The Write Practice

How to Write a Book Review: The Complete Guide

by Sue Weems | 23 comments

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

How to Write a Book Review: The Complete Guide

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

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

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

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

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

The Fallacy of Book Reviews

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

When I Don’t Know What to Write

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

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

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

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

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

What if I Didn’t Like It?

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

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

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

How to Write a Book Review: Your Turn

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

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

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

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

what is required in a book review

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

May Writing Prompts


Azure Darkness Yugi

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

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

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

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

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


Thanks for sharing your practice, Azure!

You’re welcome.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reel Estate Ripoff by Renee Pawlish

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

Beth Schmelzer

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

Adding it to my stack, Beth. Thanks!

Kelly Hansen

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

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

Thanks, Sue.

Daniel McDonald

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

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

Dave Diss

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

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


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

You’re welcome!

John Grumps Hamshare

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

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

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

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

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

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

John Hamshare

Thank you, Sue.

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


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

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

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

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

R. Allan Worrell

Cathy Ryan

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


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

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You don’t need to be a literary expert to craft captivating book reviews. With one in every three readers selecting books based on insightful reviews, your opinions can guide fellow bibliophiles toward their next literary adventure.

Learning how to write a book review will not only help you excel at your assigned tasks, but you’ll also contribute valuable insights to the book-loving community and turn your passion into a professional pursuit.

In this comprehensive guide,  PaperPerk  will walk you through a few simple steps to master the art of writing book reviews so you can confidently embark on this rewarding journey.

What is a Book Review?

A book review is a critical evaluation of a book, offering insights into its content, quality, and impact. It helps readers make informed decisions about whether to read the book.

Writing a book review as an assignment benefits students in multiple ways. Firstly, it teaches them how to write a book review by developing their analytical skills as they evaluate the content, themes, and writing style .

Secondly, it enhances their ability to express opinions and provide constructive criticism. Additionally, book review assignments expose students to various publications and genres, broadening their knowledge.

Furthermore, these tasks foster essential skills for academic success, like critical thinking and the ability to synthesize information. By now, we’re sure you want to learn how to write a book review, so let’s look at the book review template first.

Table of Contents

Book Review Template

How to write a book review- a step by step guide.

Check out these 5 straightforward steps for composing the best book review.

Step 1: Planning Your Book Review – The Art of Getting Started

You’ve decided to take the plunge and share your thoughts on a book that has captivated (or perhaps disappointed) you. Before you start book reviewing, let’s take a step back and plan your approach. Since knowing how to write a book review that’s both informative and engaging is an art in itself.

Choosing Your Literature

First things first, pick the book you want to review. This might seem like a no-brainer, but selecting a book that genuinely interests you will make the review process more enjoyable and your insights more authentic.

Crafting the Master Plan

Next, create an  outline  that covers all the essential points you want to discuss in your review. This will serve as the roadmap for your writing journey.

The Devil is in the Details

As you read, note any information that stands out, whether it overwhelms, underwhelms, or simply intrigues you. Pay attention to:

  • The characters and their development
  • The plot and its intricacies
  • Any themes, symbols, or motifs you find noteworthy

Remember to reserve a body paragraph for each point you want to discuss.

The Key Questions to Ponder

When planning your book review, consider the following questions:

  • What’s the plot (if any)? Understanding the driving force behind the book will help you craft a more effective review.
  • Is the plot interesting? Did the book hold your attention and keep you turning the pages?
  • Are the writing techniques effective? Does the author’s style captivate you, making you want to read (or reread) the text?
  • Are the characters or the information believable? Do the characters/plot/information feel real, and can you relate to them?
  • Would you recommend the book to anyone? Consider if the book is worthy of being recommended, whether to impress someone or to support a point in a literature class.
  • What could improve? Always keep an eye out for areas that could be improved. Providing constructive criticism can enhance the quality of literature.

Step 2 – Crafting the Perfect Introduction to Write a Book Review

In this second step of “how to write a book review,” we’re focusing on the art of creating a powerful opening that will hook your audience and set the stage for your analysis.

Identify Your Book and Author

Begin by mentioning the book you’ve chosen, including its  title  and the author’s name. This informs your readers and establishes the subject of your review.

Ponder the Title

Next, discuss the mental images or emotions the book’s title evokes in your mind . This helps your readers understand your initial feelings and expectations before diving into the book.

Judge the Book by Its Cover (Just a Little)

Take a moment to talk about the book’s cover. Did it intrigue you? Did it hint at what to expect from the story or the author’s writing style? Sharing your thoughts on the cover can offer a unique perspective on how the book presents itself to potential readers.

