How to Write a Book Review: Simple Tips
Don’t know how to structure a book review? Discover the best tips for writing a book review and create reviews that actually matter.
A book review provides its critical analysis and evaluation. Although a comprehensive book review should include the summary of its content, the book assessment and discussion of the strengths and weaknesses should comprise the bulk of the paper. Another defining feature of a book review is the thesis statement, which has to be supported with evidence from the book.
Writing an impressive review is more of an art than science; nevertheless, there are some practical tips for writing a book review. We have gathered the best of them in the article below to help you learn how to write a book review essay meant to inspire your readers.
The Purpose of a Book Review Assignment
Here is one thing not many beginning writers know: an honest and professionally written book review is valuable not only to the readers who want to understand whether a particular book is worth their time, but also to the authors because it helps them hone their skills.
Another benefit of good reviews is that they improve the book rating on websites such as Amazon or Goodreads, thus promoting the book and helping more readers find out about it.
Finally, a book review is the source of valuable feedback or at least much-needed support for the author. As you can see, a well-written book review can produce a favorable effect, but before you start writing your first review, consider the following book review guidelines.
How to Write a Book Review in 9 Steps
If you want to write a book review that people will actually read, take the following guidelines into account.
1. Read Attentively and Take Notes
As a rule, you will plan to write a review before you start reading a book. This allows you to pay closer attention to important moments in the book and take notes as you read.
In addition to helping you gain a deeper understanding of the subject matter, notes will prove particularly valuable at the subsequent stages of writing when you have to include evidence to support your claims. This is not to mention that the act of taking notes helps you stay focused on the plot and characters, single out the recurring themes, and read between the lines. Overall, even though it may seem that reading becomes slower if you have to jot something down, eventually, you will complete the assignment much faster.
2. Do Not Skip Any Part of the Book
If you are determined to write a wonderful review, read the entire book.
- First, jumping to conclusions without even reading a book is unfair both to the book author and the readers of your review, because you will definitely miss some information that is critical for comprehensive understanding of the plot and the author’s intention.
- Second, even though Did Not Finish reviews are a new trend, you should mind the difference between a review that clearly explains that you did not finish a book and one that creates the impression that you did and are in a position to draw reasonable conclusions.
3. Be Specific
One of the most valuable tips for writing a book review is this: be specific. Instead of providing a shallow description of the book, include concrete details, such as quotes and references to certain scenes.
Remember that a review with insufficient evidence is less objective, thus less credible, and as a result it will be not valuable to the author and your fellow readers.
4. Share Your Opinion
Even though facts from the book are important for your review, making it a mere summary is not the best strategy. The readers chose your review because they want to know whether you liked the book and what you think about it. After all, this is not an analytical essay. Be honest about how you feel about the book. Did you love it or did you hate it? Why?
At the same time, back your opinion up with evidence. Try to explain your feelings as clearly as possible. For example, if you think that the book is exciting, which parts of it exactly made you feel that way? Is there anything you think the author could have done better or differently?
5. Offer Your Own Ideas
Apart from sharing your opinions about the book, you can discuss the ideas that occurred to you. This is exactly the kind of a personal touch that will make your review valuable. For instance, while reading Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment I realized that a purposeful act of violence inevitably makes a person’s life worse, even though the doer’s intentions are the opposite. People are emotional creatures and the feeling of guilt creates stress, which will sooner or later destroy you.
With some books, you have to guess at the ideas, while in others, they may be blatantly obvious, but either way, make sure you mention some of those because not all readers are as astute as you are.
6. Mind the Formatting
Even though many book review websites have a limited number of formatting tools, knowing how to format a book review with just a few simple techniques is enough to enhance the readability of your text. Here’s how to structure a book review on a web page to make it more readable:
Break down blocks of text. Add spaces between paragraphs to enhance comprehension.
Avoid ALL CAPS because they create the impression the author is yelling.
Use punctuation sparingly. Multiple exclamation or question marks may be acceptable in a message to your friend but not in book reviews.
7. Give a Book Fair Rating
Your rating should be based on your honest assessment of the book and not on what you think your review should be.
For example, if the book was neither bad nor good, you may give it 3 or 4 starts. You should not rate a book at 1 or 2 just because you want its average rating to be lower. Save such low grades for books that have really serious flaws and books that you hate.
Do not hesitate to rate a book at 5 out of 5 if you think that it was great.
Just for your information, if an average rating for a book is 3.7, anytime you give it 3 stars out of 5, you are rating it below average.
Whatever your rating is, remember that your goal is not to please someone with your review but to assess the book as accurately and as honestly as possible, because that is how you make your experience valuable to others.
8. Proofread and Edit
Proofreading and editing are as important as knowing how to write a good book review, because a single typo may discredit your work in the eyes of your fellow readers.
Do not hesitate to use some of the free spell checking tools that you can use to polish your paper to perfection.
9. Post Your Review One of the Top Platforms
Book reviews usually appear on the websites that sold the book to the reviewer. For example, if you bought the book form Amazon, you can post your review there.
By posting your review on other platforms, you increase your chances of reaching out to more readers.
If you have s personal blog or website, do not forget to add your review there. Multiple publications of your review do not only raise the profile of the book but also contribute to the success if your own profile.
Reviewing is not always easy but it should definitely bring you joy all the time. It is so much easier to work on something when you know exactly what to do, so we hope that now that you are familiar with the book review structure and tips for writing a book review, you will be able to share your thoughts with the fellow readers across the world.