Book review vs book summary: which is better, table of contents.

The realms of literature offer a vast landscape for exploration, with readers seeking various tools to navigate this expansive terrain.

Two such tools that often stand out in literary discussions are book reviews and book summaries. While both serve distinct purposes, the debate over which is better continues to intrigue readers and scholars alike.

In this exploration, we will delve into the nuances of book reviews and book summaries, dissecting their unique roles, and ultimately attempting to discern which is better suited for different reading needs.

I. Book Reviews: The Art of Critique

A book review is a literary analysis that delves into the various elements of a book, providing a critical evaluation of its strengths, weaknesses, and overall impact.

Reviews are subjective, often reflecting the reviewer’s personal opinions, experiences, and biases. Here are some key aspects that make book reviews noteworthy:

Critical Analysis: A book review goes beyond a mere recounting of the plot. It involves an in-depth analysis of the book’s themes, characters, writing style, and overall narrative structure. This critical approach allows readers to gain insights into the book’s artistic and intellectual merits.

Subjectivity: Since reviews are inherently subjective, they provide a diverse range of perspectives. Different reviewers may have contrasting opinions, allowing readers to engage with a book from multiple angles.

Engagement with Themes: Book reviews often engage with the underlying themes of a book, discussing how the author addresses issues, conveys messages, or explores the human condition. This intellectual exploration adds depth to the reader’s understanding.

II. Book Summaries: Navigating the Plot

On the other hand, a book summary is a condensed version of a book that captures its main plot points, characters, and significant events.

Summaries are objective and focus on presenting the essential elements of a book in a concise manner. Here are key aspects that highlight the utility of book summaries:

Efficiency: Book summaries are efficient tools for readers who seek a quick overview of a book without investing the time and effort required for a complete read. This is particularly beneficial for individuals with time constraints.

Objective Presentation: Unlike reviews, summaries aim to be objective, providing an unbiased account of the book’s contents. This makes summaries valuable for readers who prefer a straightforward, factual approach to understanding a book.

Decision-Making: Summaries serve as decision-making aids for readers who want to determine if a book aligns with their interests before committing to a full read. They help readers make informed choices about which books to explore further.

III. The Purpose Dilemma:

The debate over which is better—book reviews or book summaries—ultimately hinges on the reader’s purpose. Each serves a distinct function, catering to different reading needs. Let’s explore scenarios where one might be more advantageous than the other:

Exploring Literary Merits: For readers interested in a deep dive into the artistic and intellectual merits of a book, a review is indispensable. The critical analysis provided by reviews offers a nuanced understanding of the author’s craft.

Time-Efficient Information: In a fast-paced world where time is a precious commodity, book summaries emerge as the go-to option. Busy readers can quickly grasp the essence of a book without committing to a lengthy review.

Informed Decision-Making: When faced with a vast array of books and limited time, summaries become valuable decision-making tools. Readers can efficiently assess whether a book aligns with their preferences before deciding to invest more time in it.

IV. The Symbiosis of Reviews and Summaries:

Rather than pitting book reviews against book summaries, it is crucial to recognize their symbiotic relationship. Together, they form a comprehensive toolkit for readers:

Initial Exploration with Summaries: Readers can use summaries as a starting point to identify books of interest. Summaries provide a snapshot of the plot, helping readers filter through numerous options.

In-Depth Understanding with Reviews: Once a reader identifies a book of interest, reviews can offer a deeper understanding of its nuances, themes, and artistic qualities. This allows for a more informed and enriched reading experience.

Personalized Approach: The synergy between reviews and summaries enables readers to adopt a personalized approach. Whether seeking a quick overview or an in-depth analysis, readers can navigate the literary landscape according to their preferences.

Final Conclusion on Book Review vs Book Summary: Which is Better?

In the dichotomy of book reviews versus book summaries, the answer to which is better lies in the reader’s purpose.

Both serve essential roles in the literary ecosystem, offering distinct advantages.

Reviews provide a rich tapestry of critical analysis and subjective perspectives, while summaries offer efficiency and objectivity.

Rather than being adversaries, these tools complement each other, empowering readers to engage with literature in a manner that aligns with their preferences, constraints, and aspirations.

In the dynamic world of books, the interplay between reviews and summaries creates a harmonious symphony, inviting readers to explore, understand, and cherish the diverse wonders of literature.

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

Welcome to our new site!

Please pardon any technical you may experience in the next 24 hours while we continue to upgrade to the new system!

We're currently under maintenance working to bring you a fresh, better experience.

We expect to have everything in place by Sunday, 7pm PST, but feel free to browse around in the meanwhile.

You can reach out to us via the Contact page should you have any questions or concerns.

book review vs book summary

What’s the Difference Between a Book Summary and a Book Review?

Published on April 21, 2014 by Igor Mateski

Our weekly Book Summaries here at Books At a Glance are available only to our premium members , and it was suggested that we explain what you are missing if you’ve not joined!

First, what is the difference between a Book Summary and a Book Review ? The easy way to say it is that a Book Review is evaluative in nature and interactive, whereas a Summary is simply a condensed re-presentation of the book’s contents. In a Review our staff will tell you generally what a book is about and then offer comments assessing the work, commending or criticizing this or that about its contents, and so on. But in our Summaries we “crunch” the book into 7-10 pages, condensing the argument(s) of each chapter into a paragraph or two.

Book summaries are the heart of what we do here. They are designed to help you keep up to date and informed regarding new and significant publications. After reading a given summary you will know what that book is about and how it develops its thoughts. From there you can decide if that is all you need or if you should purchase the book yourself to study the matter further.

“Executive summaries” like these have a long and proven value in the business world, and we are excited to bring the same to Christian readers and students of biblical studies.

As an example, we posted a summary of Greg Beale’s The Morality of God in the Old Testament (P&R, 2013), in which Beale addresses the question of the seemingly “cruel” treatment of the wicked, such as in Joshua and the imprecatory Psalms. Here is a sample paragraph from that Summary:

Some attempts to answer the question have been offered that Beale finds to be less than completely satisfying, and he recites them briefly. Most would acknowledge that there is a “wartime ethic” that stretches the normal bounds of justice, but even the extenuating circumstances of war do not account for the intentional extensiveness of the commands God gives to the Israelites concerning the Canaanites. So also, even if these commands were not to be understood literally, details remain that such considerations simply cannot handle. And in any case, it certainly appears that the commands were intended to be taken (at least essentially) literally. This latter suggestion (that the extermination commands are not to be understood literally) would dissolve the problem considerably, and as such it is an important consideration, and so Beale treats it separately in a 10-page excursus at the end of the book.

Beale proposes his own five-fold approach to the question. In his own words, this approach is as follows. First, how does the killing of the Canaanites demonstrate God’s justice and righteousness? Second ….

As you can see, our Book Summaries take you a long way in tracing out the book’s arguments, from beginning to end.

Our members receive a Book Summary every week, and you can see how quickly and easily they keep up to date!

Note that we offer a free, one-month trial membership with no obligation. Give us a try, and see what you’re missing!

Claim your free, one-month trial membership by clicking HERE .

Thanks for checking us out!

Jim Zaspel Business Manager, Books At a Glance

Connect with us

Fill out this form to sign up and get christian book summaries.

Share this with your friends!

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.


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

Make a Gift

help for assessment

  • Customer Reviews
  • Extended Essays
  • IB Internal Assessment
  • Theory of Knowledge
  • Literature Review
  • Dissertations
  • Essay Writing
  • Research Writing
  • Assignment Help
  • Capstone Projects
  • College Application
  • Online Class

Book Review vs Book Report: Here’s How They Compare

Author Image

by  Antony W

April 19, 2023

book review vs book report

In this post, we do a front to back comparison on book review vs book report.

In particular, we’ll look at the differences between the two so that you can easily tell them apart and have an easy time writing.

Let’s get started.

Key Takeaways

  • A book review and a book report have aspects that easily overlap. For example, they both give a summary of a book to help readers determine the value of a book.

What is a Book Review?

what is a book review

A book review is an assessment of a literary work, typically written by a critic or reviewer.

It aims to provide a detailed analysis of the book's content, quality, and style, and may take various forms such as opinion pieces, scholarly reviews, or summary reviews.

Book reviews can be found in a variety of outlets, including newspapers, magazines, online directories, academic journals, and websites.

They serve as valuable resources for readers seeking to make informed decisions about what to read, and for authors seeking feedback on their work.

In both high school and college, teachers often assign book reviews as a way to assess students' ability to analyze the complexities of scholarly texts and synthesize research to demonstrate their understanding of the book's content.

You have the responsibility to read the book and provide a thorough and critical evaluation of its significance.

The length of your review will vary, ranging from a few paragraphs to an average of 2,000 words, depending on the instructor's guidelines or the complexity of the book.

It is important to remember that a book review reflects your personal opinion and taste, and what you think about a particular work of literature may differ from someone else's perspective.

What is a Book Report?

what is a book report

A book report is a comprehensive summary of a book's key elements, including its title, setting, plot, characters, and author.

It should also indicate the publication year and genre.

When writing a book report, it's important to focus on the most important points and key ideas addressed by the author.

Including relevant quotations from the book can also support your general observations, as long as you properly cite them.

In addition to summarizing the book's content, a good book report should also include your personal response to the material.

You may also need to evaluate the book's strengths and weaknesses to help potential readers decide whether to read it.

Book Review vs Book Report: What are the Differences?

book review vs book report

It's common for students to conflate book reports with book reviews, which can result in poor grades if not properly understood.

Although there are similarities between the two, it's essential to differentiate their purposes and formats.

The following table provides a concise overview of the key differences between a book review and a book report.

Structure of a Book Review

A book review requires a sophisticated and elaborate structure, involving an in-depth examination of the book's elements to assist potential readers in making an informed decision about whether to read it or not.

Typically, book reviews range between 500 and 2,000 words, although the length can vary depending on the book.

The Structure of a Book Report

In contrast, a book report has a more straightforward structure and only provides a basic summary of the book's content.

Due to its simplicity, book reports are usually shorter, spanning between 200 and 500 words.

Writing a Book Review

When writing a book review, the focus should be on shedding new light on the book for the target audience and providing reasons to read or not read it.

While it is acceptable to discuss the plot, climax, biography, and characters of the story, the review should primarily focus on the author's intent, symbols, and thematic elements.

It should also evaluate the relevance of the story to its historical context and the author's effectiveness in covering the subject matter.

While it is optional to discuss the tone of the author and look at whether it is sympathetic or biased, it is not necessary.

In addition to discussing the strengths and weaknesses of the book, the review should help potential readers determine the value of the book.

Writing a Book Report

A book report typically includes biographical information about the author, such as their place of birth, education, residence, and family.

This information helps readers understand the author's perspective in writing the book.

The report should also include a summary of the book, covering important details such as the main characters, setting, plot, and climax.

While it is uncommon, some instructors may ask students to identify and discuss relevant symbols and themes in the book report, which can help readers understand the book better.

Get Help with Book Review Writing

Despite having a clear understanding of the distinction between a book review and a book report, completing the assignment can still be a challenging task.

If you find yourself struggling with a book review project, there's no need to worry.

Our team of book review writers is available to assist you in completing the task within the shortest possible time.

Simply reach out to us, and our team of professional writers and editors will guide you in the right direction.

About the author 

Antony W is a professional writer and coach at Help for Assessment. He spends countless hours every day researching and writing great content filled with expert advice on how to write engaging essays, research papers, and assignments.

Next generation now

  • Study resources
  • Calendar - Graduate
  • Calendar - Undergraduate
  • Class schedules
  • Class cancellations
  • Course registration
  • Important academic dates
  • More academic resources
  • Campus services
  • IT services
  • Job opportunities
  • Mental health support
  • Student Service Centre (Birks)
  • Calendar of events
  • Latest news
  • Media Relations
  • Faculties, Schools & Colleges
  • Arts and Science
  • Gina Cody School of Engineering and Computer Science
  • John Molson School of Business
  • School of Graduate Studies
  • All Schools, Colleges & Departments
  • Directories

Concordia University logo

  • My Library Account (Sofia) View checkouts, fees, place requests and more
  • Interlibrary Loans Request books from external libraries
  • Zotero Manage your citations and create bibliographies
  • E-journals via BrowZine Browse & read journals through a friendly interface
  • Article/Chapter Scan & Deliver Request a PDF of an article/chapter we have in our physical collection
  • Course Reserves Online course readings
  • Spectrum Deposit a thesis or article
  • WebPrint Upload documents to print with DPrint
  • Sofia Discovery tool
  • Databases by subject
  • Course Reserves
  • E-journals via BrowZine
  • E-journals via Sofia
  • Article/Chapter Scan & Deliver
  • Intercampus Delivery of Bound Periodicals/Microforms
  • Interlibrary Loans
  • Spectrum Research Repository
  • Special Collections
  • Additional resources & services
  • Loans & Returns (Circulation)
  • Subject & course guides
  • Open Educational Resources Guide
  • General guides for users
  • Evaluating...
  • Ask a librarian
  • Research Skills Tutorial
  • Quick Things for Digital Knowledge
  • Bibliometrics & research impact guide
  • Concordia University Press
  • Copyright Guide
  • Copyright Guide for Thesis Preparation
  • Digital Scholarship
  • Digital Preservation
  • Open Access
  • ORCID at Concordia
  • Research data management guide
  • Scholarship of Teaching & Learning
  • Systematic Reviews
  • How to get published speaker series
  • Borrow (laptops, tablets, equipment)
  • Connect (netname, Wi-Fi, guest accounts)
  • Desktop computers, software & availability maps
  • Group study, presentation practice & classrooms
  • Printers, copiers & scanners
  • Technology Sandbox
  • Visualization Studio
  • Webster Library
  • Vanier Library
  • Grey Nuns Reading Room
  • Book a group study room/scanner
  • Study spaces
  • Floor plans
  • Room booking for academic events
  • Exhibitions
  • Librarians & staff
  • University Librarian
  • Memberships & collaborations
  • Indigenous Student Librarian program
  • Wikipedian in residence
  • Researcher-in-Residence
  • Feedback & improvement
  • Annual reports & fast facts
  • Annual Plan
  • Library Services Fund
  • Giving to the Library
  • Webster Transformation blog
  • Policies & Code of Conduct

The Campaign for Concordia

Library Research Skills Tutorial

Log into...

  • My Library account (Sofia)
  • Interlibrary loans
  • Article/chapter scan
  • Course reserves

Quick links

How to write a book review and a book report

A book review is a descriptive and critical/evaluative account of a book. It provides a summary of the content, assesses the value of the book, and recommends it (or not) to other potential readers.

A book report is an objective summary of the main ideas and arguments that the book's author has presented. The purpose of the report is to give enough information to help decide whether the book will be of use or interest to any potential readers.

Common points that both book reviews and book reports share are presented below. The last point, Critical Comments, is intended only for those writing book reviews.

Back to top

Bibliographical Information

Give the author's name; full title of book including subtitle; editor, if any; place, publisher and date of publication; edition, if necessary; and the number of pages - all this in the appropriate bibliographical style (APA, MLA, Chicago, etc.) under the title of the review or report.

Background information

Supply any information about the author which shows their credentials for writing in this field or which reveals any influences which may have affected the author's point of view. Note any interesting circumstances that led to the writing of the book.

Intended audience

The author's intention may be apparent by the way the subject of the book is treated. Is the material meant for specialists, students, or the general public? Is it focused on a specific subject or is it a general survey of a wider subject? Several areas may provide clues: appendices, bibliographies and general indexes usually accompany scholarly works; prefaces and introductions often contain an author's explicit statement of intention; the content and style of expression will be a good indication of the intended audience.

Subject and thesis statement

What is the book about? Tell your reader not only the main concern of the book in its entirety (subject) but also what the author's particular point of view is on that subject (thesis statement). If you cannot find an adequate statement in the author's own words or if you feel that the stated thesis statement is not that which the book actually develops (make sure you check for yourself), then you will have to compose a thesis statement that does cover all the material. This statement must be brief (a sentence or a paragraph), accurate and comprehensive.

Summary of content

The summary is based on your reading notes, follows the author's order, and consists solely of the main ideas which advance the author's argument. It may be presented with the analysis of structure or discussed separately.

Critical comments (book reviews)

Critical comments should form the bulk of the book review. State whether or not you feel the author's treatment of the subject matter is appropriate for the intended audience. Ask yourself:

  • Has the purpose of the book been achieved?
  • What contribution does the book make to the field?
  • Is the treatment of the subject matter objective?
  • Are there facts and evidence that have been omitted?
  • What kinds of data, if any, are used to support the author's thesis statement?
  • Can the same data be interpreted to alternate ends?
  • Is the writing style clear and effective?
  • Does the book raise issues or topics for discussion?

Support your evaluation with evidence from the text. In conclusion, you may want to state whether you liked or disliked the book.

Sources on writing book reviews

Concordia Library sources:

  • Buckley, J. (2013). Fit to print: the Canadian student's guide to essay writing . (see pages 180-185).
  • Drewry, J. E. (1974). Writing book reviews .

Sources on writing book reports

  • Northey, M. & McKibbin, J. (2010). Making sense: A student's guide to research and writing .
  • Teitelbaum, H. (1982). How to write book reports .
  • Purdue Online Writing Lab. (2011). Writing a Book Report

For more information, ask a librarian

arrow up, go to top of page

Purdue Online Writing Lab Purdue OWL® College of Liberal Arts

Writing a Book Review

OWL logo

Welcome to the Purdue OWL

This page is brought to you by the OWL at Purdue University. When printing this page, you must include the entire legal notice.

Copyright ©1995-2018 by The Writing Lab & The OWL at Purdue and Purdue University. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, reproduced, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our terms and conditions of fair use.

This resource discusses book reviews and how to write them.

Book reviews typically evaluate recently-written works. They offer a brief description of the text’s key points and often provide a short appraisal of the strengths and weaknesses of the work.

Readers sometimes confuse book reviews with book reports, but the two are not identical. Book reports commonly describe what happens in a work; their focus is primarily on giving an account of the major plot, characters, and/or main idea of the work. Most often, book reports are a K-12 assignment and range from 250 to 500 words. If you are looking to write a book report, please see the OWL resource, Writing a Book Report.

By contrast, book reviews are most often a college assignment, but they also appear in many professional works: magazines, newspapers, and academic journals. They typically range from 500-750 words, but may be longer or shorter. A book review gives readers a sneak peek at what a book is like, whether or not the reviewer enjoyed it, and details on purchasing the book.

