Book Review - A Complete Guide to Write a Great Review

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If you are a student who is struggling to write a book review, then this blog is perfect for you. To successfully complete a text or book review, some things need attention, and they go beyond just summarizing it in one paragraph or so.

You will have to include information like what kind of genre it falls under as well as any additional details such as when the book was published and its author's background. In many cases, it helps the readers understand why certain events matter more than others.

For those looking for tips on how to write book reviews easily? Here’s everything they need to know.

What is a Book Review?

A book review is a critical assessment of a book. It can be a positive or negative evaluation, but it should always be thoughtful and honest.

A good book review will not only provide an opinion on the quality of the book but will also give some insights into the author's intent and the overall theme of the book.

When writing a book review, it is important to be clear and concise. It is also helpful to consider the intended audience of the book and make sure your review addresses any potential challenges they might have an understanding or appreciating the work.

Finally, you should always back up your opinion with evidence from the text and give some context for why you feel that way.

Types of Book Reviews - What are the Various Types of Book Reviews?

Other than a proper format, you must format your review according to its type. Below are the common types of book reviews.

  • The Never-Read-It Review
  • The Never-Finished-Reading-It Review
  • The Rating-Without-Explanation Review
  • The Nitpicking Review
  • The Relative Review
  • The Spoiler-Revealing Review
  • The Short Thoughtful Review
  • The Mid-Length Musing Review
  • The Long Essay Review

These types are different from each other, and when writing any of them, you must follow its structure and proper format.

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Book Review Format

The right formatting is important for your review. Here is how you should format your book review.

  • Start the review by adding the basic information about the book. This includes the author’s name, the book’s name, the reviewer’s name, and sometimes the instructor’s name.
  • At least 3 to 4 sentences about the plot of the book. In simple terms, you will need to add a short summary of the book here.
  • State any personal experiences or emotions from your experiences while reading the book. Discuss how it made you feel.
  • Add your personal opinion about the book. What are the things you liked and disliked about the book? Add and discuss those in this section. You can also suggest an alternative ending if you feel that the actual conclusion did not do justice to the book.
  • Add recommendations at the end of the book. Explain the kind of audience that would be appropriate for the book.

Writing a book review would be an enjoyable and enriching experience but make sure that you follow a proper format.

‘How do I structure a book review?’

The structure of the review would follow the same 5 paragraph structure of an essay. Below is a sample book review structure.

  • Title - Complete the title of the review with the book’s bibliographic information.
  • Introduction - Background details, some facts, and a thesis statement.
  • Thesis Statement - Relating the book with a theme or the book’s contribution to a field.
  • Body or Summary - General summary, weaknesses, and strengths of the book.
  • Analysis and Evaluation - Critical analysis and commentary about the book.
  • Conclusion - Restate the thesis statement and add recommendations.

The number of body paragraphs would be as per the teacher’s instructions.

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Book Review Template

Here is a sample book review template for your help;

Introduction

Explain the book’s title and cover

Include the subtitles if applicable

Add the writer’s name

Thesis Statement

Add a brief description of the work

Introduce the key points discussed in the main body

Do not mention or add any personal opinions here

Main Body Section

Ideally, use a minimum of three quotes from the respective work

Summarize the quotes in your words

Mention and explain your personal point-of-view about the quote

Keep each point in its respective paragraph

Conclusion

Summarize the quotes

Summarize the added explanations

Conclude each sentence with a finishing line

Add your personal and final opinion about the book

Rating for the book

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How to Write a Book Review?

‘My teacher has assigned a book for review, but I do not like it.’

Before writing a review, understand that it is not necessary that you like the book that you are reviewing. Everyone has a personal choice, and the book may not be as per your liking. Besides, many students wrongly think that a book review is the same as a book report.

A book report is different and does not include any critical analysis or personal opinion. They are pretty straightforward and simpler than the reviews. Here are the steps to writing a good book review.

  1. 1. Begin by Discussing the Book in a Few Sentences

    Begin your description with a sentence that will make people want to read the rest of it. Then, talk about the book’s plot and how it is similar to other books by this author or in its genre. Give some examples from reviews you found on Amazon that mention what readers liked or didn't like about these kinds of novels.

    You can also add quotes from professional reviewers who might offer their perspectives on why someone should read it too.

  2. 2. Identify and Discuss the Important Points

    This includes identifying important and main characters, plots and subplots, themes, symbols, and motifs. The best way of doing it is to dedicate a paragraph to each of these points and discuss how successful the author was in dealing with them.

  3. 3. Discuss What You Liked About the Book

    This could be how the writer has written the novel or book, the way he has formed and developed the characters, and the book’s overall structure. You can discuss the feelings also that you had while reading the book.

  4. 4. Talk about What You Did Not Like About It

    Similarly, discuss the things that you did not like about the book. This could be a disappointing ending, an antithesis, death of a favorite or significant character, or mentioning of irrelevant and boring subplots.