Present Your Thesis

Now it’s time to introduce your thesis. This statement should be a concise and insightful summary of your opinion of the book. For example:

“Normal People” by Sally Rooney is a captivating portrayal of the complexities of human relationships, exploring themes of love, class, and self-discovery with exceptional depth and authenticity.

Ensure that your thesis is relevant to the points or quotes you plan to discuss throughout your review.

Incorporating these elements into your introduction will create a strong foundation for your book review. Your readers will be eager to learn more about your thoughts and insights on the book, setting the stage for a compelling and thought-provoking analysis.

How to Write a Book Review: Step 3 – Building Brilliant Body Paragraphs

You’ve planned your review and written an attention-grabbing introduction. Now it’s time for the main event: crafting the body paragraphs of your book review. In this step of “how to write a book review,” we’ll explore the art of constructing engaging and insightful body paragraphs that will keep your readers hooked.

Summarize Without Spoilers

Begin by summarizing a specific section of the book, not revealing any major plot twists or spoilers. Your goal is to give your readers a taste of the story without ruining surprises.

Support Your Viewpoint with Quotes

Next, choose three quotes from the book that support your viewpoint or opinion. These quotes should be relevant to the section you’re summarizing and help illustrate your thoughts on the book.

Analyze the Quotes

Write a summary of each quote in your own words, explaining how it made you feel or what it led you to think about the book or the author’s writing. This analysis should provide insight into your perspective and demonstrate your understanding of the text.

Structure Your Body Paragraphs

Dedicate one body paragraph to each quote, ensuring your writing is well-connected, coherent, and easy to understand.

For example:

  • In  Jane Eyre , Charlotte Brontë writes, “I am no bird; and no net ensnares me.” This powerful statement highlights Jane’s fierce independence and refusal to be trapped by societal expectations.
  • In  Normal People , Sally Rooney explores the complexities of love and friendship when she writes, “It was culture as class performance, literature fetishized for its ability to take educated people on false emotional journeys.” This quote reveals the author’s astute observations on the role of culture and class in shaping personal relationships.
  • In  Wuthering Heights , Emily Brontë captures the tumultuous nature of love with the quote, “He’s more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.” This poignant line emphasizes the deep, unbreakable bond between the story’s central characters.

By following these guidelines, you’ll create body paragraphs that are both captivating and insightful, enhancing your book review and providing your readers with a deeper understanding of the literary work. 

How to Write a Book Review: Step 4 – Crafting a Captivating Conclusion

You’ve navigated through planning, introductions, and body paragraphs with finesse. Now it’s time to wrap up your book review with a  conclusion that leaves a lasting impression . In this final step of “how to write a book review,” we’ll explore the art of writing a memorable and persuasive conclusion.

Summarize Your Analysis

Begin by summarizing the key points you’ve presented in the body paragraphs. This helps to remind your readers of the insights and arguments you’ve shared throughout your review.

Offer Your Final Conclusion

Next, provide a conclusion that reflects your overall feelings about the book. This is your chance to leave a lasting impression and persuade your readers to consider your perspective.

Address the Book’s Appeal

Now, answer the question: Is this book worth reading? Be clear about who would enjoy the book and who might not. Discuss the taste preferences and circumstances that make the book more appealing to some readers than others.

For example:  The Alchemist is a book that can enchant a young teen, but those who are already well-versed in classic literature might find it less engaging.

Be Subtle and Balanced

Avoid simply stating whether you “liked” or “disliked” the book. Instead, use nuanced language to convey your message. Highlight the pros and cons of reading the type of literature you’ve reviewed, offering a balanced perspective.

Bringing It All Together

By following these guidelines, you’ll craft a conclusion that leaves your readers with a clear understanding of your thoughts and opinions on the book. Your review will be a valuable resource for those considering whether to pick up the book, and your witty and insightful analysis will make your review a pleasure to read. So conquer the world of book reviews, one captivating conclusion at a time!

How to Write a Book Review: Step 5 – Rating the Book (Optional)

You’ve masterfully crafted your book review, from the introduction to the conclusion. But wait, there’s one more step you might consider before calling it a day: rating the book. In this optional step of “how to write a book review,” we’ll explore the benefits and methods of assigning a rating to the book you’ve reviewed.

Why Rate the Book?

Sometimes, when writing a professional book review, it may not be appropriate to state whether you liked or disliked the book. In such cases, assigning a rating can be an effective way to get your message across without explicitly sharing your personal opinion.