Before You Read

Before you begin to read, consider the elements you will need to included in your review. The following items may help:

  • Author: Who is the author? What else has s/he written? Has this author won any awards? What is the author’s typical style?
  • Genre: What type of book is this: fiction, nonfiction, romance, poetry, youth fiction, etc.? Who is the intended audience for this work? What is the purpose of the work?
  • Title: Where does the title fit in? How is it applied in the work? Does it adequately encapsulate the message of the text? Is it interesting? Uninteresting?
  • Preface/Introduction/Table of Contents: Does the author provide any revealing information about the text in the preface/introduction? Does a “guest author” provide the introduction? What judgments or preconceptions do the author and/or “guest author” provide? How is the book arranged: sections, chapters?
  • Book Jacket/Cover/Printing: Book jackets are like mini-reviews. Does the book jacket provide any interesting details or spark your interest in some way? Are there pictures, maps, or graphs? Do the binding, page cut, or typescript contribute or take away from the work?

As You Read

As you read, determine how you will structure the summary portion or background structure of your review. Be ready to take notes on the book’s key points, characters, and/or themes.

  • Characters: Are there characters in the work? Who are the principal characters? How do they affect the story? Do you empathize with them?
  • Themes/Motifs/Style: What themes or motifs stand out? How do they contribute to the work? Are they effective or not? How would you describe this author’s particular style? Is it accessible to all readers or just some?
  • Argument: How is the work’s argument set up? What support does the author give for her/findings? Does the work fulfill its purpose/support its argument?
  • Key Ideas: What is the main idea of the work? What makes it good, different, or groundbreaking?
  • Quotes: What quotes stand out? How can you demonstrate the author’s talent or the feel of the book through a quote?

When You Are Ready to Write

Begin with a short summary or background of the work, but do not give too much away. Many reviews limit themselves only to the first couple of chapters or lead the reader up to the rising action of the work. Reviewers of nonfiction texts will provide the basic idea of the book’s argument without too much detailed.

The final portion of your review will detail your opinion of the work. When you are ready to begin your review, consider the following:

  • Establish a Background, Remember your Audience: Remember that your audience has not read the work; with this in mind, be sure to introduce characters and principles carefully and deliberately. What kind of summary can you provide of the main points or main characters that will help your readers gauge their interest? Does the author’s text adequately reach the intended audience? Will some readers be lost or find the text too easy?
  • Minor principles/characters: Deal only with the most pressing issues in the book. You will not be able to cover every character or idea. What principles/characters did you agree or disagree with? What other things might the author have researched or considered?
  • Organize: The purpose of the review is to critically evaluate the text, not just inform the readers about it. Leave plenty room for your evaluation by ensuring that your summary is brief. Determine what kind of balance to strike between your summary information and your evaluation. If you are writing your review for a class, ask your instructor. Often the ratio is half and half.
  • Your Evaluation: Choose one or a few points to discuss about the book. What worked well for you? How does this work compare with others by the same author or other books in the same genre? What major themes, motifs, or terms does the book introduce, and how effective are they? Did the book appeal to you on an emotional or logical way?
  • Publisher/Price: Most book reviews include the publisher and price of the book at the end of the article. Some reviews also include the year published and ISBN.

When making the final touches to your review, carefully verify the following:

  • Double-check the spelling of the author name(s), character names, special terms, and publisher.
  • Try to read from the vantage point of your audience. Is there too much/enough summary? Does your argument about the text make sense?
  • Should you include direct quotes from the reading? Do they help support your arguments? Double-check your quotes for accuracy.

book review vs book summary

Book Reviews

A book review addresses the subject matter of a literary work, and assesses effectiveness and value. Book reviews keep publishers and the public aware of what is being thought and written in a wide range of subjects. When a new book is issued, copies are sent to reviewers; subsequent reviews appear in literary magazines, academic journals, newspapers, and other periodicals. People everywhere depend on book reviews to direct them in their reading; many readers buy what commentators give particular attention. Competent reviewers are the best counselors for readers attempting to keep up with intellectual and aesthetic developments in the literary arts.

Scope: What a Book Review Is and Is Not

Book reviews vary widely. A review does not simply summarize book material, and should not be substituted for the original book. The purpose of a book review is to make known what a literary work purports to do and be, as a publication for both general and specialized readers. Essential components to be taken into account include concerns of subject matter and style. A review is a critical essay, a report and an analysis. Whether favorable or unfavorable in its assessment, it should seem authoritative. The reviewer's competence must be convincing and satisfying. As with any form of writing, the writer of a book review is convincing through thorough study and understanding of the material, and opinions supported by sound reasoning; the reviewer achieves reader satisfaction upon by giving justice to the subject, the book being reviewed, and connecting it with vital human concerns. A review may be limited in its scope due to length requirements, whether those are set by an instructor or an editor. How thoroughly and with respect to what aspects a book is reviewed also depends on instructor or editor preferences, or simply the attitudes and qualifications of the reviewer.

Essential Objectives

A book review should address three issues:

  • Contents, or what is said in the book.
  • Style, or how it is said.
  • Assessment, or analysis of how true and significant the book is.

The most essential preparation for review writing is of course a complete, thoughtful reading of the book. After reading, the reviewer should have a sound, integrated idea of the book contents, and begin to develop attitudes toward style, purpose, and value. As the reviewer forms ideas for the review, certain influences and motives should be considered:

  • The interests, general or special, of the readers: Are they looking to the review for an elementary, informational report? A more advanced, technical, scholarly address?
  • The reviewer's own particular interests and purposes: Does the reviewer want to remain primarily a fact-finding reporter? Or are there more specialized ideas and principles of art and ideology the reviewer wants to advance?
  • Contemporary social, economic, political, and aesthetic issues: Do one or more of these affect the aim or emphasis of the book review? How does the incorporation and interpretation of these issues in the book review further discussion of the book's contents and style?
  • Required treatment and length requirements: What requirements for the review, emphasis and length, have been set by the instructor or editor?

Material for the Review

As the reviewer decides the scope and content of the review, there are various critical considerations to keep in mind. In addition to content and style, information about the publication and category of the book, and the author and author purpose, may be helpful with analysis. Not all material needs to be included in the final review, but the reviewer should be aware of any relevant issues.

Bibliographical Data

Bibliographical data includes the publisher, place and date of publication, and book price. This information is important for readers who want to buy the book. It may also raise questions: Is the book newly issued? Or is it being reissued? If reissued, is it only a new printing or has it been revised? If revised, what is the nature of the revision? Answers to these questions often can be found in a preface to the book by the author. Consult the front matter of the book, the title and copyright pages, for basic publication information. Often, price, publisher, and page count are listed separately at the beginning or end of a book review; this is the case with the example reviews accompanying this guide.


There are various categories, or genres, to which a book is assigned: fiction, poetry, travel and adventure, mystery, children's literature, biography, history, and contemporary thought, among others. A reviewer analyzes a book's conformity to a genre with attention to the author's approaches, methods, materials and coverage, and the outcomes of the book as to information, judgments, or interest value. For example, in her review of John D'Agata's Halls of Fame , Wendy Rawlings discusses how D'Agata experiments with the form of the essay: "If you're accustomed to reading essays organized around a clearly articulated theme and guided by a single narrative voice that signposts its intentions along the way, D'Agata's methods may frustrate. His essays are disjunctive agglomerations of excerpts from texts of all sorts (literary and otherwise), lists, transcripts from tape-recorded conversations, and, often, long passages of direct quotes from people he meets . . . Reading D'Agata's essays, I felt the strain of someone experimenting with the democratization of a form that, in America, has perhaps been colonized, or at least overpopulated by the ironic and the smug." Rawlings further compares and contrasts D'Agata's methods to those of David Foster Wallace, another contemporary writer of essays. When analyzing a writer's approach to form, some questions to consider are: How does the book differ from previous works in the same field? Has the author written previous books, in this genre or others? How has the author changed or developed? To what extent does the book being reviewed offer anything new its genre? How might it influence later works in the same genre?

Author and Author Purpose

Depending on the genre of the book, the background and purpose of the author may be relevant to the analysis of the book. Refer to the book jacket and biographical notes on the author. Further research may be helpful; read interviews, essays, and, if available, previously written biographies. In John Calderazzo's review of Ken Lamberton's Wilderness and Razor Wire , biographical data about Lamberton proves relevant: "Lamberton had an uncommon resume for someone doing serious jail time: no grinding poverty, no drugs or violence. He grew up in Arizona as an avid collector of wild things, a self-taught naturalist . . . He earned a bachelor's degree in biology, married Karen, a fellow lover of the wild, had kids, and decided to share his passions for science and nature in the public schools . . . He became infatuated with a student and, incredibly, ran off with her to Colorado. Soon someone from Mesa recognized them in Aspen and called the police." This background information provides the reason for Lamberton's incarceration as well as the basis for Calderazzo's discussion of the writer's "microscopically detailed prose" and "the single-mindedness of his gaze." The following is a list of possible biographical data about an author to reference in a review:

  • Race, nationality, and origins-social, cultural, religious, economic, political, environmental.
  • Training and affiliations-literary, scholastic, religious, political, etc.
  • Schooling, travel, or other formative influences.
  • Personal experiences-general or specific.
  • Career and/or professional position.
  • Other literary or scholastic works.
  • Stimulus or occasion for writing.
  • Special writing aids-illustrations, photographs, diagrams, etc.
  • General attitude-objective/subjective, formal/informal, authoritative/speculative, etc.
  • Purpose-as described in a preface or other formal statement, or in some key phrase.
  • Audience-who the writer hopes will read the book.

Subject Matter

The subject of a book is what the book is about, an idea or ideas explored in the book's contents. In a nonfiction book, the subject should be fairly explicit, in the author's own words. With fiction, however, a reviewer must interpret the subject through analysis of character, setting, plot, and symbolism. A discussion of the subject of a book might begin with its title: From where did the author derive the title? What is the title's meaning or suggestiveness? Is the title an adequate heading for the contents of the book? Or is it ambiguous or false in some way? Other questions regarding the exploration of a book's subject by its author include: What areas of the subject are covered? (In fiction, areas of subject may be considered character concerns, setting, and plot.) What areas of the subject are left uncovered? Is this intentional, or the result of oversight or failure, on the author's part? To what degree is the author thorough or negligent in addressing the subject? In his review of Wilderness and Razor Wire , John Calderazzo comments that writer Ken Lamberton avoids discussion of personal motivation: "Perhaps to spare his wife further humiliation and pain, Lamberton has decided not to belabor his motive for his one act of insanity. He talks vaguely of immaturity, but that's about it . . . [T]he single-mindedness of his gaze [has] implications he either doesn't recognize or won't fully discuss . . . Fixating on the near at hand may be a necessary metaphor and an undeniable fact of prison life, a way to cope with an existence that certainly scares the hell out of me. Maybe, though, Lamberton's fierce gaze derives from something he'll always carry within him: this edgy and impulsive but obviously grateful husband who knows he's not free to teach again for a living . . ."

The contents of a book revolve around the subject, and develop one or more central ideas. For nonfiction, a reviewer analyzes how well the contents of a book address the central idea, the strength or weakness of supporting ideas, and the relevancy of collateral ideas or implications. In fiction, themes develop through character, setting, and plot; a reviewer evaluates the relative success or lack thereof of these fictional elements. Think about these questions: What is the setting, or place and time, of the story? Does the setting reflect or contrast with characters and plot? Are characters fully or minimally developed? Does character development increase or deteriorate as the action proceeds? Is the plot sequenced chronologically, or otherwise? Does tension build or deflate as the story progresses? Note how David Milofsky discusses the effectiveness of the contents of Reynolds Price's Noble Norfleet : "Although there are spots of lyricism-and for the first third of the book, Price's narrative has the drive and tension of some of his better work-overall, Noble Norfleet sags beneath its unlikely premise and even more unlikely hero . . . It seems likely that Price was trying to say something here about the relationship between sexuality and madness, about the necessity not only of nursing others but of caring for oneself, of showing Noble as some kind of paradigm, hence his name. But, sadly, the novel succeeds in none of these aims." Remember that details about the plot and characters in a book are revealed by the reviewer only to support the purpose of the review. Certainly, a review should not give away a book's ending, nor should it be a simple summary of events and characters. The reviewer's job is not only to report highlights but also to respond to the ideas and techniques evident in the book.

Style refers to how an author relates content through writing. This is an important aspect of a book to review. While initially reading the book, and in any subsequent reads, a reviewer should mark passages of particular resonance and reflection of the author's style. These passages help the reviewer form ideas as to whether or not the style is effective in conveying content, and pleasing to the reader. One or more of these passages may be cited within the review itself in order to both exemplify the author's style and provide basis for the reviewer's response. The following is excerpted from Wendy Rawlings' discussion of John D'Agata's poetic, associative essay-writing style in Halls of Fame: "Juxtaposing so many voices and kinds of language . . . can allow the reader to create exciting associative links between texts and ideas, but it can also, when overused, begin to feel somewhat arbitrary. In the book's title essay, for instance, single sentences and sentence fragments form choppy narratives composed of statements that seem, at times, cruelly separated from each other by the portentous silence of white space. This narrative strategy prevails throughout most of the twenty-four sections of the essay, and as a result, the sentences take on a stilted self-importance, like a poem written by someone as yet unschooled in enjambment." A passage from the essay follows this description. When responding to a literary work, consider these aspects of style:

  • Logical and reasoned (objective), or imagined and emotional (subjective).
  • Dramatic and gripping, or pedestrian and level.
  • Epic and far-reaching, or lyrical and infused with personal poetic emotion.
  • Solemn and serious, or comic and entertaining.
  • Spiritual or vulgar or both.
  • Formal, or familiar, informal.
  • Simple, or complex.
  • Broad, or specific.
  • Abstract, or concrete.
  • Direct, or implicational.
  • Figurative, or literal.
  • Use of detail, sense appeal-the look, sound, smell, taste, feel.
  • Balance, parallelism, and contrast of exposition, scene, and dialogue.
  • Allusions, quotations, aphorisms, etc.
  • To the subject.
  • To the purpose of the author.
  • To the reader.

Form and Technique

An author carefully chooses the form and various writing techniques to use to develop ideas. A book reviewer decides whether or not these choices are appropriate and effective. Do certain techniques aid or impede the author's purpose? What passages from the book best exemplify these techniques?

Form and Technique in Nonfiction

  • Use of source material and authority.
  • Use of definition; illustrations and examples; comparison and contrast; cause and effect.
  • Use of generalization and subsequent conclusions.
  • Tone; authority; approach to subject and audience.
  • Degree of convincingness.
  • Worth of proposal; practicality; need.
  • Comparison with other possible policies.
  • Costs or difficulties involved.
  • Ultimate promise, solution, or plan
  • Methods of deduction or induction.
  • Synthesis; formation of separate elements into a coherent whole.
  • Syllogism; major premise, minor premise, and conclusion.
  • Dialectics; arrival at truth through conversation involving question and answer.
  • Casuistry; determination of right and wrong by applying generalized ethics principles.
  • Fallacy; begging the question, ignoring the question, etc.

Form and Technique in Fiction

  • Dominant impression; vividness of final impression.
  • Selection of details to support a single effect.
  • Appeal to sight, sound, smell, taste, and feel; imagery.
  • Directness; implication and suggestion.
  • Point of view; first, second, third; limited or omniscient.
  • Establishment of setting.
  • Smoothness of transitions in time sequence.
  • Use of flashback.
  • How presented or introduced.
  • Motivations; sources for feeling and/or drives to action.
  • How described; direct or implied; revealed through description or dialogue.
  • Purposes; heroic or villainous; tragic inner flaws; revealing traits.
  • How credible and consistent.
  • Opening situation and/or conflict.
  • Obstacles and complications.
  • Tension and suspense.
  • Turning point, or climax.
  • Resolution.
  • Degree of inventiveness and/or plausibility.
  • Final philosophy or view of life derived from characters and action.

Depending on the author's purpose, a book's realism, or truth to life, may need assessment. If a book of fiction is meant to be realistic fiction-is it? Is it logical, natural, plausible? To what extent does the author rely on coincidence or accident to propel the plot? Is there adequate evidence of character motivation? Or a lack of sufficient urges and drives? Is the story infused with a quality of normalcy, or abnormality? Remember, if a book of fiction is to be successful according to a reviewer, it is not necessarily realistic fiction; a book's realism, or lack thereof, need be addressed by a reviewer only as it compares to the author's intention for the story. See here how David Milofsky addresses the realism of William Trevor's novel The Story of Lucy Gault : "It seems unlikely, to say the least, that longtime residents of a place (going back several generations, we're told) would cut off contact so completely as the Gaults do, but, of course, if this isn't the case there would be no novel. Similarly, it's hard to believe that the lawyer wouldn't be able to contrive a way to contact the absent parents . . . It's a tribute to Trevor's genius that these objections are largely overridden and storytelling takes over."

Form and Technique in Poetry

  • Received (given) forms; sonnet, quatrain, villanelle, sestina, haiku, etc.
  • Free verse forms.
  • Lyric; narrative; dramatic; prose; ballad (folk, literary, popular).
  • Point of view; persona or apparently personal.
  • Dramatic monologue.
  • Tone; irony, satire, etc.
  • Intensity, atmosphere, mood.
  • Concrete or abstract.
  • Denotation, connotation, implication.
  • Vulgar, colloquial/informal, formal.
  • Syntax, or sentence structure.
  • Amount and type of sensory detail.
  • Metaphor; simile; personification; allusion.
  • Synesthesia; describing a sense impression using words that normally describe another.
  • Hyperbole or understatement.
  • Metonymy; substituting one word/phrase for another, closely associated word/phrase.
  • Synecdoche; using a part to refer to the whole, or the whole to refer to a part.
  • Alliteration; repetition of an initial sound in two or more words of a phrase.
  • Assonance (repetition of vowels) and/or consonance (repetition of consonants).
  • Onomatopoeia; using a word that is defined through both its sound and meaning.
  • Euphony (smooth, pleasant sound) vs. cacophony (rough, harsh sound).
  • Rhythm (pattern of beats in a stream of sound)-appeals t
  • The line; end-stopped (self-enclosed) or enjambed.
  • Feet; iambs, trochees, anapests, dactylics, etc.
  • Meter; mono-, di-, tri-, tetra-, penta-, hexa-, etc.
  • Repetition.
  • Rhyme (corresponding terminal sounds)-appeals t
  • True; words sound nearly identical and rhyme on one stressed syllable.
  • Slant (near/off); words do not exactly rhyme, but almost rhyme.
  • End rhyme (at end of line) and/or internal rhyme (similar sounds within one line).
  • Masculine (lines end w/ stressed syllable); feminine (lines end w/ unstressed syllable).

