The Write Practice

How to Write a Book Review: The Complete Guide

by Sue Weems | 23 comments

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

How to Write a Book Review: The Complete Guide

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

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

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

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

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

The Fallacy of Book Reviews

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

When I Don’t Know What to Write

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

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

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

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

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

What if I Didn’t Like It?

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

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

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

How to Write a Book Review: Your Turn

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

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

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

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

how to write a review for a book

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

May Writing Prompts

23 Comments

Azure Darkness Yugi

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

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

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

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

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

Sue

Thanks for sharing your practice, Azure!

You’re welcome.

Christine

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reel Estate Ripoff by Renee Pawlish

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

Beth Schmelzer

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

Adding it to my stack, Beth. Thanks!

Kelly Hansen

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

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

Thanks, Sue.

Daniel McDonald

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

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

Dave Diss

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

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

TerriblyTerrific

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

You’re welcome!

John Grumps Hamshare

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

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

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

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

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

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

John Hamshare

Thank you, Sue.

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

RAW

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

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

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

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

R. Allan Worrell

Cathy Ryan

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

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How to Write a Book Review in 3 Steps

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Blog – Posted on Wednesday, Apr 03

How to write a book review in 3 steps.

How to Write a Book Review in 3 Steps

If the idea of reading for free — or even getting paid to read — sounds like a dream come true, remember that it isn’t a pipe dream. There are many places aspiring book reviewers can read books for free, such as Reedsy Discovery — a new platform for reviewing indie books. Of course, if you’re giving serious thought to becoming a book reviewer, your first step should be learning how to write a book review. To that end, this post covers all the basics of literary criticism. Let’s get started!

The three main steps of writing a book review are simple:

  • Provide a summary: What is story about? Who are the main characters and what is the main conflict? 
  • Present your evaluation: What did you think of the book? What elements worked well, and which ones didn’t? 
  • Give your recommendation: Would you recommend this book to others? If so, what kinds of readers will enjoy it?

You can also download our free book review templates and use it as a guide! Otherwise, let’s take a closer look at each element.

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

Should you become a book reviewer?

Find out the answer. Takes 30 seconds!

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. What you do want the summary to do is reveal the genre, theme, main conflict, and main characters in the story — without giving away spoilers or revealing how the story ends.

A good rule of thumb is not to mention anything that happens beyond the midpoint. Set the stage and give readers a sense of the book without explaining how the central issue is resolved.

Emily W. Thompson's review of The Crossing :

In [Michael] Doane’s debut novel, a young man embarks on a journey of self-discovery with surprising results.
An unnamed protagonist (The Narrator) is dealing with heartbreak. His love, determined to see the world, sets out for Portland, Oregon. But he’s a small-town boy who hasn’t traveled much. So, the Narrator mourns her loss and hides from life, throwing himself into rehabbing an old motorcycle. Until one day, he takes a leap; he packs his bike and a few belongings and heads out to find the Girl. Read more...

Here are a few more reviews with well-written summaries for you to check out. The summary tend to be the longest part of the book review, so we won’t turn this post into a novel itself by pasting them all here: Le Cirque Navire reviewed by Anna Brill, The Heart of Stone reviewed by Kevin R. Dickinson, Fitting Out: The Friendship Experiment reviewed by Lianna Albrizio.

Non-fiction summary tip: The primary goal of a non-fiction summary is to provide context: what problems or issues has the book spotted, and how does it go about addressing them? Be sure to mention the authors of the title and what experience or expertise they bring to the title. Check Stefan Kløvning’s review of Creativity Cycling for an example of a summary that establishes the framework of the book within the context of its field.

Step 2. Present your evaluation

While you should absolutely weave your own personal take of a book into the review, your evaluation shouldn’t only be based on your subjective opinion. Along with presenting how you reacted to the story and how it affected you, you should also try to objectively critique the stronger and weaker elements of the story, and provide examples from the text to back up your points.

To help you write your evaluation, you should record your reactions and thoughts as you work your way through a novel you’re planning on reviewing. Here are some aspects of the book to keep in mind as you do.

Your evaluation might focus heartily on the book’s prose:

Donald Barker's review of Mercenary : 

Such are the bones of the story. But, of course, it is the manner in which Mr Gaughran puts the bones back together and fills them with life that makes “Mercenary” such a great read. The author’s style seems plain; it seems straightforward and even simple. But an attempt at imitation or emulation quickly proves that simple it is not. He employs short, punchy sentences that generate excellent dialogue dripping with irony, deadpan humour and wit. This, mixed with good descriptive prose, draws the characters – and what characters they are – along with the tumultuous events in which they participated amidst the stinking, steaming heat of the South American jungle, out from the past to the present; alive, scheming, drinking, womanising and fighting, onto the written page.

You can give readers a sense of the book by drawing comparisons to other well-known titles or authors:

Laura Hartman's review of The Mystery of Ruby's Mistletoe :

Reading Ms. Donovan’s book is reminiscent to one of my favorite authors, Dame Agatha Christie. Setting up the suspects in a snowbound house, asking them to meet in the drawing room and the cleverly satisfying conclusion was extremely gratifying. I can picture Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot nodding at Ms. Donovan saying “Well done!”

Not everyone’s tastes are the same, and you can always acknowledge this by calling out specific story elements in your evaluation: 

Kevin R. Dickinson's review of The Heart of Stone :

Whether you enjoy Galley’s worldbuilding will depend heavily on preference. Galley delivers information piecemeal, letting the characters, not the author, navigate the reader through Hartlund. A notable example is the magic system, an enigmatic force that lacks the ridge structures of, say, a Brandon Sanderson novel. While the world’s magical workings are explained, you only learn what the characters know and many mysteries remain by the end. Similar choices throughout make the world feel expansive and authentic.

Non-fiction evaluation tip: A book’s topic is only as compelling as its supporting arguments. Your evaluation of a nonfiction book should address that: how clearly and effectively are the points communicated? Turn back to Stefan’s critique for an example of a non-fiction critique that covers key takeaways and readability, without giving away any “big reveals.”

Step 3. Give your recommendation 

At the end of the day, your critique needs to answer this question: is this a book you would (or wouldn’t) recommend to other readers? You might wrap up by comparing it to other books in the same genre, or authors with similar styles, such as: “Fans of so-and-so will enjoy this book.” 

Let’s take a look at a few more tips:

You don’t need to write, “I recommend this book” — you can make it clear by highlighting your favorable opinion:

Following in the footsteps of Jack Kerouac and William Least Heat-Moon, Doane offers a coming of age story about a man finding himself on the backroads of America. Doane’s a gifted writer with fluid prose and insightful observations, using The Narrator’s personal interactions to illuminate the diversity of the United States.
Despite his flaws, it’s a pleasure to accompany The Narrator on his physical and emotional journey. The unexpected ending is a fitting denouement to an epic and memorable road trip.

Add more punch to your rating by mentioning what kind of audience will or won’t enjoy the book:

Charleigh Aleyna Reid's review of The King of FU :

I would recommend this book to anyone who grew up in the 90’s and would like to reminisce about the time, someone who is interested to see what it was like to be a 90’s kid, or perhaps anyone who is looking for a unique, funny story about someone’s life.

Unless you found the title absolutely abhorrent, a good way to balance out a less favorable book review it to share what you did like about the book — before ultimately stating why you wouldn’t recommend the novel:

Nicola O's review of Secrets of the Sea Lord :

Overall, there are plenty of enjoyable elements in this story and fans of Atlantis and mer mythology should give it a try. Despite this, it does not rise above a three-star rating, and while I had some difficulty pinning down why this is, I concluded that it comes from a surprisingly unsophisticated vocabulary. There are a couple of graphic sex scenes, which is absolutely fine in a paranormal romance, but if they were removed, I could easily imagine this as an appealing story for middle-schoolers.

Non-fiction recommendation tip: As with fiction book reviews, share why you did or didn’t enjoy the title. However, in one of the starkest divergences from fiction book reviews it’s more important than ever that you mention your expectations coming into the non-fiction book. For instance, if you’re a cow farmer who’s reading a book on the benefits of becoming a vegetarian, you’re coming in with a large and inherent bias that the book will struggle to alter. So your recommendation should cover your thoughts about the book, while clearly taking account your perspective before you started reading. Let’s look once more at Stefan’s review for an example of a rating that includes an explanation of the reviewer’s own bias.

Bonus tips for writing a book review

Let’s wrap up with a few final tips for writing a compelling review.

  • Remember, this isn’t a book report. If someone wants the summary of a book, they can read the synopsis. People turn to book reviews for a fellow reader’s take on the book. And for that reason...
  • Have an opinion. Even if your opinion is totally middle-of-the-line — you didn’t hate the book but you didn’t love it either — state that clearly, and explain why.
  • Make your stance clear from the outset. Don’t save your opinion just for the evaluation/recommendation. Weave your thoughts about the book into your summary as well, so that readers have an idea of your opinion from the outset.
  • Back up your points. Instead of just saying, “the prose was evocative” — show readers by providing an actual passage that displays this. Same goes for negative points — don’t simply tell readers you found a character unbelievable, reference a certain (non-spoiler) scene that backs this up.
  • Provide the details. Don’t forget to weave the book’s information into the review: is this a debut author? Is this one installment of a series? What types of books has the author written before? What is their background? How many pages does the book have? Who published the book? What is the book’s price?
  • Follow guidelines. Is the review you’re writing for Goodreads? For The New York Times ? The content and tone of your review will vary a good deal from publication to publication.
  • Learn from others. One of the best ways to learn how to write a great review is to read other reviews! To help you out with that, we’ve published a post all about book review examples .

