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

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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!

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How to Write a Book Review: Awesome Guide

how to write a book review layout

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).

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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.

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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.

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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

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The Only Book Review Templates You'll Ever Need

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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:

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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 write a book review layout

⭐ 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 !

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25+ Book Review Templates and Ideas to Organize Your Thoughts

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Danika Ellis

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

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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.

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.

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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 write a book review layout

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 .

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Purdue Online Writing Lab Purdue OWL® College of Liberal Arts

Writing a Book Review

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Welcome to the Purdue OWL

This page is brought to you by the OWL at Purdue University. When printing this page, you must include the entire legal notice.

Copyright ©1995-2018 by The Writing Lab & The OWL at Purdue and Purdue University. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, reproduced, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our terms and conditions of fair use.

This resource discusses book reviews and how to write them.

Book reviews typically evaluate recently-written works. They offer a brief description of the text’s key points and often provide a short appraisal of the strengths and weaknesses of the work.

Readers sometimes confuse book reviews with book reports, but the two are not identical. Book reports commonly describe what happens in a work; their focus is primarily on giving an account of the major plot, characters, and/or main idea of the work. Most often, book reports are a K-12 assignment and range from 250 to 500 words. If you are looking to write a book report, please see the OWL resource, Writing a Book Report.

By contrast, book reviews are most often a college assignment, but they also appear in many professional works: magazines, newspapers, and academic journals. They typically range from 500-750 words, but may be longer or shorter. A book review gives readers a sneak peek at what a book is like, whether or not the reviewer enjoyed it, and details on purchasing the book.

Before You Read

Before you begin to read, consider the elements you will need to included in your review. The following items may help:

  • Author: Who is the author? What else has s/he written? Has this author won any awards? What is the author’s typical style?
  • Genre: What type of book is this: fiction, nonfiction, romance, poetry, youth fiction, etc.? Who is the intended audience for this work? What is the purpose of the work?
  • Title: Where does the title fit in? How is it applied in the work? Does it adequately encapsulate the message of the text? Is it interesting? Uninteresting?
  • Preface/Introduction/Table of Contents: Does the author provide any revealing information about the text in the preface/introduction? Does a “guest author” provide the introduction? What judgments or preconceptions do the author and/or “guest author” provide? How is the book arranged: sections, chapters?
  • Book Jacket/Cover/Printing: Book jackets are like mini-reviews. Does the book jacket provide any interesting details or spark your interest in some way? Are there pictures, maps, or graphs? Do the binding, page cut, or typescript contribute or take away from the work?

As You Read

As you read, determine how you will structure the summary portion or background structure of your review. Be ready to take notes on the book’s key points, characters, and/or themes.

  • Characters: Are there characters in the work? Who are the principal characters? How do they affect the story? Do you empathize with them?
  • Themes/Motifs/Style: What themes or motifs stand out? How do they contribute to the work? Are they effective or not? How would you describe this author’s particular style? Is it accessible to all readers or just some?
  • Argument: How is the work’s argument set up? What support does the author give for her/findings? Does the work fulfill its purpose/support its argument?
  • Key Ideas: What is the main idea of the work? What makes it good, different, or groundbreaking?
  • Quotes: What quotes stand out? How can you demonstrate the author’s talent or the feel of the book through a quote?

When You Are Ready to Write

Begin with a short summary or background of the work, but do not give too much away. Many reviews limit themselves only to the first couple of chapters or lead the reader up to the rising action of the work. Reviewers of nonfiction texts will provide the basic idea of the book’s argument without too much detailed.

The final portion of your review will detail your opinion of the work. When you are ready to begin your review, consider the following:

  • Establish a Background, Remember your Audience: Remember that your audience has not read the work; with this in mind, be sure to introduce characters and principles carefully and deliberately. What kind of summary can you provide of the main points or main characters that will help your readers gauge their interest? Does the author’s text adequately reach the intended audience? Will some readers be lost or find the text too easy?
  • Minor principles/characters: Deal only with the most pressing issues in the book. You will not be able to cover every character or idea. What principles/characters did you agree or disagree with? What other things might the author have researched or considered?
  • Organize: The purpose of the review is to critically evaluate the text, not just inform the readers about it. Leave plenty room for your evaluation by ensuring that your summary is brief. Determine what kind of balance to strike between your summary information and your evaluation. If you are writing your review for a class, ask your instructor. Often the ratio is half and half.
  • Your Evaluation: Choose one or a few points to discuss about the book. What worked well for you? How does this work compare with others by the same author or other books in the same genre? What major themes, motifs, or terms does the book introduce, and how effective are they? Did the book appeal to you on an emotional or logical way?
  • Publisher/Price: Most book reviews include the publisher and price of the book at the end of the article. Some reviews also include the year published and ISBN.

When making the final touches to your review, carefully verify the following:

  • Double-check the spelling of the author name(s), character names, special terms, and publisher.
  • Try to read from the vantage point of your audience. Is there too much/enough summary? Does your argument about the text make sense?
  • Should you include direct quotes from the reading? Do they help support your arguments? Double-check your quotes for accuracy.

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How to write a good book review.

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Have you ever stumbled upon a book review that just blew your mind? A review that made you itch to grab that book and flip through its pages? If you have, you know the power of a well-written book review. A good book review not only piques the interest of the reader but also provides valuable insights into the story and the author’s intentions. By learning how to write a book review, you can help fellow readers make informed decisions while exploring your passion for literature. With the right tools, you can craft a compelling review that might just inspire someone else to pick up that book and experience the magic themselves.

What is a Book Review?

People rely on book reviews to help them decide which books to invest their time and money in. Reviews provide potential readers with a glimpse into the content, style, and themes of a book, helping them make informed decisions. Moreover, book reviews are essential for authors, as they serve as a form of feedback, allowing them to grow and improve in their craft. They also play a crucial role in increasing the visibility of new books and supporting the literary ecosystem.

How to Write a Book Review Like a Pro (Ideal Book Review Format)

Ready to pen out a banger book review? Here’s a step-by-step guide on  how to write a good book  review:

Start with a Banging Hook

A powerful hook is essential to grab the reader’s attention and compel them to read on. A great way to start your review is by sharing a thought-provoking quote, a bold statement, or an intriguing question related to the book. This sets the tone for your review and entices the reader to learn more about the book.

Provide the Basic Book Information

While writing a book review should primarily focus on your thoughts and opinions, it’s important to include essential information about the book. Be sure to mention the title, author,  publisher , publication date, and genre. This helps your reader understand the context of your review and evaluate whether the book aligns with their interests.

Keep It Brief & Concise

A concise plot summary is an important part of a book review. It provides readers with a general understanding of the story without giving away any spoilers. Aim to give an overview of the main characters, setting, and central conflict, while keeping the summary brief and intriguing.