View of Life

It is common for an author to express a view of life through ideas and themes developed in a book. A reviewer identifies and comments on the author's stance. Does the book hold to and/or further develop views apparent in past works? Or make a new statement? Below is a list of popular attitudes, or schools of thought:

  • Idealism-emphasis on enduring spirituality as opposed to transient values of materialism.
  • Romanticism-focus on emotion and imagination as freedom from the strictly logical.
  • Classicism-intellectuality; dominance of the whole over its parts, and form over impulse.
  • Realism-adherence to actualities, the logistics of everyday life; objectivity.
  • Impressionism-intuition; sense responses to aesthetic objects.
  • Naturalism-humans as part of nature; adaption to external environment.

In response to Wilderness and Razor Wire , John Calderazzo discusses the importance of nature in Ken Lamberton's life and writing: "[I]n the prison of his days (to paraphrase W. H. Auden), Lamberton is helped . . . by nature, by the winds and dust and sweet-smelling raindrops that blow down from the nearby mountains, which he sees framed in barbed wire. This is nature unbound, not just out there beyond the walls but slipping in through the bars, swirling around his cell, penetrating even his skin . . . [Swallows] migrate, then return to raise new young in their mud-packed homes, lending solace-and spice-to the impossibly slow turning of the seasons . . . The swallows and many other break-ins from the natural world are also resources of rehabilitation, which Lamberton says is absent from all other aspects of prison life." If comparisons are to be made between a book being reviewed and its predecessors, a reviewer should be familiar with the basic forms and techniques prevalent in works expressing similar viewpoints. Further research and reading are necessary for the reviewer to form intelligent analysis of views of life expressed through writing.

Value and Significance

Often a book review comments on the significance of a new work. This value may be measured in relation to other books in the same genre, works addressing the same subject matter, past and contemporary authors with a similar style, and/or previous works by the same author. In his review of William Trevor's The Story of Lucy Gault , David Milofsky compares the novel to Trevor's past works, and comments on its place in literature in general: "[Trevor]'s been called the Irish Chekhov, but that's not really adequate, since Chekhov never really wrote novels. The truth is that Trevor is sui generis, in a class by himself. While his stories (collected a few years ago in an omnibus volume) are brilliant, novels like The Old Boys and Felicia's Journey are lasting contributions to our literature. He's a literary treasure and never less than interesting reading . . . The Story of Lucy Gault may not be the most accomplished novel of Trevor's distinguished career, but that still places it far beyond most of the fiction that will be written in English this year. It's highly recommended reading." Value is also determined by the universality of application-how and to whom the work applies. Are the book's contents of universal interest? Or does the subject matter limit the book's appeal to a narrow field of individuals? Determining the value and significance of a book depends largely on the knowledge and subjectivity of the reviewer; familiarity with comparable books and authors is required to draw conclusions of this nature.

A book's format, or physical make-up, reflects the ideas of both its author and its publisher. A book reviewer might mention characteristics of format, in relation to suitability and aesthetics. Is the book's size convenient? Is the binding durable? Is the print type legible? Do illustrations, diagrams, and maps, if any, aid the reader's understanding of the material? Is the index correct and complete? Are bibliographies and reference lists present? In response to artwork present in Ken Lamberton's Wilderness and Razor Wire , John Calderazzo comments on both the exactness of the drawings and the possible meaning of this detail-orientedness to Lamberton's life: "[J]ournal entries and small essays [are] complemented by drawings of tarantulas, conenose beetles, horned lizards, and other desert creatures in almost photo-realistic close-up. This is why I suggested that Lamberton may not find himself any closer to 'nature' when he's finally free. How can he get more intimate? . . . All of his drawings, in fact, are rendered in extreme close-up, like visual infatuations writ large. Nothing seems to exist in the distance, which makes me wonder if anything ever does for Lamberton, or ever will."

Planning and Writing

A book review should meet the requirements of any good composition. Clarity, correctness, readability, and interest are very important. A review should give its readers not only an understanding of the reviewer's intellectual response to a book but also an awareness of the basis for this response, through example and analysis. Specific passages from the book are used to exemplify the reviewer's points regarding elements of style, form, and technique. There is no strict pattern for writing book reviews. Guiding the book reviewer's writing process, however, are the three essential objectives of relating what is said in the book, how it is said, and how true and significant it is. As with the planning of a composition, make a list of possible material to use in the review-ideas, responses, information, examples. Study this material to decide what to include in the book review and what proves extraneous. Put the items to include in a suitable order-for instance, from greater to lesser importance. Once the material is organized, a controlling idea for the review emerges; this controlling idea may form the topic sentence of the review, and provides guidance for achieving coherence and focus throughout. Use the topic sentence, in varied forms, in the beginning and end of the review. Once the book reviewer has chosen the proper and adequate material, organized this material effectively, and decided on the main idea and focus to be developed, it is time to write the review.

Like writing the introduction of a composition, there several possible strategies to use for beginning a book review. One type of strategic beginning is prompt definition-assigning meaning to terms in the title of the book, for example, or giving the scope of the review as it relates to the subject and the reviewer's response to the book. Another effective approach is to highlight the origins and past history of the subject treated in the book; this technique may also be used to introduce ideas about genre, style, or view of life, depending on what the reviewer has chosen as the focus of the review. A statement of exclusion shows what will not be addressed in a review and focuses attention on what really will be discussed. At the beginning of his review of Reynold Price's Noble Norfleet , David Milofsky uses a comparison between Price's newest novel and his previous works: "It would be nice to report that Reynolds Price, the distinguished author of more than thirty books, including A Long and Happy Life and Surface of Earth , has added significantly to his oeuvre with his new novel, but such is not the case. Not by a long shot." A reviewer might also quickly catch reader attention by appealing to human interest-perhaps a personal reference or brief anecdote. The anecdote should connect to or exemplify the main focus of the book review. Note the anecdotal technique Wendy Rawlings uses in the introduction of her review of John D'Agata's Halls of Fame : "While on a recent trip to England, I witnessed a cultural exchange that struck me as emblematic of John D'Agata's book of essays, Halls of Fame . An American friend who has spent the past year tolerating a chilly flat in a London suburb for the sake of his British fiancée wanted me to guess the height of the World's Largest Pencil. 'I don't know-eight, nine feet tall?' I said. 'See? See? I knew it!' my friend shouted. He explained that when asked the same question, an English friend had guessed the height of the world's largest pencil to be 'perhaps a foot high, or two.' His modest expectations compared to my great ones (I could not but visualize the World's Largest Pencil as at least a foot taller than an NBA All-Star) represented to my friend something essential about the differences between British and American sensibilities."


The primary focus of a book review is supplied in the beginning paragraph. After this main idea is established, it needs to be developed and justified. Using an organized list of material, the reviewer details the reasons behind the response to the book. References to past history, causes and effects, comparisons and contrasts, and specific passages from the book help illustrate and exemplify this main idea. Personal philosophy and moralization should be kept to a minimum, if included at all; the reader of a book review is interested in unbiased, thoughtful, reasonable, and well-developed ideas pertaining to the book in question. The bulk of a review consists of the development of the reviewer's main idea, the response to the book and the reasons for it. In each of the example reviews that accompany this guide, the reviewers develop their ideas through references to comparable past and contemporary works, analysis of aspects of form and technique, and inclusion of notable passages from the books being reviewed.


The conclusion reflects the focus of the rest of the review, and leaves the reader with a clearly articulated, well-justified final assessment. A restatement of the topic sentence is better than a cursory inspection of less important matters like book format and mechanical make-up. Main emphasis should remain primarily on the qualities and materials of the book being reviewed. At the end of Wendy Rawlings' review of John D'Agata's Halls of Fame , Rawlings summarizes previously stated ideas: "When D'Agata doesn't find the balance, the lyricism borrowed from poetry seems not quite, yet, to fit. I don't wish for D'Agata to join the legions of the smug and ironic, but at certain moments, I begin to wish for authorial presence that will assert itself less forcefully in terms of the arrangement of words on the page, which are often blasted into squadrons separated by asterisks, white space, or unhelpful section headings, and more forcefully on the level of the sentence, as D'Agata does in 'Notes toward the making of a whole human being . . . ,' a five-page essay composed of a single, breathtakingly constructed sentence." The conclusion statement cements the reviewer's recommendation, or lack thereof, of the book. Clearly, this is David Milofsky's aim in the conclusion of his review of Reynold Price's Noble Norfleet : "Even with a failure, it is interesting to read as accomplished a writer as Price, but his new novel cannot be recommended on any other grounds." The final sentence of a review should be both memorable and thought-provoking to the reader. As at the end of John Calderazzo's review of Ken Lamberton's Wilderness and Razor Wire , this final thought might be put in the form of a question: "[R]eading about Lamberton's flawed but exhilarating life makes me wonder about temptation and impetuousness. In light of losing everything, how many of us are still tempted to pursue, just once, some nearby object of desire? And will this constant risk be the prison of all of our days, our lives a landscape of wilderness and razor wire?"

Reviewing Specific Types of Books

The type of book being reviewed raises special considerations as to how to approach the review. Information specific to the categories of nonfiction, fiction, and poetry can be found under the "Form and Technique" heading of this guide. Below are further questions to consider, based on a book's category:

  • Does the book give a full-length picture of the subject? Focus on only a portion of life?
  • What phases of the subject's life receive greatest space? Is there justification for this?
  • What is the point of view of the author?
  • Are idiosyncrasies and weaknesses omitted? Treated adequately? Overplayed?
  • Does the author endeavor to get at hidden motives?
  • What important new facts about the subject's life are revealed in the book?
  • Is the subject of the biography still living?
  • What source materials were used in the preparation of the book?
  • What training has the author had for this kind of work?
  • What particular historical period does the book address?
  • Is the accound given in broad outline, or in detail?
  • Is the style that of reportorial writing, or is there an effort at interpretation?
  • Is emphasis on traditional matter, like wars, kings, etc.? Or is it a social history?
  • Are dates used extensively and/or intelligently?
  • Is the book likely to be out of date soon? Or is it intended to stand the test of time?
  • Are maps, illustrations, charts, etc., helpful to the reader?
  • o Who is the author, and what right does he/she have to be writing on the subject? o What contributions to knowledge and understanding are made by the book?
  • Is the author credible? What is the author's purpose for writing the book?
  • Does the book contribute to knowledge of geography, government, folklore, etc.?
  • Does the book have news value?
  • How effective are plot, pace, style, and characterization? Strengths? Weaknesses?
  • Is the ending worthwhile? Predictable?
  • o Children's Literature
  • o What is the age/interest group for which the book is intended?
  • o What is the overall experience/feeling of reading the book?
  • o Is the book illustrated? How? By whom?


There is a good market for the newcomer in book reviewing. Many editors, including those of big-name magazines, do not like to use the same reviewer too often, and this means unknown, unpublished reviewers have good opportunities to break into the field. Send query letters to editors to find out what their publication needs are. Try smaller, special-interest publications first (ethnic, feminist, religious, etc.); if the reviewer has knowledge or affiliation relevant to the publication, it may increase the chances of a positive response from the editor. Stay current with new books, and read other book reviews. Once an assignment for a review is given, produce timely, quality work, specific to requirements set by the editor. Build publication credits with a variety of periodicals; pursue possibilities of starting a regular column for a single newspaper or magazine. Book reviewing is not generally a highly profitable venture, but money can be made, depending on a reviewer's qualifications, reputation, and dedication to the field.

Cress, Janell. (2003). Book Reviews. Writing@CSU . Colorado State University.

Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Assignments

  • Annotated Bibliography
  • Analyzing a Scholarly Journal Article
  • Group Presentations
  • Dealing with Nervousness
  • Using Visual Aids
  • Grading Someone Else's Paper
  • Types of Structured Group Activities
  • Group Project Survival Skills
  • Leading a Class Discussion
  • Multiple Book Review Essay
  • Reviewing Collected Works
  • Writing a Case Analysis Paper
  • Writing a Case Study
  • About Informed Consent
  • Writing Field Notes
  • Writing a Policy Memo
  • Writing a Reflective Paper
  • Writing a Research Proposal
  • Generative AI and Writing
  • Acknowledgments

A book review is a thorough description, critical analysis, and/or evaluation of the quality, meaning, and significance of a book, often written in relation to prior research on the topic. Reviews generally range from 500-2000 words, but may be longer or shorter depends on several factors: the length and complexity of the book being reviewed, the overall purpose of the review, and whether the review examines two or more books that focus on the same topic. Professors assign book reviews as practice in carefully analyzing complex scholarly texts and to assess your ability to effectively synthesize research so that you reach an informed perspective about the topic being covered.

There are two general approaches to reviewing a book:

  • Descriptive review: Presents the content and structure of a book as objectively as possible, describing essential information about a book's purpose and authority. This is done by stating the perceived aims and purposes of the study, often incorporating passages quoted from the text that highlight key elements of the work. Additionally, there may be some indication of the reading level and anticipated audience.
  • Critical review: Describes and evaluates the book in relation to accepted literary and historical standards and supports this evaluation with evidence from the text and, in most cases, in contrast to and in comparison with the research of others. It should include a statement about what the author has tried to do, evaluates how well you believe the author has succeeded in meeting the objectives of the study, and presents evidence to support this assessment. For most course assignments, your professor will want you to write this type of review.

Book Reviews. Writing Center. University of New Hampshire; Book Reviews: How to Write a Book Review. Writing and Style Guides. Libraries. Dalhousie University; Kindle, Peter A. "Teaching Students to Write Book Reviews." Contemporary Rural Social Work 7 (2015): 135-141; Erwin, R. W. “Reviewing Books for Scholarly Journals.” In Writing and Publishing for Academic Authors . Joseph M. Moxley and Todd Taylor. 2 nd edition. (Lanham, MD: Rowan and Littlefield, 1997), pp. 83-90.

How to Approach Writing Your Review

NOTE:   Since most course assignments require that you write a critical rather than descriptive book review, the following information about preparing to write and developing the structure and style of reviews focuses on this approach.

I.  Common Features

While book reviews vary in tone, subject, and style, they share some common features. These include:

  • A review gives the reader a concise summary of the content . This includes a description of the research topic and scope of analysis as well as an overview of the book's overall perspective, argument, and purpose.
  • A review offers a critical assessment of the content in relation to other studies on the same topic . This involves documenting your reactions to the work under review--what strikes you as noteworthy or important, whether or not the arguments made by the author(s) were effective or persuasive, and how the work enhanced your understanding of the research problem under investigation.
  • In addition to analyzing a book's strengths and weaknesses, a scholarly review often recommends whether or not readers would value the work for its authenticity and overall quality . This measure of quality includes both the author's ideas and arguments and covers practical issues, such as, readability and language, organization and layout, indexing, and, if needed, the use of non-textual elements .

To maintain your focus, always keep in mind that most assignments ask you to discuss a book's treatment of its topic, not the topic itself . Your key sentences should say, "This book shows...,” "The study demonstrates...," or “The author argues...," rather than "This happened...” or “This is the case....”

II.  Developing a Critical Assessment Strategy

There is no definitive methodological approach to writing a book review in the social sciences, although it is necessary that you think critically about the research problem under investigation before you begin to write. Therefore, writing a book review is a three-step process: 1) carefully taking notes as you read the text; 2) developing an argument about the value of the work under consideration; and, 3) clearly articulating that argument as you write an organized and well-supported assessment of the work.

A useful strategy in preparing to write a review is to list a set of questions that should be answered as you read the book [remember to note the page numbers so you can refer back to the text!]. The specific questions to ask yourself will depend upon the type of book you are reviewing. For example, a book that is presenting original research about a topic may require a different set of questions to ask yourself than a work where the author is offering a personal critique of an existing policy or issue.

Here are some sample questions that can help you think critically about the book:

  • Thesis or Argument . What is the central thesis—or main argument—of the book? If the author wanted you to get one main idea from the book, what would it be? How does it compare or contrast to the world that you know or have experienced? What has the book accomplished? Is the argument clearly stated and does the research support this?
  • Topic . What exactly is the subject or topic of the book? Is it clearly articulated? Does the author cover the subject adequately? Does the author cover all aspects of the subject in a balanced fashion? Can you detect any biases? What type of approach has the author adopted to explore the research problem [e.g., topical, analytical, chronological, descriptive]?
  • Evidence . How does the author support their argument? What evidence does the author use to prove their point? Is the evidence based on an appropriate application of the method chosen to gather information? 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 about the research problem?
  • Structure . How does the author structure their argument? Does it follow a logical order of analysis? What are the parts that make up the whole? Does the argument make sense to you? Does it persuade you? Why or why not?
  • Take-aways . How has this book helped you understand the research problem? Would you recommend the book to others? Why or why not?

Beyond the content of the book, you may also consider some information about the author and the general presentation of information. Question to ask may include:

  • The Author: Who is the author? The nationality, political persuasion, education, intellectual interests, personal history, and historical context may provide crucial details about how a work takes shape. Does it matter, for example, that the author is affiliated with a particular organization? What difference would it make if the author participated in the events they wrote about? What other topics has the author written about? Does this work build on prior research or does it represent a new or unique area of research?
  • The Presentation: What is the book's genre? Out of what discipline does it emerge? Does it conform to or depart from the conventions of its genre? These questions can provide a historical or other contextual standard upon 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 this. Keep in mind, though, that declarative statements about being the “first,” the "best," or the "only" book of its kind can be a risky unless you're absolutely certain because your professor [presumably] has a much better understanding of the overall research literature.

NOTE: Most critical book reviews examine a topic in relation to prior research. A good strategy for identifying this prior research is to examine sources the author(s) cited in the chapters introducing the research problem and, of course, any review of the literature. However, you should not assume that the author's references to prior research is authoritative or complete. If any works related to the topic have been excluded, your assessment of the book should note this . Be sure to consult with a librarian to ensure that any additional studies are located beyond what has been cited by the author(s).

Book Reviews. Writing@CSU. Colorado State University; Book Reviews. The Writing Center. University of North Carolina; Hartley, James. "Reading and Writing Book Reviews Across the Disciplines." Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology 57 (July 2006): 1194–1207;   Motta-Roth, D. “Discourse Analysis and Academic Book Reviews: A Study of Text and Disciplinary Cultures.”  In Genre Studies in English for Academic Purposes . Fortanet Gómez, Inmaculada  et  al., editors. (Castellò de la Plana: Publicacions de la Universitat Jaume I, 1998), pp. 29-45. Writing a Book Review. The Writing Lab and The OWL. Purdue University; Writing Book Reviews. Writing Tutorial Services, Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning. Indiana University; Suárez, Lorena and Ana I. Moreno. “The Rhetorical Structure of Academic Journal Book Reviews: A Cross-linguistic and Cross-disciplinary Approach .” In Asociación Europea de Lenguas para Fines Específicos, María del Carmen Pérez Llantada Auría, Ramón Plo Alastrué, and Claus Peter Neumann. Actas del V Congreso Internacional AELFE/Proceedings of the 5th International AELFE Conference . Zaragoza: Universidad de Zaragoza, 2006.

