How to Write a Book Review

Categories : Book review writing

If you are an ardent reader itching to make your opinion known about a particular book you read, writing a book review is just the way to go. A book review is a simple way to criticize a book noting down exciting page-turners or giving a red flag in case the book does not meet expectations. 

Your goal is to look through the book and form an opinion about the author’s message and how they provide support for the key points. Support can be shown through literary elements, or real-life examples, among other things. 

Knowing how to write a book review will help you communicate your understanding of a book. You will be assessing both the author’s writing techniques and overall quality of the text. 

How to write a book review?

In order to analyze a book successfully, you need to follow a particular structure and rules that will determine the quality of your review.

Begin with a description of the book 

When describing the book, you should mention the title and the author’s name. You can write about the plot, setting, and any other important element that you will be addressing. 

Introduction: Write a summary 

The summary provides your reader an opportunity to know the content of the book you are reviewing. Your reader will be able to have a general idea of what the book is about. Be sure not to provide many details which might confuse the reader about the book’s message. 

Pick out the key themes or points the author makes and briefly outline them. Your summary should be precise, short, and simple. 

You can end the summary with a statement or two about your personal experience with the book, and what your review will be focusing on. 


  • Single out key features of the book 

You should break down the story line or plot into various features such as themes, characters, plot, setting, among other key elements. It is important to note that these features might not be the same across different books or genres. 

Based on your intention for writing the book review, cover each key feature in a paragraph explaining how the author used or dealt with it. You should include any remarks on whether you enjoyed the author’s approach regarding particular features or not. 

Your opinion should not provide a harsh criticism against the author. Maintain good formal and neutral language which does not seem to undermine the book. It will show consideration of the effort and time put by the author in writing the book. Be honest about your opinion but do so with an objective approach.

  • Include important quotes

When writing your review, you can avoid doubt or confusion by looking for key quotes from the book and include them as examples. Whenever you are describing key aspects of the book, make sure to include a quote or two that provides support for your analysis. For instance, when talking about a character’s persona, you can include a quote showing how the character speaks or behaves. 

To show that you have an understanding of the book, introduce the quotes and provide brief summaries in your own words. You are also encouraged to include your opinion as the basis of your interpretation. You should have one or two quotes in a paragraph depending on the length of the paragraph itself. 

Avoid having long quotes that take away your desire to show originality and understanding of the book. You do not want to make the reader see like he or she is simply going through selected sections of the book without any useful review or opinion.

Conclusive Remarks 

Here, you should summarize the main ideas and any explanations you gave using the quotes. Refer back to the key statement you gave telling the intention of the book review. Your conclusion should show how your chosen approach reinforces the message you wanted to pass across. 

This could be about the author’s style of writing or use of literary elements in explaining a particular topic. The book analysis should end with a statement or two showing the overall intention of the author. You can share your opinion as to whether the book is a worthy read or not. 

Remarks about similar books 

Talk about other books which are similar to the one you have reviewed. Readers are likely to look for these other books to establish the connection you identified. 

Writing tips

  • Keep the introduction short and simple 
  • Avoid comparing the book to other books. Doing so can confuse the reader and affect the quality of your review 
  • Make sure to make your opinion clear and known to the reader. It forms the backbone of your review 
  • The essence of a book review is to share your opinion so don’t be afraid to criticize the author 
  • Be objective. Be fair in your criticism such as using positive comments, or courteous statements showing the author’s inability to maintain quality in his or her piece. 
  • Do not review anything that is not presented in the book. Remain focused on the chosen book or novel. 
  • If you have/haven’t enjoyed the book, state your experience. Making your review personalized shows the reader that you actually read the book. 


A book review is a good way to criticize the works of others. The intention is to assess the quality of the book and tell readers whether it is worthy of readership or not. Your review can help advance knowledge about a particular topic. 

You should follow the book review guide especially if you are a beginner. Follow the writing tips to ensure that you provide an organized and quality review. 

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