Discuss What You Liked About the Book

Now it’s time to dive into the heart of your review. Share what you loved about the book, whether it’s the author’s writing style, the character development, the pacing, or the themes. Be specific and provide examples from the text to illustrate your points. This helps your reader understand why you enjoyed the book and why they might enjoy it too.

Read More : How To Start a Book Blog

Mention Anything You Disliked About the Book

It’s important to maintain a balanced perspective in your review. If there were aspects of the book that didn’t resonate with you, share them. However, be constructive in your criticism and explain why you felt that way. This offers the reader a more rounded view of the book and allows them to evaluate whether the issues you raised might be deal-breakers for them.

Wrap Up Your Review in Style

As you approach the end of your review, summarize your thoughts and impressions of the book. Recap your main points and consider any lingering questions or thoughts you might have. This gives your review a sense of closure and leaves a lasting impression on the reader.

Read More : Should You Publish Your Book Through Amazon KDP? Pros And Cons

Seal the Deal with Your Recommendation

Your recommendation is a crucial part of the review, as it directly informs the reader whether the book is worth their time. Be clear and honest about your opinion, stating if you would recommend the book and to whom. Consider the target audience and suggest the type of reader who would most appreciate the book.

Give a Personal Book Rating

Including a personal rating is a great way to wrap up your review. Ratings can be numerical (e.g., out of 5 stars) or qualitative (e.g., “must-read” or “average”). This provides a quick summary of your thoughts and helps readers gauge your overall impression of the book.

Review Writing Tips: Learn from the Pros (with Examples)

Be honest, but respectful:.

Offer your genuine opinion, but avoid using harsh language or making personal attacks on the author. For example, instead of saying “The author has no talent for storytelling,” you could say, “The story felt disjointed and lacked a clear narrative flow.”

Use specific examples:

Support your opinions with quotes or examples from the book to make your points more convincing. For instance, “The dialogue between the characters felt natural and engaging, like when John and Jane discussed their childhood memories.”

Read More : Publishing Your Book Through Amazon For Free In 10 Easy Steps

Compare and contrast:

If you have read other books by the same author or in the same genre, draw comparisons to provide context. For example, “While this book shared some themes with the author’s previous work, it explored them in a more nuanced and thought-provoking manner.”

Be mindful of spoilers:

Avoid giving away key plot points or twists that could ruin the reading experience for others. Instead, use vague language or focus on your feelings and reactions to those moments.

Provide context for your opinions:

Explain why you felt a certain way, considering your personal experiences and preferences. For example, “As someone who loves historical fiction, I appreciated the author’s attention to detail and extensive research on the period.”

Read More: How Many Pages Should You Write for a Book?

Edit and proofread:

A well-written review demonstrates your credibility as a reviewer. Take the time to revise your work, checking for grammatical errors, typos, and unclear sentences.

Conclusion: A Well-Written Book Review

In summary, learning how to write a good book review involves mastering the format, providing essential information, sharing your likes and dislikes, and offering a recommendation. By following these guidelines and incorporating the tips provided, you can craft an engaging and insightful review that not only informs your fellow readers but also supports the literary community.

FAQs About Book Review Writing

How long should a book review be.

The length of a book review can vary depending on your audience and the platform on which it’s published. Typically, reviews can range from 300 to 1000 words. However, it’s essential to prioritize clarity and conciseness over word count.

Can I write a book review if I haven’t finished the book?

Ideally, you should finish the book before writing a review to provide a comprehensive and well-informed perspective. However, if you feel strongly about sharing your thoughts on an unfinished book, make sure to disclose this in your review.

Read More : How Much Does It Cost To Publish A Book?

Should I include spoilers in my book review?

It’s best to avoid spoilers in your book review, as they can ruin the reading experience for others. Instead, focus on sharing your thoughts and opinions without revealing key plot points or twists.

How can I improve my book review writing skills?

Practice makes perfect! Reading and analyzing other book reviews, experimenting with different writing styles, and seeking feedback from friends or writing groups can help you refine your skills and develop your unique voice as a review

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how to write a book review layout

Literacy Ideas

How to Write a Book Review: The Ultimate Guide

how to write a book review layout

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 written evaluations of a recently published book in any genre. Usually, around the 500 to 700-word mark, they offer a brief description of 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

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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

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The content for this page has been written by Shane Mac Donnchaidh.  A former principal of an international school and English university lecturer with 15 years of teaching and administration experience. Shane’s latest Book, The Complete Guide to Nonfiction Writing , can be found here.  Editing and support for this article have been provided by the literacyideas team.

Book Review Writing

Book Review Format

Cathy A.

A Complete Book Review Format Guide For Students

Published on: May 29, 2019

Last updated on: Nov 16, 2023

Book Review Format

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How to Write a Book Review - A Step By Step Guide

Book Review Examples to Help You Get Started

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Ever get stuck when trying to write a book review and wonder how to organize it? You're not alone! It's more than just talking about the story. 

You need to figure out what the author is really saying and share your thoughts in a clear way. 

But don't worry - we're here to help. This guide is all about making the formatting of your book review super easy. Whether you're just starting out or want to improve, we've got you covered. We'll break down the steps, give you examples, and share tips to make your review stand out. 

So, let's make writing a book review less stressful! 

On This Page On This Page -->

How to Format a Book Review?

The format of a book review allows students to provide an in-depth analysis of the book. However, it all depends on how you are writing your book review, but there are some general guidelines that you need to follow. 

If you follow the proper guidelines, it will show that you have understood the main theme and ideas of the book. 

Introduction

Begin your book review with a captivating introduction. 

Provide the essential details, such as the book's title, author, and any other relevant information. Use this section to create intrigue and give your readers a sense of what to expect in your review.

Overview of the Book

Offer a concise overview of the book's main theme. 

Highlight the key elements of the plot without revealing spoilers. This section serves as a teaser, drawing readers into the world of the book and setting the stage for your analysis.

Analysis of Characters and Setting

Delve into the characters and setting to provide a deeper understanding. 

Describe the main characters objectively, discussing their roles, traits, and significance to the story. Paint a vivid picture of the setting, helping readers visualize the environment in which the narrative unfolds.

Plot Breakdown

Break down the plot by addressing crucial questions that delve into the heart of the story. 

Explore the goals of each character, identifying the main conflicts that drive the narrative. Discuss whether these conflicts are resolved and how they contribute to the overall arc of the plot.

Author's Message

Examine the author's underlying message. 

Discuss the themes and ideas conveyed throughout the book. Assess whether the author successfully communicates their intended message and how well it resonates with the reader

Final Assessment

Provide your overall assessment of the book, combining insights from the previous steps. 

Support your opinions with specific examples from the text, highlighting key moments or passages that impacted your understanding. This is the section where your unique perspective as a reader shines through.

Summarize the key points discussed in your review, emphasizing the most noteworthy aspects. 