Structure and Writing Style

I.  Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic information refers to the essential elements of a work if you were to cite it in a paper [i.e., author, title, date of publication, etc.]. Provide the essential information about the book using the writing style [e.g., APA, MLA, Chicago] preferred by your professor or used by the discipline of your major . Depending on how your professor wants you to organize your review, the bibliographic information represents the heading of your review. In general, it would look like this:

[Complete title of book. Author or authors. Place of publication. Publisher. Date of publication. Number of pages before first chapter, often in Roman numerals. Total number of pages]. The Whites of Their Eyes: The Tea Party's Revolution and the Battle over American History . By Jill Lepore. (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2010. xii, 207 pp.)

Reviewed by [your full name].

II.  Scope/Purpose/Content

Begin your review by telling the reader not only the overarching concern of the book in its entirety [the subject area] but also what the author's particular point of view is on that subject [the thesis statement]. If you cannot find an adequate statement in the author's own words or if you find that the thesis statement is not well-developed, then you will have to compose your own introductory thesis statement that does cover all the material. This statement should be no more than one paragraph and must be succinctly stated, accurate, and unbiased.

If you find it difficult to discern the overall aims and objectives of the book [and, be sure to point this out in your review if you determine that this is a deficiency], you may arrive at an understanding of the book's overall purpose by assessing the following:

  • Scan the table of contents because it can help you understand how the book was organized and will aid in determining the author's main ideas and how they were developed [e.g., chronologically, topically, historically, etc.].
  • Why did the author write on this subject rather than on some other subject?
  • From what point of view is the work written?
  • Was the author trying to give information, to explain something technical, or to convince the reader of a belief’s validity by dramatizing it in action?
  • What is the general field or genre, and how does the book fit into it? If necessary, review related literature from other books and journal articles to familiarize yourself with the field.
  • Who is the intended audience?
  • What is the author's style? Is it formal or informal? You can evaluate the quality of the writing style by noting some of the following standards: coherence, clarity, originality, forcefulness, accurate use of technical words, conciseness, fullness of development, and fluidity [i.e., quality of the narrative flow].
  • How did the book affect you? Were there any prior assumptions you had about the subject that were changed, abandoned, or reinforced after reading the book? How is the book related to your own personal beliefs or assumptions? What personal experiences have you had related to the subject that affirm or challenge underlying assumptions?
  • How well has the book achieved the goal(s) set forth in the preface, introduction, and/or foreword?
  • Would you recommend this book to others? Why or why not?

III.  Note the Method

Support your remarks with specific references to text and quotations that help to illustrate the literary method used to state the research problem, describe the research design, and analyze the findings. In general, authors tend to use the following literary methods, exclusively or in combination.

  • Description : The author depicts scenes and events by giving specific details that appeal to the five senses, or to the reader’s imagination. The description presents background and setting. Its primary purpose is to help the reader realize, through as many details as possible, the way persons, places, and things are situated within the phenomenon being described.
  • Narration : The author tells the story of a series of events, usually thematically or in chronological order. In general, the emphasis in scholarly books is on narration of the events. Narration tells what has happened and, in some cases, using this method to forecast what could happen in the future. Its primary purpose is to draw the reader into a story and create a contextual framework for understanding the research problem.
  • Exposition : The author uses explanation and analysis to present a subject or to clarify an idea. Exposition presents the facts about a subject or an issue clearly and as impartially as possible. Its primary purpose is to describe and explain, to document for the historical record an event or phenomenon.
  • Argument : The author uses techniques of persuasion to establish understanding of a particular truth, often in the form of addressing a research question, or to convince the reader of its falsity. The overall aim is to persuade the reader to believe something and perhaps to act on that belief. Argument takes sides on an issue and aims to convince the reader that the author's position is valid, logical, and/or reasonable.

IV.  Critically Evaluate the Contents

Critical comments should form the bulk of your book review . State whether or not you feel the author's treatment of the subject matter is appropriate for the intended audience. Ask yourself:

  • Has the purpose of the book been achieved?
  • What contributions does the book make to the field?
  • Is the treatment of the subject matter objective or at least balanced in describing all sides of a debate?
  • Are there facts and evidence that have been omitted?
  • What kinds of data, if any, are used to support the author's thesis statement?
  • Can the same data be interpreted to explain alternate outcomes?
  • Is the writing style clear and effective?
  • Does the book raise important or provocative issues or topics for discussion?
  • Does the book bring attention to the need for further research?
  • What has been left out?

Support your evaluation with evidence from the text and, when possible, state the book's quality in relation to other scholarly sources. If relevant, note of the book's format, such as, layout, binding, typography, etc. Are there tables, charts, maps, illustrations, text boxes, photographs, or other non-textual elements? Do they aid in understanding the text? Describing this is particularly important in books that contain a lot of non-textual elements.

NOTE:   It is important to carefully distinguish your views from those of the author so as not to confuse your reader. Be clear when you are describing an author's point of view versus expressing your own.

V.  Examine the Front Matter and Back Matter

Front matter refers to any content before the first chapter of the book. Back matter refers to any information included after the final chapter of the book . Front matter is most often numbered separately from the rest of the text in lower case Roman numerals [i.e. i - xi ]. Critical commentary about front or back matter is generally only necessary if you believe there is something that diminishes the overall quality of the work [e.g., the indexing is poor] or there is something that is particularly helpful in understanding the book's contents [e.g., foreword places the book in an important context].

Front matter that may be considered for evaluation when reviewing its overall quality:

  • Table of contents -- is it clear? Is it detailed or general? Does it reflect the true contents of the book? Does it help in understanding a logical sequence of content?
  • Author biography -- also found as back matter, the biography of author(s) can be useful in determining the authority of the writer and whether the book builds on prior research or represents new research. In scholarly reviews, noting the author's affiliation and prior publications can be a factor in helping the reader determine the overall validity of the work [i.e., are they associated with a research center devoted to studying the problem under investigation].
  • Foreword -- the purpose of a foreword is to introduce the reader to the author and the content of the book, and to help establish credibility for both. A foreword may not contribute any additional information about the book's subject matter, but rather, serves as a means of validating the book's existence. In these cases, the foreword is often written by a leading scholar or expert who endorses the book's contributions to advancing research about the topic. Later editions of a book sometimes have a new foreword prepended [appearing before an older foreword, if there was one], which may be included to explain how the latest edition differs from previous editions. These are most often written by the author.
  • Acknowledgements -- scholarly studies in the social sciences often take many years to write, so authors frequently acknowledge the help and support of others in getting their research published. This can be as innocuous as acknowledging the author's family or the publisher. However, an author may acknowledge prominent scholars or subject experts, staff at key research centers, people who curate important archival collections, or organizations that funded the research. In these particular cases, it may be worth noting these sources of support in your review, particularly if the funding organization is biased or its mission is to promote a particular agenda.
  • Preface -- generally describes the genesis, purpose, limitations, and scope of the book and may include acknowledgments of indebtedness to people who have helped the author complete the study. Is the preface helpful in understanding the study? Does it provide an effective framework for understanding what's to follow?
  • Chronology -- also may be found as back matter, a chronology is generally included to highlight key events related to the subject of the book. Do the entries contribute to the overall work? Is it detailed or very general?
  • List of non-textual elements -- a book that contains numerous charts, photographs, maps, tables, etc. will often list these items after the table of contents in the order that they appear in the text. Is this useful?

Back matter that may be considered for evaluation when reviewing its overall quality:

  • Afterword -- this is a short, reflective piece written by the author that takes the form of a concluding section, final commentary, or closing statement. It is worth mentioning in a review if it contributes information about the purpose of the book, gives a call to action, summarizes key recommendations or next steps, or asks the reader to consider key points made in the book.
  • Appendix -- is the supplementary material in the appendix or appendices well organized? Do they relate to the contents or appear superfluous? Does it contain any essential information that would have been more appropriately integrated into the text?
  • Index -- are there separate indexes for names and subjects or one integrated index. Is the indexing thorough and accurate? Are elements used, such as, bold or italic fonts to help identify specific places in the book? Does the index include "see also" references to direct you to related topics?
  • Glossary of Terms -- are the definitions clearly written? Is the glossary comprehensive or are there key terms missing? Are any terms or concepts mentioned in the text not included that should have been?
  • Endnotes -- examine any endnotes as you read from chapter to chapter. Do they provide important additional information? Do they clarify or extend points made in the body of the text? Should any notes have been better integrated into the text rather than separated? Do the same if the author uses footnotes.
  • Bibliography/References/Further Readings -- review any bibliography, list of references to sources, and/or further readings the author may have included. What kinds of sources appear [e.g., primary or secondary, recent or old, scholarly or popular, etc.]? How does the author make use of them? Be sure to note important omissions of sources that you believe should have been utilized, including important digital resources or archival collections.

VI.  Summarize and Comment

State your general conclusions briefly and succinctly. Pay particular attention to the author's concluding chapter and/or afterword. Is the summary convincing? List the principal topics, and briefly summarize the author’s ideas about these topics, main points, and conclusions. If appropriate and to help clarify your overall evaluation, use specific references to text and quotations to support your statements. If your thesis has been well argued, the conclusion should follow naturally. It can include a final assessment or simply restate your thesis. Do not introduce new information in the conclusion. If you've compared the book to any other works or used other sources in writing the review, be sure to cite them at the end of your book review in the same writing style as your bibliographic heading of the book.

Book Reviews. Writing@CSU. Colorado State University; Book Reviews. The Writing Center. University of North Carolina; Gastel, Barbara. "Special Books Section: A Strategy for Reviewing Books for Journals." BioScience 41 (October 1991): 635-637; Hartley, James. "Reading and Writing Book Reviews Across the Disciplines." Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology 57 (July 2006): 1194–1207; Lee, Alexander D., Bart N. Green, Claire D. Johnson, and Julie Nyquist. "How to Write a Scholarly Book Review for Publication in a Peer-reviewed Journal: A Review of the Literature." Journal of Chiropractic Education 24 (2010): 57-69; Nicolaisen, Jeppe. "The Scholarliness of Published Peer Reviews: A Bibliometric Study of Book Reviews in Selected Social Science Fields." Research Evaluation 11 (2002): 129-140;.Procter, Margaret. The Book Review or Article Critique. The Lab Report. University College Writing Centre. University of Toronto; Reading a Book to Review It. The Writer’s Handbook. Writing Center. University of Wisconsin, Madison; Scarnecchia, David L. "Writing Book Reviews for the Journal Of Range Management and Rangelands." Rangeland Ecology and Management 57 (2004): 418-421; Simon, Linda. "The Pleasures of Book Reviewing." Journal of Scholarly Publishing 27 (1996): 240-241; Writing a Book Review. The Writing Lab and The OWL. Purdue University; Writing Book Reviews. Writing Tutorial Services, Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning. Indiana University.

Writing Tip

Always Read the Foreword and/or the Preface

If they are included in the front matter, a good place for understanding a book's overall purpose, organization, contributions to further understanding of the research problem, and relationship to other studies is to read the preface and the foreword. The foreword may be written by someone other than the author or editor and can be a person who is famous or who has name recognition within the discipline. A foreword is often included to add credibility to the work.

The preface is usually an introductory essay written by the author or editor. It is intended to describe the book's overall purpose, arrangement, scope, and overall contributions to the literature. When reviewing the book, it can be useful to critically evaluate whether the goals set forth in the foreword and/or preface were actually achieved. At the very least, they can establish a foundation for understanding a study's scope and purpose as well as its significance in contributing new knowledge.

Distinguishing between a Foreword, a Preface, and an Introduction . Book Creation Learning Center. Greenleaf Book Group, 2019.

Locating Book Reviews

There are several databases the USC Libraries subscribes to that include the full-text or citations to book reviews. Short, descriptive reviews can also be found at book-related online sites such as Amazon , although it's not always obvious who has written them and may actually be created by the publisher. The following databases provide comprehensive access to scholarly, full-text book reviews:

  • ProQuest [1983-present]
  • Book Review Digest Retrospective [1905-1982]

Some Language for Evaluating Texts

It can be challenging to find the proper vocabulary from which to discuss and evaluate a book. Here is a list of some active verbs for referring to texts and ideas that you might find useful:

  • account for
  • demonstrate
  • distinguish
  • investigate

Examples of usage

  • "The evidence indicates that..."
  • "This work assesses the effect of..."
  • "The author identifies three key reasons for..."
  • "This book questions the view that..."
  • "This work challenges assumptions about...."

Paquot, Magali. Academic Keyword List. Centre for English Corpus Linguistics. Université Catholique de Louvain.

  • << Previous: Leading a Class Discussion
  • Next: Multiple Book Review Essay >>
  • Last Updated: Feb 8, 2024 10:20 AM
  • URL:

17 Book Review Examples to Help You Write the Perfect Review

Join Discovery, the new community for book lovers

Trust book recommendations from real people, not robots 🤓

Blog – Posted on Friday, Mar 29

17 book review examples to help you write the perfect review.

17 Book Review Examples to Help You Write the Perfect Review

It’s an exciting time to be a book reviewer. Once confined to print newspapers and journals, reviews now dot many corridors of the Internet — forever helping others discover their next great read. That said, every book reviewer will face a familiar panic: how can you do justice to a great book in just a thousand words?

As you know, the best way to learn how to do something is by immersing yourself in it. Luckily, the Internet (i.e. Goodreads and other review sites , in particular) has made book reviews more accessible than ever — which means that there are a lot of book reviews examples out there for you to view!

In this post, we compiled 17 prototypical book review examples in multiple genres to help you figure out how to write the perfect review . If you want to jump straight to the examples, you can skip the next section. Otherwise, let’s first check out what makes up a good review.

Are you interested in becoming a book reviewer? We recommend you check out Reedsy Discovery , where you can earn money for writing reviews — and are guaranteed people will read your reviews! To register as a book reviewer, sign up here.

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!

What must a book review contain?

Like all works of art, no two book reviews will be identical. But fear not: there are a few guidelines for any aspiring book reviewer to follow. Most book reviews, for instance, are less than 1,500 words long, with the sweet spot hitting somewhere around the 1,000-word mark. (However, this may vary depending on the platform on which you’re writing, as we’ll see later.)

In addition, all reviews share some universal elements, as shown in our book review templates . These include:

  • A review will offer a concise plot summary of the book. 
  • A book review will offer an evaluation of the work. 
  • A book review will offer a recommendation for the audience. 

If these are the basic ingredients that make up a book review, it’s the tone and style with which the book reviewer writes that brings the extra panache. This will differ from platform to platform, of course. A book review on Goodreads, for instance, will be much more informal and personal than a book review on Kirkus Reviews, as it is catering to a different audience. However, at the end of the day, the goal of all book reviews is to give the audience the tools to determine whether or not they’d like to read the book themselves.

Keeping that in mind, let’s proceed to some book review examples to put all of this in action.

How much of a book nerd are you, really?

Find out here, once and for all. Takes 30 seconds!

Book review examples for fiction books

Since story is king in the world of fiction, it probably won’t come as any surprise to learn that a book review for a novel will concentrate on how well the story was told .

That said, book reviews in all genres follow the same basic formula that we discussed earlier. In these examples, you’ll be able to see how book reviewers on different platforms expertly intertwine the plot summary and their personal opinions of the book to produce a clear, informative, and concise review.

Note: Some of the book review examples run very long. If a book review is truncated in this post, we’ve indicated by including a […] at the end, but you can always read the entire review if you click on the link provided.

Examples of literary fiction book reviews

Kirkus Reviews reviews Ralph Ellison’s The Invisible Man :

An extremely powerful story of a young Southern Negro, from his late high school days through three years of college to his life in Harlem.
His early training prepared him for a life of humility before white men, but through injustices- large and small, he came to realize that he was an "invisible man". People saw in him only a reflection of their preconceived ideas of what he was, denied his individuality, and ultimately did not see him at all. This theme, which has implications far beyond the obvious racial parallel, is skillfully handled. The incidents of the story are wholly absorbing. The boy's dismissal from college because of an innocent mistake, his shocked reaction to the anonymity of the North and to Harlem, his nightmare experiences on a one-day job in a paint factory and in the hospital, his lightning success as the Harlem leader of a communistic organization known as the Brotherhood, his involvement in black versus white and black versus black clashes and his disillusion and understanding of his invisibility- all climax naturally in scenes of violence and riot, followed by a retreat which is both literal and figurative. Parts of this experience may have been told before, but never with such freshness, intensity and power.
This is Ellison's first novel, but he has complete control of his story and his style. Watch it.

