persuasiveness to others.

Write a Clear and Concise Conclusion

  • Summarize your main points: Briefly recap the key aspects of the book, including the plot, characters , and writing style .
  • Evaluate the overall impact: Share your overall assessment of the book . Did it meet your expectations? Did it fulfill its purpose?
  • Offer a recommendation: Based on your review, recommend whether or not others should read the book . Provide a concise reason for your recommendation.

A pro-tip for writing a conclusion: Keep it concise and impactful . Your conclusion should leave a lasting impression and encourage readers to take action, whether that’s picking up the book or skipping it.

Tips for Writing an Effective Book Review

Looking to write an effective book review? Look no further as we dive into some valuable tips that will elevate your review game. From being honest and balanced to avoiding spoilers, using clear and concise language, and providing context, we’ll cover it all. We’ll explore the importance of supporting your opinions with evidence and considering the target audience. With these guidelines, you’ll be equipped to write book reviews that captivate readers and offer valuable insights. So grab your pen and let’s get started!

Be Honest and Balanced

  • To write an effective book review, it is crucial to be honest and balanced in your assessment.
  • When evaluating the book , make sure to provide an objective and impartial evaluation, highlighting both its strengths and weaknesses .
  • Avoid allowing personal biases or preferences to overly influence your review, and give credit where it is due.
  • Consider different perspectives and think about the potential audience for the book.
  • Present a well-rounded viewpoint by acknowledging any flaws or shortcomings in the book alongside its positive aspects .
  • Support your opinions with evidence from the book, such as specific examples or quotes .
  • Communicate your thoughts using clear and concise language, without resorting to excessive praise or criticism.

Avoid Spoilers

When writing a book review, it’s crucial to avoid spoilers in order to preserve the suspense and surprise for other readers. Here are some tips to help you steer clear of spoilers when crafting your review:

  • Emphasize the overarching themes and impressions of the book rather than divulging specific plot twists or endings.
  • Steer clear of discussing significant character developments or surprises that may impact the reader’s experience.
  • Instead of revealing specific details, delve into the author’s writing style, the pacing of the story, or the effectiveness of the narrative structure.
  • Provide enough information to give readers an idea of what to expect without giving away crucial plot points.
  • Consider using vague statements or generalizations to explore important aspects of the story without spoiling the specifics.

In a similar vein, when recounting a true historical event , it’s vital to gradually reveal the details in order to preserve the suspense and intrigue for the audience. By gradually unveiling the facts, it enables the reader or listener to engage with the event in a more captivating and profound manner.

Use Clear and Concise Language

When writing a book review , it’s crucial to incorporate the use of clear and concise language. This is important to effectively communicate your thoughts and opinions to the reader . Avoid the use of unnecessary jargon or complex vocabulary that may confuse the reader. Instead, focus on using straightforward sentences and expressing your ideas in a concise manner. Aim to be clear and direct in your language, getting straight to the point . By incorporating the use of clear and concise language, you can ensure that your book review is easily understandable and engaging for the reader. Always remember, simplicity is key in conveying your thoughts effectively.

Provide Context

To effectively provide context in a book review, it is of utmost importance to tactfully present readers with a brief background on the author , the genre , and any relevant historical or cultural context. This approach helps readers grasp the book’s significance and fully appreciate it within its specific context. For instance, when analyzing a historical fiction novel, mentioning the specific time period in which it is set, as well as any pertinent historical events that contribute to the story, becomes crucial. By incorporating context, readers gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for the book’s themes, characters, and plot. As a result, they are empowered to make well-informed decisions about whether the book aligns with their interests and preferences.

In a similar vein, a true story serves as a powerful exemplification of the profound impact of providing context. A book reviewer shared their initial confusion and lack of interest in a classic novel. However, after delving deeper into the historical context surrounding the book’s creation and the personal experiences of the author, they found a newfound appreciation for the story and its underlying themes. This anecdote beautifully underscores how the inclusion of context can significantly augment readers’ understanding and enjoyment of a book.

Support Your Opinions with Evidence

To write an effective book review, it is vital to support your opinions with evidence. Here are some ways to accomplish that:

  • Present specific examples from the book to validate your arguments and opinions.
  • Show references to quotes or passages that stood out to you and explain why they carried significance.
  • Explore the author’s implementation of literary devices, such as symbolism or foreshadowing , and discuss how they influenced the story.
  • Analyze the development of characters and provide instances of their actions or dialogue that illustrate your points.
  • Draw comparisons between the book and other works by the same author or within the same genre to offer context and back your evaluation.

By incorporating evidence from the book, you can enhance your review and assist readers in making informed decisions about whether to read the book or not.

Consider the Target Audience

Considering the target audience is crucial when writing a book review . It is important to consider the target audience to ensure that your review is tailored to their specific needs and interests. By taking into account the age group , genre preferences , reading level , and cultural background of the readers, you can provide a more insightful and valuable review.

By considering the target audience , you can provide a more insightful and valuable review that caters to their specific needs and interests.

Some Facts About How to Write a Book Review:

  • ✅ A book review should offer a critical perspective and engage in dialogue with the work’s creator and other audiences. (Source: UNC Writing Center)
  • ✅ Reviews are typically brief and rarely exceed 1000 words. (Source: UNC Writing Center)
  • ✅ A book review should provide a concise summary of the content, offer a critical assessment of the work, and suggest whether the audience would appreciate it. (Source: UNC Writing Center)
  • ✅ Writing a book review can be daunting as it requires expressing opinions and making judgments. However, it is encouraged to provide concrete evidence for assertions and voice agreement or disagreement tactfully. (Source: UNC Writing Center)
  • ✅ A good book review should be concise, avoid repetition, be supported by evidence from the book, and be proofread before submission. (Source: Grammarly)

Frequently Asked Questions

Faqs on how to write a book review, 1. how can i write a concise summary of a book in my review.

A concise summary of a book in your review can be written by focusing on the main ideas, key events, and central themes of the book. Include a brief description of the plot or contents, highlighting the significant aspects without getting into excessive detail.

2. How should I analyze a book in my review?

To analyze a book in your review, pay attention to its literary elements, such as themes, characters, dialogue, and the author’s style. Discuss how these elements contribute to the overall message or impact of the book. It’s also helpful to consider the book’s historical, social, or cultural context.

3. What are some key steps for writing an effective introduction paragraph?

When writing the introduction paragraph of your book review, start with a captivating opening sentence that grabs the reader’s attention. Provide a brief overview of the book, including its title, author, and a short summary of its content. Finally, state your thesis statement, which outlines your main argument or evaluation of the book.

4. How can I offer a critical assessment of the book in my review?

To offer a critical assessment of the book in your review, carefully evaluate its strengths and weaknesses. Discuss what aspects of the book worked well and what could have been improved. Support your assessment with specific examples, evidence from the book, and comparisons to relevant sources or similar works.

5. How do I write a conclusion paragraph for a book review?

The conclusion paragraph of your book review should summarize your main points and restate your thesis statement. You can also provide a final evaluation or recommendation for the book, explaining whether you would recommend it to others and why. Avoid introducing new ideas in the conclusion.

6. Where can I find additional resources to enhance my book review writing skills?

To enhance your book review writing skills, consider exploring academic journals, professional works, and recently written books in your field of interest. These sources can help you deepen your analytical skills and learn from expert reviewers. Additionally, online writing guides and resources provided by writing centers or universities can be valuable in improving your academic writing abilities.

  • PRO Courses Guides New Tech Help Pro Expert Videos About wikiHow Pro Upgrade Sign In
  • EDIT Edit this Article
  • EXPLORE Tech Help Pro About Us Random Article Quizzes Request a New Article Community Dashboard This Or That Game Popular Categories Arts and Entertainment Artwork Books Movies Computers and Electronics Computers Phone Skills Technology Hacks Health Men's Health Mental Health Women's Health Relationships Dating Love Relationship Issues Hobbies and Crafts Crafts Drawing Games Education & Communication Communication Skills Personal Development Studying Personal Care and Style Fashion Hair Care Personal Hygiene Youth Personal Care School Stuff Dating All Categories Arts and Entertainment Finance and Business Home and Garden Relationship Quizzes Cars & Other Vehicles Food and Entertaining Personal Care and Style Sports and Fitness Computers and Electronics Health Pets and Animals Travel Education & Communication Hobbies and Crafts Philosophy and Religion Work World Family Life Holidays and Traditions Relationships Youth
  • Browse Articles
  • Learn Something New
  • Quizzes Hot
  • This Or That Game
  • Train Your Brain
  • Explore More
  • Support wikiHow
  • About wikiHow
  • Log in / Sign up
  • Education and Communications
  • Critical Reviews

How to Write a Book Review

Last Updated: January 10, 2024 Approved

This article was co-authored by Christopher Taylor, PhD . Christopher Taylor is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of English at Austin Community College in Texas. He received his PhD in English Literature and Medieval Studies from the University of Texas at Austin in 2014. There are 10 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article received 66 testimonials and 92% of readers who voted found it helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 1,204,528 times.

Writing a book review is not just about summarizing; it's also an opportunity for you to present a critical discussion of the book so others get an idea of what to expect. Whether you’re writing a review as an assignment or as a publication opportunity, you should combine an accurate, analytical reading with a strong, personal touch. An effective book review describes what is on the page, analyzes how the book tried to achieve its purpose, and expresses any reactions and arguments from a unique perspective.

Review Template

how to prepare book review

Preparing to Write Your Review

Step 1 Read the book and take notes.

  • Write down notes in a notebook or use a voice recorder to document any thoughts or impressions you have of the book as you are reading. They don't have to be organized or perfect, the idea is to brainstorm any impressions you may have of the book.
  • Try summarizing the major sections of the book you’re reviewing to help understand how it’s structured.

Step 2 Think about the book's genre and/or field of study.

  • For example, if you are reviewing a non-fiction book about the development of the polio vaccine in the 1950s, consider reading other books that also examine the same scientific issue and/or period of scientific development. Or if you are reviewing a work of fiction like Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, consider how Hawthorne's book relates to other 19th-century works of romanticism and historical fiction set in the same time period (the 17th century) as points of comparison.

Step 3 Determine the major arguments and themes of the book.

  • Pay attention to the preface, any quotes, and /or references in the book's introduction, as this content will likely shed light on the book's major themes and viewpoint.
  • A simple way to determine one of the major themes of a book is to sum up the book in one word or sentence. So, for example, the major theme of The Scarlet Letter could be "sin". Once you have your one-word summary, stretch the single word into a message or lesson, such as "sin can lead to knowledge, but it can also lead to suffering."

Step 4 Consider the author's writing style.

  • For example, in The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne attempts to combine the writing style of the Romantic Period (1800-1855) with the common, everyday language of the American Puritans of the 1600s. Hawthorne does this with long, descriptive sentences that are strung together with commas and semicolons.

Step 5 Think about how well the author develops the major areas or points in the book.

  • In the Scarlet Letter, for example, Hawthorne begins the book with an introduction to the text, narrated by an individual who has many autobiographical details in common with the author. In the introduction, the nameless narrator tells the story of finding the manuscript bundled in a scarlet letter "A". Hawthorne uses this narrative framing to create a story within a story, an important detail when discussing the book as a whole.

Step 7 Consider any literary devices in the book.

  • If we were to use the Scarlett Letter again, it would be significant to note that Hawthorne chose the adulterer and sinner Hester Prynne as his protagonist, and placed the religious, anti-sin Reverend Wilson in the role of antagonist. In writing a review of The Scarlet Letter, it would be useful to consider why Hawthorne did this, and how it relates back to the book's overall theme of sin.

Step 8 Think about how unique the book is.

Creating a First Draft of the Review

Step 1 Begin with a heading.

  • Ensure your introduction contains relevant details like the author's background, and if applicable, their previous work in the genre. [2] X Trustworthy Source University of North Carolina Writing Center UNC's on-campus and online instructional service that provides assistance to students, faculty, and others during the writing process Go to source You can also indicate the main themes you will be discussing in your review to situate the reader and give them an indication of your "take" on the book.
  • Several possible openings include: a historical moment, an anecdote, a surprising or intriguing statement, and declarative statements. Regardless of your opening sentences, make sure they directly relate to your critical response to the book and keep them short and to the point.
  • If you're unsure on how to begin the review, try writing your introduction last. It may be easier to organize all of your supporting points and your critical position, and then write the introduction last—that way you can be sure that the introduction will match the body of the review. [3] X Trustworthy Source University of North Carolina Writing Center UNC's on-campus and online instructional service that provides assistance to students, faculty, and others during the writing process Go to source

Step 3 Write a summary of the book.

  • Keep the summary short, to the point, and informative. Use quotes or paraphrasing from the book to support your summary. [4] X Research source Make sure you properly cite all quotes and paraphrasing in your review to avoid plagiarism. [5] X Research source
  • Be wary of summaries that begin with phrases like “[This essay] is about…” “[This book] is the story of…” “[This author] writes about…”. [6] X Trustworthy Source University of North Carolina Writing Center UNC's on-campus and online instructional service that provides assistance to students, faculty, and others during the writing process Go to source Focus on weaving a description of the book's setting, narrative voice, and plot within a critical analysis. Avoid simply regurgitating the book's premise.
  • Don't give away important details or reveal the ending of the book in your summary, and don't go into detail about what happens from the middle of the book onwards. [7] X Research source As well, if the book is part of a series, you can mention this to potential readers and situate the book within the series. [8] X Research source

Step 4 Evaluate and critique the book.

  • Use the answers you brainstormed during your preparation for the review to formulate your critique. Address how well the book has achieved its goal, how the book compares to other books on the subject, specific points that were not convincing or lacked development, and what personal experiences, if any, you've had related to the subject of the book.
  • Always use (properly cited) supporting quotes and passages from the book to back up your critical discussion. This not only reinforces your viewpoint with a trustworthy source, it also gives the reader a sense of the writing style and narrative voice of the book. [9] X Research source
  • The general rule of thumb is that the first one-half to two-thirds of the review should summarize the author’s main ideas, and at least one-third should evaluate the book.