Offer a final thought or recommendation, guiding readers on whether the book is worth their time. Keep your conclusion concise and impactful, leaving a lasting impression that encourages further exploration or discussion.

By carefully following these steps, you can structure your book review in a way that engages readers, provides valuable insights, and captures the essence of the book.

Book Review Template

A book review is the first impression of the whole story and the narration of the book. A typical book review template includes an introduction, body, and conclusion. Here is a sample book review format:

Here is a perfect template for you to make the most interesting textbook review format. You can use this template to write a book review:

Book Review Format Examples

Writing a book review is a very common writing assignment. Teachers might ask you to write a review of a book you have read recently. 

In order to illustrate what a book review is, we have provided you with interesting critical book review examples for your reference.  

APA Book Review Format Example

For writing a book review in APA format, refer to the following book review APA format example. This will help you learn how to use APA writing guidelines and referencing style.  

Book Review Format for Students

Here are some book review format examples that middle and high school students can use to learn about this type of writing. 

Book Review Format for Grade 2

Book Review Format for Class 10

Book Review Format for College Students

Here is a Turabian book review format for college students to learn from.

Academic Book Review Format

Need more examples? Check out these book review examples to get a better idea of formatting!

Book Review Writing Tips

Here are some expert writing tips that you should keep in mind while writing a book format:

  • Keep the introduction brief: Many people don't like to read long introductions for essays. This can lower your grade. Keep the introduction short so people will read it all.
  • Prefer reviews of fictional books: It is not necessary to write book reviews about fiction books, but it can be more effective than writing nonfiction books.
  • Don’t compare: Do not compare your chosen novel to other books you have read in the past. Comparing them will only confuse the reader.
  • Opinion is important: When writing book reviews, it is often encouraged to include your own point of view. Add whether you recommend the book or not.
  • Take help from templates: Using a book review template can help a student understand the required writing style.
  • Criticize if you must: Usually, you don't need to give your opinion in academic papers below Ph.D. level. However, with book reviews, it's different. You can criticize the writing, story, or characters if there’s a need. 
  • Be positive while reviewing: When giving feedback, make sure to include a mix of positive and negative comments while remaining majorly positive. 
  • Appreciation won’t hurt: If you enjoyed reading the book, say so. This will encourage the potential readers and the author as well.

Now that you know how to format your book review well, you can start writing easily. 

But if you ever hit a roadblock, don't worry. Our reliable essay writing service is here for you. Our expert writers, well-versed in crafting and formatting book reviews, guarantee 100% original and top-quality content. 

So, place your order today, and let our professionals take care of it for you.

Cathy A. (Literature, Marketing)

Cathy has been been working as an author on our platform for over five years now. She has a Masters degree in mass communication and is well-versed in the art of writing. Cathy is a professional who takes her work seriously and is widely appreciated by clients for her excellent writing skills.

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👀 Book Review Example

🔗 references, ❓ what is a book review.

A book review is a form of literary criticism. There are several important elements to consider when writing one, such as the author’s style and themes of interest. The two most popular types are short summary reviews and critical reviews, which are longer.

The two most popular types are short summary reviews and critical reviews, which are longer.

Summary Book Review

The format of a book review depends on the purpose of your writing. A short summary review will not include any in-depth analysis. It’s merely a descriptive piece of writing that overviews key information about the book and its author. An effective summary review consists of:

  • Reference to a chosen book in the form of a citation.
  • A few words on the book’s purpose.
  • Description of the main themes, ideas, and issues highlighted by the author.
  • Brief information about other works on this topic, if applicable.
  • A note about the author and visual materials of the book, along with its structure.

Critical Book Review

A critical book review is much longer than its summary counterpart and looks more like an analytical essay. You may be asked to write one as a college student. It includes:

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  • Book citation and a hook in the introduction.
  • A few words about the author’s intentions.
  • An academic description of the main ideas and themes.
  • Mention of errors in the text, if you found any.
  • Discussion of the chosen book’s significance and how it has influenced the field.
  • Some information about the author and the physical content of the book.
  • Description of the audience and whether the writer’s style and ideas are engaging.

✍️ How to Write a Book Review?

The structure of a book review is like any other essay. That said, the process of writing one has its own idiosyncrasies. So, before moving to the three parts of the review (introduction, main body, and conclusion), you should study the chosen piece and make enough notes to work with.

Step #1: Choose a Book and Read It

Being interested in a book you’re about to analyze is one thing. Reading it deeply is quite another.

Before you even dive into the text proper, think about what you already know about the book. Then, study the table of contents and make some predictions. What’s your first impression?

Now, it’s time to read it! Don’t take this step lightly. Keep a note log throughout the reading process and stop after each chapter to jot down a quick summary. If you find any particular point of interest along the way and feel you might want to discuss it in the review, highlight it to make it easier to find when you go back through the text. If you happen to have a digital copy, you can even use a shorten essay generator and save yourself some time.

Answering the following questions can also help you with this process.

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Step #2: Create Your Book Review Outline

A solid outline should be the foundation of any worthy book review. It includes the key points you want to address and gives you a place to start from (and refer back to) throughout the writing process.

You are expected to produce at least five paragraphs if you want your review to look professional, including an introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion .

While analyzing your notes , consider the questions below.

Step #3: Write Your Book Review Introduction

With a layout firmly in place, it’s time to start writing your introduction. This process should be straightforward: mention the name of the book and its author and specify your first impression. The last sentence should always be your thesis statement, which summarizes your review’s thrust and critical findings.

Step #4: Write Your Book Review Body

Include at least three main ideas you wish to highlight. These can be about the writing style, themes, character, or plot. Be sure to support your arguments with evidence in the form of direct quotes (at least one per paragraph). Don’t be afraid to paraphrase the sentences that feel off. It’s better to aknowledge the mistakes yourself than have someone else point them out.

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Step #5: Write Your Book Review Conclusion

Compose a brief summary of everything you wrote about in the main body. You should also paraphrase your thesis statement . For your closing sentence, comment on the value of the book. Perhaps it served as a source of useful insight, or you just appreciate the author’s intention to shed light on a particular issue.

Now you know how to write a book review. But if you need some more inspiration, check out the following sample review, which follows the basic outline described above.

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein: Book Review Example

If you want more examples, check out the list below!