Writing book reviews can be a rewarding experience! As a book-lover yourself, it’s a great opportunity to help guide readers to their next favorite title. If you’re just getting started as a reviewer and could use a couple more tips and nudges in the right direction, check out our comprehensive blog post on how to become a book reviewer . And if you want to find out which review community is the right fit for you, we recommend taking this quick quiz:

Which review community should you join?

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

Finally, if you feel you've nailed the basics of how to write a book review, we recommend you check out Reedsy Discovery , where you can review books for free and are guaranteed people will read them. To register as a book reviewer, simply go here !

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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 review for a book

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

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

Why Write a Book Review?

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

Steps to Write a Book Review:

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

Tips for Writing an Effective Book Review:

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

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

Table of Contents

Key takeaways:

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

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

Share Your Opinion

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

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

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

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

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

Help Others Make Informed Choices

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

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

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

Connect with a Community

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

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

Read the Book Carefully

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

Take Notes and Highlight Key Points

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

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

Structure Your Review

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

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

Begin with an Engaging Introduction

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

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

Provide a Brief Summary

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

Discuss the Plot and Characters

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

Evaluate the Writing Style and Organization

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

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

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

Share your Personal Thoughts and Opinions

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

Give Examples and Supporting Evidence

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

Write a Clear and Concise Conclusion

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

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

Tips for Writing an Effective Book Review

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

Be Honest and Balanced

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

Avoid Spoilers

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

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

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

Use Clear and Concise Language

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

Provide Context

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

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

Support Your Opinions with Evidence

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

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

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

Consider the Target Audience

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

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

Some Facts About How to Write a Book Review:

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

Frequently Asked Questions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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Literacy Ideas

How to Write a Book Review: The Ultimate Guide

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WHAT IS A BOOK REVIEW?

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

WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF A BOOK REVIEW?

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

WHY BOTHER TEACHING STUDENTS TO WRITE BOOK REVIEWS AT ALL?

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

●     Engage critically with a text

●     Critically evaluate a text

●     Respond personally to a range of different writing genres

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

Not to Be Confused with a Book Report!

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

book_reviews_vs_book_reports.jpg

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

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

BOOK REVIEW STRUCTURE

ANALYZE Evaluate the book with a critical mind.

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

COMPARE Where appropriate compare to similar texts and genres.

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

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

FEATURES OF A BOOK REVIEW

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

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

VOICE Both active and passive voice are used in recounts.

A COMPLETE UNIT ON REVIEW AND ANALYSIS OF TEXTS

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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.

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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!

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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

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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.

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Teaching Resources

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

BOOK REVIEW GRAPHIC ORGANIZER (TEMPLATE)

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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.

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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

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Home » Writing » How to Write a Good Book Review

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Tips for Writing a Good Book Review 

Now that you’ve prepped what you want to say, how you want to say it, and who you want to say it to, it’s time to start writing. Below we’ve gathered our favorite tips to help you write a good book review. Wait… make that a GREAT book review.

1. Include general information

Make sure to include all the relevant book information for your audience , including the title, author, genre, and publisher in your review. While not necessary, it is also helpful to include the number of pages, list price, and ISBN number.

2. Provide a brief plot summary

After the hook, you can then move on to the brief plot summary. This summary shouldn’t be too long, but it can be a paragraph that explains the basic plot so that the reader better understands if it’s a topic of interest. One pitfall to avoid is to give away spoilers in the plot summary. Don’t give away any plot twists, and err on the side of caution if you feel that the information is too much. For example, tell the reader that the plot has unexpected twists rather than explain any surprises in the summary.

3. Focus on the book, not the author

Keep in mind that your main job as a reviewer is to share your opinion on the book, not to critique the author. Keep the focus on the story. Avoid referencing pitfalls in any of the author’s past books or what you about them as a writer. You can provide a brief introduction to the story mentioning the author and past books, but don’t spend too much time focused on the author. The review should focus on the content of the book and its characters.

4. Be clear and specific

It is not enough to just say that you did or didn’t like the book. Let your readers know why. Make your thoughts clear as early as possible and explain the reasons why you liked or disliked specific storyline components and characters. Be specific about what you loved about the writing, what drew you to the characters, or what left you feeling lukewarm about the plot. You don’t need to explain every aspect of the book, but the reader should walk away with a sense that they understand the basic plot and determine from the review if they want to read the book for themselves.

Write a 5 star book review

5. Remain subjective

Not all book reviews have to be glowing, but they should be subjective. Rather than just saying you didn’t like something, support it by letting your readers know why. We all gravitate towards different things, so what may not appeal to you may appeal to someone else. If you remain subjective, then you can explain to the reader the basic story and let them decide for themselves. The review can include your likes and dislikes, but they should focus on what you felt the story did well and what parts of the story you didn’t like. However, the main focus of the review should be to explain the story so that readers can determine if they want to read the book further.

6. Avoid spoilers

We know it can be tempting, but do your best not to let any spoilers slip in your book review. Have you ever been excited to see the latest blockbuster hit (or watch the season cliffhanger to your favorite TV show) and then someone spoils the end before you even have time to watch? That is exactly what you don’t want to do to your reader. As you explain the book in your summary, ask yourself if what you are explaining ruins any surprises or twists. As you write the review, keep it vague. For example, explain that there is a major plot twist but don’t go into the specifics.

7. Be transparent

Always share if you received an incentive to review the book, got an advance copy, or have any connection to the author. Your readers will appreciate your honesty. Plus, it helps you avoid the negative impact on your credibility if they find out later. Getting paid for a review is a perfectly reasonable excuse to read a book, but it does allow readers to determine if you’re being unbiased. By specifying if you have any relationship with the author, the reader can better trust your opinion, even if they feel you’re being more biased.

8. Keep it short

While book reviews can be any length, it is always best to keep it short and succinct. Pull in your reader with a strong first sentence that sets the tone of the review and end with your recommendation. Remember, most people start to scan when something gets too long. A book review is a short summary, so writing a novel-length review loses reader interests. Keeping it short will ensure that your readers will dive into your likes and dislikes and use your reviews to determine if they have an interest in the books.

9. Proofread before posting

The quickest way to lose credibility is to post a review filled with typos. Make sure to give your final book review a thorough read before posting it and double check the spelling of any character names or places that you mention. Even better, ask someone else to read it over. It is always good to have a fresh pair of eyes proof to catch any typos. If you don’t have a family or friend who will help with proofreader, you can join a writing community where members offer test reads and proofreading. Make sure that you don’t post the review publicly, because search engines will index it and the review will no longer be unique content.

Also, keep in mind that you will want to write different book reviews for different sites. Don’t just copy and paste the same review. Google search engines scan for duplicate content and if flagged, your review won’t appear.

10. Add a hook

The hook is one or two sentences that grab the reader and convince them to keep going. It should be interesting, but it should also stick with the topic without misleading readers. The hook could be a simple statement that explains the main character of the book, or it could ask a question that resonates with the reader. Don’t make the hook too sensational to avoid sounding like a sales pitch. It should simply provide an introduction that grabs reader interests.

11. Explain what you liked about the book

Writing your own book review is a way to explain what you liked about it, and what you liked could be of interest to another reader. This section allows you to personalize the review. You can explain what you liked about the characters, who was your favorite character, what part of the book was your favorite, and if the book invoked any personal feelings (e.g., you laughed or cried).

12. Explain what you disliked about the book

You likely have something that you disliked about the book, and this section explains what you wish would have been different about the storyline or the characters. Just like the other sections, make sure that you do not reveal too much and give away important plot lines that could be considered spoilers for the rest of the story.

13. Include brief quotes as examples

Brief quotes provide readers with better insight into characters. Using quotes from characters will help the reader follow the plot summary and determine if the characters are people they can relate to. Avoid using excessively long quotes. Since the reader hasn’t read the book, a long quote could ruin plot twists or overpower the review.

14. Reference similar books

A great way to introduce readers to a specific book is to compare your book review with other books. For example, you can explain to the reader that they will like the current book you’re reviewing if they like another similar book. Alternatively, you can also compare characters between books to provide better insight into the story’s characters and the dynamic between individual characters.

Ready to make your own book? Get started quickly and easily with our free bookmaking software, Bookwright .

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How to Write a Book Review

Last Updated: January 10, 2024 Approved

This article was co-authored by Christopher Taylor, PhD . Christopher Taylor is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of English at Austin Community College in Texas. He received his PhD in English Literature and Medieval Studies from the University of Texas at Austin in 2014. There are 10 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article received 66 testimonials and 92% of readers who voted found it helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 1,203,385 times.

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

Review Template

how to write a review for a book

Preparing to Write Your Review

Step 1 Read the book and take notes.

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

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

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

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

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

Step 4 Consider the author's writing style.

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

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

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

Step 7 Consider any literary devices in the book.

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

Step 8 Think about how unique the book is.

Creating a First Draft of the Review

Step 1 Begin with a heading.

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

Step 3 Write a summary of the book.

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

Step 4 Evaluate and critique the book.

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

Step 5 Wrap up the review.