Lyndsey reviews George Orwell’s 1984 on Goodreads:

YOU. ARE. THE. DEAD. Oh my God. I got the chills so many times toward the end of this book. It completely blew my mind. It managed to surpass my high expectations AND be nothing at all like I expected. Or in Newspeak "Double Plus Good." Let me preface this with an apology. If I sound stunningly inarticulate at times in this review, I can't help it. My mind is completely fried.
This book is like the dystopian Lord of the Rings, with its richly developed culture and economics, not to mention a fully developed language called Newspeak, or rather more of the anti-language, whose purpose is to limit speech and understanding instead of to enhance and expand it. The world-building is so fully fleshed out and spine-tinglingly terrifying that it's almost as if George travelled to such a place, escaped from it, and then just wrote it all down.
I read Fahrenheit 451 over ten years ago in my early teens. At the time, I remember really wanting to read 1984, although I never managed to get my hands on it. I'm almost glad I didn't. Though I would not have admitted it at the time, it would have gone over my head. Or at the very least, I wouldn't have been able to appreciate it fully. […]

The New York Times reviews Lisa Halliday’s Asymmetry :

Three-quarters of the way through Lisa Halliday’s debut novel, “Asymmetry,” a British foreign correspondent named Alistair is spending Christmas on a compound outside of Baghdad. His fellow revelers include cameramen, defense contractors, United Nations employees and aid workers. Someone’s mother has FedExed a HoneyBaked ham from Maine; people are smoking by the swimming pool. It is 2003, just days after Saddam Hussein’s capture, and though the mood is optimistic, Alistair is worrying aloud about the ethics of his chosen profession, wondering if reporting on violence doesn’t indirectly abet violence and questioning why he’d rather be in a combat zone than reading a picture book to his son. But every time he returns to London, he begins to “spin out.” He can’t go home. “You observe what people do with their freedom — what they don’t do — and it’s impossible not to judge them for it,” he says.
The line, embedded unceremoniously in the middle of a page-long paragraph, doubles, like so many others in “Asymmetry,” as literary criticism. Halliday’s novel is so strange and startlingly smart that its mere existence seems like commentary on the state of fiction. One finishes “Asymmetry” for the first or second (or like this reader, third) time and is left wondering what other writers are not doing with their freedom — and, like Alistair, judging them for it.
Despite its title, “Asymmetry” comprises two seemingly unrelated sections of equal length, appended by a slim and quietly shocking coda. Halliday’s prose is clean and lean, almost reportorial in the style of W. G. Sebald, and like the murmurings of a shy person at a cocktail party, often comic only in single clauses. It’s a first novel that reads like the work of an author who has published many books over many years. […]

Emily W. Thompson reviews Michael Doane's The Crossing on Reedsy Discovery :

In 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.
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.
The Narrator initially sticks to the highways, trying to make it to the West Coast as quickly as possible. But a hitchhiker named Duke convinces him to get off the beaten path and enjoy the ride. “There’s not a place that’s like any other,” [39] Dukes contends, and The Narrator realizes he’s right. Suddenly, the trip is about the journey, not just the destination. The Narrator ditches his truck and traverses the deserts and mountains on his bike. He destroys his phone, cutting off ties with his past and living only in the moment.
As he crosses the country, The Narrator connects with several unique personalities whose experiences and views deeply impact his own. Duke, the complicated cowboy and drifter, who opens The Narrator’s eyes to a larger world. Zooey, the waitress in Colorado who opens his heart and reminds him that love can be found in this big world. And Rosie, The Narrator’s sweet landlady in Portland, who helps piece him back together both physically and emotionally.
This supporting cast of characters is excellent. Duke, in particular, is wonderfully nuanced and complicated. He’s a throwback to another time, a man without a cell phone who reads Sartre and sleeps under the stars. Yet he’s also a grifter with a “love ‘em and leave ‘em” attitude that harms those around him. It’s fascinating to watch The Narrator wrestle with Duke’s behavior, trying to determine which to model and which to discard.
Doane creates a relatable protagonist in The Narrator, whose personal growth doesn’t erase his faults. His willingness to hit the road with few resources is admirable, and he’s prescient enough to recognize the jealousy of those who cannot or will not take the leap. His encounters with new foods, places, and people broaden his horizons. Yet his immaturity and selfishness persist. He tells Rosie she’s been a good mother to him but chooses to ignore the continuing concern from his own parents as he effectively disappears from his old life.
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.

The Book Smugglers review Anissa Gray’s The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls :

I am still dipping my toes into the literally fiction pool, finding what works for me and what doesn’t. Books like The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls by Anissa Gray are definitely my cup of tea.
Althea and Proctor Cochran had been pillars of their economically disadvantaged community for years – with their local restaurant/small market and their charity drives. Until they are found guilty of fraud for stealing and keeping most of the money they raised and sent to jail. Now disgraced, their entire family is suffering the consequences, specially their twin teenage daughters Baby Vi and Kim.  To complicate matters even more: Kim was actually the one to call the police on her parents after yet another fight with her mother. […]

Examples of children’s and YA fiction book reviews

The Book Hookup reviews Angie Thomas’ The Hate U Give :

♥ Quick Thoughts and Rating: 5 stars! I can’t imagine how challenging it would be to tackle the voice of a movement like Black Lives Matter, but I do know that Thomas did it with a finesse only a talented author like herself possibly could. With an unapologetically realistic delivery packed with emotion, The Hate U Give is a crucially important portrayal of the difficulties minorities face in our country every single day. I have no doubt that this book will be met with resistance by some (possibly many) and slapped with a “controversial” label, but if you’ve ever wondered what it was like to walk in a POC’s shoes, then I feel like this is an unflinchingly honest place to start.
In Angie Thomas’s debut novel, Starr Carter bursts on to the YA scene with both heart-wrecking and heartwarming sincerity. This author is definitely one to watch.
♥ Review: The hype around this book has been unquestionable and, admittedly, that made me both eager to get my hands on it and terrified to read it. I mean, what if I was to be the one person that didn’t love it as much as others? (That seems silly now because of how truly mesmerizing THUG was in the most heartbreakingly realistic way.) However, with the relevancy of its summary in regards to the unjust predicaments POC currently face in the US, I knew this one was a must-read, so I was ready to set my fears aside and dive in. That said, I had an altogether more personal, ulterior motive for wanting to read this book. […]

The New York Times reviews Melissa Albert’s The Hazel Wood :

Alice Crewe (a last name she’s chosen for herself) is a fairy tale legacy: the granddaughter of Althea Proserpine, author of a collection of dark-as-night fairy tales called “Tales From the Hinterland.” The book has a cult following, and though Alice has never met her grandmother, she’s learned a little about her through internet research. She hasn’t read the stories, because her mother, Ella Proserpine, forbids it.
Alice and Ella have moved from place to place in an attempt to avoid the “bad luck” that seems to follow them. Weird things have happened. As a child, Alice was kidnapped by a man who took her on a road trip to find her grandmother; he was stopped by the police before they did so. When at 17 she sees that man again, unchanged despite the years, Alice panics. Then Ella goes missing, and Alice turns to Ellery Finch, a schoolmate who’s an Althea Proserpine superfan, for help in tracking down her mother. Not only has Finch read every fairy tale in the collection, but handily, he remembers them, sharing them with Alice as they journey to the mysterious Hazel Wood, the estate of her now-dead grandmother, where they hope to find Ella.
“The Hazel Wood” starts out strange and gets stranger, in the best way possible. (The fairy stories Finch relays, which Albert includes as their own chapters, are as creepy and evocative as you’d hope.) Albert seamlessly combines contemporary realism with fantasy, blurring the edges in a way that highlights that place where stories and real life convene, where magic contains truth and the world as it appears is false, where just about anything can happen, particularly in the pages of a very good book. It’s a captivating debut. […]

James reviews Margaret Wise Brown’s Goodnight, Moon on Goodreads:

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown is one of the books that followers of my blog voted as a must-read for our Children's Book August 2018 Readathon. Come check it out and join the next few weeks!
This picture book was such a delight. I hadn't remembered reading it when I was a child, but it might have been read to me... either way, it was like a whole new experience! It's always so difficult to convince a child to fall asleep at night. I don't have kids, but I do have a 5-month-old puppy who whines for 5 minutes every night when he goes in his cage/crate (hopefully he'll be fully housebroken soon so he can roam around when he wants). I can only imagine! I babysat a lot as a teenager and I have tons of younger cousins, nieces, and nephews, so I've been through it before, too. This was a believable experience, and it really helps show kids how to relax and just let go when it's time to sleep.
The bunny's are adorable. The rhymes are exquisite. I found it pretty fun, but possibly a little dated given many of those things aren't normal routines anymore. But the lessons to take from it are still powerful. Loved it! I want to sample some more books by this fine author and her illustrators.

Publishers Weekly reviews Elizabeth Lilly’s Geraldine :

This funny, thoroughly accomplished debut opens with two words: “I’m moving.” They’re spoken by the title character while she swoons across her family’s ottoman, and because Geraldine is a giraffe, her full-on melancholy mode is quite a spectacle. But while Geraldine may be a drama queen (even her mother says so), it won’t take readers long to warm up to her. The move takes Geraldine from Giraffe City, where everyone is like her, to a new school, where everyone else is human. Suddenly, the former extrovert becomes “That Giraffe Girl,” and all she wants to do is hide, which is pretty much impossible. “Even my voice tries to hide,” she says, in the book’s most poignant moment. “It’s gotten quiet and whispery.” Then she meets Cassie, who, though human, is also an outlier (“I’m that girl who wears glasses and likes MATH and always organizes her food”), and things begin to look up.
Lilly’s watercolor-and-ink drawings are as vividly comic and emotionally astute as her writing; just when readers think there are no more ways for Geraldine to contort her long neck, this highly promising talent comes up with something new.

Examples of genre fiction book reviews

Karlyn P reviews Nora Roberts’ Dark Witch , a paranormal romance novel , on Goodreads:

4 stars. Great world-building, weak romance, but still worth the read.
I hesitate to describe this book as a 'romance' novel simply because the book spent little time actually exploring the romance between Iona and Boyle. Sure, there IS a romance in this novel. Sprinkled throughout the book are a few scenes where Iona and Boyle meet, chat, wink at each, flirt some more, sleep together, have a misunderstanding, make up, and then profess their undying love. Very formulaic stuff, and all woven around the more important parts of this book.
The meat of this book is far more focused on the story of the Dark witch and her magically-gifted descendants living in Ireland. Despite being weak on the romance, I really enjoyed it. I think the book is probably better for it, because the romance itself was pretty lackluster stuff.
I absolutely plan to stick with this series as I enjoyed the world building, loved the Ireland setting, and was intrigued by all of the secondary characters. However, If you read Nora Roberts strictly for the romance scenes, this one might disappoint. But if you enjoy a solid background story with some dark magic and prophesies, you might enjoy it as much as I did.
I listened to this one on audio, and felt the narration was excellent.

Emily May reviews R.F. Kuang’s The Poppy Wars , an epic fantasy novel , on Goodreads:

“But I warn you, little warrior. The price of power is pain.”
Holy hell, what did I just read??
➽ A fantasy military school
➽ A rich world based on modern Chinese history
➽ Shamans and gods
➽ Detailed characterization leading to unforgettable characters
➽ Adorable, opium-smoking mentors
That's a basic list, but this book is all of that and SO MUCH MORE. I know 100% that The Poppy War will be one of my best reads of 2018.
Isn't it just so great when you find one of those books that completely drags you in, makes you fall in love with the characters, and demands that you sit on the edge of your seat for every horrific, nail-biting moment of it? This is one of those books for me. And I must issue a serious content warning: this book explores some very dark themes. Proceed with caution (or not at all) if you are particularly sensitive to scenes of war, drug use and addiction, genocide, racism, sexism, ableism, self-harm, torture, and rape (off-page but extremely horrific).
Because, despite the fairly innocuous first 200 pages, the title speaks the truth: this is a book about war. All of its horrors and atrocities. It is not sugar-coated, and it is often graphic. The "poppy" aspect refers to opium, which is a big part of this book. It is a fantasy, but the book draws inspiration from the Second Sino-Japanese War and the Rape of Nanking.

Crime Fiction Lover reviews Jessica Barry’s Freefall , a crime novel:

In some crime novels, the wrongdoing hits you between the eyes from page one. With others it’s a more subtle process, and that’s OK too. So where does Freefall fit into the sliding scale?
In truth, it’s not clear. This is a novel with a thrilling concept at its core. A woman survives plane crash, then runs for her life. However, it is the subtleties at play that will draw you in like a spider beckoning to an unwitting fly.
Like the heroine in Sharon Bolton’s Dead Woman Walking, Allison is lucky to be alive. She was the only passenger in a private plane, belonging to her fiancé, Ben, who was piloting the expensive aircraft, when it came down in woodlands in the Colorado Rockies. Ally is also the only survivor, but rather than sitting back and waiting for rescue, she is soon pulling together items that may help her survive a little longer – first aid kit, energy bars, warm clothes, trainers – before fleeing the scene. If you’re hearing the faint sound of alarm bells ringing, get used to it. There’s much, much more to learn about Ally before this tale is over.

Kirkus Reviews reviews Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One , a science-fiction novel :

Video-game players embrace the quest of a lifetime in a virtual world; screenwriter Cline’s first novel is old wine in new bottles.
The real world, in 2045, is the usual dystopian horror story. So who can blame Wade, our narrator, if he spends most of his time in a virtual world? The 18-year-old, orphaned at 11, has no friends in his vertical trailer park in Oklahoma City, while the OASIS has captivating bells and whistles, and it’s free. Its creator, the legendary billionaire James Halliday, left a curious will. He had devised an elaborate online game, a hunt for a hidden Easter egg. The finder would inherit his estate. Old-fashioned riddles lead to three keys and three gates. Wade, or rather his avatar Parzival, is the first gunter (egg-hunter) to win the Copper Key, first of three.
Halliday was obsessed with the pop culture of the 1980s, primarily the arcade games, so the novel is as much retro as futurist. Parzival’s great strength is that he has absorbed all Halliday’s obsessions; he knows by heart three essential movies, crossing the line from geek to freak. His most formidable competitors are the Sixers, contract gunters working for the evil conglomerate IOI, whose goal is to acquire the OASIS. Cline’s narrative is straightforward but loaded with exposition. It takes a while to reach a scene that crackles with excitement: the meeting between Parzival (now world famous as the lead contender) and Sorrento, the head of IOI. The latter tries to recruit Parzival; when he fails, he issues and executes a death threat. Wade’s trailer is demolished, his relatives killed; luckily Wade was not at home. Too bad this is the dramatic high point. Parzival threads his way between more ’80s games and movies to gain the other keys; it’s clever but not exciting. Even a romance with another avatar and the ultimate “epic throwdown” fail to stir the blood.
Too much puzzle-solving, not enough suspense.

Book review examples for non-fiction books

Nonfiction books are generally written to inform readers about a certain topic. As such, the focus of a nonfiction book review will be on the clarity and effectiveness of this communication . In carrying this out, a book review may analyze the author’s source materials and assess the thesis in order to determine whether or not the book meets expectations.

Again, we’ve included abbreviated versions of long reviews here, so feel free to click on the link to read the entire piece!

The Washington Post reviews David Grann’s Killers of the Flower Moon :

The arc of David Grann’s career reminds one of a software whiz-kid or a latest-thing talk-show host — certainly not an investigative reporter, even if he is one of the best in the business. The newly released movie of his first book, “The Lost City of Z,” is generating all kinds of Oscar talk, and now comes the release of his second book, “Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI,” the film rights to which have already been sold for $5 million in what one industry journal called the “biggest and wildest book rights auction in memory.”
Grann deserves the attention. He’s canny about the stories he chases, he’s willing to go anywhere to chase them, and he’s a maestro in his ability to parcel out information at just the right clip: a hint here, a shading of meaning there, a smartly paced buildup of multiple possibilities followed by an inevitable reversal of readerly expectations or, in some cases, by a thrilling and dislocating pull of the entire narrative rug.
All of these strengths are on display in “Killers of the Flower Moon.” Around the turn of the 20th century, oil was discovered underneath Osage lands in the Oklahoma Territory, lands that were soon to become part of the state of Oklahoma. Through foresight and legal maneuvering, the Osage found a way to permanently attach that oil to themselves and shield it from the prying hands of white interlopers; this mechanism was known as “headrights,” which forbade the outright sale of oil rights and granted each full member of the tribe — and, supposedly, no one else — a share in the proceeds from any lease arrangement. For a while, the fail-safes did their job, and the Osage got rich — diamond-ring and chauffeured-car and imported-French-fashion rich — following which quite a large group of white men started to work like devils to separate the Osage from their money. And soon enough, and predictably enough, this work involved murder. Here in Jazz Age America’s most isolated of locales, dozens or even hundreds of Osage in possession of great fortunes — and of the potential for even greater fortunes in the future — were dispatched by poison, by gunshot and by dynamite. […]

Stacked Books reviews Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers :

I’ve heard a lot of great things about Malcolm Gladwell’s writing. Friends and co-workers tell me that his subjects are interesting and his writing style is easy to follow without talking down to the reader. I wasn’t disappointed with Outliers. In it, Gladwell tackles the subject of success – how people obtain it and what contributes to extraordinary success as opposed to everyday success.
The thesis – that our success depends much more on circumstances out of our control than any effort we put forth – isn’t exactly revolutionary. Most of us know it to be true. However, I don’t think I’m lying when I say that most of us also believe that we if we just try that much harder and develop our talent that much further, it will be enough to become wildly successful, despite bad or just mediocre beginnings. Not so, says Gladwell.
Most of the evidence Gladwell gives us is anecdotal, which is my favorite kind to read. I can’t really speak to how scientifically valid it is, but it sure makes for engrossing listening. For example, did you know that successful hockey players are almost all born in January, February, or March? Kids born during these months are older than the others kids when they start playing in the youth leagues, which means they’re already better at the game (because they’re bigger). Thus, they get more play time, which means their skill increases at a faster rate, and it compounds as time goes by. Within a few years, they’re much, much better than the kids born just a few months later in the year. Basically, these kids’ birthdates are a huge factor in their success as adults – and it’s nothing they can do anything about. If anyone could make hockey interesting to a Texan who only grudgingly admits the sport even exists, it’s Gladwell. […]

Quill and Quire reviews Rick Prashaw’s Soar, Adam, Soar :

Ten years ago, I read a book called Almost Perfect. The young-adult novel by Brian Katcher won some awards and was held up as a powerful, nuanced portrayal of a young trans person. But the reality did not live up to the book’s billing. Instead, it turned out to be a one-dimensional and highly fetishized portrait of a trans person’s life, one that was nevertheless repeatedly dubbed “realistic” and “affecting” by non-transgender readers possessing only a vague, mass-market understanding of trans experiences.
In the intervening decade, trans narratives have emerged further into the literary spotlight, but those authored by trans people ourselves – and by trans men in particular – have seemed to fall under the shadow of cisgender sensationalized imaginings. Two current Canadian releases – Soar, Adam, Soar and This One Looks Like a Boy – provide a pointed object lesson into why trans-authored work about transgender experiences remains critical.
To be fair, Soar, Adam, Soar isn’t just a story about a trans man. It’s also a story about epilepsy, the medical establishment, and coming of age as seen through a grieving father’s eyes. Adam, Prashaw’s trans son, died unexpectedly at age 22. Woven through the elder Prashaw’s narrative are excerpts from Adam’s social media posts, giving us glimpses into the young man’s interior life as he traverses his late teens and early 20s. […]

Book Geeks reviews Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love :

“Eat Pray Love” is so popular that it is almost impossible to not read it. Having felt ashamed many times on my not having read this book, I quietly ordered the book (before I saw the movie) from and sat down to read it. I don’t remember what I expected it to be – maybe more like a chick lit thing but it turned out quite different. The book is a real story and is a short journal from the time when its writer went travelling to three different countries in pursuit of three different things – Italy (Pleasure), India (Spirituality), Bali (Balance) and this is what corresponds to the book’s name – EAT (in Italy), PRAY (in India) and LOVE (in Bali, Indonesia). These are also the three Is – ITALY, INDIA, INDONESIA.
Though she had everything a middle-aged American woman can aspire for – MONEY, CAREER, FRIENDS, HUSBAND; Elizabeth was not happy in her life, she wasn’t happy in her marriage. Having suffered a terrible divorce and terrible breakup soon after, Elizabeth was shattered. She didn’t know where to go and what to do – all she knew was that she wanted to run away. So she set out on a weird adventure – she will go to three countries in a year and see if she can find out what she was looking for in life. This book is about that life changing journey that she takes for one whole year. […]

Emily May reviews Michelle Obama’s Becoming on Goodreads:

Look, I'm not a happy crier. I might cry at songs about leaving and missing someone; I might cry at books where things don't work out; I might cry at movies where someone dies. I've just never really understood why people get all choked up over happy, inspirational things. But Michelle Obama's kindness and empathy changed that. This book had me in tears for all the right reasons.
This is not really a book about politics, though political experiences obviously do come into it. It's a shame that some will dismiss this book because of a difference in political opinion, when it is really about a woman's life. About growing up poor and black on the South Side of Chicago; about getting married and struggling to maintain that marriage; about motherhood; about being thrown into an amazing and terrifying position.
I hate words like "inspirational" because they've become so overdone and cheesy, but I just have to say it-- Michelle Obama is an inspiration. I had the privilege of seeing her speak at The Forum in Inglewood, and she is one of the warmest, funniest, smartest, down-to-earth people I have ever seen in this world.
And yes, I know we present what we want the world to see, but I truly do think it's genuine. I think she is someone who really cares about people - especially kids - and wants to give them better lives and opportunities.
She's obviously intelligent, but she also doesn't gussy up her words. She talks straight, with an openness and honesty rarely seen. She's been one of the most powerful women in the world, she's been a graduate of Princeton and Harvard Law School, she's had her own successful career, and yet she has remained throughout that same girl - Michelle Robinson - from a working class family in Chicago.
I don't think there's anyone who wouldn't benefit from reading this book.