Step 5 Wrap up the review.

  • Examine the strengths and weaknesses of the book, and discuss whether you would recommend the book to others. If so, who do you think is the ideal audience for the book? [10] X Research source Do not introduce new material in your conclusion or discuss a new idea or impression that was not examined in your introduction and body paragraphs. [11] X Research source
  • You can also give the book a numerical score, a thumbs up or thumbs down, or a starred rating. [12] X Research source

Polishing the Review

Step 1 Re read and revise your review.

  • Always use spell check and adjust any grammar or spelling. Nothing undermines a quality review more than bad spelling and grammar.
  • Double check that all quotes and references are properly cited in your review.

Step 2 Get feedback.

Community Q&A

Community Answer

  • As you're writing, try thinking of your reader as a friend to whom you're telling a story. How would you relay the book's themes and main points to a friend in a casual conversation? This will help you balance formal and informal language and simplify your critical assessment. [13] X Research source Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
  • Review the book in front of you, not the book you wish the author had written. Being critical means pointing out shortcomings or failures, but avoid focusing your criticism of the book on what the book is not. Be fair in your discussion and always consider the value of the book for its audience. [14] X Trustworthy Source University of North Carolina Writing Center UNC's on-campus and online instructional service that provides assistance to students, faculty, and others during the writing process Go to source Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
  • Make sure, after you've finished your review, to reread it and check any grammar or spelling mistakes so that it makes sense. Try reading your review from numerous perspectives, or asking a friend to proofread it for you. Thanks Helpful 4 Not Helpful 1

Make sure to read the book thoroughly. If you don't, it will be bad.

how to prepare book review

You Might Also Like

Understand the Book You Are Reading

  • ↑ http://www.thedramateacher.com/genre-or-style-a-dramatic-problem/
  • ↑ http://writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/book-reviews/
  • ↑ http://writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/introductions/
  • ↑ https://www.wikihow.com/Write-a-Book-Summary
  • ↑ https://writing.wisc.edu/Handbook/QPA_quoting.html
  • ↑ http://writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/summary-using-it-wisely/
  • ↑ http://www.booktrust.org.uk/books/teenagers/writing-tips/tips-for-writing-book-reviews/
  • ↑ http://teacher.scholastic.com/writewit/bookrev/tips.htm
  • ↑ http://www.infoplease.com/homework/wsbookreporths.html
  • ↑ http://guides.library.queensu.ca/bookreviews/writing

About This Article

Christopher Taylor, PhD

To write a book review, start with a heading that includes the book's title, author, place of publication, publisher, date of publication, and number of pages. Then, open your review with an introduction that includes the author's background as well as the main points you'll be making. Next, split up the body of your review so the first half of the review is a summary of the author's main ideas and the rest is your critique of the book. Finally, close your review with a concluding paragraph that briefly summarizes your analysis. To learn how to read a book critically so it's easier to write a review, keep reading! Did this summary help you? Yes No

  • Send fan mail to authors

Reader Success Stories

Ayman Al Fateh

Ayman Al Fateh

May 31, 2017

Did this article help you?

Ayman Al Fateh

Bello Mohammed Magaji

Sep 7, 2018

Lauren DeYoung

Lauren DeYoung

Jun 20, 2017

Sudip Banerji

Sudip Banerji

Jun 30, 2017

Joseph Muutuki

Joseph Muutuki

May 26, 2017

Do I Have a Dirty Mind Quiz

Featured Articles

Talk to a Shy Girl

Trending Articles

What Does “If They Wanted to, They Would” Mean and Is It True?

Watch Articles

Clean Silver Jewelry with Vinegar

  • Terms of Use
  • Privacy Policy
  • Do Not Sell or Share My Info
  • Not Selling Info

wikiHow Tech Help Pro:

Level up your tech skills and stay ahead of the curve

How to Write a Great Book Review: 6 Templates and Ideas

This post may contains affiliate links. If you click and buy we may make a commission, at no additional charge to you. Please see our disclosure policy for more details.

Whether you’ve loved or hated your recent reads, writing book reviews can be a fun and satisfying process. It’s a great way to unpack messages and information from a story, and it also helps you remember key elements of a book for much longer than you usually would. Plus, book reviews open up some interesting and exciting debates between readers with different opinions, and they also help others decide which books to read next .

Table of Contents

Where Can You Post Book Reviews?

Back in the old days, book reviews were reserved for leading publications and journals, but now, anyone can create their own book reviews, and they’re popping up almost everywhere.

Social Media

Bookworms have taken over social media, with hashtags like # bookstagram drawing in millions of readers from around the internet to share thoughts, ideas, inspiration, and of course, reviews.

Book blogs are also blowing up right now, and plenty of avid readers are making a solid income by writing and sharing their book reviews this way. You can either create your own from scratch or write guest posts and reviews for already established blogs.

Goodreads is the undisputed online home of books. It’s a great place to find inspiration for your next reads, browse other people’s book reviews, and of course, add your own reviews, too.

If you post a review of a popular book on Goodreads, it’s bound to be seen by a huge audience. Plus, it’s a great way to advertise your blog if you have one, as the Goodreads guidelines allow you to insert a link within the body of your review.

The world’s largest bookstore gets an incredible amount of traffic, so it’s one of the best places to get your reviews seen by the masses. But bear in mind that there are more rules and regulations for Amazon book reviews than on some of the other platforms listed here. Make sure you familiarize yourself with the guidelines first, or your submission could be rejected.

Booktube is a Youtube community dedicated to reviewing, discussing, and recommending books. If you’re comfortable in front of a camera, vlogging your book reviews on Booktube is an excellent alternative to the more traditional written book reviews above. It’s also a great way to get noticed by viewers around the world.

Some Booktube reviewers make their entire income from their channel, so if you’re passionate about reviewing and want to turn it into a living, this is a great avenue to explore.

Get Paid for Your Book Reviews

Some of the platforms I’ve listed above, like Booktube, Instagram, and blogging , allow you to get paid for your book reviews if you generate enough traffic, but getting to that level takes a lot of dedication, time, and patience.

Thankfully, there are plenty of websites that pay reviewers on a freelance basis. Here are three of the most popular:

Remember, each site has strict submission guidelines and requirements that you’ll need to check carefully before writing and submitting a review.

Kirkus Reviews

The Kirkus Reviews magazine, founded in 1933, is one of America’s oldest, most respected book reviewing companies.

They accept reviews around 350 words in length, and once you’re assigned the gig, you have a two-week submission deadline.

Kirkus is always on the lookout for new book reviewers, but you’ll need to prove you have experience and talent before they’ll accept your submissions. The best way to do this is to create a professional-looking portfolio that showcases your previous reviews, both paid and unpaid.

Booklist is a subgroup of the American Library Association. They feature all kinds of book reviews, both fiction and non-fiction, and publish them online and in print.

They pay their reviewers on a freelance, book-by-book basis. Their rates aren’t going to make you rich (around $12- $15 per review), but it’s a great way to gain some professional experience and build your book review portfolio without having to work for free.

Booklist has various publication outlets, such as their quarterly in-print magazine, a reader’s blog, and top book lists. Plus, they also accept pitches for book-related news and author interviews.

Online Book Club

This free-to-access community of bibliophiles has been going for over ten years, with a million active members and counting.

To join their professional freelance team, you’ll first have to submit an unpaid review to help them to determine if you’re worth hiring. If your review makes the cut, then your next submission is paid at a rate varying between $5 and $60, depending on the book’s length, the quality of the review, etc.

One of the major stipulations of Online Book Club is that your reviews are in-depth and honest. If you don’t like the book, never put a positive spin on it for the sake of it. ( The same goes for any book review platform you post on. )

It’s also worth noting that with Online Book Club, you’ll never pay for the books you review. So even if they reject your submission, you’ll still get a free book out of it.

How to Write a Book Review?

Book reviews can range from a simple tweet to a full-length essay or long-form blog post and anything in between.

As I mentioned above, some book review sites and platforms have strict guidelines and parameters to follow. But if you’re writing a book review for social media, your own blog, or any other purpose that lets you take the reins, then the following ideas will give you some help and inspiration to get started.

But before we dive in, let’s take a look at four key elements that a comprehensive book review should contain.

1. Information about the author and the name of the book

You might want to include any accolades that the author has received in the past and mention some of their previous notable works.

Also, consider the publication date; is the book a brand-new release, a few years old, or a classic from another century?

2. A summary of the plot

Writing about the plot takes skill and consideration; if your description is too thorough, you risk ruining the book for your audience with spoilers. But on the other hand, if you’re too vague on the details, your review can lack depth.

Consider your audience carefully, and if you feel like your book review contains even the slightest hint of spoilers, always add a warning at the beginning so people can decide for themselves whether to read on.

3. Your evaluation

This is the part where you get to describe what you feel about the book as a whole and give your opinion on the different elements within it. But, again, don’t be tempted to fall into the trap of positively evaluating books you didn’t actually like; no one wants to read a false review, so if you didn’t like it, explain why.

4. Your reader recommendation

Who might the book appeal to? Is it suitable for all audiences? In your opinion, is it a universal must-read, or should people avoid it?

Keep in mind that the purpose of most book reviews is to help the reader decide whether or not they would like to read it themselves. What works for you might not work for others, so consider this when writing your recommendations.

6 Book Review Templates and Ideas

1. the traditional approach.

Most traditional fiction reviews, like the ones found in newspapers and other popular publications, are based on the following format…

Introduction

The introduction is a paragraph or two which includes:

  • Key information that the reader needs to know. For example, the book’s title, the author’s name, the publication date, and any relevant background information about the author and their work.
  • A brief one-sentence summary of the plot. This sets the general scene of what the book is about.
  • Your overall opinion of the book. Again, keep it brief. (you can delve deeper into what you liked and disliked later in the review).

This is the main body of your book review, where you break down and analyze the work. Some of the key elements you might want to examine are listed below. Approach each element one at a time to help your analysis flow.

  • The characters
  • The setting
  • The structure of the story
  • The quality of the writing

What did you notice about each one, what did you enjoy, and what did you dislike? Why?

The conclusion is usually the shortest part of a traditional book review, which usually contains:

  • A summary of your thoughts about the book as a whole
  • Your reader recommendation

Remember that unless you’re writing a book review for a pre-existing publication, there are no rules that you need to follow. This traditional format can be adapted to suit your own style, the book you are reviewing, and your audience.

Also Read : BEST FICTION BOOK REVIEWS

2. Social Media Book Reviews

Book reviews posted on social media tend to have a more relaxed tone than a traditional book review. Again, there are no set rules, but here are a few guidelines and suggestions for posting reviews on platforms like Instagram and Facebook.

  • Include an eye-catching image

This is essential on Instagram, but whatever social media platform you’re posting on, including a great photo will draw people in to read your review.

In the Instagram world, photos of books taken directly from above are called ‘flat lays.’ You can keep it simple and just snap the front cover, or you can get creative and shoot your book flat lay against an interesting backdrop or include items related to the story.

  • Break up your review into short, bite-sized paragraphs

This rule applies to most web content, but it’s even more important on social media, where everyone competes for your reader’s attention.

Big blocks of text are much harder to follow and a sure-fire way to lose your reader’s attention before they even get started. Instead, stick to short paragraphs of one, two, or three sentences, and include spaces between each one.

  • Know your character limit

At just 280 characters, Twitter is by far the stingiest of the major social media platforms when it comes to the length of posts. That’s why most people choose platforms like Instagram or Facebook for book reviews. That being said, you can still use Twitter as a way of linking to them once they go live.

Instagram is considerably more generous with its 2,200-character limit, but if you have a lot to say about the book you’re reviewing, it can still be limiting.

If you want to post a more comprehensive review on social media, Facebook is your best bet; they have an upper limit of 63,206 characters.

Whichever platform you post on, remember to factor any hashtags into your character limit too.

  • Keep it succinct

Book reviews on social media perform better when sentences are concise. This helps to combat the character limit issue I mentioned above and gets your point across quickly, without the fluff.

Readers on platforms like Instagram and Facebook flit from post to post, so if you don’t say what you mean in as few words as possible, you’ll risk losing your audience altogether.

  • Don’t be afraid of emojis.

Love them or hate them, emojis convey mood and emotion where words can sometimes fail us. They also add an extra visual element to a post, help to break up blocks of text and keep the tone informal.

Of course, there’s no rule that you have to include emojis in your social media book reviews, but if you’re already comfortable using them elsewhere, consider incorporating them here too.

  • Add a star rating

Star ratings instantly tell your audience whether you loved the book or not before they read a single word of your post. It’s also another visual element to help draw your audience in to find out more.

  • Avoid spoilers

I’ve already touched on spoilers above, but it’s essential to avoid them on social media book reviews. That’s because unsuspecting users are scrolling from post to post on these platforms with no way of knowing what’s coming next. As a result, it’s very easy to read something you can’t unread.

  • Consider tagging the author and publisher.

But ONLY do this if you enjoyed the book and your review is favorable. It’s not good online etiquette to tag in the creators if you’re posting a scathing critique; it’s mean-spirited, and it could lead to a social media squabble, which the internet has enough of already.

3. Goodreads and Amazon Book Reviews

Both Goodreads and Amazon allow anyone to upload a review of any book, so they’re great places to get started if you’re new to the reviewing world. Plus, you can post more in-depth and lengthy reviews than you can on social media platforms.

There are endless ways to write reviews for sites like these, but if you’re looking for a bit of inspiration, here’s a good template that will help you to flesh out your ideas.

  • Star Rating

Sites like Goodreads and Amazon usually ask for a 1-5 star rating before writing your review. 3 is your baseline which translates to “pretty good.” It can be tempting to rush straight in for a 5 star if you loved a book, but where possible, try to reserve this rating for books that really blow you away.

  • A Brief Synopsis

Reviews on these sites appear directly under the book listing, so generally, there’s no need to mention the author, title, or publishing details. Instead, you can dive straight into a quick overview of the plot, using the official publisher’s summary to help you if needed.

Avoid revealing any significant details or spoilers, but include enough to outline the story and give context to the rest of your review.