How to Rate the Book

There are various rating systems you can use to evaluate the book, such as:

  • A star rating (e.g., 1 to 5 stars)
  • A numerical score (e.g., 1 to 10)
  • A letter grade (e.g., A+ to F)

Choose a rating system that best suits your style and the format of your review. Be consistent in your rating criteria, considering writing quality, character development, plot, and overall enjoyment.

Tips for Rating the Book

Here are some tips for rating the book effectively:

  • Be honest: Your rating should reflect your true feelings about the book. Don’t inflate or deflate your rating based on external factors, such as the book’s popularity or the author’s reputation.
  • Be fair:Consider the book’s merits and shortcomings when rating. Even if you didn’t enjoy the book, recognize its strengths and acknowledge them in your rating.
  • Be clear: Explain the rationale behind your rating so your readers understand the factors that influenced your evaluation.

Wrapping Up

By including a rating in your book review, you provide your readers with an additional insight into your thoughts on the book. While this step is optional, it can be a valuable tool for conveying your message subtly yet effectively. So, rate those books confidently, adding a touch of wit and wisdom to your book reviews.

Additional Tips on How to Write a Book Review: A Guide

In this segment, we’ll explore additional tips on how to write a book review. Get ready to captivate your readers and make your review a memorable one!

Hook ’em with an Intriguing Introduction

Keep your introduction precise and to the point. Readers have the attention span of a goldfish these days, so don’t let them swim away in boredom. Start with a bang and keep them hooked!

Embrace the World of Fiction

When learning how to write a book review, remember that reviewing fiction is often more engaging and effective. If your professor hasn’t assigned you a specific book, dive into the realm of fiction and select a novel that piques your interest.

Opinionated with Gusto

Don’t shy away from adding your own opinion to your review. A good book review always features the writer’s viewpoint and constructive criticism. After all, your readers want to know what  you  think!

Express Your Love (or Lack Thereof)

If you adored the book, let your readers know! Use phrases like “I’ll definitely return to this book again” to convey your enthusiasm. Conversely, be honest but respectful even if the book wasn’t your cup of tea.

Templates and Examples and Expert Help: Your Trusty Sidekicks

Feeling lost? You can always get help from formats, book review examples or online  college paper writing service  platforms. These trusty sidekicks will help you navigate the world of book reviews with ease. 

Be a Champion for New Writers and Literature

Remember to uplift new writers and pieces of literature. If you want to suggest improvements, do so kindly and constructively. There’s no need to be mean about anyone’s books – we’re all in this literary adventure together!

Criticize with Clarity, Not Cruelty

When adding criticism to your review, be clear but not mean. Remember, there’s a fine line between constructive criticism and cruelty. Tread lightly and keep your reader’s feelings in mind.

Avoid the Comparison Trap

Resist the urge to compare one writer’s book with another. Every book holds its worth, and comparing them will only confuse your reader. Stick to discussing the book at hand, and let it shine in its own light.

Top 7 Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Writing a book review can be a delightful and rewarding experience, especially when you balance analysis, wit, and personal insights. However, some common mistakes can kill the brilliance of your review. 

In this section of “how to write a book review,” we’ll explore the top 7 blunders writers commit and how to steer clear of them, with a dash of  modernist literature  examples and tips for students writing book reviews as assignments.

Succumbing to the Lure of Plot Summaries

Mistake: Diving headfirst into a plot summary instead of dissecting the book’s themes, characters, and writing style.

Example: “The Bell Jar chronicles the life of a young woman who experiences a mental breakdown.”

How to Avoid: Delve into the book’s deeper aspects, such as its portrayal of mental health, societal expectations, and the author’s distinctive narrative voice. Offer thoughtful insights and reflections, making your review a treasure trove of analysis.

Unleashing the Spoiler Kraken

Mistake: Spilling major plot twists or the ending without providing a spoiler warning, effectively ruining the reading experience for potential readers.

Example: “In Metamorphosis, the protagonist’s transformation into a monstrous insect leads to…”

How to Avoid: Tread carefully when discussing significant plot developments, and consider using spoiler warnings. Focus on the impact of these plot points on the overall narrative, character growth, or thematic resonance.

Riding the Personal Bias Express

Mistake: Allowing personal bias to hijack the review without providing sufficient evidence or reasoning to support opinions.

Example: “I detest books about existential crises, so The Sun Also Rises was a snoozefest.”

How to Avoid: While personal opinions are valid, it’s crucial to back them up with specific examples from the book. Discuss aspects like writing style, character development, or pacing to support your evaluation and provide a more balanced perspective.