Hopefully, this post has given you a better idea of how to write a book review. You might be wondering how to put all of this knowledge into action now! Many book reviewers start out by setting up a book blog. If you don’t have time to research the intricacies of HTML, check out Reedsy Discovery — where you can read indie books for free and review them without going through the hassle of creating a blog. To register as a book reviewer , go here .

And if you’d like to see even more book review examples, simply go to this directory of book review blogs and click on any one of them to see a wealth of good book reviews. Beyond that, it's up to you to pick up a book and pen — and start reviewing!

Continue reading

More posts from across the blog.

The 30 Best Dystopian Novels Everyone Should Read

Whether they’re sci-fi books about androids dominating the world or speculative fiction tales that aren’t so far from real life, dystopian novels are never not in vogue. From widely popular series to critically acclaimed works, these stories’ social commentary caters to both c...

40 Haiku Poem Examples Everyone Should Know About

In this post, we’ve put together 40 haiku poem examples everyone should know about

The 16 Best Dean Koontz Books to Make You Shiver

Question: What do you get when you cross thriller, sci-fi, fantasy, and horror all together? Answer: A killer Dean Koontz novel. The master of genre-bending, Koontz has published a remarkable range of 100+ books sin...

Heard about Reedsy Discovery?

Trust real people, not robots, to give you book recommendations.

Or sign up with an

Or sign up with your social account

  • Submit your book
  • Reviewer directory

Find out if you're well-suited for reviewing with our one-minute quiz.

We use cookies to provide our clients with the best possible experience. If You continue to use this site, you agree with our cookie policy. Read more »

  • Academic Guidance
  • Essay Examples
  • Essay Topics
  • How To Write
  • Other Articles
  • Research and Sources
  • Synonym Explorations
  • Writing Tips

Difference between a book review and book report

Difference between a book review and book report

Imagine you work really hard to produce a good book review : it seems like you are doing everything diligently to present all the points that seem relevant to you. So you obviously expect the “A” grade for the assignment. But what you get is not an “A” and not even “B” or “C”. The shock can be too overwhelming when such things happen. There are a lot of students who find themselves in the situations like this simply because they fail to understand the difference between a book review and a book report. In most cases when students get low grades for a book review, the issue is that they actually turn in a book report which is different from a book review. So the reason why students receive such low grades is sometimes because they never take time to check and understand book review requirements which should be the number one step when writing any type of assignment. In this article we are going to talk on the difference between a book report and book review and also where a book summary falls in between these two.

Book Report vs Book Review

First of all, a book report is simpler in its structure and it doesn’t require any deep text analysis as opposed to a book review. That is why professors and teachers grade papers very low when they receive reports instead of reviews. They take it as a student choosing a shortcut to make his/her job easier when in fact one may simply have not understood the difference between the two assignments. Well, in order to prevent that from happening we would like not simply to list the characteristics of a good book review but rather to approach these assignments at a very practical angle. Below you can find some insightful tips on how to write both a book report and book review from scratch. Before we do that, let us briefly explain the terms and how they are different.

Whenever you are asked to write a book report, all you need is to explain the topical details about the author of the book and its plot. Usually book reports present biographical data about the author in order to establish a background for the book. This should also help the reader understand the perspective the author had when he/she approached writing the novel. After the bio goes the summary of the story (the plot, setting, climax, etc.) along with the list of main characters. So as you can see, book report requirements are not that demanding as opposed to those of a book review.

When you are required to write a book review, you are basically asked to analyze the story. Students always have to fight the temptation to simply retell the story in their own words as this is not what a book review requires of a student. The whole point of this assignment is to bring some new light or perspective to the people reading, let’s say, the novel. This paper may still present the information about the plot, main characters and the bio of the author but these sections have to be very brief because they are not the main focus of the writing. The core of every book review is to discover the intent of the author, specific symbols that have significant meaning in the interpretation of the story and thematic elements contributing to the overall purpose of the work. A good review would also discuss where the novel fits in the historical context and whether the author has fully covered the chosen subject. This assignment should also dwell on the limitations of the book discussing whether or not it will have value in the generations to come. As you may have noticed, a book review is all about the in-depth analysis of the literary work.

How to Write a Book Report?

  • Before you sit to read the book, note down and consider the information about the author, title, publisher and number of pages.
  • As you read, take note of the main characters, main ideas, and the quotes that appear interesting to you.
  • Start your report from introducing the general information about the book and its author.
  • Explain what happens in the book and you also can discuss a few things that you believe require special attention.
  • Answer the questions “What did you like the most?” and “How would you evaluate the book in general?” That is where you have to dwell on the themes, motifs and different terms of the novel.
  • End with your recommendations for those willing to read the book. Even if you didn’t like it, still explain why.

Further reading: 7 Effective Tips on How to Write a Book Report

How to Write a Book Review?

  • Before you get down to writing, you need to consider some of the elements that you will need to include into your review. These elements include but are not limited to:
  • Author (Who is the author and what is his/her writing style? What works of this author do you know were written before this particular book?)
  • Genre (Fiction, romance, poetry, etc. – which genre does the book belong to and what makes you think so?)
  • Title (Why do you think the author came up with this title? Does it reflect the main message of the book?)
  • Preface (Is there any important information here that helps us understand the author’s intent?)
  • Take notes of the characters, themes, key ideas and style of the book when reading.
  • Determine how you will structure the summary/background information section first. Don’t list too much information here, this is not a report after all.
  • Establish a background for the readers – make sure that everybody will be engaged with your review even those who have never read the book.
  • Then talk on the most important ideas of the text. Choose those that seem to be the most pressing ones.
  • Keep in mind that your evaluation should be in the center of the entire project. Pick a few points to discuss about the text.
  • Include the information about the publisher and price of the book.

Comparison of Book Reviews and Book Reports

Book summary vs book review.

The difference between a book review and summary is something we would like to close the article with. There are those who confuse two terms and as a result don’t know which of the two requires what. Well, we have already covered what a book review is – an in-depth analysis of the book. While a review gives an evaluation of the book along with the background information about the author, a summary is to describe what the book is all about. A summary usually presents the main idea of the book and may list one or two intrigues developed in the text. The purpose of a summary is to help people who have never read the book, understand what it is all about, how the author developed his/her thought, and what are the key ideas that are interwoven within the text. Summaries can be a part of book reviews as well as autonomously stand alone. The requirements of a summary are similar to the book report requirements although they have some substantial distinctions that keep them as separate assignments.

  • Place an order
  • About Writology
  • How it Works
  • Buy Custom Essays
  • Nursing Writing Services
  • Do My Assignment
  • Buy a Letter of Recommendation
  • Buy Research Papers

Useful Links

Share on Facebook

How to Write a Book Review: A Comprehensive Tutorial With Examples

blog image

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!

Get Your Custom Essay Writing Solution From Our Professional Essay Writer's

timely deliveries

Timely Deliveries

premium quality

Premium Quality

unlimited revisions

Unlimited Revisions

Calculate Your Order Price

Related blogs.


Connections with Writers and support

safe service

Privacy and Confidentiality Guarantee


Average Quality Score

photo of library with turned on lights

Support our educational content for free when you purchase through links on our site. Learn more

Book Summary vs. Book Report: Unveiling the Similarities

Review Team

  • June 16, 2023
  • Book Summaries


Have you ever found yourself confused about the difference between a book summary and a book report? Fear not, dear reader, for we are here to shed light on this murky topic! In this comprehensive article, we will delve into the similarities between book summaries and book reports, providing you with expert insights and advice along the way.

Table of Contents:

  • Introduction
  • Book Summary: The Essential Elements
  • Book Report: A Closer Look
  • Similarities Between Book Summary and Book Report
  • Quick Tips and Facts

1. Introduction

Before we embark on this enlightening journey, let's clarify what a book summary and a book report actually are. A book summary is a concise overview of the main ideas and key points of a book, written in a reader-friendly style. On the other hand, a book report is a more in-depth analysis that includes not only a summary but also an evaluation of the book's content and structure.

Now, let us dive deeper into the unique characteristics of each form.

2. Book Summary: The Essential Elements

When it comes to book summaries, there are a few key elements that set them apart from book reports:

  • Brevity : A book summary aims to condense the essence of the book's content into a concise format, capturing the main ideas and plot points within a limited word count. This allows readers to get a quick overview of the book without delving too deeply into the details.
  • Objective Tone : Unlike a book report, which includes personal opinions and evaluations, a book summary focuses solely on presenting the facts and main ideas in an objective manner.
  • Reader-Friendly Style : Book summaries are designed to be easily understood by a wide audience, using accessible language and avoiding excessive jargon or academic terminology.

To get a better idea of what a book summary looks like, let's take a look at an example: "The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Book Summary of "The Great Gatsby" :

In the roaring twenties of New York City, Jay Gatsby, a mysterious millionaire, throws lavish parties in the hopes of capturing the heart of his long-lost love, Daisy Buchanan. As the story unfolds, we witness the tragic consequences of unfulfilled dreams and the destructive power of wealth and obsession.

From this example, you can see how a book summary provides a concise overview of the main plot points, capturing the essence of the story in a few sentences.

3. Book Report: A Closer Look

Now, let us turn our attention to the book report, which expands upon the elements found in a book summary:

  • In-depth Analysis : Unlike a book summary, a book report goes beyond summarizing the main plot points and dives deeper into the book's themes, characters, and literary devices. It provides a thoughtful and critical examination of the author's message and techniques.
  • Personal Evaluation : Unlike a book summary, which remains objective, a book report allows the writer to express their personal opinions and judgments about the book. It often includes a detailed analysis of the book's strengths and weaknesses, as well as the writer's thoughts on its overall impact.
  • Structure and Style : A book report may also include an examination of the book's structure and the author's writing style. This analysis helps readers gain a deeper understanding of how the author constructs their narrative and conveys their ideas.

To illustrate the difference more clearly, let's take a look at an example of a book report for "The Great Gatsby":

Book Report on "The Great Gatsby" :

In F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic novel, "The Great Gatsby," set amidst the opulence of the Jazz Age, the author explores themes of wealth, love, and the elusive American Dream. Through the character of Jay Gatsby, Fitzgerald unveils the hollowness of material wealth and the tragic consequences of unfulfilled dreams. The vivid descriptions and lyrical prose used by Fitzgerald transport the reader into a world of excess and decadence, serving as a scathing critique of the hollow values of the American society of the time. While the novel has received widespread acclaim for its evocative portrayal of the era, some critics argue that the female characters, such as Daisy Buchanan, are underdeveloped and serve only as symbols rather than fully realized individuals.

In this example, the book report delves into the book's themes, author's techniques, and critical assessment, offering a more comprehensive analysis.

4. Similarities Between Book Summary and Book Report

Now that we have a clearer understanding of the differences between book summaries and book reports, let's explore the similarities they share:

  • Content Overview : Both book summaries and book reports provide readers with an overview of the book's content, helping them determine whether the book aligns with their interests.
  • Promotion of Reading : Both forms aim to promote reading by enticing readers with a glimpse into the world of a book, sparking their curiosity, and encouraging them to explore further.
  • Conciseness : While book reports tend to be more detailed and expansive than book summaries, both forms require writers to condense and distill the book's essence, presenting the information in a concise and coherent manner.
  • Analysis of Literary Elements : Although book summaries focus more on the plot, they still touch upon certain literary elements, such as characterization and setting. Book reports, on the other hand, engage in a deeper analysis of these elements.

In essence, both book summaries and book reports serve as valuable tools in helping readers navigate the vast world of literature. Whether you prefer a quick summary to get the gist of a book or a thorough analysis to deepen your understanding, both forms have something to offer.

Is a book review the same as a book summary?

While a book review may include a summary of the book, it is important to note that a book review and a book summary are not the same thing. A book review is a critical analysis that assesses the book's strengths and weaknesses, evaluates its content, and provides an opinion on its overall quality. On the other hand, a book summary is a condensed overview of the book's main ideas and plot points. While both may contain elements of summarization, the purpose and approach differ.

What might be some similarities between a chapter summary and a whole book summary?

A chapter summary and a whole book summary share the common goal of providing an overview of the book's content. Both types of summaries aim to capture the main ideas and key points, allowing readers to grasp the essence of the book without reading every word. However, while a whole book summary provides an overview of the entire book, a chapter summary focuses solely on a specific section, offering a more detailed analysis of that particular part.

Are book reports and book reviews the same type of assignment?

While book reports and book reviews may seem similar on the surface, they serve different purposes and require different approaches. Book reports are more commonly assigned in an educational setting and focus on summarizing the book's main content, analyzing its themes, and evaluating its structure. On the other hand, book reviews are often written for a more general audience and include personal opinions and critical assessments of the book's quality. So, though they both involve writing about a book, the goals and intended audiences differ between these two types of assignments.

6. Quick Tips and Facts

Here are some quick tips and facts to keep in mind when navigating the world of book summaries and book reports:

  • Know Your Audience : When writing a book summary or report, consider the intended audience. Are you writing for teachers, fellow students, or the general public? Understanding your audience will help you tailor your writing style and content accordingly.
  • Cite Your Sources : Remember to provide proper citations when referencing the book or other external sources. This adds credibility to your work and enables readers to explore the book further if they wish.
  • Read Actively : Whether you're reading a book to write a summary or a report, make sure to read actively by taking notes, highlighting key points, and jotting down your initial reactions. This will help you remember important details and facilitate the writing process.
  • Balance Summarization and Analysis : When writing a book report, strike a balance between summarizing the book's content and providing thoughtful analysis. Avoid including excessive plot details at the expense of critical examination, and vice versa.
  • Proofread and Edit : Finally, always proofread your work and edit it for clarity and coherence. This step ensures that your writing is polished, error-free, and impactful.

7. Conclusion

In conclusion, while book summaries and book reports share similarities in providing readers with a valuable overview of a book's content, they have distinct differences in terms of depth and analysis. A book summary offers a concise outline of the main ideas and plot points, while a book report delves deeper into the themes, characters, and structure of the book. Both forms serve their unique purposes, catering to different reading preferences and needs. Whether you're looking for a quick summary or a thorough analysis, both book summaries and book reports will guide you on your literary journey.

So, the next time you find yourself faced with a task of summarizing or analyzing a book, you can confidently navigate the realms of book summaries and book reports, armed with the knowledge of their similarities and differences. Happy reading and writing, dear book-lovers!

Reference links:

  • Book Report VS Book Review: Similarities and Differences
  • The 10 Best Book Summary Websites and Apps

Review Team

Review Team

Related posts, flowers in the attic: chapter 1 summary [2024].

  • February 21, 2024

Flowers in the Attic Books in Order [2024]

  • February 15, 2024

15 Best Book Summary Websites and Apps [2024]

  • February 14, 2024

Leave a Reply Cancel Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Name  *

Email  *

Add Comment  *

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

Post Comment

book review vs book summary

Difference Between Book Review And Book Report?

Imagine you try to pull off a great book report. So you expect a perfect A+ grade. But you couldn’t even get ‘B’ or ‘C.’  It’s no wonder that some students get help with assignments to ease this overwhelming shock. 

There are good numbers of students who find themselves in a similar situation. It’s not because they don’t understand the subject matter. It’s a question of structure. They cannot differentiate a book report from a book review.

Tutors must have provided some requirements tailored to book reviews or reports on the instruction board. Hence, most students get bad grades because they don’t pay attention to these details. In any case, the first step in getting an assignment right is by following simple instructions. 

This article will walk you through how you can tell the difference between a book report and a book review. 

  • 1.1 Elements of a Book Review
  • 2.1 Parts of a Book Report
  • 3 Key Differences  between a Book Review and Book Report 
  • 4.1 Scope/Purpose
  • 4.2 Word Count
  • 4.3 Perspective
  • 5 Conclusion

What is a Book Review?

Difference Between Book Review And Book Report?

A book review is an illustrative, subjective, evaluative, and critical account of a book. It typically describes a book based on style and content. 

Book reviews typically range from 600 to 2,000 words. However, it could be more depending on the assignment requirements.

Elements of a Book Review

You may think that a book review is all about a brief opinion of a book. No more, no less. That’s not true. This is not only the piece of information that your tutor wants from you. 

A resourceful book review comprises four elements. They are as follows:

  • Short Summary

It’d best to assume that your audience does not know what the book is about. This way, you can summarize the book better. A good summary requires you to map out the main ideas and why they are essential. 

Another information to include in a book review is the book’s background. A solid background requires comparing the author’s argument to related historical information. This applies to both fiction and non-fiction works. 

  • Author’s Information

It’s also essential to incorporate the author’s information into the review. For instance, what is the author’s educational background? Does it influence his beliefs? This way, your reader can understand why the author has raised a specific argument. 

Evaluation is the conclusive part of the review. It’s an appraisal of the strengths and pain points of the book. An evaluative account also shows how the book has achieved its purpose. 

Note that book reviews may also include your opinions. However, you should reread your assignment instructions to determine whether it’s part of its requirements. 

Now that you know what a book review is let’s get to a book report. 

What is a Book Report?

Unlike a book review, a book report discusses a book from an objective and informative perspective. People often interchange with book reviews. But it tilts toward a book summary than a critical account of it. 