Talking about how the book made you feel is a good place to start. Did you learn something you didn’t know before? Was it a page-turner or a hard slog? Were there any twists you did or didn’t see coming? Mentioning the existence of a plot twist is usually deemed ok, as long as you don’t reveal what it is.

Next, examine the book’s various elements, including the characters, setting, and plot, using examples. You might even want to include some direct quotes from the book, as long as they don’t give too much away.

Just like the traditional book review format, conclude it with a summary. Are you glad you read it? Who might enjoy this book, and who should avoid it?

4. Listicle Book Reviews

Listicles are articles and blog posts structured like a numbered list. An example from the book review world is “10 reasons why you need to read X by X”.

These types of reviews are particularly well suited to blog posts, as they’re an excellent way to encourage people to click on your link compared with a less attention-grabbing traditional format.

That being said, listicle book reviews tend only to work if your feedback is positive. Using this format to review a book you hated risks alienating your audience and coming across as harsh and judgemental. Less favorable reviews are better presented in a more traditional format that explores a book’s different aspects one by one.

5. An Essay Style Analysis

An essay-style review isn’t technically a review, as it delves much deeper into the work and examines it from multiple angles.

If you’re not limited to a word count and want to dissect an author’s work, then an in-depth essay-style analysis can be a great addition to your blog. Plus, they’re generally written for people who have already read the book, so there’s no need to worry about spoilers.

But when you’re writing more than 500 words about a book, it can be easy to ramble or go off on a tangent. Here’s an example format to keep you on track:

  • Include the author’s name, the title of the book, and the date of publication.
  • Is the book a standalone novel or part of a series?
  • What made you choose this book in the first place? Have you read any of the author’s previous work?
  • Describe the cover. Does it draw you in? Is it an appropriate representation of the book as a whole?

Set the Scene

  • Include an overview of the plot.
  • Did you have any expectations or preconceived ideas about the book before you read it?

Your Review

Discuss the following elements one at a time. Use quotes or direct examples when talking about each one.

  • Describe the geographical location, the period in time, and the environment.
  • Is the setting based on reality or imagination?
  • How does the setting help to add mood and tone to the story?
  • Give an overview of the main characters and their backgrounds.
  • Discuss the significant plot points in the story in chronological order.
  • What are the conflicts, the climaxes, and the resolutions?
  • How does the author use literary devices to bring meaning and life to book?
  • For example, discuss any elements of foreshadowing, metaphors, symbolism, irony, or imagery.
  • What are the overall themes and big ideas in the story? For example, love, death, friendship , war, and coming of age.
  • What, if any, are the morals within the story?
  • Are there any underlying or less prominent themes that the author is trying to portray?

Your Opinion

  • Which elements were successful, and which weren’t?
  • Were the characters believable? Did you want them to succeed?
  • In the case of plot twists, did you see them coming?
  • Are there any memorable scenes or quotes that particularly stood out to you? If so, why?
  • How did the book make you feel? Did it evoke any strong emotions?
  • Did the book meet your preconceived expectations?
  • Were you satisfied by the ending, or did you find it frustrating?
  • Summarise the plot and theme in a couple of sentences.
  • Give your overall opinion. Was the book a success, a failure, or something in between?
  • Include a reader recommendation, for example, “this book is a must-read for anyone with a love of dystopian science fiction.”
  • Include a star rating if you wish.

6. Create Your Own Book Review Template

If you plan on becoming a regular book reviewer, it’s a good idea to create your own unique template that you can use for every book you review, whether you’re posting on a blog, website, or social media account.

You can mix and match the various elements of the review styles above to suit your preferences and the types of books you’ll be reviewing.

Creating a template unique to you helps build your authority as an independent reviewer and makes writing future reviews a lot easier.

Writing book reviews is a great way to get even more out of your reading journey. Whether you loved or hated a title, reviewing it will help you remember and process the story, and you’ll also be helping others to decide whether or not it’s worth their time, too.

And who knows, you might fall in love with writing book reviews and decide to pursue it as an additional source of income or even a new career!

Whatever your book reviewing plans and goals are, I hope the templates, tips, and ideas above will help you get started.

Do you have any advice for writing a great book review? Let me know in the comments below!

Leave a Comment Cancel reply

The Only Book Review Templates You'll Ever Need

Join Discovery, the new community for book lovers

Trust book recommendations from real people, not robots 🤓

Blog – Posted on Thursday, Nov 11

The only book review templates you'll ever need.

The Only Book Review Templates You'll Ever Need

Whether you’re trying to become a book reviewer , writing a book report for school, or analyzing a book, it’s nice to follow a book review template to make sure that your thoughts are clearly presented. 

A quality template provides guidance to keep your mind sharp and your thoughts organized so that you can write the best book review possible. On Reedsy Discovery , we read and share a lot of book reviews, which helps us develop quite a clear idea what makes up a good one. With that in mind, we’ve put together some trustworthy book review templates that you can download, along with a quick run-through of all the parts that make up an outstanding review — all in this post! 

Pro-tip : But wait! How are you sure if you should become a book reviewer in the first place? If you're on the fence, or curious about your match with a book reviewing career, take our quick quiz:

Should you become a book reviewer?

Find out the answer. Takes 30 seconds!

Book review templates for every type of review

With the rapid growth of the book community on Instagram, Youtube, and even TikTok, the world of book commentary has evolved far beyond your classic review. There are now many ways you can structure a book review. Some popular formats include:

  • Book reports — often done for school assignments; 
  • Commentary articles — think in-depth reviews in magazines and newspapers; 
  • Book blog reviews — short personal essays about the book; and
  • Instagram reviews — one or two-paragraph reviews captioned under a nice photo. 

But while the text in all these review styles can be organized in different ways, there are certain boxes that all good book reviews tick. So, instead of giving you various templates to use for different occasions, we’ve condensed it down to just two book review templates (one for fiction and one for nonfiction) that can guide your thoughts and help you nail just about any review. 

how to prepare book review

⭐ Download our free fiction book review template  

⭐ Download our free nonfiction book review template  

All you need to do is answer the questions in the template regarding the book you’re reading and you’ve got the content of your review covered. Once that’s done, you can easily put this content into its appropriate format. 

Now, if you’re curious about what constitutes a good book review template, we’ll explain it in the following section! 

Elements of a book review template

Say you want to build your own book review template, or you want to customize our templates — here are the elements you’ll want to consider. 

We’ve divided our breakdown of the elements into two categories: the essentials and the fun additions that’ll add some color to your book reviews.

What are the three main parts of a book review?

We covered this in detail (with the help of some stellar examples) in our post on how to write a book review , but basically, these are the three crucial elements you should know: 

The summary covers the premise of the book and its main theme, so readers are able to understand what you’re referring to in the rest of your review. This means that, if a person hasn’t read the book, they can go through the summary to get a quick idea of what it’s about. (As such, there should be no spoilers!) 

The analysis is where, if it’s a fiction book, you talk more about the book, its plot, theme, and characters. If it’s nonfiction, you have to consider whether the book effectively achieves what it set out to do. 

The recommendation is where your personal opinion comes in the strongest, and you give a verdict as to who you think might enjoy this book. 

You can choose to be brief or detailed, depending on the kind of review you’re writing, but you should always aim to cover these three points. If you’re needing some inspiration, check out these 17 book review examples as seen in magazines, blogs, and review communities like Reedsy Discovery for a little variation. 

Which review community should you join?

Find out which review community is best for your style. Takes 30 seconds!

Which additional details can you include?

Once you’ve nailed down the basics, you can jazz things up a little and add some personal flavor to your book review by considering some of these elements:

  • A star-rating (the default is five stars but you can create your own scales); 
  • A bullet-point pros and cons list; 
  • Your favorite quotation from the book; 
  • Commentary on the format you read (i.e., ebook, print, or audiobook);
  • Fun facts about the book or author; 
  • Other titles you think are similar.

This is where you can really be creative and tailor your review to suit your purpose and audience. A formal review written for a magazine, for instance, will likely benefit from contextual information about the author and the book, along with some comment on how that might have affected the reading (or even writing) process.

Meanwhile, if you’re reviewing a book on social media, you might find bullet points more effective at capturing the fleeting attention of Internet users. You can also make videos, take creative pictures, or even add your own illustrations for more personal touches. The floor is yours at this point, so go ahead and take the spotlight! 

That said, we hope that our templates can provide you with a strong foundation for even your most adventurous reviews. And if you’re interested in writing editorial reviews for up-and-coming indie titles, register as a reviewer on Reedsy Discovery !

Continue reading

More posts from across the blog.

The 15 Best John Steinbeck Books Everyone Should Read

John Steinbeck’s books possess that ever-elusive quality of timelessness. Ecologically conscious before the urgency of climate change was widely discussed, but tender in its understanding of humankind’s many shortcomings, this literary giant’s work feels breathtakingly current...

The 20+ Best Places To Find Free Audiobooks Online

It’s not hard to see why audiobooks have recently grown in popularity: there’s something uniquely magnetic about stories brought to life by professional actors who can add texture to various personalities. If you want to absorb stories while you walk, do your chores, or lie do...

14 Mark Twain Books That Everyone Should Read

Controversial, brilliant, and ever witty, the man who would shape American literature was born Samuel Langhorne Clemens in a small riverside town in Missouri in 1835. More than a century later, Mark Twain remains one of the best writers that America has ever prod...

Heard about Reedsy Discovery?

Trust real people, not robots, to give you book recommendations.

Or sign up with an

Or sign up with your social account

  • Submit your book
  • Reviewer directory

Discovery | Reviewer | Version A | 2024-01

Want to be a book reviewer?

Review new books and start building your portfolio.

how to prepare book review

How to Write a Book Review: Awesome Guide

how to prepare book review

A book review allows students to illustrate the author's intentions of writing the piece, as well as create a criticism of the book — as a whole. In other words, form an opinion of the author's presented ideas. Check out this guide from EssayPro - book review writing service to learn how to write a book review successfully.

What Is a Book Review?

You may prosper, “what is a book review?”. Book reviews are commonly assigned students to allow them to show a clear understanding of the novel. And to check if the students have actually read the book. The essay format is highly important for your consideration, take a look at the book review format below.

Book reviews are assigned to allow students to present their own opinion regarding the author’s ideas included in the book or passage. They are a form of literary criticism that analyzes the author’s ideas, writing techniques, and quality. A book analysis is entirely opinion-based, in relevance to the book. They are good practice for those who wish to become editors, due to the fact, editing requires a lot of criticism.

Book Review Template

The book review format includes an introduction, body, and conclusion.

  • Introduction
  • Describe the book cover and title.
  • Include any subtitles at this stage.
  • Include the Author’s Name.
  • Write a brief description of the novel.
  • Briefly introduce the main points of the body in your book review.
  • Avoid mentioning any opinions at this time.
  • Use about 3 quotations from the author’s novel.
  • Summarize the quotations in your own words.
  • Mention your own point-of-view of the quotation.
  • Remember to keep every point included in its own paragraph.
  • In brief, summarize the quotations.
  • In brief, summarize the explanations.
  • Finish with a concluding sentence.
  • This can include your final opinion of the book.
  • Star-Rating (Optional).

Get Your BOOK REVIEW WRITTEN!

Simply send us your paper requirements, choose a writer and we’ll get it done.

How to Write a Book Review: Step-By-Step

Writing a book review is something that can be done with every novel. Book reviews can apply to all novels, no matter the genre. Some genres may be harder than others. On the other hand, the book review format remains the same. Take a look at these step-by-step instructions from our professional writers to learn how to write a book review in-depth.

how to write a book review

Step 1: Planning

Create an essay outline which includes all of the main points you wish to summarise in your book analysis. Include information about the characters, details of the plot, and some other important parts of your chosen novel. Reserve a body paragraph for each point you wish to talk about.

Consider these points before writing:

  • What is the plot of the book? Understanding the plot enables you to write an effective review.
  • Is the plot gripping? Does the plot make you want to continue reading the novel? Did you enjoy the plot? Does it manage to grab a reader’s attention?
  • Are the writing techniques used by the author effective? Does the writer imply factors in-between the lines? What are they?
  • Are the characters believable? Are the characters logical? Does the book make the characters are real while reading?
  • Would you recommend the book to anyone? The most important thing: would you tell others to read this book? Is it good enough? Is it bad?
  • What could be better? Keep in mind the quotes that could have been presented better. Criticize the writer.

Step 2: Introduction

Presumably, you have chosen your book. To begin, mention the book title and author’s name. Talk about the cover of the book. Write a thesis statement regarding the fictitious story or non-fictional novel. Which briefly describes the quoted material in the book review.

Step 3: Body

Choose a specific chapter or scenario to summarise. Include about 3 quotes in the body. Create summaries of each quote in your own words. It is also encouraged to include your own point-of-view and the way you interpret the quote. It is highly important to have one quote per paragraph.

Step 4: Conclusion

Write a summary of the summarised quotations and explanations, included in the body paragraphs. After doing so, finish book analysis with a concluding sentence to show the bigger picture of the book. Think to yourself, “Is it worth reading?”, and answer the question in black and white. However, write in-between the lines. Avoid stating “I like/dislike this book.”

Step 5: Rate the Book (Optional)

After writing a book review, you may want to include a rating. Including a star-rating provides further insight into the quality of the book, to your readers. Book reviews with star-ratings can be more effective, compared to those which don’t. Though, this is entirely optional.

Count on the support of our cheap essay writing service . We process all your requests fast.