    Discuss the reasons why you did not like those things and suggest some ways it could have been done in a better manner.

  5. 5. Find out and Add Relevant and Important Quotes

    Adding important and relevant quotes is important for a powerful and good book review. Instead of talking or presenting your views blindly, use relevant quotes as examples and talk on their basis.

    However, do not use excessive quotes and use them as examples to back your claim only.

  6. 6. Summarize Your Book Review

    Do not go overboard in discussing all the details about the book. Remember, your aim of writing the review is to build the readers’ interest in the book and not to give away all the crucial details and storyline. Therefore, be concise and summarize your book on time.

  7. 7. Find Out and Talk about Similar Books

    This could be the books from the same genre, books having the same storyline, and those with similar characters. You can add them to your recommended reading list and lead the readers to them.

  8. 8. Rate the Book and Add Your Personal Opinion

    Once you are done with it, rate the book and add your personal opinion about it. This could be the details about the things you like about the book. Moreover, you can also suggest the recommended audience and readers for it.

    For example, some books would be more appropriate for young adults.

    In the end, do not forget to proofread your book review.

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How to Write an Academic Book Review?

Writing a book review is slightly different from writing a fiction or nonfiction book review. Therefore, you will have to discuss other things also. Here is how you can write an academic book review.

  1. 1. Begin with the Book’s Bibliographic Information

    When writing an academic book review, you must begin with the bibliographic information and details about the book. This includes the name of the book and author, as well as the details about the reviewer.

    Add your personal details like full name, university, and email address after the bibliography. Stick to a particular citation style.

  2. 2. Discuss the Book’s Contents

    Tell the readers about the subject and content of the book. This would be the main subject and topic on which the author has written the book.

  3. 3. Inform the Reader about the Author’s Expertise

    This is really important when reviewing an academic book. Since such books are used for academic purposes, the readers must know about their main source, the author. State and discuss the expertise of the author and things that qualify him to write the book.

  4. 4. Talk about the Quality and Depth of the Book

    Has the book explained and covered each aspect of the topic properly? If yes, laud the author and discuss the important things he has discussed in his book. Also, discuss whether the book or research offers new perspectives.

  5. 5. Discuss the Author’s Point of View

    What is the main point of view of the author? Discuss the crucial details that the author has added to the book and further explain his point of view. You don’t need to agree with it, but you must discuss it properly and with complete accuracy.

  6. 6. Talk about the Validity of the Evidence and Scope

    For this, the reviewer needs to be from the same field. Discuss how well the author has discussed the scope of the topic and the credibility of the evidence and proof given by him.

  7. 7. Suggest the Right Audience

    What kind of audience is right for it? Academic books are not for everyone, and usually, only the people from a specific field read them. Here, suggest the kind of audience that would be right and appropriate for it.

  8. 8. Critique the Bibliography and Other Used Apparatus

    Discuss the way the writer has arranged the chapters and added the illustrations. Talk about the kind and quality of sources and research material that has been used for the research.

    Writing an academic book review is different and could be more time-consuming than other reviews. Moreover, you will have to analyze everything carefully before giving your opinion.

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How to Write a Nonfiction Book Review?

Writing a review for a nonfiction book? Here are the steps to follow when doing it.

  1. 1. Take Important Notes

    When reading the book, make sure that you take important notes or keep some bookmarks in the book. It will help you keep important details close when writing the review, and you will be able to add them to your review.

  2. 2. Annotate the Book

    Underline and highlight the important sections and parts of the book. However, do not go overboard and make sure that you highlight the important ideas and sections only. This will help you review it later.

  3. 3. Mark the Slow and Boring Parts

    Notice some slow and boring sections in the book? Mark them and add them to your discussion when writing the review. The book review should be honest and should also contain the things you did not like about the book.

  4. 4. Analyze the Writing Style of the Author

    This includes the kind of language and vocabulary that the author has used in the book, his writing style, the kind of storyline he has created, and how he has developed it. Track all of this and discuss these details in your review.

  5. 5. Form and Voice Your Opinion

    This is very important when you are writing a book review. Instead of giving the book and author’s information, you must present your thoughts about the book also. The best way of doing it is to rate it before you start writing the review. This will help you in writing a relevant and accurate review.

    If you have time, you can re-read the book to make sure that you have covered all the aspects in your review.

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How to Write a Book Review without Reading the Book?

Do you have time to read the entire book? It is a common student dilemma that they have a lot of things to do and little time to read lengthy books. However, don’t worry; you can write the review without actually reading the book.

While we do not suggest that you should do this, we also understand that sometimes it is a necessity. Here is how you can write a great book review without reading the book.

  1. 1. Check an Online Site for the Required Information

    Check online sources for information like the major and minor characters, themes, motifs, symbols, and setting. Multiple sources offer these details and help the students. Read them carefully and properly.