  • “The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership”: Book Review
  • The Great Gatsby: A Book Review and Summary
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks Book Review
  • Book Review: “They Say I Say”
  • The Advancement by L. Russ Bush: Book Review
  • Book Review “Religious, Feminist, Activist ” by Laurel Zwissler
  • “Tell My Horse” by Zora Neale Hurston Book Review
  • “Emotional Intelligence” by Daniel Goleman Book Review
  • “Emotional Intelligence 2.0” by Bradberry and Greaves Book Review
  • “Military Rule in America” by Karen L. Remmer: Book Review

Book Review Essay Topics

  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen : book review.
  • The symbolic nature of the Canadian consumption culture in The Donut: A Canadian History by S. Penfold.
  • The key lessons of the book Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki.
  • Big Talk, Small Talk by Shola Kaye : a guide to effective communication.
  • Review of the book The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood.
  • The main ideas promoted in Thinking About Crime: Sense and Sensibility in American Penal Culture by M. Tonry.
  • Exposition of young boys’ problems in Nikkah’s Our Boys Speak .
  • Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf : book review.
  • Discuss the message to future entrepreneurs in Phil Knight’s Shoe Dog .
  • The main ideas of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey.
  • Magical realism in The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Juno Diaz.
  • Book review: Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer .
  • Psychological struggles of identity and isolation in Frankenstein by Mary Shelley .
  • The principle of negotiation in the book Getting to Yes .
  • Analyze the symbolism in Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 .
  • The role of family in Montana 1948 .
  • Weaving the Web by Tim Berners-Lee : book review.
  • Discuss the main topic of the book Death of a Salesman .
  • Tragedy of the family in A Good Man Is Hard to Find by Flannery O’Connor.
  • Realistic features of Afghanistan in The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini.
  • Review of the book Montley Fool Money Guide .
  • Description of the gap between two cultures in The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman.
  • The effect of Puritan beliefs in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Young Goodman Brown .
  • Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad as a prominent example of symbolism.
  • The philosophical value of Oedipus the King by Sophocles .
  • Discuss the description of gradual personality changes in Edgar Allan Poe’s The Black Cat .
  • Review of the play Much Ado About Nothing by W. Shakespeare .
  • Analyze the core theme of Sherman Alexie’s book The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian .
  • Family values and culture preservation issues in J.D. Vance Book Hillbilly Elegy .
  • Problems of teenagers’ behavior in Nothing but the Truth by Avi .
  • The role of women in society in Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar .
  • Satire on the Victorian society customs in The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde .
  • Danger of obsession with new technologies in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Birthmark .
  • Describe the controversial messages of Why Don’t You Dance by Raymond Carver .
  • Examine the central problem of the novel Motorcycle Ride on the Sea of Tranquility by Patricia Santana .
  • Review of the book Billy Budd by Herman Melville .
  • The fundamental philosophical problems of perception and consciousness in The Invention of Morel by Adolfo Bioy Casares.
  • Discuss the role of the illusory world Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie .
  • Gender roles in A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen.
  • Analyze the main topic of Death by Landscape by Margaret Atwood.
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I need a seven page Book report on Booker T. Washington. Instructions below from instructor title, your name, and then seven paragraphs and seven pages – no more no less.

get rid of the outline format.

They combine your ideas into seven paragraphs.

Each paragraph that has quotes should have a topic sentence followed by the five sentences with quotes and endnotes, followed by the concluding sentence.

You do not need any quotes in the introduction or in the summary.

So seven paragraphs total.

Each paragraph needs to be 13 – 17 lines, lines on a page and not sentences.

So, delete the outline format.

Combine your ideas into seven paragraphs.

Make sure that each paragraph has between 13–17 lines.

And make sure your overall length is in seven pages, no more no less.

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how to write a book review layout

How to Write a Book Review: Your Easy Book Review Format

Your easy-to-use book review format and why it works! Unsure how to structure your book review? Look no further. I’m sharing with you my tried-and-true template for crafting a substantive, helpful book review, no matter if it’s a nonfiction book or fiction book. I’ll also let you peek into my traffic to see why you should be publishing book discussion guides, not reviews, and then I’ll include the steps you need to write one.

This book review format is intended for anyone looking to write a substantive book review for a blog, for school, or for review sites like Goodreads and Amazon.

First… dive deeper into book reviewing with my book

(or just skip to the review template).

If you want to learn much, much more about writing a book review, be sure to check out my bestselling book, How to Write a Book Review .

how to write a book review layout

This essential book, which expands on book reviews and discussion guides, is available on Amazon.

And now for the book review template!

Each of these components in the book review template serve a purpose. I’ve learned over the years through SEO optimization and keyword research that these components of a book that readers look for the most. 

Here’s the book review format:

Part 1: introduce the book and the author: 1-2 paragraphs.

  • Include any background you can find about the book. 
  • Briefly summarize the author’s biography.

Introducing the book you’re reviewing provides necessary context. Don’t expect that readers have already heard about the book, much less the author. This is also a good time to add in details about any buzz the book has; for example, if it’s been picked for a national book club, is already a bestseller, or is a noteworthy review.

Part 2: Plot Summary : 3-5 paragraphs

  • If you’re writing a review that must include all aspects of the plot, be sure to include a spoiler warning.
  • Summarize the plot in no more than 3-5 paragraphs.
  • Add 3-5 key takeaways (for nonfiction only).

One of the most important components of a book review is the plot summary. Readers in book clubs rushing to get the basic framework of what happens in the book are going to hunt for your plot summary first and foremost.

In no more than 3-5 paragraphs, summarize the book’s key events.

Not sure how much to add? Divide how many pages the book is and write one paragraph per each 100 pages.

If you’re reviewing nonfiction, be sure to write 3-5 takeaways that extract the core theses of the book.

For example, in Malcolm Gladwell’s Talking to Strangers , here are 3 takeaways you could extract for a book review’s summary section:

how to write a book review layout

  • More often than not, we resort to believing people even when they are lying to our faces, a tendency Gladwell calls the “Default to truth.”
  • “Coupling” is a phenomenon that finds links between two factors that can be unpaired, like a rise in suicides by gassing and changing the way ovens are made.
  • Criminologists were able to beat back crime in inner cities by making more stops to check for weapons. However, other, more rural and car-dependent urban areas misapplied the findings, leading to an unnecessary increase in motor vehicle stops.

My tip: if you’re feeling overwhelmed by having to distill the key takeaways, reread the beginning and the final chapter and see what themes and ideas repeat between the two.

Interlude: A Quick Note on Writing Discussion Guides Instead of Book Reviews

My How to Write a Book Review guide actually sets you up to write book discussion guides, too.

Wait a second—you may be saying—isn’t that a book about how to write book reviews , not book discussion guides ?

The fact is, as I’ve mined my own traffic and data over the years, book discussion guides (also known alternatively as book group guides, book club guides, study guides, or reading group guides) bring in the most consistent traffic to my site vs. traditional book reviews.

Check out how much traffic two of my book guides brought in over a period of 30 days:

how to write a book review layout

This traffic suggests there’s a market for these evergreen topics. People don’t want just reviews anymore. They want substantive content to help them take it to the next level and prep for book clubs, essays about books, and reading groups.

Now let’s do some SEO research to see what kind of book discussion topics are trending on Google.