Dive into literary analysis with EssayPro . Our experts can help you craft insightful book reviews that delve deep into the themes, characters, and narratives of your chosen books. Enhance your understanding and appreciation of literature with us.

book review order

Writing Tips

Here is the list of tips for the book review:

tips for book review

  • A long introduction can certainly lower one’s grade: keep the beginning short. Readers don’t like to read the long introduction for any essay style.
  • It is advisable to write book reviews about fiction: it is not a must. Though, reviewing fiction can be far more effective than writing about a piece of nonfiction
  • Avoid Comparing: avoid comparing your chosen novel with other books you have previously read. Doing so can be confusing for the reader.
  • Opinion Matters: including your own point-of-view is something that is often encouraged when writing book reviews.
  • Refer to Templates: a book review template can help a student get a clearer understanding of the required writing style.
  • Don’t be Afraid to Criticize: usually, your own opinion isn’t required for academic papers below Ph.D. level. On the other hand, for book reviews, there’s an exception.
  • Use Positivity: include a fair amount of positive comments and criticism.
  • Review The Chosen Novel: avoid making things up. Review only what is presented in the chosen book.
  • Enjoyed the book? If you loved reading the book, state it. Doing so makes your book analysis more personalized.

Writing a book review is something worth thinking about. Professors commonly assign this form of an assignment to students to enable them to express a grasp of a novel. Following the book review format is highly useful for beginners, as well as reading step-by-step instructions. Writing tips is also useful for people who are new to this essay type. If you need a book review or essay, ask our book report writing services ' write paper for me ' and we'll give you a hand asap!

We also recommend that everyone read the article about essay topics . It will help broaden your horizons in writing a book review as well as other papers.

Book Review Examples

Referring to a book review example is highly useful to those who wish to get a clearer understanding of how to review a book. Take a look at our examples written by our professional writers. Click on the button to open the book review examples and feel free to use them as a reference.

Book review

Kenneth Grahame’s ‘The Wind in the Willows’

Kenneth Grahame’s ‘The Wind in the Willows’ is a novel aimed at youngsters. The plot, itself, is not American humor, but that of Great Britain. In terms of sarcasm, and British-related jokes. The novel illustrates a fair mix of the relationships between the human-like animals, and wildlife. The narrative acts as an important milestone in post-Victorian children’s literature.

Book Review

Dr. John’s ‘Pollution’

Dr. John’s ‘Pollution’ consists of 3 major parts. The first part is all about the polluted ocean. The second being about the pollution of the sky. The third part is an in-depth study of how humans can resolve these issues. The book is a piece of non-fiction that focuses on modern-day pollution ordeals faced by both animals and humans on Planet Earth. It also focuses on climate change, being the result of the global pollution ordeal.

Send to our custom term paper writing service your requirements, choose a writer and enjoy your time.

Need To Write a Book Review But DON’T HAVE THE TIME

We’re here to do it for you. Our professional coursework writing service ready to help 24/7

How To Write A Book Review?

What to include in a book review, what is a book review.

Adam Jason

is an expert in nursing and healthcare, with a strong background in history, law, and literature. Holding advanced degrees in nursing and public health, his analytical approach and comprehensive knowledge help students navigate complex topics. On EssayPro blog, Adam provides insightful articles on everything from historical analysis to the intricacies of healthcare policies. In his downtime, he enjoys historical documentaries and volunteering at local clinics.

how to prepare book review

Related Articles

How to Write a Diversity Essay

how to prepare book review

25+ Book Review Templates and Ideas to Organize Your Thoughts

' src=

Danika Ellis

Danika spends most of her time talking about queer women books at the Lesbrary. Blog: The Lesbrary Twitter: @DanikaEllis

View All posts by Danika Ellis

When I was a kid I loved reading, but I hated book reports. It felt impossible to boil a book down to a few lines or even a page of writing. Besides, by the time I had to write the report, I had already forgotten a lot. It never ceases to be painful to try to pull my thoughts and opinions out of my head and put them on the page, especially in a coherent way.

As an adult, I continue to usually find writing book reviews painful . And yet, I maintain a book blog with reviews of all the (bi and lesbian) books I read. Why? For one thing, I want to raise the visibility of these books — or, in the case of a book I loathed, warn other readers of what to expect. It helps me to build community with other book lovers. It’s also a great way to force myself pay attention to how I’m feeling while I’m reading a book and what my thoughts are afterwards. I have learned to take notes as I go, so I have something to refer to by the time I write a review, and it has me notice what a book is doing well (and what it isn’t). The review at the end helps me to organize my thoughts. I also find that I remember more once I’ve written a review.

Once you’ve decided it’s worthwhile to write a review, though, how do you get started? It can be a daunting task. The good news is, book reviews can adapt to whatever you want them to be. A book review can be a tweet with a thumbs up or thumbs down emoji, maybe with a sentence or two of your thoughts; it can also be an in-depth essay on the themes of the book and its influence on literature. Most are going to fall somewhere between those two! Let go of the idea of trying to create the One True Book Review. Everyone is looking for something different, and there is space for GIF-filled squee fests about a book and thoughtful, meditative explorations of a work.

This post offers a variety of book reviews elements that you can mix and match to create a book review template that works for you. Before you get started, though, there are some questions worth addressing.

black pencil on top of ruled paper

Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Book Review Template

Where will you be posting your book reviews.

An Instagram book review will likely look different from a blog book review. Consider which platform you will be using for your book review. You can adapt it for different platforms, or link to your original review, but it’s a good starting point. Instagram reviews tend to be a lot shorter than blog reviews, for instance.

Thank you for signing up! Keep an eye on your inbox. By signing up you agree to our terms of use

Will you be using the same template every time?

Some book reviewers have a go-to book review template. Others have a different one for each genre, while another group doesn’t use a template at all and just reacts to whatever each book brings up.

Heading or no headings?

When choosing which book review elements to mix and match, you can also decide whether to include a header for each section (like Plot, Characterization, Writing, etc). Headers make reviews easier to browse, but they may not have the professional, essay-style look that you’re going for.

Why are you writing a review?

When selecting which elements to include in your review, consider what the purpose is. Do you want to better remember the plot by writing about it? You probably want to include a plot summary, then. Do you want to help readers decide whether they should read this book? A pros and cons list might be helpful. Are you trying to track something about your reading, like an attempt to read more books in translation or more books by authors of color? Are you trying to buy fewer books and read off your TBR shelf instead? These are all things you can note in a review, usually in a point-form basic information block at the beginning.

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Jess | Books and Thread Co. (@booksandthreadco)

Book Review Templates and Formats

Essay-style.

This is a multi-paragraph review, usually with no headers. It’s the same format most newspapers and academics use for book reviews. Many essay-style reviews use informal categories in their writing, often discussing setting, writing, characters, and plot in their own paragraphs. They usually also discuss the big themes/messages of a story. Here are some questions to consider when writing an essay-style review:

What is the author trying to do? Don’t evaluate a romance novel based on a mystery novel’s criteria. First try to think about what the book was attempting to do, then try to evaluate if they achieved it. You can still note if you didn’t like it, but it’s good to know what it was aiming for first.

What are some of the themes of the story? What big message should the reader take away? Did you agree with what the book seemed to be saying? Why or why not?

How is this story relevant to the world? What is it saying about the time it was written in? About human nature? About society or current issues? Depending on the book, there may be more or less to dig into here.

What did this book make you think about? It may be that the themes in the book were just a launching off point. How did they inspire your own thinking? How did this book change you?

A Classic Book Review

This is probably the most common kind of book review template. It uses a few criteria, usually including Setting, Writing, Characters, and Plot (for a novel). The review then goes into some detail about each element, describing what the book did well, and where it fell short.

The advantage of this format is that it’s very straightforward and applies to almost any fiction read. It can also be adapted–you will likely have more to say about the plot in a mystery/thriller than a character study of a novel. A drawback, though, is that it can feel limiting. You might have thoughts that don’t neatly fit into these categories, or you could feel like you don’t have enough to say about some of the categories.

Pros and Cons

A common format for a Goodreads review is some variation of pros and cons. This might be “What I Liked/What I Didn’t Like” or “Reasons to Bump This Up Your TBR/Reasons to Bump This Down On Your TBR.” This is a very flexible system that can accommodate anything from a few bullet points each to paragraphs each. It gives a good at-a-glance impression of your thoughts (more cons than pros is a pretty good indication you didn’t like it). It also is broad enough that almost all your thoughts can likely be organized into those headings.

This is also a format that is easily mix and matched with the elements listed below. A brief review might give the title, author, genre, some brief selling points of the novel, and then a pros and cons list. Some reviews also include a “verdict” at the end. An example of this format:

how to prepare book review

The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O’Neill

🌟 Fantasy All-Ages Comic 💫 Adorable pet dragons ✨ A diverse cast

Pros: This book has beautiful artwork. It is a soothing read, and all the character are supportive of each other. This is a story about friendship and kindness.

Cons: Don’t expect a fast-moving plot or a lot of conflict. This is a very gentle read.

Another approach to the review is not, strictly speaking, a book review template at all. Instead, it’s something like “5 Reasons to Read TITLE by Author” or “The # Most Shocking Plot Twists in X Series.” An advantage of this format is that it can be very to-the-point: if you want to convince people to read a book, it makes sense to just write a list of reasons they should read the book. It may also be more likely to get clicked on–traditional book reviews often get less views than more general posts.

On the other hand, listicles can come off as gimmicky or click-bait. You’ll have to decide for yourself if the book matches this format, and whether you are writing this out of genuine enthusiasm or are just trying to bend a review to be more clickable.

Your Own Original Rating System

Lots of reviewers decide to make their own review format based on what matters to them. This is often accompanied by a ratings system. For instance, the BookTube channel Book Roast uses the CAWPILE system:

CAWPILE is an acronym for the criteria she rates: Characters, Atmosphere, Writing, Plot, Intrigue, Logic, Enjoyment. Each of those are rated 1–10, and the average given is the overall rating. By making your own ratings/review system, you can prioritize what matters to you.

My favorite rating system is Njeri’s from Onyx Pages , because it shows exactly what she’s looking for from books, and it helps her to think about and speak about the things she values:

A “Live Tweet” or Chronological Review

Another format possibility is live tweeting (or updating as you go on Goodreads, or whatever your platform of choice is). This has you document your initial thoughts as you read, and it’s usually informal and often silly. You can add what you’re loving, what you’re hating, and what questions you have as you go.

This is a fun format for when you’re reading a popular book for the first time. That way, other people can cackle at how unprepared you are as you read it. This requires you to remember to always have your phone on you as you read, to get your authentic thoughts as they happen, but it saves on having to write a more in-depth review. Alternately, some people include both a “first impressions” section and a more in-depth analysis section in their final review.

Get Creative

There are plenty of book review templates to choose from and elements to mix-and-match, but you can also respond in a completely original way. You could create a work of art in response to the book! Here are some options:

  • Writing a song , a short story, or a poem
  • Writing a letter to the author or the main character (you don’t have to send it to the author!)
  • Writing an “interview” of a character from the book, talk show style
  • Making a visual response, like a collage or painting
  • Making a book diorama, like your elementary school days!

Mix-and-Match Elements of a Book Review

Most book reviews are made up of a few different parts, which can be combined in lots of different ways. Here is a selection to choose from! These might also give you ideas for your own elements. Don’t take on too much, though! It can easily become an overwhelming amount of information for readers.

Information

Usually a book review starts with some basic information about the book. What you consider basic information, though, is up for interpretation! Consider what you and your audience will think is important. Here are some ideas:

  • The title and author (pretty important)
  • The book’s cover
  • Format (audiobook, comic, poetry, etc)
  • Genre (this can be broad, like SFF, or narrow, like Silkpunk or Dark Academia)
  • Content warnings
  • Source (where did you get the book? Was is borrowed from the library, bought, or were you sent an ARC?)
  • Synopsis/plot summary (your own or the publisher’s)
  • What kind of representation there is in the novel (including race, disability, LGBTQ characters, etc)
  • Anything you’re tracking in your reading, including: authors of color, authors’ country, if a book is in translation, etc

Review Elements

Once you’ve established your basic information, you’re into the review itself! Some of these are small additions to a review, while others are a little more time-intensive.

Bullet point elements:

  • Rating (star rating, thumbs up/down, recommend/wouldn’t recommend, or your own scale)
  • Who would like it/Who wouldn’t like it
  • Read-alikes (or movies and TV shows like the book)
  • Describe the book using an emoji or emojis
  • Describe the book using a gif or gifs
  • Favorite line(s) from the book
  • New vocabulary/the most beautiful words in the novel
  • How it made you feel (in a sentence or two)
  • One word or one sentence review
  • Bullet points listing the selling points of a book
  • BooksandLala’s Scary, Unsettling, and Intrigue ratings, for horror
  • World-building, for fantasy and science fiction titles
  • Art, for comics
  • Narration, for audiobooks
  • Romance, for…romance
  • Heat level, for erotica

Visual elements:

  • Design a graphic (usually incorporating the cover, your star rating, and some other basic info)
  • Take a selfie of yourself holding the book, with your expression as the review
  • Make a mood board
  • Design your own book cover
  • Make fan art

Elements to incorporate into a review:

  • Quick/initial thoughts (often while reading or immediately after reading), then a more in-depth review (common on Goodreads)
  • A list of facts about the book or a character from the book
  • Book club questions about the book
  • Spoiler/non-spoiler sections
  • Research: look up interviews with the author and critique of the book, incorporate it (cited!) into your review
  • Links to other resources, such as interviews or other reviews — especially #OwnVoices reviews
  • A story of your own, whether it’s your experience reading the book, or something it reminded you of

This is not a complete list! There are so many ways to write a book review, and it should reflect your own relationship with books, as well as your audience. If you’re looking for more ways to keep track of your reading, you’ll also like 50+ Beautiful Bujo Spread Ideas to Track Your Reading .

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Painted Pages Library (@paintedpageslibrary)

how to prepare book review

You Might Also Like

The Most Read Books on Goodreads This Week

Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Assignments

  • Annotated Bibliography
  • Analyzing a Scholarly Journal Article
  • Group Presentations
  • Dealing with Nervousness
  • Using Visual Aids
  • Grading Someone Else's Paper
  • Types of Structured Group Activities
  • Group Project Survival Skills
  • Leading a Class Discussion
  • Multiple Book Review Essay
  • Reviewing Collected Works
  • Writing a Case Analysis Paper
  • Writing a Case Study
  • About Informed Consent
  • Writing Field Notes
  • Writing a Policy Memo
  • Writing a Reflective Paper
  • Writing a Research Proposal
  • Generative AI and Writing
  • Acknowledgments

A book review is a thorough description, critical analysis, and/or evaluation of the quality, meaning, and significance of a book, often written in relation to prior research on the topic. Reviews generally range from 500-2000 words, but may be longer or shorter depends on several factors: the length and complexity of the book being reviewed, the overall purpose of the review, and whether the review examines two or more books that focus on the same topic. Professors assign book reviews as practice in carefully analyzing complex scholarly texts and to assess your ability to effectively synthesize research so that you reach an informed perspective about the topic being covered.