Wielding the Vague Language Saber

Mistake: Resorting to generic, vague language that fails to capture the nuances of the book and can come across as clichéd.

Example: “This book was mind-blowing. It’s a must-read for everyone.”

How to Avoid: Use precise and descriptive language to express your thoughts. Employ specific examples and quotations to highlight memorable scenes, the author’s unique writing style, or the impact of the book’s themes on readers.

Ignoring the Contextualization Compass

Mistake: Neglecting to provide context about the author, genre, or cultural relevance of the book, leaving readers without a proper frame of reference.

Example: “This book is dull and unoriginal.”

How to Avoid: Offer readers a broader understanding by discussing the author’s background, the genre conventions the book adheres to or subverts, and any societal or historical contexts that inform the narrative. This helps readers appreciate the book’s uniqueness and relevance.

Overindulging in Personal Preferences

Mistake: Letting personal preferences overshadow an objective assessment of the book’s merits.

Example: “I don’t like stream-of-consciousness writing, so this book is automatically bad.”

How to Avoid: Acknowledge personal preferences but strive to evaluate the book objectively. Focus on the book’s strengths and weaknesses, considering how well it achieves its goals within its genre or intended audience.

Forgetting the Target Audience Telescope

Mistake: Failing to mention the book’s target audience or who might enjoy it, leading to confusion for potential readers.

Example: “This book is great for everyone.”

How to Avoid: Contemplate the book’s intended audience, genre, and themes. Mention who might particularly enjoy the book based on these factors, whether it’s fans of a specific genre, readers interested in character-driven stories, or those seeking thought-provoking narratives.

By dodging these common pitfalls, writers can craft insightful, balanced, and engaging book reviews that help readers make informed decisions about their reading choices.

These tips are particularly beneficial for students writing book reviews as assignments, as they ensure a well-rounded and thoughtful analysis.!

Many students requested us to cover how to write a book review. This thorough guide is sure to help you. At Paperperk, professionals are dedicated to helping students find their balance. We understand the importance of good grades, so we offer the finest writing service , ensuring students stay ahead of the curve. So seek expert help because only Paperperk is your perfect solution!

What is the difference between a book review and a report?

Who is the target audience for book reviews and book reports, how do book reviews and reports differ in length and content, can i write professional book reviews, what are the key aspects of writing professional book reviews, how can i enhance my book-reviewing skills to write professional reviews, what should be included in a good book review.

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How to Write a Book Review in 3 Steps

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Blog – Posted on Wednesday, Apr 03

How to write a book review in 3 steps.

How to Write a Book Review in 3 Steps

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

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

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

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

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

Should you become a book reviewer?

Find out the answer. Takes 30 seconds!

How to write a review of a book

Step 1. provide a summary.

Have you ever watched a movie only to realize that all the good bits were already in the trailer? Well, you don’t want the review to do that. What you do want the summary to do is reveal the genre, theme, main conflict, and main characters in the story — without giving away spoilers or revealing how the story ends.

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

Emily W. Thompson's review of The Crossing :

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

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

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

Step 2. Present your evaluation

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

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

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

Donald Barker's review of Mercenary : 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Step 3. Give your recommendation 

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

Let’s take a look at a few more tips:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bonus tips for writing a book review

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

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

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

Which review community should you join?

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

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

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How to Write a Book Review: Introduction

  • Introduction

Steps to Write a Book Review

  • Other Resources on Writing Reviews

Writing Book Reviews

Academic book reviews are helpful in enabling people to decide if they want to read a given book. A book review is not a book report, which you may hae done in elementary school. A book report describes the basic contents. Book reviews go far deeper than that. This guide will explain what an academic book review is and how to write one well.

Introduction to Writing Book Reviews

  • What is a Book Review?
  • Benefits of Writing Book Reviews

 What is a Book Review?

  • Describes the purpose of the book
  • Describes the contents of the book (subject of each chapter)
  • Analyzes the approach/argument(s) of the book: Does it seem accurate? Does it make sense? Is the argument strong or weak?
  • Assesses whether the book did what the author said it would do
  • Suggests potential audiences for the book (pastors, students, professors, lay people) and potential uses, such as a textbook
  • Based upon a careful reading of the entire book
  • Uses a structured, formal, academic tone
  • Most often appears in academic journals, though more informal versions may appear in magazines and blogs
  • May include comparisons to other works in the same subject, e.g., if you are reviewing a book on Paul's theology, it would help to compare it briefly to another book on Paul's theology
  • In an academic setting, a review assumes an academic audience

A book review requires the reviewer to read the book carefully and reflect on its contents. The review should tell a reader what the book seeks to do and offer an appraisal of how well the author(s) accomplished this goal. That is why this is a "critical" book review. You are analyzing the book, not simply describing it. A review assumes that the readers know the vocabulary of the discipline. For example, a reviewer of a book on the Gospel of Matthew could use "Q" and not need to explain it because it is assumed that the audience knows what Q is in the context of talking about the canonical gospels.