Book reports give a concise account of what happened in a book. They navigate through the thesis and characters of a work.

Most book reports stretch from 250 to 500 words. 

Parts of a Book Report

  • Introduction

The first part of a book report should include the title of the work and the author’s name. After that, you may open with an exciting extract from the creation to grab the reader’s attention. 

If it is a story, you should introduce the specific place where it takes place. For non-stories, we recommend that you include the integral setting. Integral setting means the societal elements in work, such as language. 

Introduce the main ideas

It’d be best to mention every character in your report. 

  • Evaluation/Recommendation

Key Differences  between a Book Review and Book Report 

Now that we’ve walked you through the basics let’s get to business. , scope/purpose.

A book review analyses the work. It encompasses the main ideas in a piece of work critically. Hence, a book review aims to shed new light on the readers.

On the other hand, a book report rehashes the work. The purpose of a book report is to give information about the work. In any case, a book review takes a diagnostic approach that tests the significance of the text. 

A book review typically ranges from 600 to 2,000 words. It’s because teachers expect students to write as much as possible in book reviews. However, it would help if you stuck to the word count in your assignment instructions. 

On the other hand, a book report typically stretches from 250 to 500 words. It’s because your teachers don’t expect you to write beyond what happened in a book. However, you may highlight your recommendations. 


A book report requires you to write from an objective perspective. 

On the other hand, a book review requires you to write from a subjective perspective. That is to say, your opinions matter.

It can be challenging to strike a balance between opinion and facts. However, mastering them will go a long way in helping you to differentiate a book review from a  book report. 

book review vs book summary

Ask Any Difference

Review vs Summary: Difference and Comparison

A Review is a report highlighting someone’s opinion about something, its ideas, the theme, and how it affects someone or something.

Key Takeaways A review evaluates or critiques a work or product, providing opinions and insights on its quality, effectiveness, or value. At the same time, a summary is a condensed version of a work presenting its main points or ideas without offering personal opinions or judgments. Reviews include personal assessments, recommendations, and comparisons to similar works or products. In contrast, summaries focus on accurately conveying the core content or message of the original work without inserting personal opinions. Both reviews and summaries can be useful for understanding the content or value of a work. Still, they serve different purposes: reviews inform potential consumers or readers about the quality of work, while summaries provide a quick and concise understanding of the original content.

Review vs Summary

The difference between Review and a Summary is that Review reflects what the partaker thinks about the narrative in all aspects. In contrast, a Summary is just a shortened or condensed version of an artefact that gives the gist of the whole body.

Review vs Summary

Education Quiz

Test your knowledge about topics related to education

Who is known as the father of modern science?

In a class, there are children who usually get out of the social circle. How do you describe these children?

What is the study of government and political systems called?

What is the study of light and color called?

When should a teacher and a pupil hold a case conference?

What is the study of plants called?

We've all heard of a pandemic, but what is an 'infodemic'?

Who is the author of “Pride and Prejudice”?

What is the basic unit of life?

Who painted the famous artwork “The Starry Night”?

Your score is

Restart quiz

Review can also mean a revision or subsequent reading of a text or narrative. Whereas, Summary is a broad term which refers to the short restatement reflecting the critical points of any piece of literature, argument or lecture.

Comparison Table

What is review.

A review delineates the partaker’s opinion about the presented subject. It doesn’t require the exact points of the narrative but revolves around the ideas of it and the way it was presented.

This is used in formal and informal contexts like “a movie review” or “review of a research paper” and can be applied to any subject that can be presented to an audience.

There will exist no final review as every individual contemplates the subject differently. However, the study can be generalized as good or bad.

These reviews don’t necessarily account for the reviewer’s opinions and are closely related to a summary. However, unlike resumes, these reviews don’t have to highlight all the subject’s main points in the same order.

This review is not presented to an audience but is for the use of the partaker himself. The need for this kind of review arises when the partaker needs to demonstrate their knowledge on the subject, like examinations.

review 1

What is Summary?

A Summary is the concise report of any presented rendering or narrative used for a better and easier understanding. It covers all the text’s main points and gives the story’s essence in the exact order as the report does.

A summary sticks to the points of the subject and doesn’t deviate from them at all. It does not include the summarizer’s opinions or acknowledge any assessment of the issue.

Absoluteness is the backbone of a summary. Since the resume needs to hold on to the exact points of the subject, the summaries from different summarizers must be clear.

Summaries always proceed in the exact nature of the subject, starting from the introduction and terminating where the issue ends.

It is mainly used in academic contexts and for other narratives.


Main Differences Between Review and Summary

  • A review revolves around the general idea of the subject, whereas a summary holds onto the exact points of the subject.
  • The opinion of the partaker is an integral part of a review, whereas it doesn’t hold any significance in the case of a review.

Difference Between X and Y 2023 04 06T181455.011


Last Updated : 11 June, 2023

dot 1

I’ve put so much effort writing this blog post to provide value to you. It’ll be very helpful for me, if you consider sharing it on social media or with your friends/family. SHARING IS ♥️

Emma Smith 200x200 1

Emma Smith holds an MA degree in English from Irvine Valley College. She has been a Journalist since 2002, writing articles on the English language, Sports, and Law. Read more about me on her bio page .

Similar Reads

  • Summary vs Paraphrase: Difference and Comparison
  • Summary vs Analysis: Difference and Comparison
  • Audit vs Review: Difference and Comparison
  • Preview vs Review: Difference and Comparison
  • Annotated Bibliography vs Literature Review: Difference and Comparison

Share this post!

Leave a comment cancel reply.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

Want to save this article for later? Click the heart in the bottom right corner to save to your own articles box!

Log in or Sign up

You are using an out of date browser. It may not display this or other websites correctly. You should upgrade or use an alternative browser .

What is the Difference Between a Book Review and a Book Summary?

Discussion in ' Miscellaneous ' started by Ro_Laren , Apr 4, 2009 .


Ro_Laren Commodore Commodore

I am doing an assignment for a Grad School class that is 40% of my grade. I am supposed to be doing a "Book Review" and now that I am typing it I am wondering what the difference really is between a book review and a book summary. My teacher said in the syllabus that one of the three things that our review should do is "accurately outline the argument of the book, perhaps chapter by chapter." That seems like a summary to me... Maybe I am confused. Maybe I should not have waited to the last minute to do this report... Maybe it is Friday and I would rather be out having fun then stuck at home with my laptop...  


thestrangequark Admiral Admiral

Opinion. A summary gives the facts -- an overview of the characters and the story. A review can, and usually should, contain a summary, but the job of a reviewer is to add his or her voice; a reviewer judges the qualities, makes connections to other media and experiences, and makes recommendations.  

Captain Ice

Captain Ice Cookie Constructor Admiral

In a review, you share your opinion of the book. A summary is just that, a summary aka just the facts.  


startrekwatcher Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

To me a book summary is just a synopsis/recap of what happens in the book. A book review is a more analytical look at the material that focuses on themes, aspects that you enjoyed or disliked, character dynamics, whether you would recommend it to someone else etc.  


ancientone51 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

^What they said. Basically: Summary = Facts; Review = Opinion. For that much of your grade you would IMHO need to summarize the book as outlined in syllabubs and explain your opinion of the material in the book, what you think of it and WHY you think that way.  


Goliath Vice Admiral Admiral

A summary is only part of a book review. A necessary part, but still only a part. When I assign students to write book reviews, I expect them to accurately and concisely summarize the book's contents and arguments; discuss its methodology and evidence; praise its strengths; criticize its weaknesses; and explain its significance--that is to say, its place in the historiography. A good rule of thumb is half summary, half discussion and critique.  


RJDiogenes Idealistic Cynic and Canon Champion Premium Member

While it's true that a review is an opinion piece and a summary is basically a capsule description, reviews generally contain very incomplete summaries, because most readers haven't read the book yet. This probably doesn't apply to a school assignment, however.  
  • Log in with Facebook
  • No, create an account now.
  • Yes, my password is:
  • Forgot your password?
  • Search titles only

Separate names with a comma.

  • Search this thread only
  • Display results as threads

Useful Searches

  • Recent Posts
  • Craft and Criticism
  • Fiction and Poetry
  • News and Culture
  • Lit Hub Radio
  • Reading Lists

book review vs book summary

  • Literary Criticism
  • Craft and Advice
  • In Conversation
  • On Translation
  • Short Story
  • From the Novel
  • Bookstores and Libraries
  • Film and TV
  • Art and Photography
  • Freeman’s
  • The Virtual Book Channel
  • Behind the Mic
  • Beyond the Page
  • The Cosmic Library
  • The Critic and Her Publics
  • Emergence Magazine
  • Fiction/Non/Fiction
  • First Draft: A Dialogue on Writing
  • Future Fables
  • The History of Literature
  • I’m a Writer But
  • Just the Right Book
  • Lit Century
  • The Literary Life with Mitchell Kaplan
  • New Books Network
  • Tor Presents: Voyage Into Genre
  • Windham-Campbell Prizes Podcast
  • Write-minded
  • The Best of the Decade
  • Best Reviewed Books
  • BookMarks Daily Giveaway
  • The Daily Thrill
  • CrimeReads Daily Giveaway

book review vs book summary

What Should You Read Next? Here Are the Best Reviewed Books of the Week

Featuring new titles by leslie jamison, phillip b. williams, sarah ruiz-grossman, and more.

Book Marks logo

Leslie Jamison’s Splinters , Phillip B. Williams’ Ours , and Sarah Ruiz-Grossman’s A Fire So Wild all feature among the Best Reviewed Books of the Week.

Brought to you by Book Marks , Lit Hub’s home for book reviews.

1. Ours by Phillip B. Williams (Viking)

3 Rave • 2 Positive Read an excerpt from Ours here

“…a vast and rapturous feat of fabulism … This is a 19th-century historical epic created with both a vivacious enthusiasm for folkloric traditions and a deep contemplation of what it means to be freed from the violent machine of slavery in the U.S. … Williams has a voice that soars across each page, breathing life into his dazzling array of characters–the lovers and the malcontents, the queer and the mystical, the brazen and the cautious.”

–Dave Wheeler ( Shelf Awareness )

2. The Variations by Patrick Langley (New York Review of Books)

2 Rave • 1 Positive • 1 Mixed

“Langley is a mesmerizing guide to Selda’s music and the fantastical world of the hospice, a ‘variously demonized, patronized, scorned, venerated, vilified, and today largely ignored and near-bankrupted institution.’ This is exquisite.”

–Publishers Weekly

3. A Fire So Wild by Sarah Ruiz-Grossman (Harper)

1 Rave • 2 Positive • 1 Mixed Read Sarah Ruiz-Grossman’s list of books for the climate apocalypse here

“As the characters’ paths twine with fervor, Ruiz-Grossman’s engaging tale offers a vivid exploration of modern-day disparities within the timeless and universal search for belonging and self-determination.”

–Leah Strauss ( Booklist )

1. Splinters by Leslie Jamison (Little Brown and Company)

6 Rave • 4 Positive • 2 Mixed Listen to an interview with Leslie Jamison here

“This one is slimmer, less digressive, more focused on Jamison’s singular experience [than The Recovering ]. But it, like its predecessor, makes a particular life ramify more broadly in intriguing and poignant ways … About the bewildering nature of new motherhood, the implosion of Jamison’s marriage, parenting solo, dating as a single mother, coping with illness and lockdown. But it is also about storytelling … Though this well of grief and guilt is not dramatized, it is not unglimpsed. Jamison writes around the hole in her story, and we can feel the gravity of its pull in her presentation of herself … Her ferocious honesty, her stringent refusal to sugarcoat, her insistence on inhabiting and depicting moments in all their evanescence and incandescence make her one of the most compelling and trustworthy memoirists we have.”

–Priscilla Gilman ( The Boston Globe )

2. Out of the Darkness: The Germans, 1942-2022 by Frank Trentmann (Knopf)

“Terrifically insightful … There is so much telling detail in the story: the fluent legal nonsense, the struggle with authority, the inner psychological conflict, all tacitly overshadowed by the recent memory of the Third Reich … This book runs to 838 pages, but barely a word is wasted. Trentmann is a skillful and unflashy storyteller with flickers of gentle irony.”

–Oliver Moody ( The Times )

3. Strong Passions: A Scandalous Divorce in Old New York by Barbara Weisberg (W. W. Norton & Company)

2 Rave • 3 Positive • 1 Mixed

“Riveting … Weisberg reassembles the story with the clear determination to treat both sides equally, and without leering … She cloaks the jagged facts of the case in the soft trappings of their social backdrop to soften their impact. Nevertheless, sharp edges pierce the velvet veil … By letting public and private records reanimate this vivid chapter of the past, Weisberg tells a story that fiction could not touch.”

–Liesl Schillinger ( The New York Times Book Review )

  • Share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
  • Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)
  • Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)
  • Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)
  • Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)
  • Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)
  • Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)
  • Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)

Book Marks

Previous Article

Next article, support lit hub..

Support Lit Hub

Join our community of readers.

to the Lithub Daily

Popular posts.

book review vs book summary

Follow us on Twitter

book review vs book summary

Rethinking “Justice” in the Wake of a Violent Death Close to Home

  • RSS - Posts

Literary Hub

Created by Grove Atlantic and Electric Literature

Sign Up For Our Newsletters

How to Pitch Lit Hub

Advertisers: Contact Us

Privacy Policy

Support Lit Hub - Become A Member

Become a Lit Hub Supporting Member : Because Books Matter

For the past decade, Literary Hub has brought you the best of the book world for free—no paywall. But our future relies on you. In return for a donation, you’ll get an ad-free reading experience , exclusive editors’ picks, book giveaways, and our coveted Joan Didion Lit Hub tote bag . Most importantly, you’ll keep independent book coverage alive and thriving on the internet.

book review vs book summary

Become a member for as low as $5/month


Supported by

editors’ choice

9 New Books We Recommend This Week

Suggested reading from critics and editors at The New York Times.

  • Share full article

As the war in Ukraine enters its third year with no sign of disappearing from headlines, Simon Shuster’s well-timed look at the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, tops our list of recommendations this week. You might pair that one with Guzel Yakhina’s newly translated historical novel, “A Volga Tale,” about a rural villager facing an earlier Russian encroachment — or consider an altogether different novel about imperial ambitions, Álvaro Enrigue’s hallucinatory reimagining of the fateful meeting between Cortés and Moctezuma.

Also up this week: Cynthia Zarin’s lovely and deeply interior novel “Inverno,” along with a history of hate mail, a look at the moon’s significance, an account of women taking justice into their own hands, and two books exploring San Francisco’s colorful history. (What does it mean, a week before the Super Bowl, that we recommend two books about San Francisco and none about Kansas City? We’ll let you draw your own conclusions.) Happy reading. — Gregory Cowles

THE SHOWMAN: Inside the Invasion That Shook the World and Made a Leader of Volodymyr Zelensky Simon Shuster

Using interviews with the Ukrainian president, his closest associates and his critics, Shuster crafts an intimate account of the Russian invasion, which vividly captures Zelensky’s transformation from a clean-cut funnyman into a war hero out of central casting.

book review vs book summary

“While Shuster’s admiration for his subject is palpable, he never tips over into hagiography. He knows that Zelensky’s skill as an entertainer, and the tactical advantages it has conferred in global politics, do not sufficiently explain the complexities of his presidency.”

From David Kortava’s review

Morrow | $32.99

A VOLGA TALE Guzel Yakhina

Yakhina’s novel, translated from the Russian by Polly Gannon, centers on an eccentric tutor who, recalling the comfort he once took in folk tales, contrives to make a living writing a “new folklore” for the Communist organizer who wants to mold local villagers into paragons of socialist virtue.

book review vs book summary

“The larger narrative is itself shaped by folkloric forces ... offset by darkly brooding interludes.”

From Alida Becker’s historical fiction column

Europa | $28

OUR MOON: How Earth’s Celestial Companion Transformed the Planet, Guided Evolution, and Made Us Who We Are Rebecca Boyle

The moon may seem the least mysterious of our celestial neighbors, but Boyle gracefully argues that our development as a species and a planet is inextricably linked to its presence.

book review vs book summary

“It is the only piece of a vast universe that most of us will ever get to experience: All you have to do is look up. Or, of course, look down into Boyle’s new book, which makes the moon feel closer than ever.”

From Katrina Miller’s review

Random House | $28

PENNING POISON: A History of Anonymous Letters Emily Cockayne

The internet may be rife with anonymous cruelty, but this lively study demonstrates that the impulse goes back centuries or more: Neighbors, friends, enemies and strangers send poison pen letters for all kinds of reasons, and in all kinds of ways. The motives are often obscure, the effect disquieting.

book review vs book summary

“Even restricted to the age of ink and paper, this is a capacious subject — and, given that not everyone cherishes extortion attempts as family heirlooms, one that requires no small measure of scholarly digging. ... What Cockayne has actually written is a history of that most devalued currency — privacy.”

From Sadie Stein’s review

Oxford University Press | $25


The Mexican writer Enrigue recasts the fateful meeting between Hernán Cortés and the Aztecs in this hallucinatory novel, translated by Natasha Wimmer. Moctezuma is fearsome yet depressed, often tripping on magic mushrooms, while the conquistadors grow increasingly anxious.

book review vs book summary

“Short, strange, spiky and sublime. ... Enrigue, who is clearly a major talent, has delivered a humane comedy of manners that is largely about paranoia (is today the day my head will be lopped off?) and the quotidian bummers of life, even if you are powerful beyond belief.”

From Dwight Garner’s review

Riverhead | $28

THE LONGEST MINUTE: The Great San Francisco Earthquake and Fire of 1906 Matthew J. Davenport

Through meticulous research and vivid reporting, Davenport brings April 18, 1906, to life, chronicling every moment of the Great San Francisco Earthquake and the ensuing fire that devastated the city.

book review vs book summary

“In a chronicle that reads, at times, like the script of a Robert Altman movie, Davenport enlists a cast of hundreds ... whose archival testimony details the roughly 60 seconds of terror and what one observer called ‘the great silence’ that followed.”

From Ian Volner’s review

St. Martin’s Press | $35

PORTAL: San Francisco’s Ferry Building and the Reinvention of American Cities John King

King, a longtime writer for The San Francisco Chronicle, presents a history of the city through one structure: the Ferry Building on the Embarcadero, built in 1898.

book review vs book summary

“Not just for souvenir hunters. Serious and rigorous, the book furnishes a gimlet-eyed glimpse of San Francisco’s continuing struggles — and what lies beneath them.”