There are two general approaches to reviewing a book:

  • Descriptive review: Presents the content and structure of a book as objectively as possible, describing essential information about a book's purpose and authority. This is done by stating the perceived aims and purposes of the study, often incorporating passages quoted from the text that highlight key elements of the work. Additionally, there may be some indication of the reading level and anticipated audience.
  • Critical review: Describes and evaluates the book in relation to accepted literary and historical standards and supports this evaluation with evidence from the text and, in most cases, in contrast to and in comparison with the research of others. It should include a statement about what the author has tried to do, evaluates how well you believe the author has succeeded in meeting the objectives of the study, and presents evidence to support this assessment. For most course assignments, your professor will want you to write this type of review.

Book Reviews. Writing Center. University of New Hampshire; Book Reviews: How to Write a Book Review. Writing and Style Guides. Libraries. Dalhousie University; Kindle, Peter A. "Teaching Students to Write Book Reviews." Contemporary Rural Social Work 7 (2015): 135-141; Erwin, R. W. “Reviewing Books for Scholarly Journals.” In Writing and Publishing for Academic Authors . Joseph M. Moxley and Todd Taylor. 2 nd edition. (Lanham, MD: Rowan and Littlefield, 1997), pp. 83-90.

How to Approach Writing Your Review

NOTE:   Since most course assignments require that you write a critical rather than descriptive book review, the following information about preparing to write and developing the structure and style of reviews focuses on this approach.

I.  Common Features

While book reviews vary in tone, subject, and style, they share some common features. These include:

  • A review gives the reader a concise summary of the content . This includes a description of the research topic and scope of analysis as well as an overview of the book's overall perspective, argument, and purpose.
  • A review offers a critical assessment of the content in relation to other studies on the same topic . This involves documenting your reactions to the work under review--what strikes you as noteworthy or important, whether or not the arguments made by the author(s) were effective or persuasive, and how the work enhanced your understanding of the research problem under investigation.
  • In addition to analyzing a book's strengths and weaknesses, a scholarly review often recommends whether or not readers would value the work for its authenticity and overall quality . This measure of quality includes both the author's ideas and arguments and covers practical issues, such as, readability and language, organization and layout, indexing, and, if needed, the use of non-textual elements .

To maintain your focus, always keep in mind that most assignments ask you to discuss a book's treatment of its topic, not the topic itself . Your key sentences should say, "This book shows...,” "The study demonstrates...," or “The author argues...," rather than "This happened...” or “This is the case....”

II.  Developing a Critical Assessment Strategy

There is no definitive methodological approach to writing a book review in the social sciences, although it is necessary that you think critically about the research problem under investigation before you begin to write. Therefore, writing a book review is a three-step process: 1) carefully taking notes as you read the text; 2) developing an argument about the value of the work under consideration; and, 3) clearly articulating that argument as you write an organized and well-supported assessment of the work.

A useful strategy in preparing to write a review is to list a set of questions that should be answered as you read the book [remember to note the page numbers so you can refer back to the text!]. The specific questions to ask yourself will depend upon the type of book you are reviewing. For example, a book that is presenting original research about a topic may require a different set of questions to ask yourself than a work where the author is offering a personal critique of an existing policy or issue.

Here are some sample questions that can help you think critically about the book:

  • Thesis or Argument . What is the central thesis—or main argument—of the book? If the author wanted you to get one main idea from the book, what would it be? How does it compare or contrast to the world that you know or have experienced? What has the book accomplished? Is the argument clearly stated and does the research support this?
  • Topic . What exactly is the subject or topic of the book? Is it clearly articulated? Does the author cover the subject adequately? Does the author cover all aspects of the subject in a balanced fashion? Can you detect any biases? What type of approach has the author adopted to explore the research problem [e.g., topical, analytical, chronological, descriptive]?
  • Evidence . How does the author support their argument? What evidence does the author use to prove their point? Is the evidence based on an appropriate application of the method chosen to gather information? Do you find that evidence convincing? Why or why not? Does any of the author's information [or conclusions] conflict with other books you've read, courses you've taken, or just previous assumptions you had about the research problem?
  • Structure . How does the author structure their argument? Does it follow a logical order of analysis? What are the parts that make up the whole? Does the argument make sense to you? Does it persuade you? Why or why not?
  • Take-aways . How has this book helped you understand the research problem? Would you recommend the book to others? Why or why not?

Beyond the content of the book, you may also consider some information about the author and the general presentation of information. Question to ask may include:

  • The Author: Who is the author? The nationality, political persuasion, education, intellectual interests, personal history, and historical context may provide crucial details about how a work takes shape. Does it matter, for example, that the author is affiliated with a particular organization? What difference would it make if the author participated in the events they wrote about? What other topics has the author written about? Does this work build on prior research or does it represent a new or unique area of research?
  • The Presentation: What is the book's genre? Out of what discipline does it emerge? Does it conform to or depart from the conventions of its genre? These questions can provide a historical or other contextual standard upon which to base your evaluations. If you are reviewing the first book ever written on the subject, it will be important for your readers to know this. Keep in mind, though, that declarative statements about being the “first,” the "best," or the "only" book of its kind can be a risky unless you're absolutely certain because your professor [presumably] has a much better understanding of the overall research literature.

NOTE: Most critical book reviews examine a topic in relation to prior research. A good strategy for identifying this prior research is to examine sources the author(s) cited in the chapters introducing the research problem and, of course, any review of the literature. However, you should not assume that the author's references to prior research is authoritative or complete. If any works related to the topic have been excluded, your assessment of the book should note this . Be sure to consult with a librarian to ensure that any additional studies are located beyond what has been cited by the author(s).

Book Reviews. Writing@CSU. Colorado State University; Book Reviews. The Writing Center. University of North Carolina; Hartley, James. "Reading and Writing Book Reviews Across the Disciplines." Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology 57 (July 2006): 1194–1207;   Motta-Roth, D. “Discourse Analysis and Academic Book Reviews: A Study of Text and Disciplinary Cultures.”  In Genre Studies in English for Academic Purposes . Fortanet Gómez, Inmaculada  et  al., editors. (Castellò de la Plana: Publicacions de la Universitat Jaume I, 1998), pp. 29-45. Writing a Book Review. The Writing Lab and The OWL. Purdue University; Writing Book Reviews. Writing Tutorial Services, Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning. Indiana University; Suárez, Lorena and Ana I. Moreno. “The Rhetorical Structure of Academic Journal Book Reviews: A Cross-linguistic and Cross-disciplinary Approach .” In Asociación Europea de Lenguas para Fines Específicos, María del Carmen Pérez Llantada Auría, Ramón Plo Alastrué, and Claus Peter Neumann. Actas del V Congreso Internacional AELFE/Proceedings of the 5th International AELFE Conference . Zaragoza: Universidad de Zaragoza, 2006.

Structure and Writing Style

I.  Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic information refers to the essential elements of a work if you were to cite it in a paper [i.e., author, title, date of publication, etc.]. Provide the essential information about the book using the writing style [e.g., APA, MLA, Chicago] preferred by your professor or used by the discipline of your major . Depending on how your professor wants you to organize your review, the bibliographic information represents the heading of your review. In general, it would look like this:

[Complete title of book. Author or authors. Place of publication. Publisher. Date of publication. Number of pages before first chapter, often in Roman numerals. Total number of pages]. The Whites of Their Eyes: The Tea Party's Revolution and the Battle over American History . By Jill Lepore. (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2010. xii, 207 pp.)

Reviewed by [your full name].

II.  Scope/Purpose/Content

Begin your review by telling the reader not only the overarching concern of the book in its entirety [the subject area] but also what the author's particular point of view is on that subject [the thesis statement]. If you cannot find an adequate statement in the author's own words or if you find that the thesis statement is not well-developed, then you will have to compose your own introductory thesis statement that does cover all the material. This statement should be no more than one paragraph and must be succinctly stated, accurate, and unbiased.

If you find it difficult to discern the overall aims and objectives of the book [and, be sure to point this out in your review if you determine that this is a deficiency], you may arrive at an understanding of the book's overall purpose by assessing the following:

  • Scan the table of contents because it can help you understand how the book was organized and will aid in determining the author's main ideas and how they were developed [e.g., chronologically, topically, historically, etc.].
  • Why did the author write on this subject rather than on some other subject?
  • From what point of view is the work written?
  • Was the author trying to give information, to explain something technical, or to convince the reader of a belief’s validity by dramatizing it in action?
  • What is the general field or genre, and how does the book fit into it? If necessary, review related literature from other books and journal articles to familiarize yourself with the field.
  • Who is the intended audience?
  • What is the author's style? Is it formal or informal? You can evaluate the quality of the writing style by noting some of the following standards: coherence, clarity, originality, forcefulness, accurate use of technical words, conciseness, fullness of development, and fluidity [i.e., quality of the narrative flow].
  • How did the book affect you? Were there any prior assumptions you had about the subject that were changed, abandoned, or reinforced after reading the book? How is the book related to your own personal beliefs or assumptions? What personal experiences have you had related to the subject that affirm or challenge underlying assumptions?
  • How well has the book achieved the goal(s) set forth in the preface, introduction, and/or foreword?
  • Would you recommend this book to others? Why or why not?

III.  Note the Method

Support your remarks with specific references to text and quotations that help to illustrate the literary method used to state the research problem, describe the research design, and analyze the findings. In general, authors tend to use the following literary methods, exclusively or in combination.

  • Description : The author depicts scenes and events by giving specific details that appeal to the five senses, or to the reader’s imagination. The description presents background and setting. Its primary purpose is to help the reader realize, through as many details as possible, the way persons, places, and things are situated within the phenomenon being described.
  • Narration : The author tells the story of a series of events, usually thematically or in chronological order. In general, the emphasis in scholarly books is on narration of the events. Narration tells what has happened and, in some cases, using this method to forecast what could happen in the future. Its primary purpose is to draw the reader into a story and create a contextual framework for understanding the research problem.
  • Exposition : The author uses explanation and analysis to present a subject or to clarify an idea. Exposition presents the facts about a subject or an issue clearly and as impartially as possible. Its primary purpose is to describe and explain, to document for the historical record an event or phenomenon.
  • Argument : The author uses techniques of persuasion to establish understanding of a particular truth, often in the form of addressing a research question, or to convince the reader of its falsity. The overall aim is to persuade the reader to believe something and perhaps to act on that belief. Argument takes sides on an issue and aims to convince the reader that the author's position is valid, logical, and/or reasonable.

IV.  Critically Evaluate the Contents

Critical comments should form the bulk of your book review . State whether or not you feel the author's treatment of the subject matter is appropriate for the intended audience. Ask yourself:

  • Has the purpose of the book been achieved?
  • What contributions does the book make to the field?
  • Is the treatment of the subject matter objective or at least balanced in describing all sides of a debate?
  • Are there facts and evidence that have been omitted?
  • What kinds of data, if any, are used to support the author's thesis statement?
  • Can the same data be interpreted to explain alternate outcomes?
  • Is the writing style clear and effective?
  • Does the book raise important or provocative issues or topics for discussion?
  • Does the book bring attention to the need for further research?
  • What has been left out?

Support your evaluation with evidence from the text and, when possible, state the book's quality in relation to other scholarly sources. If relevant, note of the book's format, such as, layout, binding, typography, etc. Are there tables, charts, maps, illustrations, text boxes, photographs, or other non-textual elements? Do they aid in understanding the text? Describing this is particularly important in books that contain a lot of non-textual elements.

NOTE:   It is important to carefully distinguish your views from those of the author so as not to confuse your reader. Be clear when you are describing an author's point of view versus expressing your own.

V.  Examine the Front Matter and Back Matter

Front matter refers to any content before the first chapter of the book. Back matter refers to any information included after the final chapter of the book . Front matter is most often numbered separately from the rest of the text in lower case Roman numerals [i.e. i - xi ]. Critical commentary about front or back matter is generally only necessary if you believe there is something that diminishes the overall quality of the work [e.g., the indexing is poor] or there is something that is particularly helpful in understanding the book's contents [e.g., foreword places the book in an important context].

Front matter that may be considered for evaluation when reviewing its overall quality:

  • Table of contents -- is it clear? Is it detailed or general? Does it reflect the true contents of the book? Does it help in understanding a logical sequence of content?
  • Author biography -- also found as back matter, the biography of author(s) can be useful in determining the authority of the writer and whether the book builds on prior research or represents new research. In scholarly reviews, noting the author's affiliation and prior publications can be a factor in helping the reader determine the overall validity of the work [i.e., are they associated with a research center devoted to studying the problem under investigation].
  • Foreword -- the purpose of a foreword is to introduce the reader to the author and the content of the book, and to help establish credibility for both. A foreword may not contribute any additional information about the book's subject matter, but rather, serves as a means of validating the book's existence. In these cases, the foreword is often written by a leading scholar or expert who endorses the book's contributions to advancing research about the topic. Later editions of a book sometimes have a new foreword prepended [appearing before an older foreword, if there was one], which may be included to explain how the latest edition differs from previous editions. These are most often written by the author.
  • Acknowledgements -- scholarly studies in the social sciences often take many years to write, so authors frequently acknowledge the help and support of others in getting their research published. This can be as innocuous as acknowledging the author's family or the publisher. However, an author may acknowledge prominent scholars or subject experts, staff at key research centers, people who curate important archival collections, or organizations that funded the research. In these particular cases, it may be worth noting these sources of support in your review, particularly if the funding organization is biased or its mission is to promote a particular agenda.
  • Preface -- generally describes the genesis, purpose, limitations, and scope of the book and may include acknowledgments of indebtedness to people who have helped the author complete the study. Is the preface helpful in understanding the study? Does it provide an effective framework for understanding what's to follow?
  • Chronology -- also may be found as back matter, a chronology is generally included to highlight key events related to the subject of the book. Do the entries contribute to the overall work? Is it detailed or very general?
  • List of non-textual elements -- a book that contains numerous charts, photographs, maps, tables, etc. will often list these items after the table of contents in the order that they appear in the text. Is this useful?