A book review does not

  • Seek to be entertaining and/or engaging
  • Describe your feelings regarding the book, e.g., “I loved it,” “it was terrible,” or “I disagree completely.”
  • Superficial treatment similar to the blurb on the back of the book
  • Offers an ad hominem (against the person) attack on the author

Here are two examples of typical academic book reviews:,sso&custid=s8984749,sso&custid=s8984749

You may see non-academic book reviews that are more inform al or use humor but that is not appropriate for an academic book review.

Why would you write a book review? There are a few reasons.

  • Meet a course requirement
  • Understand a book better and grow as a scholar
  • Write reviews for publications in the future, such as magazines

1. Your professor assigned it. You are probably reading this page because a professor gave you an assignment to write a review. This is straightforward. Your professor may have a specific set of requirements or directions and you need to follow those, even if they differ from what you read here. In either case, assume that your review is for a large audience. 

2. Writing a review will help you understand a book better. When you are going to write a good book review, you need to read the entire book carefully. By assigning a book review, the professor is seeking to help you understand the book better. A book review is a critical assessment of a book. “Critical” here means analytical. What did the author seek to do and how convincing was it? Your professor wants you to read the book carefully enough to explain both. A critical assessment recognizes that the status of an author/scholar is no guarantee that the book accomplishes its goal. The skill of critical assessment is valuable in all your research work, both now and after graduation.

3. You may have an opportunity in the future to write a book review for a denominational publication, a magazine like Christianity Today , a church newsletter, or in a blog post, which is very common.

So, a book review can fulfill a course requirement, make you better at critical assessment of the views of others, and create opportunities to use that skill for various publications.

Step 1: Read the book carefully.

Step 2: Write the basics.

Step 3: Fill in the details.

These steps are explained in the next tab of this research guide.

This is not for Book Reflections

If you have a (personal) reflection on a book assigned, what this guide says, besides step #1, likely does not apply to your assignment. You need to ask your professor for guidance on writing a reflection. There are two reasons.

1. A book reflection is not a standard, academic type of document. Therefore, general help based upon reading book reviews is not relevant.

2. Book reflections are heavily dependent upon exactly what a professor asks for. These frequently require comparing good and bad points of the book. That is not a feature of book reviews as such and reviews do not include your personal reflections.

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Literacy Ideas

How to Write a Book Review: The Ultimate Guide

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how to write a book review | what is a Book review | How to Write a Book Review: The Ultimate Guide |

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


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


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

●     Engage critically with a text

●     Critically evaluate a text

●     Respond personally to a range of different writing genres

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

Not to Be Confused with a Book Report!



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

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


ANALYZE Evaluate the book with a critical mind.

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

COMPARE Where appropriate compare to similar texts and genres.

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

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


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

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

VOICE Both active and passive voice are used in recounts.


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As with any of the writing genres we teach our students, a book review can be helpfully explained in terms of criteria. While there is much to the ‘art’ of writing, there is also, thankfully, a lot of the nuts and bolts that can be listed too. Have students consider the following elements before writing:

●     Title: Often, the title of the book review will correspond to the title of the text itself, but there may also be some examination of the title’s relevance. How does it fit into the purpose of the work as a whole? Does it convey a message or reveal larger themes explored within the work?

●     Author: Within the book review, there may be some discussion of who the author is and what they have written before, especially if it relates to the current work being reviewed. There may be some mention of the author’s style and what they are best known for. If the author has received any awards or prizes, this may also be mentioned within the body of the review.

●     Genre: A book review will identify the genre that the book belongs to, whether fiction or nonfiction, poetry, romance, science-fiction, history etc. The genre will likely tie in, too with who the intended audience for the book is and what the overall purpose of the work is.

●     Book Jacket / Cover: Often, a book’s cover will contain artwork that is worthy of comment. It may contain interesting details related to the text that contribute to, or detract from, the work as a whole.

●     Structure: The book’s structure will often be heavily informed by its genre. Have students examine how the book is organized before writing their review. Does it contain a preface from a guest editor, for example? Is it written in sections or chapters? Does it have a table of contents, index, glossary etc.? While all these details may not make it into the review itself, looking at how the book is structured may reveal some interesting aspects.