  2. 2. Search for Important Quotes

    Other than the explanations of important events, characters, and symbols, these sources would also help you find relevant quotes. These quotes are significant for your review and will add more credibility and value to it. Henceforth, it is important to add them to the review.

  3. 3. Watch the Book’s Movie Adaptation

    Does the book have a movie adaptation also? If yes, then watching it is an easy way of knowing what’s going on in the book. Check online and see if there are any and watch it.

  4. 4. Note Down Important Details

    While watching the movie, or reading through the online notes, note down important details about it. These details will help you add more clarity and weightage to your review.

  5. 5. Work with a Writing Service

    This is probably the easiest way of getting done with your book review. However, do not fall prey to a fraud company and choose a reliable service like us. Our expert writers could write a well-researched and detailed book review in less than 6 hours.

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How Do You Write a Book Review for College Assignments?

Here are the steps included in writing a college book review.

  1. Read the book attentively. Keep in mind the author's arguments and ideas, as well as any passages that may be relevant for quoting or referencing later on.
  2. Determine the author’s arguments and the book’s themes.
  3. Begin the review with the book’s bibliographic information: the author’s name, the book's full title, place of publication, publisher, and edition.
  4. Introduce the work you will be discussing; identify your key observation from reading this text, and do not begin with a flat sentence. Instead, use anecdotes, quotations, and questions to hook the reader and limit it to 2 paragraphs only.
  5. Analyze and evaluate the book and discuss each aspect separately. Follow the structure below.
    • Discuss the author’s purpose.
    • Discuss his arguments and the book’s themes.
    • Discuss the type of evidence and sources the writer has used in the book.
    • Add your comments about the writing style of the author.
  6. Conclude the review by giving remarks about the book. These could both be negative or positive but make sure that it is genuine.

Make sure that you follow all the steps properly when writing your college book review.

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Tips for Writing a Book Review

Looking for some helpful tips to write a book review? Here are some tips that will help you write a review quickly and with minimum errors.

  • Keep the summary of the book short.
  • Treat it as a work of fiction if you are reviewing a nonfiction book and see if that works for you.
  • Compare the book with other books or novels of the same genre. Draw comparisons between them and note down the important points.
  • Discuss your personal opinion and experiences you had while reading the book.
  • Positively criticize the book review, especially if you are reviewing a book based on the real-life of the author.
  • Track and discuss the kind of language the author has used in the book and discuss its pros and cons.
  • Read reviews of other writers and see how they did it.

Writing a book review is a great experience, but you must consider these tips when writing one.

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Book Review Pitfalls to Avoid when Writing

‘What should not be added in a book review?’

Here are the things that you must steer clear of when writing a book review.

  • Instead of adding the summary of the book only, analyze it and make sure that you discuss and evaluate it properly.
  • Try to understand the writer’s point of view rather than criticizing it blindly. Once you understand the writer’s goals, you can analyze how well he succeeded in meeting them.
  • Structure your review around the main and key arguments and themes of the book. Choose 3 to 4 main ideas and discuss them properly rather than trying to add everything.
  • Use reasonable and relevant quotes only. Do not go overboard with them and add no more than 4 to 5 quotes per review.
  • When discussing, discuss both the weaknesses and strengths of the book.

Here are some samples to help you understand more about the book review.

Book Review of The Forty Rules of Love

Book Review of Harry Potter

Book Review of the Alchemist

Book Review for Kids

Short Book Review for Students

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Frequently Asked Questions

What should a good book review say?

Here are the six elements of a good book review.

  1. It is well-balanced.
  2. It is about the book and not the writer.
  3. It is about the writer’s writing expertise.
  4. It does not have an extensive summary of the book’s themes, just a line or two only.
  5. It does not reveal the book’s mystery or ending.
  6. It is specific.

Without any of these things, a writer could not write a good book review.

What are the four stages in writing a book review?

The four stages of writing a book review are;

  1. Introducing the author and his style.
  2. Giving an overview of the storyline (or key themes).
  3. Highlighting major points by calling out specific chapters or scenes, and finally,
  4. offering your own opinion on what you liked about it.

Every book review, middle school, high school, college, and university, includes these four steps and stages.

What is the importance of book review?

A book review is a quick and easy way to help authors get their books in front of more people. When there are lots of reviews for the same book, it means that readers love what they're reading, and it indicates to the readers that they should give these titles a try too.

How do you end a review?

The conclusion is the summing up of the main themes and key ideas of the book. However, it does not mean that you should add all the details and explanations in it. Keep it brief and limited to your personal critique and recommendations only.

How long should a book review be?

A book review should be short and concise but still manage to say a lot. Aim for 1,000 words or less so that you can avoid getting bogged down. You can also go up to 2000 words and make sure that you do not repeat the same things or give away too many details.

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