Here’s a screenshot that shows you what are the top searches for content that go easily into a book discussion guide for Elizabeth Gilbert’s City of Girls , the book I write a complete guide of in How to Write a Book Review . Take a look at the search traffic for City of Girls , the novel we will be using in this book as we work through the parts of a book review. Courtesy of the Chrome extension Keywords Everywhere, we can see what people look for when you search Google for: “city of girls”:

how to write a book review layout

You see? The top results for City of Girls are, after the top spot goes to review, all components of a book discussion guide.

The main difference between book discussion guides and book reviews, as laid out in this blog post and in my book, are three components: Discussion Questions (Part 3 of this guide), Quotes (Part 4 of this Guide) and Similar Books (Part 7).

Now back to the guide!

Part 3: Discussion Questions (Optional )

  • Include 5-10 discussion questions.

This part is optional. But if you’re writing book reviews that you hope will also work as book group guides, you’ll want to come up with 5-10 questions that stir up discussions.

Check out my discussion guide to Jenny Offill’s Weather . Here are four questions from that article, which was published here on the blog:

how to write a book review layout

Here are four discussion questions from the Weather guide:

1. Why do you think Offill named her novel  Weather ? In what ways does weather show up as a theme in Offill’s novel?

2.  Weather  is written in micro-moments. Lizzie’s narrative is comprised of sentence and sometimes paragraph-long segments that build into a larger story. What was the experience like to read a narrative like that? How does this unique format serve the story and its contemporary, zeitgeisty setting?

3. How does Lizzie change over the course of the story? What specific examples did you see of her changing, or lack thereof?

4. How would you characterize Lizzie’s relationship with her brother, Henry? Compare and contrast it with other relationships Lizzie has a duty to uphold, such as with her husband, Ben, and son, Eli?

Pretty easy!

If you’re already writing a plot summary, consider taking your guide to the next level by including some discussion questions for a reading group guide.

And if you’re stumped for what questions are right, How to Write a Book Review has a list of 30 book discussion questions anyone can easily adapt to fit their book review.

Part 4: Quotes (Optional)

  • Include 5-10 key quotes from the book with speaker and page numbers.

Adding quotes is another optional component of a book review or book discussion guide. All you have to do is list 5-10 quotes from the book that you felt warrant special attention. You might also want to go so far as to analyze each quote, but it’s not necessary. You’ll want to include the speaker of the quote and the page numbers.

You could also break this out into a separate post.

My quote post of the best quotes from Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch gets traffic every day from Google and Pinterest.

how to write a book review layout

Readers really look for these types of posts, so you can naturally include them in your guide.

Part 5: Pros and Cons

  • Include 2-4 positive qualities or “Pros” of the book as bullet points (or plus signs). 
  • Include 2-4 negative qualities or “Cons” of the book as bullet points (or negative signs).
  • Depending on whether your review is positive or negative, the balance between the pros and cons will be weighted differently.

There are many ways to structure the positives and negatives for the book you’re reviewing, but ultimately, the information should be clear and readable.

Keep in mind that each positive trait of a book or negative trait can be lost if they are buried in lengthy paragraphs. Your readers are mostly skimming this section or scrolling fast.

The way to fix that? Get to the point, clean and fast.

That’s why I endorse separating your Pros and Cons of the book in two separate bullet point lists.

Pro’s and Con’s lists are easily recognizable and intuitive to consumers. After all, one purpose for the book review is not just to enlighten, but to help a reader make a consumer purchase to buy the book.

Need an example? My book review of Pumpkins follows this format, albeit I switched in “strengths” and “weaknesses” for “pro’s” and “con’s”:

Book Review of PUMPKINHEADS by Rainbow Rowell

Here’s a “Strength” I wrote for Pumpkinheads :

Positive: Pumpkinheads  Captures That Fall Mood

If you’re coming to  Pumpkinheads  having never gone to a pumpkin patch, don’t worry—Faith Erin Hicks fully immerses you in the setting, crammed with tiny details, vivid colors, and a cohesive visual style that immerses you there. The sensory experience translate off the page. I felt like I could smell phantom whiffs of pumpkin spice, hay, and kettle corn just by reading the novel. This book totally nails the mood of fall. Whenever you’re feeling nostalgic for the fall ,  pick up  Pumpkinheads  and get magically swept back into PSL season.

And here’s a “Weakness” I wrote for Pumpkinheads :

Negative: Josie felt a little one dimensional

Of the two main characters, Josie felt less developed to me. Deja was a great sidekick, but without her there to keep the conversation rolling, Josie would have made even less of an impression on me. It was almost like, his main motivation in the story was to find Marcy, speak to her, and give her his number. But that felt like a desire line that Deja applied to him. And certainly that is a bit forced. She’s deliberately trying to push Josie to sort through how serious he is about Marcy and dating in general. However, the result was I didn’t really know what Josie himself wanted.

However you choose to customize the language in this section: Pro’s and Con’s, Strengths and Weaknesses, “What I Loved” and “What I hated,” organize the information cleanly in bullet point lists.

Part 6: Overall Assessment

  • Synthesize the points you make in Part 3. Ultimately, does the book get a favorable review?

Now it’s time to synthesize your pro’s and con’s into an overall assessment. It can be as easy as adding up how many positive and negative qualities you’ve listed and go with the one that has more. Still, in this section, you’re going to want to weigh the good and the bad to make sure you’re giving people as objective a point of view as possible.

Remember that you’re reviewing a book , not your feelings Broke by Books

Ultimately, it’s up to you to make the judgment call and give an overall assessment. Don’t back down from whatever strong feelings you have about the book. Readers like a book review that feels passionate and earnest.

A quick note on star ratings…

If you’re an avid Goodreads reviewer, you are used to giving 1-5 stars for a book’s rating.

It’s up to you if you want to include a star rating for the book you’re reviewing. I usually do because it’s a factor that resonates with a lot of readers. If you’re using a star rating system, the Overall Assessment is the place to put that.

Part 7: Similar Books (Optional)

  • Include 3-5 similar books.

 This is another section that often goes in book discussion guides. People who just finished reading a book often crave similar books to deal with their book hangover. Or the subject of the book might leave them curious to learn more.

This is your spot in the book review (or discussion guide) to include 3-5 similar books to the one you’re reviewing.

For example, check out my article with discussion questions for The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy.

Discussion Questions for THE BOY, THE MOLE, THE FOX AND THE HORSE

After the plot summary, discussion questions, and quotes, I listed five books for people who loved The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and the Horse .

Including extra books for people to read if they enjoyed the one you’re reviewing make take more time. The effect is well worth it. People look to you as an authority and your review as more than just opinion, but a trusted and useful piece of information.

Part 8: Further Information

  • Include the stats of the book: pub date, publisher
  • Link to other resources: author interviews, reviews on authority sites

This final part in the book review template is one of my favorites. At the very end of your book review, add further information so readers can leave your review and launch into more info on the book. That starts with the pub date and publisher, along with basic facts like page count.