Back matter that may be considered for evaluation when reviewing its overall quality:

  • Afterword -- this is a short, reflective piece written by the author that takes the form of a concluding section, final commentary, or closing statement. It is worth mentioning in a review if it contributes information about the purpose of the book, gives a call to action, summarizes key recommendations or next steps, or asks the reader to consider key points made in the book.
  • Appendix -- is the supplementary material in the appendix or appendices well organized? Do they relate to the contents or appear superfluous? Does it contain any essential information that would have been more appropriately integrated into the text?
  • Index -- are there separate indexes for names and subjects or one integrated index. Is the indexing thorough and accurate? Are elements used, such as, bold or italic fonts to help identify specific places in the book? Does the index include "see also" references to direct you to related topics?
  • Glossary of Terms -- are the definitions clearly written? Is the glossary comprehensive or are there key terms missing? Are any terms or concepts mentioned in the text not included that should have been?
  • Endnotes -- examine any endnotes as you read from chapter to chapter. Do they provide important additional information? Do they clarify or extend points made in the body of the text? Should any notes have been better integrated into the text rather than separated? Do the same if the author uses footnotes.
  • Bibliography/References/Further Readings -- review any bibliography, list of references to sources, and/or further readings the author may have included. What kinds of sources appear [e.g., primary or secondary, recent or old, scholarly or popular, etc.]? How does the author make use of them? Be sure to note important omissions of sources that you believe should have been utilized, including important digital resources or archival collections.

VI.  Summarize and Comment

State your general conclusions briefly and succinctly. Pay particular attention to the author's concluding chapter and/or afterword. Is the summary convincing? List the principal topics, and briefly summarize the author’s ideas about these topics, main points, and conclusions. If appropriate and to help clarify your overall evaluation, use specific references to text and quotations to support your statements. If your thesis has been well argued, the conclusion should follow naturally. It can include a final assessment or simply restate your thesis. Do not introduce new information in the conclusion. If you've compared the book to any other works or used other sources in writing the review, be sure to cite them at the end of your book review in the same writing style as your bibliographic heading of the book.

Book Reviews. Writing@CSU. Colorado State University; Book Reviews. The Writing Center. University of North Carolina; Gastel, Barbara. "Special Books Section: A Strategy for Reviewing Books for Journals." BioScience 41 (October 1991): 635-637; Hartley, James. "Reading and Writing Book Reviews Across the Disciplines." Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology 57 (July 2006): 1194–1207; Lee, Alexander D., Bart N. Green, Claire D. Johnson, and Julie Nyquist. "How to Write a Scholarly Book Review for Publication in a Peer-reviewed Journal: A Review of the Literature." Journal of Chiropractic Education 24 (2010): 57-69; Nicolaisen, Jeppe. "The Scholarliness of Published Peer Reviews: A Bibliometric Study of Book Reviews in Selected Social Science Fields." Research Evaluation 11 (2002): 129-140;.Procter, Margaret. The Book Review or Article Critique. The Lab Report. University College Writing Centre. University of Toronto; Reading a Book to Review It. The Writer’s Handbook. Writing Center. University of Wisconsin, Madison; Scarnecchia, David L. "Writing Book Reviews for the Journal Of Range Management and Rangelands." Rangeland Ecology and Management 57 (2004): 418-421; Simon, Linda. "The Pleasures of Book Reviewing." Journal of Scholarly Publishing 27 (1996): 240-241; Writing a Book Review. The Writing Lab and The OWL. Purdue University; Writing Book Reviews. Writing Tutorial Services, Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning. Indiana University.

Writing Tip

Always Read the Foreword and/or the Preface

If they are included in the front matter, a good place for understanding a book's overall purpose, organization, contributions to further understanding of the research problem, and relationship to other studies is to read the preface and the foreword. The foreword may be written by someone other than the author or editor and can be a person who is famous or who has name recognition within the discipline. A foreword is often included to add credibility to the work.

The preface is usually an introductory essay written by the author or editor. It is intended to describe the book's overall purpose, arrangement, scope, and overall contributions to the literature. When reviewing the book, it can be useful to critically evaluate whether the goals set forth in the foreword and/or preface were actually achieved. At the very least, they can establish a foundation for understanding a study's scope and purpose as well as its significance in contributing new knowledge.

Distinguishing between a Foreword, a Preface, and an Introduction . Book Creation Learning Center. Greenleaf Book Group, 2019.

Locating Book Reviews

There are several databases the USC Libraries subscribes to that include the full-text or citations to book reviews. Short, descriptive reviews can also be found at book-related online sites such as Amazon , although it's not always obvious who has written them and may actually be created by the publisher. The following databases provide comprehensive access to scholarly, full-text book reviews:

  • ProQuest [1983-present]
  • Book Review Digest Retrospective [1905-1982]

Some Language for Evaluating Texts

It can be challenging to find the proper vocabulary from which to discuss and evaluate a book. Here is a list of some active verbs for referring to texts and ideas that you might find useful:

  • account for
  • demonstrate
  • distinguish
  • investigate

Examples of usage

  • "The evidence indicates that..."
  • "This work assesses the effect of..."
  • "The author identifies three key reasons for..."
  • "This book questions the view that..."
  • "This work challenges assumptions about...."

Paquot, Magali. Academic Keyword List. Centre for English Corpus Linguistics. Université Catholique de Louvain.

  • << Previous: Leading a Class Discussion
  • Next: Multiple Book Review Essay >>
  • Last Updated: May 31, 2024 1:46 PM
  • URL: https://libguides.usc.edu/writingguide/assignments

10 rules for reading from someone who does it for a living

Where to read, when to read and why you need a pencil in hand: The Post’s Michael Dirda offers some advice from his years as a critic.

how to prepare book review

How do you read a book? Like most people, I still decipher the meaning of words printed on sheets of paper bound together, but you may prefer to peer at pixels on a screen or listen through ear buds to a favorite narrator. They are all reading, in my book. Each of us, I think, seeks what the critic Roland Barthes called “the pleasure of the text,” though finding delight in what we read doesn’t necessarily mean a steady diet of romance novels and thrillers. Scholarly works, serious fiction, poetry, a writer’s distinctive prose style — all of these deliver their own kinds of textual pleasure.

As someone who has been lucky enough to earn his living in the rarefied world of book reviewing, I’ve gradually developed reading-related habits as part of my work. Some of them — listed below — may even be similar to yours. At the least, I hope a few of my customary routines and practices will be useful in your own reading life.

Be choosy, but not too choosy

I spend a lot of time, often way too much, dithering about what to read next. A book has to fit my mood or even the season. Spooky stories are for winter, comic novels for spring. What’s more, I like to mix it up, the old with the new, a literary biography this week, a science fiction classic the next. I can adjust my expectations up or down — you don’t read Thomas Mann’s “Doctor Faustus” in the same way you read Ian Fleming ’s “Dr. No.” — but the book must be, on some level, exciting. I try to avoid wasting time on anything that leaves me indifferent. As Jesus memorably told the Laodiceans: “Because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.”

Editions matter

In my youth, I could read paperbacks printed in tiny type on pages you could see through. No more. These days, I opt for hardcovers whenever possible, if only because they’re generally easier on aging eyes. For classics, I want a good scholarly edition; for translated works, I try to acquire the best English version. This just makes sense. As a reviewer, I often work with a galley or advance reading copy of a forthcoming title, but these are simply tools of the trade. I generally don’t keep them. I want the finished book.

Check the small stuff

Before turning to Chapter 1, I glance at a book’s cover art, check out the author’s dust jacket biography and photo, and read through the back page endorsements. Unlike many people, I pay close attention to copyright dates, introductions, dedications, acknowledgments and bibliographies. All these provide hints to the kind of book one is dealing with.

When to read

Mine is a simple system: I read from morning till bedtime, with breaks for my job, family, meetings with friends, exercise, household chores and periodic review of my life’s greatest blunders. On the days I don’t read, I write. As I say, it’s a simple system. Many people complain that they have no time for books, yet somehow they manage to spend three or more hours a day watching television or scrolling through social media on their phones. You pays your money and you takes your choice.

Where to read

Even though I know better, I still read more often than not while sprawled in an overstuffed armchair or on an old couch. You probably do something similar. Not only ergonomically bad, these soft options invite dozing. Realistically, the best place to read is at a table or desk with lots of good light. Other good locations include the public library, an outside table at a coffee shop away from background music and other customers, and the quiet car on the train to New York. In truth, though, don’t expect to find an ideal place to read. Trust me: You never will. Instead, as the Nike slogan says, Just Do It.

Don’t read in a vacuum

To read any book well often requires knowledge of its author, context, history. So I surround myself, when possible or appropriate, with collateral texts to help me better appreciate the writer’s artistry or arguments. These can be biographies, volumes of criticism, competing titles on the same subject or, most basically, other books by the same author. For example, if I’m reading E. Nesbit’s “Five Children and It,” I want to have the sequels, “The Phoenix and the Carpet” and “The Story of the Amulet,” close at hand for possible comparison. This is one justification for building a personal library. I also keep within easy reach a notebook, magnifying glass and Chambers 20th Century Dictionary. Other reference books are shelved near where I type these words.

Attention must be paid

As I read, I do all I can to live up to Henry James’s dictum: “Be one on whom nothing is lost.” This vigilance means that I seldom lose myself in the story, which is the devil’s bargain I made by becoming a professional reviewer. As it is, I track the clues in whodunits and the symbolic events or objects in literary fiction. I note oddities of style, repetitions, possible foreshadowings and anomalies that might be meaningful. I frequently flip back to previous pages to check details. In every way, then, I try to make my first reading as intensive and comprehensive as possible, knowing I may not pass this way again.

Be prepared to take notes

I can’t open a book without a pencil either in my hand or nestled conveniently in that space between my right ear and skull. For a long time, my weapon of choice was a No. 2 Ticonderoga pencil, but it now tends to be a Paper Mate disposable mechanical pencil. As a boy, I took to heart the lessons of Mortimer J. Adler’s essay “How to Mark a Book.” I place two or three vertical lines next to key passages, scribble notes to myself in the margins, sometimes make longer comments on the blank end papers. I never underline words or phrases — this seems too much like sophomoric highlighting, plus it just looks ugly. All these practices serve one end: to keep me actively engaged mentally with the words on the page. For the same reason, I scorn bookmarks: If you can’t remember where you stopped reading, you haven’t been paying close enough attention.

Make some noise

I don’t skim or speed read, though I envy people, like the late Harold Bloom, who can zip through a novel in 20 minutes. When I try to pick up my own reading pace, I end up constantly flogging myself not to slow down. Where’s the fun in that? Woody Allen once said that he’d taken a speed-reading course and had finished “War and Peace” in half an hour; he gathered that it was about Russia. As an exceptionally slow reader, I mentally murmur every word on the page, which allows me to savor the author’s style and to remember what he or she has said. Sometimes I also pause to copy a striking passage into my commonplace book. Here’s a fairly recent example from the poet John Ashbery: “I am aware of the pejorative associations of the word ‘escapist,’ but I insist that we need all the escapism we can get and even that isn’t going to be enough.”

Find a shelf

After finishing a book, I tend to keep it. While not a frequent rereader, I do like to refresh my acquaintance with old favorites, if only by opening one up occasionally to enjoy a page or a passage. When I look at my living room’s bookcases, while sleepily sipping coffee in the morning, I see not only my past laid out before me but also my future: Someday I will read David Cecil’s “Melbourne,” a biography of the Victorian prime minister that was said to be John F. Kennedy’s favorite book. Someday, I will get to — hangs head in shame — Willa Cather’s “The Professor’s House.” Other shelves remind me of the books I want to reread: Angela Carter’s “Nights at the Circus,” Dawn Powell’s “The Locusts Have No King,” Ralph Ellison’s “Invisible Man,” Frederick Exley’s “A Fan’s Notes.”

Long ago, one of my teachers in high school told me that he didn’t feel right unless he spent at least three hours a day reading. This seemed incredible to me then. Not anymore.

More from Book World

Love everything about books? Make sure to subscribe to our Book Club newsletter , where Ron Charles guides you through the literary news of the week.

Check out our coverage of this year’s Pulitzer winners: Jayne Anne Phillips won the fiction prize for her novel “ Night Watch .” The nonfiction prize went to Nathan Thrall, for “ A Day in the Life of Abed Salama .” Cristina Rivera Garza received the memoir prize for “ Liliana’s Invincible Summer .” And Jonathan Eig received the biography prize for his “ King: A Life .”

Best books of 2023: See our picks for the 10 best books of 2023 or dive into the staff picks that Book World writers and editors treasured in 2023. Check out the complete lists of 50 notable works for fiction and the top 50 nonfiction books of last year.

Find your favorite genre: Three new memoirs tell stories of struggle and resilience, while five recent historical novels offer a window into other times. Audiobooks more your thing? We’ve got you covered there, too . If you’re looking for what’s new, we have a list of our most anticipated books of 2024 . And here are 10 noteworthy new titles that you might want to consider picking up this April.

how to prepare book review

An illustration of Craig Johnson shows a middle-aged white man with a red and white beard, wearing a green plaid shirt and a wide-brimmed tan cowboy hat.

By the Book

Craig Johnson Wants to Give Longmire Fans the ‘Best 3 Minutes’ He Can

“Make eye contact, shake their hand, ask them about themselves and then sign their book with a genuine smile,” suggests the author of the Wyoming-set mystery series. The 20th, “First Frost,” is just out.

Credit... Rebecca Clarke

Supported by

  • Share full article

How do you organize your books?

