Be Your Writer

How to Write a Book Review in 5 Easy Steps

If you are an avid reader, there is this joy and satisfaction that comes with sharing your thoughts on a book with others. You might already be doing this by talking about books to your friends. But if you want to reach or share with a wider audience, you can write a book review. 

A lot might confuse book reviews with book reports, however, do note that these two are different and also has different writing process. 

Book reports tackle more on the plot of the book and indicates that the book has been read. It is often done as an academic assignment. 

Book reviews, on the other hand, are made to guide and help people decide if the book is interesting enough for them to read. It is not a summary but instead, a sneak peek that will entice readers to read. 

What is a Book Review?

A book review is a description, critical analysis, and assessment of the meaning and significance of a book. It is not a summary but it is written to put focus on the book’s purpose and content. 

It consists of reactions wherein the writer discusses its strengths and weaknesses as well as an account of what the author tried to do and tell his readers, an evaluation of how well the author has portrayed what he intends to, and evidence that supports his evaluation. 

A general rule on book reviews is the longer the book, the longer the review. If a review is too short, fewer than 100 words or so, it might not be able to fulfill its purpose. However, a book review that’s too long might lose the reader’s interest and might eventually discuss the plot instead. 

Instead of focusing on how long a book review should be, we recommend focusing on fulfilling the purpose of the review. If you’ve managed to peak the interests of potential readers at just 300 words, then that is already considered an effective book review. 

How to Write a Book Review

write a book review

Similar to how product reviews play a huge part in purchasing an item, a book review is also an important deciding factor in whether a reader decided to push through with reading or not. In addition, it is always fun and interesting to know the honest opinions and detailed thoughts of others, if they loved the book or if they disliked it. 

If you want to share your thoughts with your fellow book readers, here are some tips on how to write a book review. 

Start with a summary

The best way to start a book review is by giving a summary of the book. Keep it short and avoid writing too much detail that might spoil important plot twists. Write enough just to give context. If the book is part of the series, you can mention this and give your opinion on whether there’s a need to read the other books to understand and enjoy this one. 

Discuss what you liked about the book

As mentioned, a book review is not a summary but instead, an analysis or an assessment of the book’s content. To write a book review, focus on your thoughts and feelings, what you think about the plot and the way it was written and told. 

Here are some guide questions you can try answering while you write a book review:

  • Who was your favorite character, and why? 
  • What was your favorite part of the book, and why?
  • What types of scenes were written exceptionally well? Was it sad scenes, or thrilling scenes?
  • What were the emotions you felt while reading the book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
  • Did the story keep you guessing? Wanting for more? 

Mention your dislikes

If by chance you have particular dislikes about the book, mention them. A lot of readers appreciate it when reviews include a few topics or concepts they are not fond of. It gives a sense of expectation and prepares the readers for what is to come. 

Talk about why the book didn’t work out for you or if there are certain chapters or sections that you find it hard to like and read. Some guide questions are: 

  • Did you wish for a different ending? Was the ending a cliffhanger? Were you frustrated about how the story ended? Why? 
  • Did you find it hard to sympathize with the main character? Did you not see the character development you expect the protagonist to have? 
  • Is the book focused on the theme or ideas that you don’t find interesting? What are these themes? 

These are only a few questions you can ask yourself while writing what you dislike about the book. Reading is subjective and we all have different things we love and hate and some readers might love what you found disappointing. 

Include quotes as examples

Including brief excerpts or quotes from the books in your review gives the readers context of what you are talking about. If you particularly liked a character because of her funny personality, include an amusing dialogue from the character herself for context. 

But remember, keep it brief. Lengthy excerpts or quotes can overpower your review. 

Round up your review and recommend

Summarize the main points of your review and your overall opinion of it. Like your introduction, keep your conclusion brief. 

To finish off, you can give suggestions or recommendations. If you think mystery genre readers would like the book, tell them to give this one a try or if you find this particular book similar to the others you’ve read, you can include a statement saying… “if you liked this X book, then you’ll love this one as well!” 

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