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

Polishing the Review

Step 1 Re read and revise your review.

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

Step 2 Get feedback.

Community Q&A

Community Answer

  • As you're writing, try thinking of your reader as a friend to whom you're telling a story. How would you relay the book's themes and main points to a friend in a casual conversation? This will help you balance formal and informal language and simplify your critical assessment. [13] X Research source Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
  • Review the book in front of you, not the book you wish the author had written. Being critical means pointing out shortcomings or failures, but avoid focusing your criticism of the book on what the book is not. Be fair in your discussion and always consider the value of the book for its audience. [14] X Trustworthy Source University of North Carolina Writing Center UNC's on-campus and online instructional service that provides assistance to students, faculty, and others during the writing process Go to source Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
  • Make sure, after you've finished your review, to reread it and check any grammar or spelling mistakes so that it makes sense. Try reading your review from numerous perspectives, or asking a friend to proofread it for you. Thanks Helpful 3 Not Helpful 1

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

how to write a review for a book

You Might Also Like

Understand the Book You Are Reading

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

About This Article

Christopher Taylor, PhD

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

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Book Review Writing

Cathy A.

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

15 min read

How to Write a Book Review

People also read

Book Review Examples to Help You Get Started

A Complete Book Review Format Guide For Students

Ever stare at a blank page, wondering how to spill your thoughts about a book onto it? You're not alone!

Crafting a compelling book review can be as daunting as facing a dragon in a fantasy novel. The struggle is real. How do you structure your thoughts? And most importantly, how do you make it enjoyable, both for you and your readers?

Fear not, because we've got you covered.

In this guide, we'll take you step by step through the process. We'll share some useful tips and show you real examples. From organizing your review to nailing the writing part, we've got everything covered. 

So let's dive in!

Arrow Down

  • 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. Tips to Write a Book Review Effectively

What is a Book Review?

A book review is a critical evaluation of a literary work that provides a reader's perspective on its strengths and weaknesses. It goes beyond summarizing the plot, diving into aspects like character development, writing style, and thematic elements. 

Through insightful analysis, a book review offers potential readers a nuanced understanding, guiding them in making informed choices. It serves as a valuable tool for both readers and authors, offering constructive feedback for continuous improvement.

How to Write a Book Review?

Let's break down the steps of writing a book review:

Step 1: Read the Book Thoroughly

Read the book attentively, taking note of major plot points, character developments, and any recurring themes. Ensure a clear understanding of the author's narrative choices.

Example: 

Step 2: Understand the Author's Intent

Research the author's background, previous works, and writing style. Consider the book's genre and its place in the author's overall body of work to understand their intent.

Step 3: Identify the Target Audience

Determine the ideal reader for the book. Assess how well the author caters to this audience and whether the content is appropriate for the intended readership.

Step 4: Compose an Engaging Introduction

Start with a captivating hook, such as an interesting fact or a thought-provoking question. Provide essential information about the book, including the title, author, and genre.

Step 5: Summarize the Plot Concisely

Provide a brief overview of the plot without revealing spoilers. Focus on the key events that drive the narrative forward.

Step 6: Evaluate Character Development

Discuss the characters' depth and growth throughout the story. Analyze their relevance to the overall plot and note any notable character traits.

Step 7: Assess Writing Style and Language

Evaluate the author's writing style and language choices. Comment on how these elements contribute to or hinder the overall reading experience.

Step 8: Explore Themes and Symbolism

Identify central themes and discuss their significance in the book. Look for symbolism or motifs that enhance the overall meaning of the narrative.

Step 9: Critique the Ending 

Evaluate how well the conclusion wraps up the story. Discuss whether it is satisfying or if it leaves room for interpretation. Avoid giving away crucial plot details.

Step 10: Share Personal Insights

Express your personal reactions and emotions toward the book. Support your opinions with specific examples or passages from the text that resonated with you.

Step 11: Maintain Objectivity 

Balance criticism with praise. Provide constructive feedback without solely focusing on negative aspects. Base your arguments on evidence from the book.

Step 12: Consider the Book's Impact

Reflect on the lasting impression the book leaves. Discuss its significance in a broader literary context and consider its potential influence on readers.

Step 13: Craft a Conclusion

Summarize the key points discussed in your review. Provide a final assessment of the book and recommend it to specific audiences based on its strengths.

Step 14: Revise and Proofread 

Polish your review for clarity and coherence. Check for grammatical errors, and typos, and ensure a professional presentation. Consider seeking feedback from others for additional perspectives.

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Book Review Format

In this section, we'll explore how to write a book review format, particularly focusing on the formatting guidelines. Let's explore the essential guidelines that make up a compelling book review: 

Title Page:

  • Boldly display the book title centered at the top.
  • Include the author's name beneath the title.
  • Mention the publication date and edition if applicable.

Page Formatting:

  • Use standard letter-sized paper (8.5 x 11 inches).
  • Set 1-inch margins on all sides for a clean appearance.

Text Formatting:

  • Choose a legible font like Times New Roman or Arial.
  • Use a 12-point font size for the main text.
  • Italicize book titles and maintain consistency in formatting throughout.

Line Spacing:

  • Double-space the entire review for readability.
  • Single space within paragraphs for a balanced look.

If you want to learn the details of structuring and formatting a book review check out our “ book review format ” blog!

Book Review Template

Let’s take a look at a sample book review writing template: 

Note: The template provided is a general guide, and the structure can vary based on personal preferences or specific requirements. 

Book Review Examples

Examples are a great source to learn something new. That’s why below we have provided some book review examples that you can read to understand what it takes to write a great book review.

Fictional Book Review

Here is how to write a book review for a fiction book: 

Non-Fiction Book Review

Here is how to write a book review sample for a non-fictional book: 

How to Write a Book Review PDF Samples

We have collected a bunch of samples for your how to write a book review example queries. Check out and download to enhance your learning: 

Short Book Review For Students

How To Write A Book Review For School

How To Write A Book Review For College

How To Write A Book Review University

Need more examples for better understanding? Check out our book review examples blog for a range of sample book reviews.

Book Review Sample Topics

If you are looking for more book reviews, we have compiled some potential book review topics often designated for student assignments:

  • "The Lord of the Rings" by J.R.R. Tolkien Discuss the epic fantasy, world-building, and themes of friendship and power.
  • "Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austen Explore the societal norms and romantic elements in Austen's beloved novel.
  • "The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins Analyze the dystopian world, social commentary, and character development in this modern YA classic.
  • "The Outsiders" by S.E. Hinton Examine the portrayal of social issues and youth identity in this coming-of-age novel.
  • "Brave New World" by Aldous Huxley Discuss the futuristic society, technology, and ethical dilemmas in Huxley's dystopian masterpiece.
  • "The Color Purple" by Alice Walker Analyze the narrative of oppression, resilience, and empowerment in Walker's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel.
  • "The Kite Runner" by Khaled Hosseini Explore themes of guilt, redemption, and the impact of personal choices in this powerful novel.
  • "The Book Thief" by Markus Zusak Reflect on the impact of literature and the resilience of the human spirit during World War II.
  • "The Picture of Dorian Gray" by Oscar Wilde Analyze the moral decadence and the consequences of aestheticism in Wilde's classic novel.
  • "The Joy Luck Club" by Amy Tan Examine the intergenerational relationships and cultural dynamics in Tan's exploration of Chinese-American experiences.

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Tips to Write a Book Review Effectively

Here are some essential tips for writing a top-notch book review: 

  • Capture Emotions: Express how the book made you feel. Readers connect with genuine emotional responses.
  • Highlight Unique Aspects: Bring attention to distinctive elements—be it writing style, character depth, or unusual plot twists.
  • Avoid Spoilers: Maintain intrigue by avoiding detailed plot revelations. Let readers discover the story organically.
  • Compare Similar Works: Draw comparisons with other books in the same genre to provide context and perspective.
  • Proper Content Breakdown: Organize your review into distinct body paragraphs, each focusing on a specific aspect like plot, characters, and themes.
  • Consider the Audience: Tailor your review to the likely readership. Evaluate the book's appeal within its target audience.
  • Balance Critique: Offer constructive criticism without solely focusing on flaws. Acknowledge the book's strengths and weaknesses. Also, your thesis statement should guide the overarching tone and focus of your critique.
  • Connect with Themes: Discuss underlying themes and how they resonate with broader societal or personal contexts.
  • Use Vivid Language: Craft your review with descriptive language. Paint a vivid picture without giving away too much.
  • Relate to the Author: Explore the author's background, writing influences, or any personal connections that enhance understanding.
  • Encourage Discussion: Pose questions or points for discussion to engage readers and stimulate conversation.

Wrapping it Up!

This step-by-step guide has equipped you with the tools to craft a compelling book review. From understanding the book's essence to expressing your personal reactions, we've covered it all.  Remember, a well-crafted review is an art that combines analysis and emotion. 

If you find yourself struggling with your book review assignment or seeking professional guidance, don't hesitate to reach out. Our expert writers at MyPerfectWords.com are here to provide the best writing service. 

Your academic success is our priority. Reach out to us today, and let us help you with your ' do my essay for me ' request!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the 4 stages of a book review.

FAQ Icon

The 4 stages of reviewing a book are:

  • Introduction the book
  • Drafting an outline of its major chapters
  • Highlighting the significant details of the book
  • Writing a detailed evaluation

What are the parts of a book review?