●     Publisher and Price: A book review will usually contain details of who publishes the book and its cost. A review will often provide details of where the book is available too.

how to write a book review | writing a book review | How to Write a Book Review: The Ultimate Guide |


As students read and engage with the work they will review, they will develop a sense of the shape their review will take. This will begin with the summary. Encourage students to take notes during the reading of the work that will help them in writing the summary that will form an essential part of their review. Aspects of the book they may wish to take notes on in a work of fiction may include:

●     Characters: Who are the main characters? What are their motivations? Are they convincingly drawn? Or are they empathetic characters?

●     Themes: What are the main themes of the work? Are there recurring motifs in the work? Is the exploration of the themes deep or surface only?

●     Style: What are the key aspects of the writer’s style? How does it fit into the wider literary world?

●     Plot: What is the story’s main catalyst? What happens in the rising action? What are the story’s subplots? 

A book review will generally begin with a short summary of the work itself. However, it is important not to give too much away, remind students – no spoilers, please! For nonfiction works, this may be a summary of the main arguments of the work, again, without giving too much detail away. In a work of fiction, a book review will often summarise up to the rising action of the piece without going beyond to reveal too much!

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The summary should also provide some orientation for the reader. Given the nature of the purpose of a review, it is important that students’ consider their intended audience in the writing of their review. Readers will most likely not have read the book in question and will require some orientation. This is often achieved through introductions to the main characters, themes, primary arguments etc. This will help the reader to gauge whether or not the book is of interest to them.

Once your student has summarized the work, it is time to ‘review’ in earnest. At this point, the student should begin to detail their own opinion of the book. To do this well they should:

i. Make It Personal

Often when teaching essay writing we will talk to our students about the importance of climbing up and down the ladder of abstraction. Just as it is helpful to explore large, more abstract concepts in an essay by bringing it down to Earth, in a book review, it is important that students can relate the characters, themes, ideas etc to their own lives.

Book reviews are meant to be subjective. They are opinion pieces, and opinions grow out of our experiences of life. Encourage students to link the work they are writing about to their own personal life within the body of the review. By making this personal connection to the work, students contextualize their opinions for the readers and help them to understand whether the book will be of interest to them or not in the process.

ii. Make It Universal

Just as it is important to climb down the ladder of abstraction to show how the work relates to individual life, it is important to climb upwards on the ladder too. Students should endeavor to show how the ideas explored in the book relate to the wider world. The may be in the form of the universality of the underlying themes in a work of fiction or, for example, the international implications for arguments expressed in a work of nonfiction.

iii. Support Opinions with Evidence

A book review is a subjective piece of writing by its very nature. However, just because it is subjective does not mean that opinions do not need to be justified. Make sure students understand how to back up their opinions with various forms of evidence, for example, quotations, statistics, and the use of primary and secondary sources.


how to write a book review | 9 1 proof read Book review | How to Write a Book Review: The Ultimate Guide |

As with any writing genre, encourage students to polish things up with review and revision at the end. Encourage them to proofread and check for accurate spelling throughout, with particular attention to the author’s name, character names, publisher etc. 

It is good practice too for students to double-check their use of evidence. Are statements supported? Are the statistics used correctly? Are the quotations from the text accurate? Mistakes such as these uncorrected can do great damage to the value of a book review as they can undermine the reader’s confidence in the writer’s judgement.

The discipline of writing book reviews offers students opportunities to develop their writing skills and exercise their critical faculties. Book reviews can be valuable standalone activities or serve as a part of a series of activities engaging with a central text. They can also serve as an effective springboard into later discussion work based on the ideas and issues explored in a particular book. Though the book review does not hold the sway it once did in the mind’s of the reading public, it still serves as an effective teaching tool in our classrooms today.

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Teaching Resources

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


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Book and Movie review writing examples (Student Writing Samples)

Below are a collection of student writing samples of book reviews.  Click on the image to enlarge and explore them in greater detail.  Please take a moment to both read the movie or book review in detail but also the teacher and student guides which highlight some of the key elements of writing a text review

Please understand these student writing samples are not intended to be perfect examples for each age or grade level but a piece of writing for students and teachers to explore together to critically analyze to improve student writing skills and deepen their understanding of book review writing.