But it’s also fun to include further information about the author. In my review of Weather , for instance, I embedded a YouTube video of the author promoting her book. I also included links to interviews with the author. To my surprise, I’ve seen in my blog’s traffic that people actually routinely click on the extra links to learn more about the books.

And… that’s it!

This post has everything you need to write a comprehensive book review or book review discussion guide. If you want to take it further, be sure to check out my eBook How to Write a Book Review :

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Sarah S. Davis is the founder of Broke by Books, a blog about her journey as a schizoaffective disorder bipolar type writer and reader. Sarah's writing about books has appeared on Book Riot, Electric Literature, Kirkus Reviews, BookRags, PsychCentral, and more. She has a BA in English from the University of Pennsylvania, a Master of Library and Information Science from Clarion University, and an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts.

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Organizing Research for Arts and Humanities Papers and Theses

  • General Guide Information
  • Developing a Topic
  • What are Primary and Secondary Sources
  • What are Scholarly and Non-Scholarly Sources
  • Writing an Abstract
  • Writing Academic Book Reviews
  • Writing A Literature Review
  • Using Images and other Media

Purpose of a Book Review

Note: This information is geared toward researchers in the arts and humanities. For a detailed guide on writing book reviews in the social sciences, please check the USC Libraries guide to  Writing and Organizing Research in the Social Sciences , authored by Dr. Robert Labaree.

When writing an academic book review, start with a bibliographic citation of the book you are reviewing [e.g., author, title, publication information, length]. Adhere to a particular citation style, such as Chicago, MLA, or APA.  Put your name at the very end of the book review text.

The basic purpose of a book review is to convey and evaluate the following:

a.     what the book is about;

b.     the expertise of the author(s);

c.     how well the book covers its topic(s) and whether it breaks new ground;

d.     the author’s viewpoint, methodology, or perspective;

e.     the appropriateness of the evidence to the topical scope of the book;

f.      the intended audience;

g.     the arrangement of the book (chapters, illustrations) and the quality of the scholarly apparatus, such as notes and bibliographies.

Point "c. how well the book covers its topics and whether it breaks new ground" requires your engagement with the book, and can be approached in a variety of ways. The question of whether the book breaks new ground does not necessarily refer to some radical or overarching notion of originality in the author’s argument. A lot of contemporary scholarship in the arts or humanities is not about completely reorienting the discipline, nor is it usually about arguing a thesis that has never been argued before. If an author does that, that's wonderful, and you, as a book reviewer, must look at the validity of the methods that contextualize the author's new argument.

It is more likely that the author of a scholarly book will look at the existing evidence with a finer eye for detail, and use that detail to amplify and add to existing scholarship. The author may present new evidence or a new "reading" of the existing evidence, in order to refine scholarship and to contribute to current debate. Or the author may approach existing scholarship, events, and prevailing ideas from a more nuanced perspective, thus re-framing the debate within the discipline.

The task of the book reviewer is to “tease out” the book’s themes, explain them in the review, and apply a well-argued judgment on the appropriateness of the book’s argument(s) to the existing scholarship in the field.

For example, you are reviewing a book on the history of the development of public libraries in nineteenth century America. The book includes a chapter on the role of patronage by affluent women in endowing public libraries in the mid-to-late-1800s. In this chapter, the author argues that the role of women was overlooked in previous scholarship because most of them were widows who made their financial bequests to libraries in the names of their husbands. The author argues that the history of public library patronage, and moreover, of cultural patronage, should be re-read and possibly re-framed given the evidence presented in this chapter. As a book reviewer you will be expected to evaluate this argument and the underlying scholarship.

There are two common types of academic book reviews: short summary reviews, which are descriptive, and essay-length critical reviews. Both types are described further down.

[Parenthetically, writing an academic/scholarly book review may present an opportunity to get published.]

Short summary book reviews

For a short, descriptive review, include at least the following elements:

a.     the bibliographic citation for the book;

b.     the purpose of the book;

c.     a summary of main theme(s) or key points;

d.     if there is space, a brief description of the book’s relationship to other books on the same topic or to pertinent scholarship in the field.

e.     note the author's affiliation and authority, as well as the physical content of the book, such as visual materials (photographs, illustrations, graphs) and the presence of scholarly apparatus (table of contents, index, bibliography, footnotes, endnotes, credit for visual materials);

f.     your name and affiliation.

Critical or essay-length book reviews

For a critical, essay-length book review consider including the following elements, depending on their relevance to your assignment:

b.     an opening statement that ought to peak the reader’s interest in the book under review

c.     a section that points to the author’s main intentions;

d.     a section that discusses the author’s ideas and the book’s thesis within a scholarly perspective. This should be a critical assessment of the book within the larger scholarly discourse;

e.     if you found errors in the book, point the major ones and explain their significance. Explain whether they detract from the thesis and the arguments made in the book;

f.     state the book's place within a strand of scholarship and summarize its importance to the discipline;

g.    include information about the author's affiliation and authority, as well as the physical content of the book, such as visual materials (photographs, illustrations, graphs) and the presence of scholarly apparatus (table of contents, index, bibliography, footnotes, endnotes, credit for visual materials);

h.     indicate the intended readership of the book and whether the author succeeds in engaging the audience on the appropriate level;

i.     your name and affiliation.

Good examples of essay-length reviews may be found in the scholarly journals included in the JSTOR collection, in the New York Review of Books , and similar types of publications, and in cultural publications like the New Yorker magazine.

Remember to keep track of your sources, regardless of the stage of your research. The USC Libraries have an excellent guide to  citation styles  and to  citation management software . 

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How to Write a Book Review

How to Write a Book Review: A book review evaluates critically what the author has written, it delves into how the book’s content is, its style and quality. Book reviews can be found in magazines, newspapers, online platforms, personal blogs and social media. Thoroughly read the book and then formulate your points accordingly and then write the book review. A good book review has a balanced assessment and is well-written highlighting the good parts & the parts which need to be worked upon. It makes it easy for readers to decide whether to read a book or not.

In this article, we will talk about how to write a book review, what a book review is, writing a good book review, its length, layout and structure, what to include, how to write a good book review, tips for writing a book review and an example of an outline of how a book review should be.

Table of Content

Book Review

Writing a good book review, length of a book review, structure of a book review, tips for writing a book review, example of an outline of a book review.

Writing a book review means critically evaluating a written piece by an author, talking about what s/he has written, their style, content and quality. There are various mediums in which book reviews are found, from newspapers and magazines to social media. One must ensure that before writing a book review, one must have thoroughly read the book and then formulate their points accordingly.

A book review helps readers decide whether to read a book or not as it gives an idea of the strengths & weaknesses of the content given in the book. Well-written and balanced assessment of a book, makes for a good review, focusing on both the good parts & the parts which need more work to be done.