Like everything in my life, it’s kind of random. I’ve got reading stations all over the ranch, and I’m pretty sure I’m the only Wyoming rancher with a sun-faded copy of “The Dancing Wu Li Masters” sliding around on the dashboard of his truck.

Describe your ideal reading experience (when, where, what, how).

Sitting with my wife, Judy, in our 1896 cabin in the Bighorn Mountains during a snowstorm, with a fire burning, discovering an author I’ve never read before.

What’s your favorite book no one else has heard of?

“Doctor Dogbody’s Leg,” by James Norman Hall, one half of the duo that brought us the 1932 novel “Mutiny on the Bounty.” It’s the story of a peg-legged Royal Navy surgeon who enters a tavern in Portsmouth each night regaling the denizens with the implausible tale of how he lost his leg, the twist being it’s a different story every night.

What books are on your night stand?

I was lucky enough to get a prepublication copy of Willy Vlautin’s “The Horse.” I’ve been a big fan of his since running into him at a literary festival in Paris where I thought, “There’s a guy who looks even more painfully American than I do.” Elizabeth Crook’s “The Madstone” is next on deck, and then you’ve caught me at a rereading period with “ Woman of Light ,” by Kali Fajardo-Anstine, which is truly transcendent. I returned to “ Rules of Civility,” by Amor Towles, after reading “Table for Two” ; he’s so charming, entertaining and elegant you want to hit him in the head with a rock.

Who’s the second-best Wyoming writer (or writer on Wyoming)?

I’m a big Mark Spragg fan. He’s a very unassuming and humble guy, but his voice is nothing short of poetically epic.

What impact did seeing Walt Longmire onscreen have on your continuing to write the character?

Not much, in that I’d been writing the novels for seven years before Warner Bros. knocked on the door and most of the characters in my novels are drawn from people I know.

How do you sign books for your fans?

If somebody’s been standing for an hour to have three minutes of your time, don’t you owe them the best three minutes you can give them? Make eye contact, shake their hand, ask them about themselves and then sign their book with a genuine smile. It’s the very least you can do.

How will you know when you’re ready to move on from the Longmire series?

I’m not sure I ever will, but that doesn’t mean I won’t write other things. I’ve got a literary western, a psychological thriller and a World War II mystery already started. It’s just a question of having the time. I guess the answer to the question depends on how long he’ll be good company and have new and interesting stories to tell. So far, that doesn’t appear to be winding down.

What book would you most like to see turned into a movie or TV show that hasn’t already been adapted?

Brady Udall’s “The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint” is such a marvelous, humane saga, and I’ll never understand why somebody hasn’t made that book into a movie or limited series. I met him at the Tucson Festival of Books one time and told him I was going to kidnap him and lock him in a room if he didn’t start writing faster.

Another would be Curt Flood’s memoir, “The Way It Is.” His courtroom struggle to fight the Major League Baseball reserve clause, although resulting in failure, helped establish free agency . Can you imagine characters like Flood, Bob Gibson and an aged Jackie Robinson hobbling into a Supreme Court hearing on a cane?

What’s the most terrifying book you ever read?

“In the Miso Soup,” by Ryu Murakami. A little graphic for my tastes, but the tension is what makes the book so utterly compelling and breath-freezing.

You’re organizing a literary dinner party. Which three writers, dead or alive, do you invite?

Just to keep from being predictable, I’m going to limit it to the subcategory of deceased western writers.

I’d go with Walter Van Tilburg Clark, who, after Owen Wister, is responsible for elevating the oater to a psychological level of responsible fiction with amazing books like “The Ox-Bow Incident” and “Track of the Cat.”

Dorothy M. Johnson (no relation) is an all-time favorite with such an un-jingoistic understanding of the true West. Who knew a newspaperwoman and schoolteacher from Missoula wrote “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance,” “The Hanging Tree,” “A Man Called Horse” and my absolute favorite, “Lost Sister”?

Jack Schaefer, whose tight, taut pen produced “Shane,” “Monte Walsh” and “The Canyon.”

Then I have to invite my buddy Tony Hillerman over to the table because he taught me more about what I do for a living in a four-hour dinner one time than a classroom ever could.

I know you said three, but I’m a self-confessed outlaw.

Explore More in Books

Want to know about the best books to read and the latest news start here..

John S. Jacobs was a fugitive, an abolitionist — and the brother of the canonical author Harriet Jacobs. Now, his own fierce autobiography has re-emerged .

Don DeLillo’s fascination with terrorism, cults and mass culture’s weirder turns has given his work a prophetic air. Here are his essential books .

Jenny Erpenbeck’s “ Kairos ,” a novel about a torrid love affair in the final years of East Germany, won the International Booker Prize , the renowned award for fiction translated into English.

Kevin Kwan, the author of “Crazy Rich Asians,” left Singapore’s opulent, status-obsessed, upper crust when he was 11. He’s still writing about it .

Each week, top authors and critics join the Book Review’s podcast to talk about the latest news in the literary world. Listen here .

Advertisement

how to prepare book review

5 Important Things To Do To Prepare For Your Viking Cruise

A bucket-list trip is a perfect way to celebrate major milestones in your life. In my case, it is our 25th wedding anniversary and we have long wanted to take a Viking Ocean Cruise on the Mediterranean. We decided on the Mediterranean Odyssey , a 13-day cruise which visits six countries and includes 10 tours.

Once you book your cruise, there is still quite a bit of planning to do. As an experienced traveler, I am often amazed by how many people arrive on a trip with no clue how everything works because they didn’t read the materials provided prior to the trip. They are disappointed they can’t do a shore excursion or eat at a specialty onboard restaurant because they didn’t reserve it. As an obsessive reader, I delve deep into the options and small print so we won’t miss anything important. To get the most of your voyage, take advantage of all the tools Viking offers to help you get ready for your bucket-list trip. It really will enhance your experience. Here are five important things to do to prepare for your Viking cruise.

1. Review The Viking Website And Put Important Dates On Your Calendar

The first thing you should do is review the Viking Inclusive Value webpage . Read this over and become familiar with all the extras Viking offers as this will be important when you start booking shore excursions, restaurant reservations, and drink packages. For example Viking provides beer and wine with lunch and dinner at no additional charge. This can impact your decision as to whether you wish to purchase a beverage package. They also include a complimentary shore excursion in each port.

Set up your My Viking Journey account. You will need your booking number to register. Once registered, go to the guest information section and fill out the required forms. Also review the Passport and Visa Requirements. A key piece of information here is that your passport must be valid for six months past your travel dates. Good to know! The Visa section will let you know if there are any requirements. Lastly, review the calendar. Each day of your cruise is listed with options to book spa treatments, dining reservations, and shore excursions. Your cabin size will determine when you can book these options. Dates range from 60 to 107 days before your cruise. Note when you can begin booking and that it is very specific including the day and hour in your time zone. Make an appointment with yourself to book these options. Things fill up fast, and you don’t want to miss out.

2. Prepare For Cultural Immersion Opportunities

This is one of my favorite features that Viking offers. Viking Cruises are known as The Thinking Person’s Cruise , and you can see why with all the cultural resources they offer. Begin by going to the itinerary for your cruise on the website. In my case, it is Mediterranean Odyssey and I went to the section on Resources. The first section to check out is filmography, and you can choose by either country or itinerary. There is an extensive list of movies, documentaries, and television shows either filmed in or about your cruise destinations. What a great resource to begin learning about the different countries you will visit and what you might like to see! So many places I have put on my list to tour are based on movies, books, or artwork that I love. Another option is Viking TV , which has a variety of programming. There is a section that is destination-specific and worth checking out.

Viking actually has a Resident Historian Program. It is part of the onboard cultural enrichment program included with your cruise. The historian hosts lectures on the history and culture of the ports you will visit. The Chief Historian has curated an extensive list of books to enjoy prior to your cruise. I was blown away by the selection for the Mediterranean Odyssey itinerary which included everything from Shakespeare to books about the famous artwork travelers have the opportunity to see at port stops. There really is something for everyone.

I love to cook and I found a variety of recipes inspired by Viking Ocean Cruises from the extensive recipe collection on Viking’s website. I feel like food is such an important part of travel and can give you an insight into the local culture. There are quite a few recipes I look forward to trying. Preparing a themed dinner can be a fun way to build excitement for your upcoming cruise. I also love craft cocktails and this homemade limoncello recipe just says Italy to me.

3. Pick Your Shore Excursions

I have to admit I have been obsessing over which shore excursions to pick. To begin, go to your cruise’s itinerary page. Start at Day 1 and click Read More . There will be no shore excursions offered on the first or last day of each cruise. The page is worth visiting for an overview of the port city and some videos. Then work your way through each day and read all the offerings. Some key things to consider with each excursion is the intensity level, which can range from easy to demanding. Read the descriptions of the intensity levels to make sure it is an activity you want to participate in. Viking also assigns flags and icons which further describe the tour. I like that Viking provides excursions that cover a wide variety of fitness levels and interests.

As you look through each day, note what the included shore excursion is. Typically it is either an orientation walking or bus tour of the port of call. For some ports, this will be sufficient for me, especially in the smaller towns where I can walk to all the sites I want to visit. This is where your research in cultural immersion will pay off in helping to decide what you want to do. Viking also does a Kitchen Table excursion which takes place in two parts. In the morning you will travel by mini-coach with the executive chef to visit a local food market to pick out ingredients for an evening meal. In the late afternoon, you will join the culinary team and help to prepare a meal using the local ingredients you helped select earlier. This excursion is offered at multiple ports.

Now make a list and pick two or three selections (this gives you a backup if your first choice is booked) for each day so that you are prepared when sign-up day opens. If you are booked in a suite, you should be able to get all your choices. If you are booked in the different Veranda levels, registration for the majority of the cabins opens up either 60 or 67 days from your cruise. With your list ready you will save time by not having to decide on an excursion. As it gets closer to sign-up day, check to verify which excursions are offered as they are subject to change.

4. Get In Shape

I am very intrigued by some of the shore excursions that involve biking and kayaking. It’s been a while since I have been on a bike, so my training will involve some cycling to build up to the 10 miles I will need to ride. Once you have planned your activities, look at the physical requirements for each. If you’ve never kayaked, try an hour rental to see if you like it. Are there lots of hills or steps on a tour? Taking long walks is a good way to increase your fitness level. If you don’t have hills in your area, look for a stadium where you can walk up and down the stairs. I avoid gaining weight on a cruise by always taking the stairs and not the elevator when on the ship. Don’t underestimate how much walking you will be doing. Often there is a long walk from the pier to the start of your excursion. It has been my experience that I walk 14,000 or more steps when in port.

5. Two Weeks Is A Long Time; Pack Accordingly

When planning what to bring on your cruise, visit Life on Board for the dress code and tips on what to pack. Viking is all about the destination, and on my 13-day cruise, there is only one day at sea. Viking takes this into account with their dress code, which has no formal nights in the evening. Dress is “elegant casual” with no jeans, but the World Cafe is casual in the evening. Look at what shore excursions you are taking and plan accordingly.

Two weeks is a long time to pack for, but Viking offers self-service launderettes on Decks 3 to 6 which are free to use and even have complimentary detergent. Having the option to do some laundry can help lighten your packing list. Some stateroom categories include laundry services, and it is available for a fee through your steward if not included.

Another resource I like to use is reviews. I also read trip reports. Personal experiences give you insights that you won’t receive on the company website. Check out TravelAwaits contributor Judy Freeman’s advice on how to make the most of your Viking cruise . Stephanie Vermillion captures the spirit of Viking Cruises in her article “ 9 Reasons to Visit Norway by Cruise .”

By taking the extra time to plan, your trip will go smoother and you will know what to expect. Bon voyage!

This article originally appeared on TravelAwaits

Viking Cruises

Read the Latest on Page Six

  • Weird But True
  • Sex & Relationships
  • Viral Trends
  • Human Interest
  • Fashion & Beauty
  • Food & Drink
  • Personal Care
  • Health & Wellness
  • Amazon Sales
  • Why Trust Us
  • StackCommerce

trending now in Shopping

How to watch 'The Life and Murder of Nicole Brown Simpson' documentary

How to watch 'The Life and Murder of Nicole Brown Simpson'...

Bring the waterpark to your backyard with the Inflatable Dinoland Kiddie Pool, now under $50 at Walmart

Bring the waterpark to your backyard with the Inflatable Dinoland...

Bath & body works just launched fragrance dupes for all your....

Found: 146 best-selling products you need from Amazon

Found: 146 best-selling products you need from Amazon

Make beer from home with this fully automated home brew system, now over $100 off!

Make beer from home with this fully automated home brew system,...

Streamline your flossing experience with this electric device that has 3 flossing modes

Streamline your flossing experience with this electric device...

License to grill? The 9 best grill deals available this weekend at Wayfair

License to grill? The 9 best grill deals available this weekend...

Get the scoop on the best wet-dog food, per veterinarians

Get the scoop on the best wet-dog food, per veterinarians

Make beer from home with this fully automated home brew system, now over $100 off.

Thanks for contacting us. We've received your submission.

A white machine with a handle on a table

TL;DR:  Ever dreamed of  making delicious, refreshing beer at home ? It’s easier than ever with the iGulu, an all-in-one, fully automated home brew system that’s on sale for $699 (reg. $806). 

The modern beer drinker has far more options and flavors to explore than those who came up in generations past. For those of us who have taken to the revolution of craft beer with enthusiasm and excitement, you can finally create your own ale from your apartment with an affordable and capable product. 

How? With the iGULU F1, an  all-in-one, fully automated home brew system  designed to make brewing high quality, fresh beer easier than ever and in just a few clicks. Now, this nifty device is on sale for $699 (reg. $806). 

Designed to make brewing beer from your apartment as easy as making your morning coffee, the iGulu F1 offers users a simple three-step brew process. 

iGulu F1 All-in-One Automated Home Craft Beer Brewer with 3 Beer Kits & Master Mode

how to prepare book review

Those steps include:

  • Mixing ingredients with filtered water in the fermentation keg
  • Scanning an RFID or choosing a brewing style, like touch brew
  • Sipping and enjoying your delicious craft beer

The iGulu comes with a range of features that make at-home beer-making possible, including its own built-in air pump, which helps simplify the process.