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what is required in a book review

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.

what is required in a book review

How to Write a Book Review: Awesome Guide

what is required in a book review

A book review allows students to illustrate the author's intentions of writing the piece, as well as create a criticism of the book — as a whole. In other words, form an opinion of the author's presented ideas. Check out this guide from EssayPro - book review writing service to learn how to write a book review successfully.

What Is a Book Review?

You may prosper, “what is a book review?”. Book reviews are commonly assigned students to allow them to show a clear understanding of the novel. And to check if the students have actually read the book. The essay format is highly important for your consideration, take a look at the book review format below.

Book reviews are assigned to allow students to present their own opinion regarding the author’s ideas included in the book or passage. They are a form of literary criticism that analyzes the author’s ideas, writing techniques, and quality. A book analysis is entirely opinion-based, in relevance to the book. They are good practice for those who wish to become editors, due to the fact, editing requires a lot of criticism.

Book Review Template

The book review format includes an introduction, body, and conclusion.

  • Introduction
  • Describe the book cover and title.
  • Include any subtitles at this stage.
  • Include the Author’s Name.
  • Write a brief description of the novel.
  • Briefly introduce the main points of the body in your book review.
  • Avoid mentioning any opinions at this time.
  • Use about 3 quotations from the author’s novel.
  • Summarize the quotations in your own words.
  • Mention your own point-of-view of the quotation.
  • Remember to keep every point included in its own paragraph.
  • In brief, summarize the quotations.
  • In brief, summarize the explanations.
  • Finish with a concluding sentence.
  • This can include your final opinion of the book.
  • Star-Rating (Optional).


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How to Write a Book Review: Step-By-Step

Writing a book review is something that can be done with every novel. Book reviews can apply to all novels, no matter the genre. Some genres may be harder than others. On the other hand, the book review format remains the same. Take a look at these step-by-step instructions from our professional writers to learn how to write a book review in-depth.

how to write a book review

Step 1: Planning

Create an essay outline which includes all of the main points you wish to summarise in your book analysis. Include information about the characters, details of the plot, and some other important parts of your chosen novel. Reserve a body paragraph for each point you wish to talk about.

Consider these points before writing:

  • What is the plot of the book? Understanding the plot enables you to write an effective review.
  • Is the plot gripping? Does the plot make you want to continue reading the novel? Did you enjoy the plot? Does it manage to grab a reader’s attention?
  • Are the writing techniques used by the author effective? Does the writer imply factors in-between the lines? What are they?
  • Are the characters believable? Are the characters logical? Does the book make the characters are real while reading?
  • Would you recommend the book to anyone? The most important thing: would you tell others to read this book? Is it good enough? Is it bad?
  • What could be better? Keep in mind the quotes that could have been presented better. Criticize the writer.

Step 2: Introduction

Presumably, you have chosen your book. To begin, mention the book title and author’s name. Talk about the cover of the book. Write a thesis statement regarding the fictitious story or non-fictional novel. Which briefly describes the quoted material in the book review.

Step 3: Body

Choose a specific chapter or scenario to summarise. Include about 3 quotes in the body. Create summaries of each quote in your own words. It is also encouraged to include your own point-of-view and the way you interpret the quote. It is highly important to have one quote per paragraph.

Step 4: Conclusion

Write a summary of the summarised quotations and explanations, included in the body paragraphs. After doing so, finish book analysis with a concluding sentence to show the bigger picture of the book. Think to yourself, “Is it worth reading?”, and answer the question in black and white. However, write in-between the lines. Avoid stating “I like/dislike this book.”

Step 5: Rate the Book (Optional)

After writing a book review, you may want to include a rating. Including a star-rating provides further insight into the quality of the book, to your readers. Book reviews with star-ratings can be more effective, compared to those which don’t. Though, this is entirely optional.

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Dive into literary analysis with EssayPro . Our experts can help you craft insightful book reviews that delve deep into the themes, characters, and narratives of your chosen books. Enhance your understanding and appreciation of literature with us.

book review order

Writing Tips

Here is the list of tips for the book review:

tips for book review

  • A long introduction can certainly lower one’s grade: keep the beginning short. Readers don’t like to read the long introduction for any essay style.
  • It is advisable to write book reviews about fiction: it is not a must. Though, reviewing fiction can be far more effective than writing about a piece of nonfiction
  • Avoid Comparing: avoid comparing your chosen novel with other books you have previously read. Doing so can be confusing for the reader.
  • Opinion Matters: including your own point-of-view is something that is often encouraged when writing book reviews.
  • Refer to Templates: a book review template can help a student get a clearer understanding of the required writing style.
  • Don’t be Afraid to Criticize: usually, your own opinion isn’t required for academic papers below Ph.D. level. On the other hand, for book reviews, there’s an exception.
  • Use Positivity: include a fair amount of positive comments and criticism.
  • Review The Chosen Novel: avoid making things up. Review only what is presented in the chosen book.
  • Enjoyed the book? If you loved reading the book, state it. Doing so makes your book analysis more personalized.