The main parts of a book review are as following:

  • Summary of the book
  • Background details of the book
  • Credits: author, publisher, etc.
  • Plot and setting

What is the goal of a book review?

The purpose of the book review is to convey information about a particular book in an understandable way. It can be used as a tool by other people who want to know what your review about the book is or how it compares to their own expectations.

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Book Review Examples

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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  • Last Updated: Jan 19, 2023 3:12 PM
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how to write a review for a book

How to Write a Book Review: Awesome Guide

how to write a review for a book

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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How To Write A Book Review?

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

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how to write a review for a book

How to Write a Professional Book Review

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Arvyn Cerézo

Arvyn Cerézo is an arts and culture writer/reporter with bylines in Book Riot , Publishers Weekly , South China Morning Post , PhilSTAR Life , the Asian Review of Books , and other publications. You can find them on arvyncerezo.com and @ArvynCerezo on Twitter.

View All posts by Arvyn Cerézo

With the boom of Goodreads and book blogging in the past few years, everyone became self-proclaimed book critics. But as much fun as it is writing about books, these platforms don’t let writers earn bucks on the side.

But here’s the thing: You can use your book blogging skills to try writing a professional book review—trade book review—and make some quick cash. Trade reviews are published in established outlets like Publishers Weekly , Kirkus Reviews , and The New York Times among others.

How to Write a Professional Book Review l BookRiot.com (Source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/person-holding-white-and-brown-newspaper-3957616/)

Want to know how to write a professional book review and start side hustling? Read on.

I’ve been reviewing for a couple of years now for some book review outlets. Although I only have a few years on my belt, I’ve learned enough to be able to share some basic tips. Here are some of them:

Get to Know the Best Reviewing Practices

There are a lot of book review publications out there, and their reviewing guidelines vary. If accepted as a reviewer for a publication, make sure to ask your editor about the best reviewing practices.

You can also read the publication’s published reviews to get the tone and the writing style to use.

Fine-Tune Your Language

Reviewing for trade publications requires a shift of language tone. Book critics, more or less, are unbiased, firm, and straightforward in writing their reviews.

In a book review blog, however, you can be more friendly and playful with your tone. You are also free to let your feelings out or even spill your guts in the book review.

Take a look at these examples:

Book blog: “I didn’t like this book, so I give it two stars. Not recommended!”

Trade book review: “While the mystery around the main character carries the story forward, the plot meanders a lot. Horror readers will be disappointed.”

As you might notice, the tone of trade book reviews are authoritative and matter-of-fact. You can also do the same by being objective in your approach.

Avoid Showing Uncertainty or Doubt

This is common in book blogging. While there’s nothing really wrong with letting your unfiltered thoughts flow in writing, this is not recommended in trade review writing.

Avoid using words like “I think,” “This might,” “This could” etc. to convey your convictions. Instead, use words that show firm opinions like “will” and “can.”

Here are some examples:

Book blog: “Well, not for me but I think this might interest fantasy readers.”

Trade book review: “Fast-paced and high-stakes, fantasy readers will keep turning pages.”

Don’t Copy Goodreads Descriptions

Don’t paraphrase them either. It will be very obvious, and you might be accused of plagiarism.

If you read the book, then rehash the plot from your mind. You can do so by writing important plot points from A to B and C to D. To avoid errors, fact check what you’re writing by consulting the book.

Be Mindful of What You Say

With book blogging, you can say whatever you want. It’s your opinion as a reader after all. But if you’re a professional book reviewer, you just can’t say a book is shitty without providing evidence.

Did it suck because it’s slow-paced? Are the characters one-dimensional? Is the book full of clichés? State it in your review and provide examples such as sample texts or passages.

Don’t Drop Spoilers

Most traditional review outlets don’t do this either. Why? It’s simply because readers click on your article to see whether they’ll like the book or not.

With book blogging, you can get away with adding a “Spoiler Alert” warning. And then, you can gush out how excited or exasperated you were by what happened to your favorite character.

However, that’s not a good practice in trade book reviews. Just write enough plot summaries that won’t disclose revelations (like a character dying).

Write in Third-Person Point of View

To sound objective, authoritative, and all-knowing in your reviews, write in third-person point of review.

Avoid using the “I” pronoun as much as possible.

Review Books You Only Like

I have some blogger friends who are required to write a review in exchange for the books they didn’t ask for but received. But what if they didn’t like the books at all?

If the book didn’t pique your interest in the first place, don’t review it. You run the risk of giving a negative review to a rather stellar book.

With professional book reviewing, you can pitch to editors only the books you like to read. You are not pressured to review books just because you received them for free.

Don’t Leave a Star Rating

Sure, this might be fun to do on Goodreads and in your book review blog. It can easily indicate your stand for a book.

However, this is not a standard practice in trade review publications. Instead, they have a different version of showing a book’s merit: the “ starred reviews .” If part of the publication’s policy, you can leave a star on a book to indicate quality.

These are just some basic tips on how to write a professional book review. While guidelines and practices vary per publication, the tips above are generally applicable in trade review writing.

If you want to further sharpen your reviewing chops, you can also read these guidelines: How to Write a Book Review .

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How To Write A Review On Amazon: Proven Methods

  • December 1, 2023

Table of Contents:

  • Amazon's Review Guidelines

Step-by-Step Guide to Writing a Review

Log in to amazon:, find the product:.

  • Click on 'Write a Review':

Give Your Rating:

Write your review, add photos or videos (optional):, check your work:, submit your review:, structure and content, start with a clear title:, describe what you bought:, share your experience:, talk about the good parts:, mention anything that could be better:, think about who would like it:, wrap it up:, check your writing:, additional elements, add photos or videos:, use star ratings:, talk about how it helps you:, compare it to other things:, avoiding common review mistakes, stay on topic:, be honest, but kind:.

  • Don't Write Too Little or Too Much:

Check Your Spelling and Grammar:

Q1: what is the connection between amazon reviews and the book trailer guide blog keyword.

  • Q2: How can understanding the Author's Purpose Factors help write effective Amazon reviews?

Q3: Why are Book Reviews Significance and important for authors and publishers?

Q4: can you recommend ways to find book publishers, as mentioned in the find book publishers keyword, q5: do amazon reviews have any impact on book editing services.

When shopping online, especially on a large marketplace like Amazon, reviews are the guiding stars for consumers. They offer invaluable insights into product quality, usability, and customer satisfaction. This is particularly true for books and literary works, where opinions can significantly sway potential readers’ decisions. For authors and publishers, especially those utilizing  Book Writing Services , reviews are not just feedback; they’re essential tools that help gauge the readers’ reception and enhance the visibility of their work.

Amazon reviews bridge the gap between the author’s intent and the reader’s expectations. They serve as a platform for honest, transparent communication about the product, helping future buyers make informed decisions. In a digital age where physical examination of products isn’t possible, these reviews become the eyes and ears of the online shopper. Understanding the art of writing an effective Amazon review is crucial for anyone looking to contribute meaningfully to this community.

Amazon’s Review Guidelines

Writing reviews on Amazon is like having a friendly chat about a product, but there are some rules to follow. First, always tell the truth in your reviews. Share what you think and how you feel about the product. Making up stories or saying things that aren’t true isn’t allowed.

You should also only talk about the product in your review. Don’t write about how fast it arrived or the people who sold it to you. The review is just for sharing what you think about the product itself.

Remember to be nice and polite in your reviews. Don’t use mean words or say bad things about other people. Amazon wants everyone to feel safe and happy when they read the reviews.

It’s also important not to write reviews for things you got for free or paid to discuss. Your review should be about something you chose yourself and used yourself.

Following these rules helps make Amazon a good place for everyone to learn about products. It’s like being a helpful guide for others who want to buy things online.

Writing a review on Amazon is easy and fun! Here’s how you can do it:

First, you need to sign in to your Amazon account. If you don’t have one, you can easily make one.

Next, go to the page of the product you want to review. This could be a toy, a book, or anything else you bought.

Click on ‘Write a Review’:

You’ll see a button or link on the product page that says “Write a Review.” Click on that.

Amazon asks you to give stars to the product. If you loved it, give it five stars! If not, you can choose fewer stars.

Now, you can write about what you think. Tell others what you liked or didn’t like. You can talk about how the product works or if it’s fun or useful. Try to write a few sentences so people can understand your opinion.

If you want, you can add pictures or videos of the product. This helps other people see what it’s like.

Before you submit your review, read it again. Ensure it says what you want and is easy to read.

Finally, click the button to submit your review. Amazon will look at it, and if it follows the rules, they will put it on the product page.

Remember, your review is a big help to others. It’s like advising a friend about what to buy. So, write honestly and kindly, and have fun sharing your thoughts!

Writing a great review is like telling a story about what you bought. Here’s how to make your review good and helpful for others:

Think of a short sentence that shows what you think. Like “Super Fun Game!” or “Really Comfy Shoes.”

Write about what the product is. If it’s a book, what’s it about? If it’s a toy, what does it do? This helps people understand what you’re talking about.

Tell people what you did with the product and how it worked. Did it make you happy? Was it easy to use? Your story can help others decide if they want it, too.

What did you like best? Maybe the toy was really fun, or the book was very exciting. People like to know what’s great about something.