There’s also an automatic temperature control that helps keep the process top quality, and the auto-pressure control and release can keep the whole brewing process safe and manageable for newbies.

This ingenious system also has an intelligent fermentation  system that actively monitors and adjusts your brew’s fermentation temperature  to ensure it comes out just right. Meanwhile, its rapid cooling tech and DC compressor have an extensive temperature range and can add CO2 to your beer, so it stays fresh for up to two weeks!

Have a specific beer brand you want to make? The iGULU is compatible with delectable brands like Benediktiner Weissbier and Heineken. You’re also not limited to beer. This system lets you brew kombucha and other tasty fermented drinks. 

iGulu is a hit among users and critics alike. It’s been featured on Stuff, Digital Trends, Digital Journal, and even CNET.

You don’t need to go to your nearest beer hall or brewery to create tasty brews — you can make them from home.

Don’t miss your chance to pick up the  iGulu F1 All-in-One Automated Home Craft Beer Brewer  for $699 (reg. $806). 

StackSocial  prices subject to change.

Share this article:

  • United States
  • South Carolina

Juniper, Greenville, SC

  • Great for creative cocktails
  • Great for scenic views
  • Good for special occasions

Make a reservation

Dining areas, additional information.

  • Dining style Casual Elegant
  • Price $31 to $50
  • Cuisines American
  • Hours of operation Brunch Sun 11:00 am–3:00 pm Dinner Wed, Thu 5:00 pm–10:30 pm Fri, Sat 5:00 pm–12:30 am
  • Phone number (864) 549-0000
  • Website https://junipergvl.com/
  • Payment options AMEX, Diners Club, Discover, Mastercard, Visa
  • Dress code Smart Casual
  • Owned/operated by South Asian/Indian
  • Executive chef Malaki Craft
  • Private party facilities For parties of 8 or more and private events, please email [email protected]
  • Location 315 S Main St, Greenville, SC 29601-2605
  • Neighborhood Greenville
  • Cross street Broad Street &amp; Main Street
  • Parking details Street Parking
  • Additional Bar/Lounge, Beer, Cocktails, Corkage Fee, Entertainment, Full Bar, Gluten-free Options, Happy Hour, Late Night, Non-Smoking, Outdoor Firepit, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Vegan, View, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine

Send gift cards instantly by email or print to present in person.

Experiences

Drag bingo brunch - 11am to 1pm.

$35.00 per person

Drag Bingo Brunch - 11am to 1pm Photo

Drag Bingo Brunch - 1:30pm to 3:30pm

Drag Bingo Brunch - 1:30pm to 3:30pm Photo

Juniper's Social Hour 5pm-6:30pm

Juniper's Social Hour 5pm-6:30pm Photo

3rd Annual Rooftop Pride Party

Popular dishes, birria tacos.

soft corn tortilla stewed beef Chihuahua

Spicy Shrimp

gochujang glaze fermented slaw

Buffalo Cauliflower

Crisp vegetables warm gorgonzola crema

What 385 people are saying

Overall ratings and reviews.

Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant

  • 4.3 Service
  • 4.7 Ambience

Noise • Moderate

Great for brunch

Most Booked

Isle of Wight

Dined 2 days ago

Is this helpful?

OpenTable Diner

New York City

Dined 3 days ago

Dined on May 25, 2024

WalterMaryB

Dined on May 24, 2024

Dined on May 22, 2024

Dined on May 19, 2024

How is Juniper restaurant rated?

Juniper is rated 4.3 stars by 385 OpenTable diners.

Does Juniper offer gift cards?

Juniper does offer gift cards which you can purchase here .

Is Juniper currently accepting reservations?

Yes, you can generally book this restaurant by choosing the date, time and party size on OpenTable.

315 S Main St, Greenville, SC 29601-2605

  • Dining Rewards
  • Private Dining
  • Reserve for Others
  • Restaurants Near Me
  • Delivery Near Me
  • Restaurants Open Now
  • OpenTable for iOS
  • OpenTable for Android
  • Affiliate Program
  • OpenTable.jp
  • OpenTable.de
  • OpenTable.es
  • OpenTable.ca
  • OpenTable.hk
  • OpenTable.ie
  • OpenTable.sg
  • OpenTable.nl
  • OpenTable.com.mx
  • OpenTable.co.uk
  • OpenTable.com.au
  • OpenTable.ae
  • OpenTable.co.th
  • OpenTable.it
  • OpenTable.com.tw
  • OpenTable.fr
  • Restaurant reservation software
  • Industry insights
  • Hospitality resources
  • Marketing resources
  • Operation resources
  • How to open a restaurant
  • For restaurants
  • For restaurant groups
  • Privacy Policy
  • Terms of Use
  • Cookies and Interest-Based Ads
  • Do Not Sell or Share My Personal Information
  • Cookie Preferences

IMAGES

  1. 50 Best Book Review Templates (Kids, Middle School etc.) ᐅ TemplateLab

    how to prepare book review

  2. How to Write a Book Review: A Template for Reviewing Books

    how to prepare book review

  3. Pin on Books for Kids

    how to prepare book review

  4. book review is

    how to prepare book review

  5. How to Write a Great Book Review: 6 Templates and Ideas

    how to prepare book review

  6. SOLUTION: Writing a book review

    how to prepare book review

VIDEO

  1. How to write a book review

  2. HOW TO WRITE BOOK REVIEW

  3. 11th से NEET PREPARE BOOK FOR NCERT SOLUTIONS VIDEOS #motivation #iasipsentry #motivational #upsc

  4. #the100dayproject

  5. i bought 25+ books... BOOK HAUL!!! ★

  6. Prepare Prepare book Lv.4 page 11/ Chuẩn bị sách Prepare Level.4 trang 11

COMMENTS

  1. How to Write a Book Review: The Complete Guide

    How to Write a Book Review: Consider a Book's Promise. A book makes a promise with its cover, blurb, and first pages. It begins to set expectations the minute a reader views the thumbnail or cover. Those things indicate the genre, tone, and likely the major themes. If a book cover includes a lip-locked couple in flowing linen on a beach, and ...

  2. How to Write a Book Review in 3 Steps

    Be sure to mention the authors of the title and what experience or expertise they bring to the title. Check Stefan Kløvning's review of Creativity Cycling for an example of a summary that establishes the framework of the book within the context of its field. Step 2. Present your evaluation.

  3. 17 Book Review Examples to Help You Write the Perfect Review

    It is a fantasy, but the book draws inspiration from the Second Sino-Japanese War and the Rape of Nanking. Crime Fiction Lover reviews Jessica Barry's Freefall, a crime novel: In some crime novels, the wrongdoing hits you between the eyes from page one. With others it's a more subtle process, and that's OK too.

  4. Book Reviews

    I liked how the book showed ale and beer brewing as an economic activity, but the reader gets lost in the details of prices and wages. I was more interested in the private lives of the women brewsters. The book was divided into eight long chapters, and I can't imagine why anyone would ever want to read it.

  5. How to write a book review: format guide, & examples

    Step 1: Planning Your Book Review - The Art of Getting Started. You've decided to take the plunge and share your thoughts on a book that has captivated (or perhaps disappointed) you. Before you start book reviewing, let's take a step back and plan your approach.

  6. How To Write A Book Review: 6 Steps To Take

    Here are six steps for how to write a book review for school and beyond. 1. Begin with a brief summary of the book. This is probably the best way to introduce any review because it gives context. But make sure to not go into too much detail. Keep it short and sweet since an official summary can be found through a quick google search!

  7. How to Write a Book Review: The Ultimate Guide

    The real value of crafting a well-written book review for a student does not lie in their ability to impact book sales. Understanding how to produce a well-written book review helps students to: Engage critically with a text. Critically evaluate a text. Respond personally to a range of different writing genres.

  8. How to Write a Book Review

    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.

  9. How to Write a Book Review: 3 Main Elements of a Book Review

    How to Write a Book Review: 3 Main Elements of a Book Review. Written by MasterClass. Last updated: Feb 23, 2022 • 2 min read. A book review provides critique and analysis of a book for potential readers. Learn how to write a book review, so you can effectively share your opinion about a text. A book review provides critique and analysis of a ...

  10. How to Write a Book Review in 10 Steps

    In 10 Steps to a Great Book Review. Read the Entire Book. Take Notes of Said Book. Give an Idea of the Book Outline. Don't Forget the Author. Evaluate the Book Thoroughly. Don't Beat Around the Bush. Don't Be Afraid of Adverse Feedback. Support Your Views.

  11. Research Guides: How to Write a Book Review: Introduction

    The review should tell a reader what the book seeks to do and offer an appraisal of how well the author (s) accomplished this goal. That is why this is a "critical" book review. You are analyzing the book, not simply describing it. A review assumes that the readers know the vocabulary of the discipline. For example, a reviewer of a book on the ...

  12. Step-by-Step Guide: How to Write a Book Review for Beginners

    Steps to Write a Book Review: Read the Book Carefully: Take your time to read the book thoroughly, paying attention to its themes, plot, characters, and writing style. Take Notes and Highlight Key Points: Make note of important ideas, memorable quotes, and significant moments that stand out to you while reading.

  13. 4 Ways to Write a Book Review

    5. Wrap up the review. Write a concluding paragraph or several sentences that sum up your critical analysis of the book. If your critical position has been well argued, the conclusion should follow naturally. Examine the strengths and weaknesses of the book, and discuss whether you would recommend the book to others.

  14. How to Write a Book Review: Formats + 7 Examples

    Book Review Example 2 - Comment in Group. This is one that will teach you how to write a book review in a short, concise manner that will answer someone's question in a Facebook group, or even just in a text to friends. Here, someone even suggested I write book reviews because they liked the way it was said.

  15. How to Write a Book Review: 9 Hot Tips

    Below are 9 tips that will show you how to write a book review that others will actually read. 1. Pay Attention and Take Notes. If you're planning to write a book review, you should pay extra attention as you're reading and take the time to jot down any notes or ideas as they come to you. Not only is this a great way to write a better book ...

  16. How to Write a Great Book Review: 6 Templates and Ideas

    Include a star rating if you wish. 6. Create Your Own Book Review Template. If you plan on becoming a regular book reviewer, it's a good idea to create your own unique template that you can use for every book you review, whether you're posting on a blog, website, or social media account.

  17. The Only Book Review Templates You'll Ever Need

    Blog - Posted on Thursday, Nov 11 The Only Book Review Templates You'll Ever Need Whether you're trying to become a book reviewer, writing a book report for school, or analyzing a book, it's nice to follow a book review template to make sure that your thoughts are clearly presented.. A quality template provides guidance to keep your mind sharp and your thoughts organized so that you can ...

  18. How to write a book review

    1. Start with a couple of sentences describing what the book is about. But without giving any spoilers or revealing plot twists! As a general rule, try to avoid writing in detail about anything that happens from about the middle of the book onwards. If the book is part of a series, it can be useful to mention this, and whether you think you'd ...

  19. How to Write a Book Review: Definition, Structure, Examples

    Step 1: Planning. Create an essay outline which includes all of the main points you wish to summarise in your book analysis. Include information about the characters, details of the plot, and some other important parts of your chosen novel. Reserve a body paragraph for each point you wish to talk about.

  20. How to Write the Perfect Book Review

    There are a lot of key steps that go into a book review. Depending on where you are writing your book review will also play into how you write it. In this vi...

  21. 25 Book Review Templates and Ideas to Organize Your Thoughts

    Design your own book cover. Make fan art. Elements to incorporate into a review: Quick/initial thoughts (often while reading or immediately after reading), then a more in-depth review (common on Goodreads) A list of facts about the book or a character from the book. Book club questions about the book.

  22. Writing a Book Review

    A book review is a thorough description, critical analysis, and/or evaluation of the quality, meaning, and significance of a book, often written in relation to prior research on the topic. Reviews generally range from 500-2000 words, but may be longer or shorter depends on several factors: the length and complexity of the book being reviewed ...

  23. How to read a book: 10 rules from a reviewer

    Check the small stuff. Before turning to Chapter 1, I glance at a book's cover art, check out the author's dust jacket biography and photo, and read through the back page endorsements. Unlike ...

  24. By the Book Interview: Craig Johnson, Creator of the Longmire Series

    Craig Johnson Wants to Give Longmire Fans the 'Best 3 Minutes' He Can. "Make eye contact, shake their hand, ask them about themselves and then sign their book with a genuine smile ...

  25. Book review: Erik Larson tackles the start of the Civil War

    20 hrs ago. "The Demon of Unrest: A Saga of Hubris, Heartbreak, and Heroism at the Dawn of the Civil War" by Erik Larson, Crown, 592 pages, $35. Erik Larson is a 70-year-old acclaimed master ...

  26. 5 Important Things To Do To Prepare For Your Viking Cruise

    The first thing you should do is review the. Viking Inclusive Value webpage. Read this over and become familiar with all the extras Viking offers as this will be important when you start booking ...

  27. 3 Ways To Make Extra Money From Home In 2024

    2. Get Paid To Test Apps Or Websites. Companies and start-ups are always on the hunt for the best product/market fit, and one of the ways they ensure an excellent UX (user experience) is by ...

  28. Make beer from home with this fully automated home brew system, now

    With the iGULU F1, an all-in-one, fully automated home brew system designed to make brewing high quality, fresh beer easier than ever and in just a few clicks. Now, this nifty device is on sale ...

  29. Exclusive

    New efficient, powerful chips and artificial-intelligence tools equip Windows Copilot+ laptops to compete with Apple's MacBooks.

  30. Juniper

    Grilled with lemon butter and the filling served on the side with the arugula salad would have made more sense and much easier to enjoy. The cocktails were OUTSTANDING!! 🔥 The Sebass- swoon! Raves reviews for the Wagyu carpaccio, but Wagyu steak- all hype and underwhelming presentation. Very good location for dates and special occasions.