A book review is a critical evaluation of a literary work, typically written to inform potential readers about the book’s content, style, and overall quality. These reviews can take various forms, including professional critiques published in newspapers, magazines, or online platforms, as well as amateur reviews posted on personal blogs or social media.

The purpose of a book review is to provide readers with insight into the book’s strengths and weaknesses, helping them decide whether or not to read it. A well-written review should offer a balanced assessment, highlighting both the positive aspects of the book and any areas where it falls short.

Writing a good book review involves a thoughtful and balanced evaluation of the book’s content, style, and overall impact. Whether you’re writing for a professional publication or sharing your thoughts on a personal blog or social media platform, here are some tips to help you craft a compelling and informative review:

The length of a book review can vary depending on the publication or platform where it’s being published, as well as the depth of analysis and the reviewer’s writing style. Generally, book reviews can range from a few hundred words to several thousand words.

Here’s a breakdown of the typical lengths for different types of book reviews:

The structure of a book review typically follows a clear and logical format that allows the reviewer to convey their thoughts and opinions effectively.

While the specific structure may vary slightly depending on the publication or platform, here is a commonly used structure for a book review:

Writing a book review can be a rewarding process that not only helps potential readers but also allows you to engage critically with a piece of literature. Here are some tips to consider when writing a book review:

  • Read the Book Carefully : Before you start writing your review, make sure you’ve read the book thoroughly. Take notes as you read to capture your initial reactions, key themes, memorable quotes, and any questions or concerns that arise.
  • Understand the Author’s Intentions : Consider what the author is trying to achieve with the book. Understanding the author’s intentions can help you evaluate whether they were successful in achieving their goals.
  • Provide Context : Begin your review by providing some context for the book, including information about the author, genre, and publication details. You can also briefly summarize the plot or central premise to give readers a sense of what the book is about.
  • Focus on Analysis, Not Summary : While it’s important to provide a brief overview of the book, avoid summarizing the entire plot in your review. Instead, focus on analyzing the book’s strengths and weaknesses, discussing elements such as character development, writing style, plot structure, and thematic depth.
  • Support Your Opinions : Back up your opinions with evidence from the text. If you thought the characters were well-developed, provide examples of specific scenes or dialogue that illustrate this. Similarly, if you found the pacing to be slow, point to specific sections of the book that dragged.
  • Be Honest and Balanced : A good book review is honest and balanced, acknowledging both the book’s strengths and weaknesses. Avoid overly positive or negative reviews that fail to consider the nuances of the book. Even if you didn’t enjoy the book overall, try to find something positive to say, whether it’s about the writing style, the premise, or a particular character.
  • Consider Your Audience : Think about who your audience is and what they might be interested in knowing about the book. Tailor your review to their interests and preferences, and consider whether the book is suitable for specific types of readers.
  • Use a Clear Structure : Organize your review clearly and logically, with an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Use subheadings or paragraphs to break up your review and make it easier to read.
  • Conclude with a Recommendation : Conclude your review by summarizing your overall assessment of the book and offering a recommendation for potential readers. You can also suggest the type of reader who might enjoy the book based on its content and themes.
  • Proofread and Revise : Before publishing your review, take the time to proofread and revise it for clarity, coherence, and grammar. Pay attention to spelling errors, awkward phrasing, and inconsistencies in your argument.
  • Be Respectful : Remember that your review reflects your opinion, and others may have different perspectives. Be respectful in your critique, avoiding personal attacks or derogatory language towards the author or other readers who may have enjoyed the book.

Below is an example of a book review following the outlined structure:

Title: The Great Gatsby Author: F. Scott Fitzgerald Genre: Classic Literature Introduction: F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby” is a timeless classic that continues to captivate readers with its portrayal of the Jazz Age and the pursuit of the American Dream. As one of the most celebrated novels of the 20th century, it explores themes of love, wealth, and the elusive nature of happiness. In this review, I will delve into the novel’s enduring relevance and its impact on readers. Summary: Set in the 1920s, “The Great Gatsby” follows the story of Jay Gatsby, a mysterious millionaire who throws extravagant parties at his mansion in West Egg. Narrated by Nick Carraway, a young man from the Midwest who moves to Long Island, the novel explores Gatsby’s obsession with the beautiful Daisy Buchanan, his past relationship with her, and his relentless pursuit to win her back, despite her marriage to the wealthy Tom Buchanan. The novel culminates in a tragic climax that exposes the emptiness of wealth and the futility of Gatsby’s dreams. Analysis: 1. Writing Style Fitzgerald’s writing style in “The Great Gatsby” is both poetic and evocative. His vivid descriptions of the opulent parties, luxurious lifestyles, and decay of moral values immerse the reader in the glamour and excess of the Jazz Age. The prose is elegant and lyrical, reflecting the elegance and decadence of the era. 2. Character Development The characters in “The Great Gatsby” are complex and multi-dimensional. Gatsby, with his enigmatic persona and grandiose ambitions, embodies the American Dream and the pursuit of success at any cost. Daisy represents the allure of wealth and privilege, while Tom symbolizes the moral decay and corruption of the upper class. Nick Carraway, the narrator, serves as a moral compass amidst the chaos, offering a critical perspective on the characters and society. 3. Themes and Symbolism “The Great Gatsby” explores timeless themes such as the illusion of the American Dream, the corruption of wealth, and the emptiness of materialism. The green light at the end of Daisy’s dock symbolizes Gatsby’s unattainable dreams, while the Valley of Ashes represents the moral decay and social disparity of the era. Fitzgerald’s use of symbolism adds depth and complexity to the narrative, inviting readers to reflect on the deeper meanings behind the story. 4. Emotional Impact “The Great Gatsby” evokes a range of emotions, from admiration for Gatsby’s determination to pity for his tragic downfall. The novel’s exploration of love, loss, and disillusionment resonates with readers of all ages, making it a timeless classic that continues to inspire and provoke thought. Personal Response As a reader, I was deeply moved by the themes and characters in “The Great Gatsby.” Fitzgerald’s poignant portrayal of the human condition and the fragility of the American Dream left a lasting impression on me. The novel’s tragic ending serves as a powerful reminder of the consequences of unchecked ambition and the pursuit of superficial happiness. Conclusion In conclusion, “The Great Gatsby” is a masterpiece of American literature that continues to resonate with readers decades after its publication. Fitzgerald’s timeless exploration of love, wealth, and the pursuit of happiness offers valuable insights into the human experience. I highly recommend this novel to anyone seeking a thought-provoking and emotionally resonant read.

This example provides a comprehensive review of “The Great Gatsby,” covering key aspects such as the writing style, character development, themes, and personal response, while adhering to the outlined structure.

A book review is about what the author has written, and understanding his/ her viewpoint. It talks about how the book’s content is, its style and its quality. They can be found in magazines, newspapers, online platforms, personal blogs and social media. One must read the book thoroughly and then provide an insight into the book by forming their points accordingly.