If there was something you didn’t like or think could be improved, it’s okay to say so. Just be nice about it. Maybe the toy broke easily, or the book had hard words.

Is it perfect for kids, adults, or someone who loves cooking or sports? Helping others know if it’s right for them is super helpful.

End your review with a final thought. Would you tell your friends to buy it? Do you want to use it every day?

Read your review again to ensure it’s easy to read and has no mistakes. You want everyone to understand your advice!

Remember, your review is like a helpful tip to others. By telling your story and sharing your thoughts, you make shopping on Amazon fun and easy for everyone.

Adding extra things to your review can make it even more helpful. Here are some cool ideas:

If you can, take pictures or a video of what you bought. It’s like showing your friends what you’ve got. They can see the size, color, or how it works. It’s really useful, especially for things like toys or clothes.

You can also choose how many stars to give when you write a review. Five stars mean you love it, and one star means you didn’t like it much. This helps people see quickly what you think.

If the product made your life better or easier, tell people about it! Maybe a new lunchbox keeps your food fresh longer, or a book taught you something cool.

If you’ve used something similar before, you can compare them. Like, “This scooter is faster than my old one,” or “This puzzle is harder than the puzzles I usually do.”

When you write a review, it’s like being a helpful guide. But sometimes, people make little mistakes. Here’s how to avoid them:

Keep your review about the product. Don’t talk about how long it took to arrive or problems with the store. Just focus on what you bought.

Always tell the truth about what you think. If you don’t like something, it’s okay to say so. But remember to be nice. Don’t use mean words or be too harsh.

Don’t Write Too Little or Too Much:

Try not to write just a few words like “It’s good” or “I don’t like it.” Give a little more detail. But also, don’t write a super long story. Just enough to help others understand why you liked or didn’t like the product.

Read your review again before you send it. Make sure the words are easy to read and understand.

A1: Amazon reviews can benefit authors who have utilized the services of Book Writing Founders to increase the visibility of their work, which can be complemented by creating engaging book trailers as suggested in the  Book Trailer Guide .

Q2: How can understanding the Author’s Purpose Factors help write effective Amazon reviews?

A2: Understanding the  Author’s Purpose Factors  is essential as it allows reviewers to analyze a book’s intent and effectively communicate how well it achieves its goals in their Amazon reviews.

A3:  Book Reviews Significance  lies in their potential to influence readers’ decisions, boost a book’s reputation, and help authors, especially those using Book Writing Services, gain valuable feedback.

A4: While the article primarily focuses on writing Amazon reviews, you can find book publishers by researching literary agents, attending writing conferences, and utilizing online resources dedicated to connecting authors with publishers.

A5: Yes, indeed, amazon reviews can indirectly impact  book editing services by reflecting the quality of a book. Positive reviews indicate effective editing, while negative reviews may raise concerns about editing quality.

Indeed, you do something important whenever you write a review on Amazon. Your words help lots of people decide what to buy. It’s like being a helper who gives advice. Sharing your honest thoughts and feelings about a product makes shopping easier and more fun for everyone.

So, remember how much your review can help next time you buy something on Amazon. Take a little time to write down what you think. You’re not just talking about a product; you’re part of a big community where everyone helps each other. That’s a cool thing to do.

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From a Dead Dog to a Made-Up Meeting: Takeaways From Kristi Noem’s Book

After a rough start to the rollout of her memoir, the South Dakota governor has continued to defend shooting her dog and to deflect on a false story about meeting Kim Jong-un.

  • Share full article

Gov. Kristi Noem of South Dakota speaking at a lectern in front of a large American flag.

By Chris Cameron

  • May 7, 2024

In one sense, Kristi Noem has had a wildly successful rollout of her new book: America can’t stop talking about it.

But all the chatter is not for the reasons Ms. Noem, the conservative governor of South Dakota, might have expected when she finished “No Going Back,” a memoir that recounts her political career. The book appears aimed at raising her profile as a MAGA loyalist while former President Donald J. Trump weighs his choices for running mate . Just a month ago, Ms. Noem had been widely seen as a contender.

Instead of talking up her conservative bona fides, however, Ms. Noem has spent the last week on national television defending a grisly account in the book in which she shoots her dog in a gravel pit. The killing of the dog, a 14-month-old wire-haired pointer named Cricket, has drawn bipartisan criticism and scrutiny.

The book, published on Tuesday, includes a number of other noteworthy details, some of which Ms. Noem has discussed in recent interviews. Here are five takeaways.

Noem has a lot of criticism for other Republicans.

Ms. Noem’s account of her time in office — first as South Dakota’s sole House representative and then as governor — includes many stories that broadly criticize Republicans for their electoral failures, while also targeting figures who have drawn the ire of Mr. Trump.

She describes a phone conversation she had with Nikki Haley, the former South Carolina governor who dropped out of the Republican presidential primary race in March, claiming that Ms. Haley had threatened her because they were both prominent Republican women. Chaney Denton, a spokeswoman for Ms. Haley, has said Ms. Noem’s account of the conversation was inaccurate, and “just plain weird.”

Ms. Noem also blames Ronna McDaniel, the former chairwoman of the Republican National Committee , for the poor performance of Republican candidates in the 2022 midterms, and criticizes her for not supporting Mr. Trump’s false claims that the 2020 election was stolen — though Ms. Noem herself writes in that section that “Trump lost in 2020.”

“We got lazy, and no one was held accountable,” she says, adding that Mr. Trump was wrongly blamed for Republicans’ underperforming. She also called out the National Republican Congressional Committee, the campaign arm of House Republicans, though she says she has hope for 2024 and is “willing to help.”

Ms. Noem devotes a section of the book to RINOs — Republicans in Name Only — a favorite pejorative of Mr. Trump that he has deployed against critics within the party.

“In many ways, these political creatures are worse than some donkeys,” Ms. Noem wrote, referring to Democrats in that section as “donkeys.”

But Ms. Noem also takes a swipe at some Republicans on the far right in her party, saying that they have contributed to recent election losses.

“Losing sucks. But Republicans happen to be great at it,” she writes in one section, adding: “Candidates talk like crazy people, make wild claims, and offer big promises. And they lose. Of course, there are some crazy candidates, but I’m not talking about them. This is about good folks who choose the wide path of bomb throwing and parroting whatever’s on social media, as opposed to speaking rationally and humbly offering solutions.”

Noem says shooting her dog was a “difficult” choice, and suggests one of President Biden’s dogs should be put down, too.

Ms. Noem has repeatedly defended her decision to kill her dog , Cricket, and her politically baffling choice to include the anecdote in her memoir.

In the book, she describes an incident where Cricket killed a neighbor’s chickens and says the dog tried to bite Ms. Noem as she sought to restrain her. After taking Cricket home and shooting her, Ms. Noem writes, “I realized another unpleasant job needed to be done. Walking back up to the yard, I spotted our billy goat.”

The goat, Ms. Noem writes, “was nasty and mean,” smelled terrible and often chased her children around. So she dragged him out to the gravel pit, too — but didn’t kill him with the first shot, and had to go back to her truck for more ammunition to finish the job.

In an interview with Sean Hannity last week, Ms. Noem said she had included the story in the book to illustrate the “tough, challenging decisions that I’ve had to make throughout my life.”

In an interview on “Face the Nation” on CBS on Sunday, Ms. Noem called attention to another part of the book in which she suggested that one of President Biden’s dogs, a bite-prone German shepherd named Commander, should also be put down.

In a section of the memoir discussing what Ms. Noem would do on her first day in office as president, she wrote that “the first thing I’d do is make sure Joe Biden’s dog was nowhere on the grounds (‘Commander, say hello to Cricket for me’).” Ms. Noem made a similar suggestion in her interview on Sunday.

“You’re saying he should be shot?” asked the CBS host Margaret Brennan.

“That what’s the president should be accountable to,” Ms. Noem replied.

The print edition of the book includes a false anecdote about Noem meeting Kim Jong-un.

Ms. Noem writes in the memoir that she met with Kim Jong-un, the North Korean dictator, while serving on the House Armed Services Committee.

“I had the chance to travel to many countries to meet with world leaders — some who wanted our help, and some who didn’t,” she writes. “I remember when I met with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. I’m sure he underestimated me, having no clue about my experience staring down little tyrants (I’d been a children’s pastor, after all). Dealing with foreign leaders takes resolve, preparation, and determination.”

This was an error, according to Ian Fury, the chief of communications for Ms. Noem. Ms. Noem has said in later interviews that she takes “responsibility for the change,” but has not explained why the anecdote was included or whom she could have been referring to, if not Mr. Kim. She has also pushed back when the false anecdote has been characterized as a mistake.

“This is an anecdote that I asked to have removed, because I think it’s appropriate at this point in time,” Ms. Noem said in her interview on “Face the Nation.” “But I’m not going to talk to you about those personal meetings that I have had with world leaders.”

Noem gives a glowing portrait of Trump, and alludes to her future aspirations.

Ms. Noem heaps praise on the former president in her memoir, describing him as “a breaker and a builder,” writing, “He was relentlessly attacked for personal failures — and fictional ones — but stayed in the race and never wavered.”

She also reminds readers that she defended Mr. Trump in a speech the day after the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol, “regardless of the fact that what unfolded on January 6 was undeniably ugly.”

At one point, she also says that Mr. Trump, “in some funny ways,” is similar to her young granddaughter.