Norton | $29.99

THE FURIES: Women, Vengeance, and Justice Elizabeth Flock

What happens when women resort to violence, in self-defense or in defense of others? Flock, a journalist, explores this question through the stories of three very different women, in Alabama, rural India and northern Syria, avoiding easy moralizing.

book review vs book summary

“The juxtapositions in ‘The Furies’ provoke thought. ... Flock has done a service by portraying her subjects’ human complexity.”

From Sanam Maher’s review

Harper | $32

INVERNO Cynthia Zarin

This brief, meditative novel begins with a woman waiting in a snowy Central Park for a phone call from a former lover. Time and space blur, and riffs on fairy tales, movies and music provide glimpses of her interior states.

book review vs book summary

“To see the chaos of suffering shaped into something beautiful is one of the main reasons we turn to art. There is not a banal sentence or purple patch to be found in this book, which only a poet could have written.”

From Sigrid Nunez’s review

Farrar, Straus and Giroux | $25

Explore More in Books

Want to know about the best books to read and the latest news start here..

In her new memoir, “Splinters,” the essayist Leslie Jamison  recounts the birth of her child  and the end of her marriage.

The Oscar-nominated film “Poor Things” is based on a 1992 book by Alasdair Gray. Beloved by writers, it was never widely read  but is now ripe for reconsideration.

Even in countries where homophobia is pervasive and same-sex relationships are illegal, queer African writers are pushing boundaries , finding an audience and winning awards.

In Lucy Sante’s new memoir, “I Heard Her Call My Name,” the author reflects on her life and embarking on a gender transition  in her late 60s.

Do you want to be a better reader?   Here’s some helpful advice to show you how to get the most out of your literary endeavor .

Each week, top authors and critics join the Book Review’s podcast to talk about the latest news in the literary world. Listen here .

  • Skip to main content
  • Keyboard shortcuts for audio player

Disaster follows an astronaut back to Earth in the thriller 'Constellation'


David Bianculli

book review vs book summary

Noomi Rapace plays an astronaut on the International Space Station in the Apple TV+ series Constellation. Apple TV+ hide caption

Noomi Rapace plays an astronaut on the International Space Station in the Apple TV+ series Constellation.

Constellation, the new drama series streaming on Apple TV+, starts in outer space, with an astronaut struggling to survive, and return safely to Earth, after things go horribly wrong.

This has long been familiar film territory, from the malfunction in Apollo 13 and the deadly stowaway in Alien, to the twisting perceptions of reality in Gravity . Constellation , created and written by former Doctor Who writer Peter Harness, borrows a bit from all of those. It's a very tricky story to follow – but in the end, and by the end, it's a very moving one.

In Constellation , the International Space Station, with a handful of astronauts aboard, is in orbit when it collides with an unidentified object, crippling most of the onboard systems. That's the Apollo 13 part. An emergency evacuation leaves a single astronaut waiting behind to repair and pilot the craft, while time, space and memory seem to shift – as does reality itself. That's what Sandra Bullock 's astronaut went through in Gravity . And finally, there's something mysterious and otherworldly on board – something potentially lethal. So there's Alien , sort of.

Noomi Rapace: Finding Lisbeth, And Letting Her Go

Movie Interviews

Noomi rapace: finding lisbeth, and letting her go.

But in Constellation , while the spacebound scenes are thrilling and creepy, there's less frantic action in this series overall, and more underlying tension. It's a slow build, and takes several episodes to establish what may or may not be really going on here. But the clues make more sense as you go along, and the more you watch this Constellation , the more profound and disturbing it becomes.

Noomi Rapace , from a previous outer-space thriller, Prometheus , stars here. She plays Jo Ericsson, an astronaut on the space station who, in an early scene, is communicating with her 10-year-old daughter, Alice, who's back on Earth. The daughter, Alice, is played by twin actresses, Rosie and Davina Coleman, who rotate in the role. That's somehow fitting, because, after a while, Jo begins to suspect that her daughter isn't the same little girl she left behind.

Jo isn't the only one with suspicions or identity issues. Jonathan Banks from Breaking Bad co-stars as a former astronaut named Henry Caldera, who's now a scientist with a top-secret experiment aboard the endangered space station. At times, he acts like two different people, and there may be a reason. Psychologists in the space program believe that both Jo and Henry suffer from "high altitude psychosis," which explains – to them – the astronauts' post-mission bouts of confusion, memory loss and paranoia.

Hello Again, My Gooey Friends: On Loving 'Alien' And Seeing 'Prometheus'

Pop Culture Happy Hour

Hello again, my gooey friends: on loving 'alien' and seeing 'prometheus'.

Complicated? Absolutely. Over the eight installments of Constellation, perspectives change. Stories change. Even people change. Scenes that look one way, and mean one thing, in episode one are turned inside out when they return in episode six or seven.

It's a story full of unreliable narrators, and a TV show where the images are more important and revealing than the dialogue. And because the visuals are crucial throughout, the directors of this series are crucial, too. Oliver Hirschbiegel and Joseph Cedar direct the later episodes, stunningly, but the mood and look are established in the all-important first ones by Michelle MacLaren, who directed some of the most brilliant episodes of Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul.

Watching Constellation takes commitment, patience and attention, but you'll be rewarded for that effort with a haunting story that, at its center, is about the love between a mother and a daughter. It really touched me. At least it did in this universe.

Correction Feb. 22, 2024

In the audio of this story, as in a previous web version, we misidentify the cause of the Apollo 13 malfunction as an orbital collision. The cause was an onboard explosion.

an image, when javascript is unavailable

Netflix’s Live-Action ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender’ Is a Beautifully Crafted Disappointment: TV Review

By Aramide Tinubu

Aramide Tinubu

  • Netflix’s Live-Action ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender’ Is a Beautifully Crafted Disappointment: TV Review 3 days ago
  • Netflix’s ‘The Vince Staples Show’ Feels Incomplete, Despite Some Brilliant Bits: TV Review 1 week ago
  • Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr.’s ‘Gospel’ Is a Celebratory Account of the Faith-Based Music’s History: TV Review 2 weeks ago

Avatar: The Last Airbender. (L to R) Ian Ousley as Sokka, Kiawentiio as Katara, Gordon Cormier as Aang in season 1 of Avatar: The Last Airbender. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2024

Ever since its premiere nearly two decades ago, “ Avatar: The Last Airbender ” has been a fan favorite animated franchise. Co-created by Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, the original series garnered critical acclaim and spawned an extended universe. That’s why there was much to anticipate when Netflix announced a “reimagined” live-action “Avatar” television series, helmed by DiMartino and Konietzko as co-showrunners and executive producers. Unfortunately, that euphoria was short-lived, as the pair left the project over what was described as “creative differences.”

Tasked with adapting the animated series’ first season of 20 episodes into just eight hours, the live-action “Avatar” starts promisingly enough. After living in harmony for millennia, the power-crazed Fire Nation, led by Fire Lord Sozin (Hiro Kanagawa), rises against the world’s other three nations — the Water Tribes, the Earth Kingdom and Air Nomads — in a ploy for domination. Using stunning CGI and special effects, the series’ prologue is recounted in majestic color, explaining the history of the war and precocious Airbender Aang’s (Gordon Cormier) life before he goes missing. It’s a dynamic entry-point for lifelong “Avatar” enthusiasts and newcomers, who can quickly orient themselves in the days before Aang, who learns he is the Avatar (the master of all four elements), is frozen in the ice for 100 years. The Avatar’s absence allows the Fire Nation’s comet-fueled war to rage on, obliterating the Air Nomads and wreaking havoc on the Water Tribes and the Earth Kingdom.

Twenty minutes into the first chapter, “Avatar” flashes forward a century. Katara (Kiawentiio), the sole water bender of the Southern Water Tribe, and her over-protective brother Sokka (Ian Ousley) stumble upon Aang’s resting place, inadvertently awakening him. Though initially apprehensive, the pair embrace Aang as their friend and join him on his quest to master the other elements, end the Fire Nation’s war and restore balance to the world.

As with many live-action films and television adaptations from written or animated sources, Kim and his writers’ room conflated and combined several pivotal narrative beats. However, entwining Jet’s (Sebastian Amoruso) story of freedom fighting with the Earth Kingdom’s sparkling city Omashu and the tale of King Bumi (Utkarsh Ambudkar) feel rushed and overly convenient – especially for those who know the original series well. Moreover, stripping Sokka of the comic relief that enriched the animated version of his character is hugely disappointing and makes for a more one-note depiction.

Despite these missteps, there are a few standout moments in the series. “Avatar’s” opener and its second episode, “Warriors,” remain the two strongest installments of the show, while the penultimate episode (“The North”) injects a vital intenseness and a gorgeous display of water bending needed to reinvigorate the series in its final hours. And despite many of the series’ lackluster performances, Elizabeth Yu’s turn as the cunning and volatile Princess Azula — who is desperate to impress her father, the sadistic Fire Lord Ozai (Daniel Dae Kim), and outsmart her exiled older brother Prince Zuko (Dallas Liu) — is by far one of the most powerful showcases of the series. Also, Paul Sun-Hyung Lee’s role as Uncle Iroh tempers the tone of many scenes that bend toward melodrama in the hands of more novice actors.

Looking back on the original, animated “Avatar,” it’s clear that DiMartino and Konietzko had a distinct vision for Aang and this universe. Without their careful guidance, the live-action series loses the elements that made the animated work unique and refined. Ultimately, “Avatar: The Last Airbender” feels like it’s putting on a show, instead of meticulously immersing the audience in this stunningly crafted world.

“Avatar: The Last Airbender” premieres Feb. 22 on Netflix .

More From Our Brands

Barbra streisand dreams of a world where ‘prejudice is a thing of the past’: sag life achievement award, wilt chamberlain’s groovy l.a. home sells to a crypto entrepreneur for $9.7 million, filipowski court-storming injury could have legal ramifications, the best mattress protectors, according to sleep experts, foundation showrunner stepping down ahead of season 3, verify it's you, please log in.



  1. Book Review vs Book Report: Here’s How They Compare

    book review vs book summary

  2. How Book Report Is Different From Book Review

    book review vs book summary

  3. How to write a book review

    book review vs book summary

  4. How Book Report Is Different From Book Review

    book review vs book summary

  5. Comparison of main features of book review vs. a book report

    book review vs book summary

  6. Book Review Vs Book Report

    book review vs book summary


  1. Non book readers listening to music vs book readers #shorts #music #funny #books #fyp

  2. How To Get Motivated To Do Something?

  3. Student vs Book 🤣

  4. Student_Vs_book_😭. ____Book_की_बकबक_😂_#shorts video

  5. STUDENT VS BOOk 😂😂 || BOOk की बकबक 😂😂 #comedy #shortsvideo #students #books

  6. 5 Best Books you Must Read ! #shorts


  1. Book Review vs Book Summary: Which is Better?

    Table of Contents I. Book Reviews: The Art of Critique II. Book Summaries: Navigating the Plot IV. The Symbiosis of Reviews and Summaries: The realms of literature offer a vast landscape for exploration, with readers seeking various tools to navigate this expansive terrain.

  2. What's the Difference Between a Book Summary and a Book Review?

    The easy way to say it is that a Book Review is evaluative in nature and interactive, whereas a Summary is simply a condensed re-presentation of the book's contents. In a Review our staff will tell you generally what a book is about and then offer comments assessing the work, commending or criticizing this or that about its contents, and so on.

  3. Book Reviews

    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.

  4. Book Review vs Book Report: Here's How They Compare

    A book review is an assessment of a literary work, typically written by a critic or reviewer. It aims to provide a detailed analysis of the book's content, quality, and style, and may take various forms such as opinion pieces, scholarly reviews, or summary reviews.

  5. How is a Summary Different from a Book Review? [2023]

    A book summary provides a condensed version of a book's content and main ideas, while a book review typically provides an evaluation of a book's merits, demerits, and usefulness. When writing a summary, you are expected to provide a brief of the book's plot, main characters, and major events in your words.

  6. How to write a book review and a book report · Help & how-to

    About A book review is a descriptive and critical/evaluative account of a book. It provides a summary of the content, assesses the value of the book, and recommends it (or not) to other potential readers. A book report is an objective summary of the main ideas and arguments that the book's author has presented. The purpose of the report is to give enough information to help decide whether the ...

  7. PDF Academic Book Reviews

    An academic book review provides the main ideas, and since published book reviews typically have a limited word count, the summary should remain brief. Analysis and Significance. Compare the book and its argument with the other literature on the topic. Discuss its contribution to past and current research and literature.

  8. Book Reviews

    By contrast, book reviews are most often a college assignment, but they also appear in many professional works: magazines, newspapers, and academic journals. They typically range from 500-750 words, but may be longer or shorter. A book review gives readers a sneak peek at what a book is like, whether or not the reviewer enjoyed it, and details ...

  9. Foolproof Guide to Writing a Book Review

    Find out how a book review is different from a book report and get tips to make your review a success. ... A large part of a book report is a summary, but the summary only serves as context for a book review. How to Write a Book Review in Six Steps. Before you begin your review, you should have a clear idea of the expectations. ...

  10. Guide: Book Reviews

    A book review addresses the subject matter of a literary work, and assesses effectiveness and value. Book reviews keep publishers and the public aware of what is being thought and written in a wide range of subjects. When a new book is issued, copies are sent to reviewers; subsequent reviews appear in literary magazines, academic journals ...

  11. How to Write a Book Review: 3 Main Elements of a Book Review

    Summary of the book's subject and themes: Summarizing the book's subject and primary themes, or the author's argument in the case of a nonfiction book, are essential elements of a book review. Include details about the main points, characters, and the book's genre. 1. Back up your argument with examples. Critical analysis needs ...

  12. Writing a Book Review

    Reviews generally range from 500-2000 words, but may be longer or shorter depends on several factors: the length and complexity of the book being reviewed, the overall purpose of the review, and whether the review examines two or more books that focus on the same topic.

  13. Summaries and Reviews of A Book or An Article: Guidelines for Writing

    Asking students to do a summary or a review of a book or an article is a favorite assignment of professors because such assignments require students to read carefully and digest a work that is directly relevant to the subject being taught in a class.

  14. 17 Book Review Examples to Help You Write the Perfect Review

    A review will offer a concise plot summary of the book. A book review will offer an evaluation of the work. A book review will offer a recommendation for the audience. If these are the basic ingredients that make up a book review, it's the tone and style with which the book reviewer writes that brings the extra panache.

  15. What is the Difference Between a Book Review and a Book Summary? [2023

    Analysis and Conclusion Lastly, a book review should include an analysis of the book's strengths and weaknesses and a conclusion that summarizes the reviewer's opinion of the book. Similarity with Book Summary While a book summary shares some similarities with a book review, there are key differences in their purpose and content. Book Summary

  16. Book review vs book report

    As you may have noticed, a book review is all about the in-depth analysis of the literary work. How to Write a Book Report? Before you sit to read the book, note down and consider the information about the author, title, publisher and number of pages.

  17. How to Write a Book Summary: Example, Tips, & Bonus Section

    Summaries of books highlight key ideas and messages conveyed by the author. They also convey unique story elements and information about the major events and the setting of the story. It is different from a book synopsis which is used by authors to pitch their work to publishers or literary agents. What is the summary on the back of a book called?

  18. How to write a book review: format guide, & examples

    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.

  19. Book Summary vs. Book Report: Unveiling the Similarities

    Quick Tips and Facts Conclusion 1. Introduction Before we embark on this enlightening journey, let's clarify what a book summary and a book report actually are. A book summary is a concise overview of the main ideas and key points of a book, written in a reader-friendly style.

  20. I started comparing book summary websites; Here's what I found

    Pros : Best "high-level thoughts." Nat really does great when he explains the entire idea behind the book in a few simple sentences. Writing style is easy to read and follow. Has a personal grading system for books (1/10). Cons : It's unstructured at times.

  21. Difference Between Book Review And Book Report?

    A book review is an illustrative, subjective, evaluative, and critical account of a book. It typically describes a book based on style and content. Book reviews typically range from 600 to 2,000 words. However, it could be more depending on the assignment requirements. Elements of a Book Review. You may think that a book review is all about a ...

  22. Review vs Summary: Difference and Comparison

    Review vs Summary The difference between Review and a Summary is that Review reflects what the partaker thinks about the narrative in all aspects. In contrast, a Summary is just a shortened or condensed version of an artefact that gives the gist of the whole body. Test your knowledge about topics related to education 1 / 10

  23. What is the Difference Between a Book Review and a Book Summary?

    A summary is only part of a book review. A necessary part, but still only a part. When I assign students to write book reviews, I expect them to accurately and concisely summarize the book's contents and arguments; discuss its methodology and evidence; praise its strengths; criticize its weaknesses; and explain its significance--that is to say, its place in the historiography.

  24. 5 Book Reviews You Need to Read This Week ‹ Literary Hub

    Our supergroup of sumptuous reviews this week includes Parul Sehgal on Tommy Orange's Wandering Stars, Dwight Garner on Mary V. Dearborn's Carson McCullers: A Life, Haley Mlotek on Leslie Jamison's Splinters, Alexander Chee on Ed Park's Same Bed Different Dreams, and Merve Emre on Sally Rooney's Beautiful World, Where Are You, and Eleanor Catton's Birnam Wood.

  25. Book Review: 'Leaving,' by Roxana Robinson

    Amity Gaige is the author of a New York Times Notable Book, "Sea Wife," as well as three previous novels. Published Feb. 10, 2024 Updated Feb. 11, 2024 Buy Book

  26. Book Review: 'Carson McCullers: A Life,' by Mary V. Dearborn

    Mary V. Dearborn's new book, "Carson McCullers: A Life," is the first major biography of this essential American writer in more than 20 years. It is competent and professional, as if built ...

  27. What Should You Read Next? Here Are the Best Reviewed Books of the Week

    Leslie Jamison's Splinters, Phillip B. Williams' Ours, and Sarah Ruiz-Grossman's A Fire So Wild all feature among the Best Reviewed Books of the Week.. Brought to you by Book Marks, Lit Hub's home for book reviews.. Fiction. 1. Ours by Phillip B. Williams (Viking) 3 Rave • 2 Positive Read an excerpt from Ours here "…a vast and rapturous feat of fabulism …

  28. 9 New Books We Recommend This Week

    Suggested reading from critics and editors at The New York Times. As the war in Ukraine enters its third year with no sign of disappearing from headlines, Simon Shuster's well-timed look at the ...

  29. 'Constellation' review: Nothing is quite what it seems in this Apple

    Watching this Apple TV+ series takes commitment and attention, but you'll be rewarded for that effort with a haunting story that, at its center, is about the love between a mother and a daughter.

  30. Avatar: The Last Airbender TV Review: Live-Action Netflix ...

    Without its original creators at the helm, Netflix's live-action "Avatar: The Last Airbender" lacks sophistication, nuance and grandeur.