An honest and balanced assessment is considered to be a good book review as it makes it easy for the readers to decide whether to read a book or not. A book reviewer must know their audience, understand the author’s frame of mind and while writing a book review, be respectful and refrain from making any personal attack. Thus, we see how a book review is a constructive assessment of a book.

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FAQs on How to Write a Book Review

Define a book review..

A book review evaluates critically what the author has written, it delves into how the book’s content is, its style and quality.

How long should a book review be?

A book review is usually about 500 to 800 words.

What is a good book review?

A good book review is one that has an honest assessment of what the author has written, it gives a balanced view and a critical analysis. It talks about both the good parts and the parts that need further work upon.

What are the tips for writing a book review?

The following points need to be considered for writing a book review: Thoroughly read the book Make notes of important details, quotes and other information you find useful Try to understand the author’s viewpoint Provide a context Analyze the book and not summarize Support your opinion with strong points Honest and balanced assessment Keep in mind the audience that is the readers Proper structure Provide recommendation for a good read Proofread what you have written and revise it properly Be respectful while writing a book review, no personal attacks, Constructive criticism

What does a book review include?

A book review includes the following: Introduction/Plot- context of the book Analysis- of what the author has written, understanding his view point Personal response- how you felt while reading the book Reviewer’s opinion based on their critical analysis Conclusion- Talking about author’s strengths and weaknesses Recommendations of further books that one can read

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  1. 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.

  2. How to Write a Book Review in 3 Steps

    🖋️ Should you become a book reviewer? Find out the answer. Takes 30 seconds! Start quiz How to write a review of a book Step 1. Provide a summary Have you ever watched a movie only to realize that all the good bits were already in the trailer? Well, you don't want the review to do that.

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

    A review will offer a concise plot summary of the book. A book review will offer an evaluation of the work. A book review will offer a recommendation for the audience. If these are the basic ingredients that make up a book review, it's the tone and style with which the book reviewer writes that brings the extra panache.

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

    May 1, 2022 6 min read Share the article Table of Contents 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.

  5. How To Write an Engaging Book Review

    Read any good books lately? Want to share your thoughts about them? A book review is a great way to shed insight and give your opinion on a book you've read, whether it's nonfiction, a mystery novel, or a collection of poems. Give your writing extra polish Grammarly helps you communicate confidently Write with Grammarly What is a book review?

  6. Book Reviews

    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.

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

    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

  8. 25 Book Review Templates and Ideas to Organize Your Thoughts

    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.

  9. Book Reviews

    The following items may help: Author: Who is the author? What else has s/he written? Has this author won any awards? What is the author's typical style? Genre: What type of book is this: fiction, nonfiction, romance, poetry, youth fiction, etc.? Who is the intended audience for this work? What is the purpose of the work?

  10. Writing a Book Review: A Comprehensive Guide

    Here's a step-by-step guide on how to write a good book review: Start with a Banging Hook A powerful hook is essential to grab the reader's attention and compel them to read on. A great way to start your review is by sharing a thought-provoking quote, a bold statement, or an intriguing question related to the book.

  11. 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.

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

    How to Write a Book Review: The Ultimate Guide Table of Contents WHAT IS A BOOK REVIEW? WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF A BOOK REVIEW? WHY BOTHER TEACHING STUDENTS TO WRITE BOOK REVIEWS AT ALL? WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A BOOK REVIEW AND A BOOK REPORT? BOOK REVIEW STRUCTURE FEATURES OF A BOOK REVIEW A COMPLETE UNIT ON REVIEW AND ANALYSIS OF TEXTS

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

    Book Review Example 1 - Blog Post Review. Many book review bloggers nowadays take to Youtube, Instagram, and even TikTok to share their thoughts and grow their platform. But there are still book bloggers out there that serve a good example of how to write a book review. This post is an example of a round-up style book review, where they cover ...

  14. How to Write a Book Review

    1. What is a Book Review? 2. How to Write a Book Review? 3. Book Review Format 4. Book Review Template 5. Book Review Examples 6. Book Review Sample Topics 7.

  15. Write a book review

    Writers of book reviews typically progress through four stages, as follows: 1. Introduce the book: Outline the general topic Indicate who the book is for. Place the book in its field. 2. Outline the content of the book: Give a general view of its the organisation. State the topic of each chapter/section.

  16. PDF Academic Book Reviews

    An academic book review provides the main ideas, and since published book reviews typically have a limited word count, the summary should remain brief. Analysis and Significance. Compare the book and its argument with the other literature on the topic. Discuss its contribution to past and current research and literature.

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    1. How to Format a Book Review? 2. Book Review Template 3. Book Review Format Examples 4. Book Review Writing Tips How to Format a Book Review? The format of a book review allows students to provide an in-depth analysis of the book.

  18. How to Write a Book Review: Format, Outline, & Example

    7 min Updated: June 29th, 2023 Print How to Write a Book Review: Format, Outline, & Example (11 votes) As a student, you may be asked to write a book review. Unlike an argumentative essay, a book review is an opportunity to convey the central theme of a story while offering a new perspective on the author's ideas.

  19. How to Write a Book Review: Your Easy Book Review Format

    Part 1: Introduce the book and the author: 1-2 paragraphs Include any background you can find about the book. Briefly summarize the author's biography. Introducing the book you're reviewing provides necessary context. Don't expect that readers have already heard about the book, much less the author.

  20. How to Write a Book Review (Meaning, Tips & Examples)

    How to write a book review. Note down the key points- This is an important step before writing a book review. Jot down your analysis about the characters, themes, plot, and your personal view. Also, note down the book title, author's name, and any relevant information about the book. Start with a strong introduction- Mention the author's ...

  21. Writing Academic Book Reviews

    Adhere to a particular citation style, such as Chicago, MLA, or APA. Put your name at the very end of the book review text. The basic purpose of a book review is to convey and evaluate the following: a. what the book is about; b. the expertise of the author(s); c. how well the book covers its topic(s) and whether it breaks new ground; d.

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    5. You can give the book a rating, for example a mark out of five or ten, if you like! Luisa Plaja loves words and books, and she used to edit the book review site Chicklish. Her novels for teenagers include Split by a Kiss, Swapped by a Kiss and Kiss Date Love Hate. She lives in Devon, England, and has two young children.

  23. How To Write a Review

    Write your review based on reasonable expectations. Assume the best. You're often assessing someone's execution of their vision or product of their hard work, especially when it comes to art or food. You're also more than likely writing this review on the internet, where the creator could probably find and see it in just a few clicks.

  24. How to Write a Book Review

    Tips for Writing a Book Review. Writing a book review can be a rewarding process that not only helps potential readers but also allows you to engage critically with a piece of literature. Here are some tips to consider when writing a book review: Read the Book Carefully: Before you start writing your review, make sure you've read the book ...