“I see similarities between Trump and my granddaughter, Miss Addie (that’s what I call her),” Ms. Noem writes. “She’s almost three years old and, in my unbiased view, one of the most brilliant human beings I’ve ever met (tied for first place with my grandson, of course!)”

But while Ms. Noem may be angling for a place at Mr. Trump’s side as his running mate, she insists in the memoir that if she is picked, it should not be because she’s a woman.

“I’m often asked by the national media if I think Donald Trump should pick a woman to be vice president,” Ms. Noem writes. “My answer is always about choosing the best people for the job.”

The final chapter of the book focuses not on any vice-presidential aspirations, but rather on what she would do on “Day 1” if elected president herself. It begins with a quote from Mr. Trump saying in December that if elected as president, he wouldn’t be a dictator, “except for Day 1.”

Along with putting federal property up for sale and convening a bipartisan working group on immigration, Ms. Noem writes, she would invite the Obamas and Bidens over to the White House for a screening of “The Grey,” a Liam Neeson film about battling wolves that she describes earlier in the book as among her favorites.

Noem offers a somewhat exaggerated account of protests outside the White House in 2020.

In the book’s introduction, Ms. Noem writes that a chaotic protest outside Mr. Trump’s 2020 nomination for re-election , held at the White House in August, was a pivotal moment for her — and inspired her to “live a life of significance — no matter where that commitment took me.” She wrote of a Washington under siege.

“We could hear explosions and screams in the distance,” she wrote. “On the other side of the fence, sounds of shouting and chaos. I smelled what we guessed was tear gas. We were trapped.”

But her account of a “massive and, at times, violent protest” doesn’t align with contemporaneous reports.

There was a significant demonstration outside the White House during Mr. Trump’s renominating event — one that tried to disrupt his acceptance speech by making noise . Reports from the time described the demonstration as “generally peaceful” and “significantly smaller” than the demonstrations that were forcibly dispersed by Mr. Trump earlier in the spring . There is also no evidence that tear gas was deployed that night.

Chris Cameron covers politics for The Times, focusing on breaking news and the 2024 campaign. More about Chris Cameron

Our Coverage of the 2024 Election

Presidential Race

At a rally in Wildwood, N.J., former President Donald Trump declared that his campaign would “officially play” in a state he has lost twice by double digits .

Paul Manafort, who was the chairman of Trump’s 2016 campaign and also served time in prison, abruptly stepped aside from an unpaid role  advising Republican officials on the nominating convention.

Barron Trump, the former president’s youngest son, will not serve as one of Florida’s delegates  to the Republican National Convention, the office of Melania Trump announced.

Dodging the Question:  Leading Republicans, including several of Trump’s potential running mates, have refused to say flatly that they will accept the outcome of the election .

West Virginia Senate Race:  Gov. Jim Justice’s companies have long had a reputation for not paying their debts. But that may be catching up to them  as Justice campaigns for a seat in the Senate.

Ohio Senate Race:  Bernie Moreno, the Republican challenging Senator Sherrod Brown, tells a riches-to-rags-to-riches tale. But the reality isn’t so tidy .

Maryland Senate Race:  The Democratic Senate primary between Angela Alsobrooks, the Prince George’s County executive, and Representative David Trone has grown tighter  as they vie to take on Larry Hogan, the popular former two-term Republican governor.

Tell us, Tom Selleck: Who are you, really?

The 79-year-old actor opens up — kind of — in his memoir, “You Never Know.”

Unlike Ben Franklin, who arrived in Philadelphia after a long journey by foot and boat, with enough money to buy three puffy rolls, Tom Selleck entered Los Angeles in the family car, dad at the wheel, ready to settle down in Sherman Oaks, a short drive from Hollywood.

Though Franklin is not mentioned in Selleck’s memoir, “ You Never Know ,” his work ethic and didacticism are widely evident. Another great American is also present: Huck Finn. By combining Franklin’s homiletic pronouncements with Huck’s folksy immediacy of voice, Selleck, along with co-writer Ellis Henican, has created an easygoing, talky American memoir.

And why not? Sturdy as Mount Rushmore, athletic and eminently likable, Selleck exudes traditional American masculine traits; he’s the very embodiment of the strong, silent type. But silence can be a hazard when it comes to writing a memoir, which after all is a genre of self-reflection, confession and exposure.

Known for his privacy, Selleck has written a what book instead of a why book, a chronology of doing , as he writes about his life. As he says late in the book, “Feelings are hard to describe.” So readers can decide if they’re satisfied with a résumé — a running of the credits, if you will.

I like Tom Selleck, and while waiting for the book to arrive, I watched a lot of his movies and shows. Though I find the memoir disappointing, it will make a great audiobook, and I wonder if that’s what he had in mind, letting his easygoing voice tell a story that is soothing because he keeps it on the surface.

A quick list of some doings: student at USC, where a drama professor referred him to a Hollywood agent; acting classes to improve his “instrument”; joined California Army National Guard in 1967; appeared on “The Dating Game”; TV commercials; print ads; B movies, then better ones; survived the Hollywood cattle calls until he was chosen for a new TV show titled “Magnum, P.I.” By now it’s 1980, and Selleck is 35. He’s paid his dues and lived up to his principle of “Don’t know where I’m goin’, but there’s no use bein’ late.” Hi, Huck.

This Hollywood education exposes a ruthless industry that both tests and forms Selleck’s values. He sums up his success by quoting Calvin Coolidge: “Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence,” a very Franklinesque aphorism. But, despite Selleck’s persistence, he wrestles with the “critic on my shoulder,” that voice that says you’re not good enough. Soon, though, another phrase — a mantra, really — takes its place: “Tom, you’re good enough.”

The book gives us a lot of doing and name-dropping. We may learn about the risqué incident when Carol Burnett had her legs around Selleck’s neck, and his photo shoot with a naked Barbara Parkins, but we learn nothing about his love life — according to my research outside the book, he’s been involved with more than three famous actresses — and little about his first marriage. He dilutes his inward thoughts with vague phrasing such as “I kinda knew,” “I don’t know why … well, actually, yes, I do know why,” or “I sit here, pen in hand, trying to explain my emotions … I can’t.”

Such coy deflections and elisions try our patience and may leave some of us wondering why he wrote a memoir if he can’t express feelings. Instead, we get clichés like “In the film business, work is waiting for you every day, and you owe it your commitment every day” and repetitions of the line he uses in his TV commercials for reverse mortgages: “This isn’t my first rodeo.” In his memoir, does Selleck have difficulty separating himself from the characters he depicts? He’s selling himself to his readers, and we’ll buy it because we like him and he’s a good actor, but cliché and evasion erode intimacy .

Ten chapters detail the creation and success of “Magnum, P.I.,” and we learn much about television production and its grueling deadlines, and that actors chew ice before doing a scene so their breath won’t show up on camera. We also learn how loyal and dedicated Selleck is to his crew, those folks who make our favorite shows possible. During the last season of “Magnum,” Selleck asked his network to give his hard-working team of seven years a bonus; the studio refused. So Selleck arranged to have his own bonus docked and gave $1,000 to each crew member. Commendable.

“Magnum” is firmly part of what scholar Susan Jeffords calls the “remasculinization of America,” a post-Vietnam cultural shift that, through films and popular culture, reinvigorated hypermasculine images and traditional male values. “Magnum” featured a Vietnam veteran, an ex-Navy SEAL, who relocates to Hawaii and becomes a private investigator. He became a character millions of men admire and emulate. But Selleck says little about his longest-lived iteration of American masculinity, Frank Reagan of the TV hit “Blue Bloods,” now in its 14th and final season. A lifelong Republican, Selleck, I’m sure, enjoys playing a character who has the same last name as a president he admires.

Reagan is an aging patriarch who wields his masculinity both as the NYPD police commissioner and as a father who sits at the head of the table during family Sunday dinners. Selleck does not share what it’s like playing this older man who covers up his body with an overcoat and a cowl-neck sweater. Instead, we’re told the business details of “Blue Bloods,” not its personal impact on its star.

Selleck is completely silent about the nine “Jesse Stone” TV movies he made beginning in 2005. Stone, a cop, does open up, revealing both the whats and the whys of his character, especially in the exchanges between him and his male therapist. Selleck is also at his sexiest, lounging in bed, the famous chin doubling as he reaches for his reading glasses. How does a masculine icon age? Selleck doesn’t say.

Closing on a pastoral note in the epilogue, the 79-year-old actor walks around his ranch and checks the water tanks he needs for his avocado crop while reminiscing about the stories he’s just told us and the ones he’s keeping to himself. In the book’s penultimate sentence he writes, “I am the steward of those stories, the same way I am steward of my land.” Unsurprisingly, Selleck fails to mention his allegedly improper transfer of over 1 million gallons of water onto “my land” in 2015.

It’s hard to separate the dancer from the dance, the mustache from the man, but not impossible. Memoir is supposed to puncture the facade of performance, or at least try to. Perhaps Selleck will trust his audience enough to write a more intimate sequel. He’s been speaking to us for a long while now, and I’m sure he has more to say.

Sibbie O’Sullivan, a former teacher in the Honors College at the University of Maryland, is the author of “My Private Lennon: Explorations From a Fan Who Never Screamed.”

Tom Selleck

You Never Know

By Tom Selleck with Ellis Henican

Dey Street. 352 pp. $29.99

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

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

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

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how to write a review for a book

Business Insider

The 18 best ways to make money by reading, from submitting book reviews for cash to narrating audiobooks

  • Zulie Rane earns six figures as a freelance content creator.
  • She always wanted to earn money from reading books, but said the best way to do that doesn't exist.
  • Rane said one of the funnest ways to make money by reading books is to create a social media page.

When I was younger, it was always my dream to become a professional reader. I wanted my entire day job to be reading books, thinking critically about what was good, what was bad, and what I would change, and then sharing my thoughts with other people. I really expected this to be a full-time job.

Unfortunately, there's no book-reading degree. You can't get a nine-to-five job as a professional book reader. (At least not yet.) But it is possible to make money by reading books online and offline. I've got 18 ways listed right here. Some of these are pretty typical, and some of these are a little more unconventional, but all of these will result in you earning money from reading books. 

I've separated these into four different categories of ways to make money from reading books: social media, jobs, review sites, and others. 

Make money reading books for social media

One of the most standard and fun ways to make money by reading books is to create a social media profile where you gain a reputation for reading books, having interesting thoughts, and influencing others to read or not read particular books.

All you need to get started is a way to post. You don't even need to buy books at first – use a library card or a Hoopla account to read books for free.

Here are a few of the best ways to make money by reading books using social media.

1. Post your video thoughts on BookTok (and BookTube, and BookStagram)

TikTok gets a bad rap, but it's actually boosting literacy rates in America. I personally have read plenty of BookTok books that I loved, including The Hating Game, anything by Emily Henry, and The Song of Achilles, to name a few. 

The good news is that BookTok is one of the best ways to make money by reading books. 

Here's how it works. This process is similar to any of the video-format book reviews.

First, create an account. Make it clear that it's about book reviews. Explain what genre of books you like.

Then, start reviewing books. This requires a bit of thought - how can you make your videos stand out? How can you gain a reputation as a thoughtful, trustworthy Bookfluencer? 

After that, join the creator fund whenever you're eligible. In 2021, Cait Jacobs went on the record to state that TikTok's creator fund only nets you 2 to 4 cents per 1,000 views, so you'd need between 25,000 to 50,000 views to earn just a dollar. 

However, sponsorships are also a lucrative and potential source of income.

Create the video once, then cross-post it on all three video channels to get the most bang for your buck. It may take some time, but you can earn money by reading books this way.

2. Write your review on a blog to earn money by reading books

What better way to make money by reading than penning an homage to the book with the written word? Blogs are a great way to make money by reading books. It's a less demanding schedule than video content, so you can post once or twice a week as you read and review books, and slowly gain an audience that way.

Whack ads on that bad boy and you're good to go. It may take a while to start gaining traction, but if you truly love books, you're reading them anyway, just post your reviews on your own website instead of (or in addition to) Goodreads.

3. Post about books on Medium

Medium has a royalty payment scheme. The way it works is when a paying Medium member reads your post, you earn a small portion of their monthly membership fee. More views = more money.

Post your book reviews on a publication like Books Are Our Superpower and make money by reading books that way.

This is a really great way to do it because it's simple. You don't need to do any SEO to get money from ad views. You don't even need to host your own website. Just post your thoughts, get 100 followers, and start making money by reading books and posting your thoughts.

4. Podcast it, baby

Podcasts work similarly to BookTok or Bookstagram to make money by reading books, except instead of recording both voice and face, it's just your voice.

Grab a cohost or DIY. Share your latest thoughts on the books you read. Earn money through sponsorships.

Right now, most podcasts don't earn money through anything by ads, but if your podcast grows bigger, you can leverage your audience to get Patreon support, sell bonus content, or get some kind of exclusive deal with a podcasting company.

5. Use affiliate links

Affiliate links kind of pervade all these methods, but they're big enough that I'm giving them their own category as one of the best ways to make money by reading books.

Here's how you can make money reading books by using affiliate links.

First, join an affiliate program like Bookshop.org (my personal fave). 

Then, read a book.

Find the book on Bookshop.org.

Make a recommendation to a friend, on your blog, podcast, social media post, or newsletter.

When someone buys that book thanks to your recommendation, you earn 10% of the sale. 

That's it! It's highly scalable – you can make a few bucks right away with just a single sale, and then as your platform grows, you'll earn more and more. 

Freelance or jobs

What if you don't want to get a whole new social media profile? What if you want to be paid today, not in three months when the first ad revenue trickles in, or your first sponsor comes through?

Consider a career pivot or a side hustle. Freelance gigs or actual jobs are some of the best ways to make money by reading books. Pros: money right away. Cons: not as much control over the books you read.

Here are your options. I've included both full-time, 9-5 career options as well as more casual pay-as-you-go gigs to make money by reading books.

6. Narrate audiobooks

Who amongst us has never heard the dulcet tones of an audiobook reader? Nobody. (My personal fave? Moira Quirk's rendition of  Gideon the Ninth .)

The good news is that if you're in possession of a dulcet tone of your own, you are in high demand as an audiobook narrator. You can make money reading books aloud. Fun fact: Audiobooks are becoming more and more popular. Over the last 10 years, the proportion of U.S. adults who have read an audiobook has doubled . No wonder you can get paid to read books for Audible.

Here are two programs where you can upload a few samples, get contracts, and get paid for reading books (or narrating them). 

With ACX , which is Amazon's/Audible's program, you can choose a royalty share or a per-finished-hour rate. Rates typically go for around $250 PFH or more. Amazon – read books for money.

Findaway Voices is a similar program. The rates are similar. You can sign up, upload samples, and get picked based on your accent or liveliness. One thing I prefer about Findaway Voices versus ACX is that FV helps authors get books into libraries. Not only do I love libraries, but this also helps you get extra money. 

I recommend you do both.

7. Indulge your grammar nerd and become an editor

This is both a career option and a freelance option. Depending on how much education you have, you can either apply for full-time editing jobs or just post your gig on a platform like Upwork or Fiverr.

(I've talked about whether Fiverr is good for beginners here if you want to read more.)

Editing can be both grammatical pickups, but also more structural or developmental editing. This is a great way to get paid to read books because it'll actually strengthen your craft, too.

8. Become a literary agent

This is a career option. It's a very romantic way to make money by reading books if you ask me. It's your job to pick out the finest, overlooked manuscripts, read them, and make them shine. Behind every single one of your favorite books is a literary agent who believed in it long before you did.

If you don't have the right qualifications, I recommend you start with an internship. Start networking heavily, because your job is knowing the right people. Understand the publishing process inside and out. Then get paid for reading books, even if they're unpublished. 

TCK Publishing has a good guide on how to get started. 

9. Translate books

Know more than one language? Amazing news – you can get paid to read books in English, Spanish, or any other language and translating them. I love reading books in Spanish, German, and English, so I'm very grateful to the translators who help share works in other languages with me. 

Alternatively, you can also proofread books in another language. Places like FlexJobs , Fiverr , Upwork , Babelcube , and Ulatus are good places to look for these kinds of jobs. 

This can be a career or just a gig, depending on your passion for the job. 

10. Proofread books

This can be a full-time career, but more commonly it's a side hustle. I think it's one of the best ways to make money reading books because, by the time a proofreader comes aboard, the book is typically more polished and ready for publishing. Editors have to deal with the raw material, but proofreaders are just looking for small errors. 

You need a critical eye and an active grammar checker in your head at all times, but it's possible to make money reading books this way. 

11. Design book covers

This one's a curveball! Do you have good design instincts? Maybe you're even a graphic designer? Then this is one of the best ways to make money by reading books for you.

You'll get to read books, think about how you'd convey the main vibe, design a book cover, and get paid.

You can go in both directions here – either go freelance or apply for in-house jobs as a book cover designer. Either will result in a great way to make money by reading books.

Again, this is later on in the process so you'll get to read an almost ready-for-publish book. I also consider this to be a big deal for the author. Your cover will be one of the most influential factors in the book's success.

Submit reviews

Onto method three: submitting reviews for cash. This is probably the simplest method since it involves just three steps: you read a book, you pen your thoughts, and you submit to one of the five platforms I'm about to suggest to you. Boom, you've made money by reading books. This is probably the fastest way to get paid $200 to read books.

You probably already know typical places like Kirkus Reviews pay for reading books, so here are five more unheard-of five platforms I think are best to make money by reading books. 

12. Booklist

Can you write 150 to 175 words about why you liked or didn't like a book? You need to be able to describe the plot and suggest an ideal audience. If so, Booklist may be for you. Here are some examples.

These pay $15 each. You don't need a library degree, just a familiarity with books and libraries to apply.

13. The US Review of Books

This is more of a freelance position that you can tackle later on in your career as a paid book reader. You'll need to contact the editor with a resume, sample work, and at least two professional references. 

They ask that your review be 250-300 words long, with a summary as well as additional insights from the book. Check out examples here . The reviews are paid, but they don't say exactly how much.

Reedsy operates a little differently. Rather than paying you for reviews, you get paid for reading books when you earn a tip. Basically, you write a review, post it on the site, and wait. If a reader loves your review, they may tip you $1, $3, or $5. 

15. Bookbrowse

Bookbrowse is another great place to submit reviews. They promise a "modest payment," and normally assign one review per month to their reviewers. They also ask that you come armed to your application having read some sample reviews and with a few quality samples of at least 300 words yourself. 

16. Online Book Club

For your first review, you won't actually earn any cash – you'll just be sent a free book. Not so bad, right? 

But after your first sample book, you'll be eligible for paid book review opportunities. You can earn anywhere between $5 to $60 per book review. 

You don't have to apply – just enter your email address and sign up. I was able to sign up and nab a free book within about a minute. After that, you have to confirm the download within an hour and submit a review within 14 days. 

Miscellaneous ways of making money by reading books

These two are still great, but they didn't fit neatly into the other categories of the best ways to make money by reading books. Hence, they get their own category.

17. Create a paid book club

For this one, you just need friends (or a social circle). Pick a book, create some buzz, request a small payment for organizing, and set up a book club.

I pay $5/month for membership to my local book club, and I consider it money well spent. Once a month, I get an evening with pals, talking about a book. I didn't have to organize it at all. The organizer, Alice, earns between $25-75 a month depending on how many folks come.

This won't make you rich, but it is a great way to make money reading books because you'll get to read books you actually love and are excited to read. Plus, you get to hang out with friends.

18. Join apps that pay you to read

Booksta claims to let you "get paid to read." Sounds promising! This was the only "read and earn money" app I could find. 

The way it works is you read a book, take a quiz on Booksta, and then earn Booksta coins based on your score. 

Booksta coins are valued at $5/coin. There's some confusion on the site about whether the coin is actually transferable to real USD, or whether it's simply a guess for what that coin will be worth once it's all "on a Blockchain platform as a currency."  

I'm leery whenever I see the word "Blockchain," but don't let my suspicions hold you back!

The best way to make money by reading books doesn't exist yet

In my dreams, there is a future utopia. In that future, I read the books I want comfortably, and earn a living wage by doing so. However, we are not yet in that utopia. Today, the main best ways to make money by reading books are:

Posting content on social media

Getting freelance gigs editing, designing, or proofreading

Submitting reviews to paid platforms

A few other rogue options like starting a paid book club or trying out novelty apps

Maybe one day my utopia will exist. Until then, I hope this article helps you find the best ways to make money by reading books.

Zulie Rane is a freelance content creator who writes and blogs.

It is possible to make money by reading books online and offline. Feodora Chiosea/Getty Images

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Revising Writing by Integrating Feedback

Writers are often warned not to mistake revision (making substantial adjustments to a piece of writing) with editing (making surface-level adjustments like correcting errors in punctuation). While this distinction is important, it doesn’t explain how to make those substantial changes. 

This guide, written primarily for graduate students but useful to all writers, will help you approach revision as a process of “re-envisioning” your writing by setting and prioritizing goals, selecting appropriate strategies, and integrating critical feedback. Writing Center consultants can provide support at any stage of the revision process.  

Approach Revision with a Plan 

Although revision can feel daunting, once you develop a plan you’ll have a clear, achievable path forward. If you’re revising on your own, you may have no idea where to begin. If you’ve already received comments from readers, it can be tempting to jump right in. In either case, the first step is to create what scholar Alison Miller calls a “ revision inventory :” 

Re-read the piece of writing. Miller recommends printing the document so that you can more easily visualize the way the writing is organized. In addition, it’s often easier for some writers to spot errors on hard copy than on a screen. 

While you re-read, make a list of the substantial changes you need to implement, whether based on your own evaluation or feedback from others. Look for patterns: for instance, you might notice that you need clearer transitions between sections—this can be a single list item. Likewise, note that you should make “line edits” its own list item rather than listing every spelling/grammatical error individually (some writers prefer to fix these errors first, while others prefer to save this step for later). 

Once you’ve finished your list, rank the items in order of importance. Start with higher order concerns (more time-consuming, complex tasks such as clarifying the thesis, expanding analysis, strengthening evidence, structuring paragraphs logically, etc.) before listing lower order concerns (such as transitions, sentence structure/variety, formatting, etc.). For more information, check out this   resource on higher and lower order concerns . 

Now that you have a plan to tackle step by step, make a schedule. You might focus on one list item per day or give yourself a longer period. Set reasonable deadlines for each item and add them to your calendar, knowing you may have to adjust as you go. You may want to share this schedule with your advisor, writing group, or accountability partner. 

While creating your revision inventory, write down any questions you have so that you can go over them with your advisor or a consultant in the Writing Center, or another trusted reader.  

Stock Your Revision Toolbox

Revision, like writing, is not “one size fits all.” Writing of different genres and lengths calls for different revision strategies. Writing a memory draft (defined below) might be more feasible for a shorter piece (like an abstract), whereas a reverse outline could be more helpful for a long paper or book-length work.  

During your graduate study, try out many revision strategies. Doing so will help you learn to choose the best strategy for a given assignment and has the added benefit of allowing you to stock your revision toolbox. In other words, the more revision strategies you’ve tried, the more you’ll learn which methods match your preferences as a writer.  

Here are some revision strategies to try: 

  • Memory Draft : After completing a draft, we’re able to explain our argument more concisely because we’ve been sitting with the material for a long time. To make a memory draft, rewrite your piece without looking at what you originally wrote. Reviewing the original and the memory draft side by side helps you identify places where you can express yourself more clearly. This strategy is especially helpful for revising small sections of a larger text, such as introductions and conclusions, or for revising short texts. 
  • Reverse Outline : Many writers create outlines before they begin drafting, but creating a reverse outline after completing a draft can be just as useful. To make a reverse outline, draw a T-chart. In the left column, write down the paragraph number. In the right column, jot down the purpose of each paragraph (Ask yourself: What does this paragraph do? How does this paragraph help readers follow along?). You can also simply jot notes in the margins of your draft. Reviewing your completed reverse outline will help you ensure that each paragraph connects to your argument and allow you to identify areas of repetition where you can condense or cut. 
  • Talk It Out : If you’re stuck on a particular idea or struggling to figure out which ideas are relevant to your argument, explain your thinking verbally to a friend, classmate, or Writing Center consultant. Ask your listener to compare your writing with what they heard and point out areas of confusion or places you can develop. You can also try this exercise on your own: record yourself talking out your thoughts, play back the recording to untangle your reasoning, and transcribe key details or language.  
  • Check out   additional revision strategies .  

Manage Feedback from Others

Getting feedback from readers is a crucial part of the writing process and can help us grow as writers and thinkers. However, when writing has taken lots of time, effort, and heart, it can be difficult to receive criticism—even if that criticism is constructive!  

Many graduate students spend years working intensively with an advisor or multiple advisors, and they sometimes receive feedback that is conflicting or that doesn’t align with their own visions. This resource provides specific   tips on how to communicate with your advisor about feedback .  

When reviewing feedback, consider following these steps to honor your emotional response/needs and process the comments you received:  

Read to understand : Read all the feedback to ensure you have a clear grasp of your advisor’s recommendations; don’t make a revision inventory just yet. 

Try on multiple perspectives : If you’re struggling to understand a comment, try thinking about it from your audience’s perspective. Where might a reader get lost? Jot down questions you can ask your advisor later. If you have the time, you may also ask a trusted reader for their opinion on a particular section.  

Attend to your emotions : If the feedback is upsetting, spend time talking through your feelings with trusted friends, or journal about what you’re feeling and why. 

Take a break : If possible, don’t look at the feedback for a day or more. Give it time to marinate and give yourself the time you need to be able to approach your writing with confidence and fresh eyes. 

Remember : 

Get clarification : This is the time to check in with your advisor to clear up confusion about their feedback.  

The writing belongs to you : You are the expert on your own writing. While you should carefully consider the feedback you receive, you don’t necessarily need to take it if you can thoroughly articulate to yourself why you disagree.  

Now you’re ready to follow the steps in the sections above to create your revision inventory.  

This content was adapted from: 

“Common Revision Topics: Higher Order Concerns (HOC) & Lower Order Concerns (LOC).” University Writing Center, University of California, Merced, https://writingcenter.ucmerced.edu/node/231. Accessed 3 January 2023.  

“Dealing with Critical Feedback.” Writers Workshop, University of Illinois, https://writersworkshop.illinois.edu/resources-2/writer-resources/long-term-writing-projects/dealing-with-negative-feedback/. Accessed 3 January 2023.  

“Incorporating Peer and Instructor Feedback.” Writers Workshop, University of Illinois, https://writersworkshop.web.illinois.edu/resources-2/writer-resources/writing-processes/incorporating-feedback/. Accessed 3 January 2023. 

Miller, Alison. “Revise With A Strategy.” The Dissertation Coach, 2007, https://www.thedissertationcoach.com/learn/read/revise-with-a-strategy/. Accessed 3 January 2023.  

“Revision.” Writing Studio, Vanderbilt University, 2021, https://www.vanderbilt.edu/writing/resources/handouts/revision/. Accessed 3 January 2023.  

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When Lucy, a PR consultant, agrees to write a book about a convicted serial killer, she's thrust into a world of violence and dark secrets, uncovering a criminal conspiracy that puts her and... Read all When Lucy, a PR consultant, agrees to write a book about a convicted serial killer, she's thrust into a world of violence and dark secrets, uncovering a criminal conspiracy that puts her and her family's lives at risk. When Lucy, a PR consultant, agrees to write a book about a convicted serial killer, she's thrust into a world of violence and dark secrets, uncovering a criminal conspiracy that puts her and her family's lives at risk.

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