Writing a book review is something worth thinking about. Professors commonly assign this form of an assignment to students to enable them to express a grasp of a novel. Following the book review format is highly useful for beginners, as well as reading step-by-step instructions. Writing tips is also useful for people who are new to this essay type. If you need a book review or essay, ask our book report writing services ' write paper for me ' and we'll give you a hand asap!

We also recommend that everyone read the article about essay topics . It will help broaden your horizons in writing a book review as well as other papers.

Book Review Examples

Referring to a book review example is highly useful to those who wish to get a clearer understanding of how to review a book. Take a look at our examples written by our professional writers. Click on the button to open the book review examples and feel free to use them as a reference.

Book review

Kenneth Grahame’s ‘The Wind in the Willows’

Kenneth Grahame’s ‘The Wind in the Willows’ is a novel aimed at youngsters. The plot, itself, is not American humor, but that of Great Britain. In terms of sarcasm, and British-related jokes. The novel illustrates a fair mix of the relationships between the human-like animals, and wildlife. The narrative acts as an important milestone in post-Victorian children’s literature.

Book Review

Dr. John’s ‘Pollution’

Dr. John’s ‘Pollution’ consists of 3 major parts. The first part is all about the polluted ocean. The second being about the pollution of the sky. The third part is an in-depth study of how humans can resolve these issues. The book is a piece of non-fiction that focuses on modern-day pollution ordeals faced by both animals and humans on Planet Earth. It also focuses on climate change, being the result of the global pollution ordeal.

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How To Write A Book Review?

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

Adam Jason

is an expert in nursing and healthcare, with a strong background in history, law, and literature. Holding advanced degrees in nursing and public health, his analytical approach and comprehensive knowledge help students navigate complex topics. On EssayPro blog, Adam provides insightful articles on everything from historical analysis to the intricacies of healthcare policies. In his downtime, he enjoys historical documentaries and volunteering at local clinics.

what is required in a book review

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Writing a Book Review

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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.

How to Write Critical Reviews

When you are asked to write a critical review of a book or article, you will need to identify, summarize, and evaluate the ideas and information the author has presented. In other words, you will be examining another person’s thoughts on a topic from your point of view.

Your stand must go beyond your “gut reaction” to the work and be based on your knowledge (readings, lecture, experience) of the topic as well as on factors such as criteria stated in your assignment or discussed by you and your instructor.

Make your stand clear at the beginning of your review, in your evaluations of specific parts, and in your concluding commentary.

Remember that your goal should be to make a few key points about the book or article, not to discuss everything the author writes.

Understanding the Assignment

To write a good critical review, you will have to engage in the mental processes of analyzing (taking apart) the work–deciding what its major components are and determining how these parts (i.e., paragraphs, sections, or chapters) contribute to the work as a whole.

Analyzing the work will help you focus on how and why the author makes certain points and prevent you from merely summarizing what the author says. Assuming the role of an analytical reader will also help you to determine whether or not the author fulfills the stated purpose of the book or article and enhances your understanding or knowledge of a particular topic.

Be sure to read your assignment thoroughly before you read the article or book. Your instructor may have included specific guidelines for you to follow. Keeping these guidelines in mind as you read the article or book can really help you write your paper!

Also, note where the work connects with what you’ve studied in the course. You can make the most efficient use of your reading and notetaking time if you are an active reader; that is, keep relevant questions in mind and jot down page numbers as well as your responses to ideas that appear to be significant as you read.

Please note: The length of your introduction and overview, the number of points you choose to review, and the length of your conclusion should be proportionate to the page limit stated in your assignment and should reflect the complexity of the material being reviewed as well as the expectations of your reader.

Write the introduction

Below are a few guidelines to help you write the introduction to your critical review.

Introduce your review appropriately

Begin your review with an introduction appropriate to your assignment.

If your assignment asks you to review only one book and not to use outside sources, your introduction will focus on identifying the author, the title, the main topic or issue presented in the book, and the author’s purpose in writing the book.

If your assignment asks you to review the book as it relates to issues or themes discussed in the course, or to review two or more books on the same topic, your introduction must also encompass those expectations.

Explain relationships

For example, before you can review two books on a topic, you must explain to your reader in your introduction how they are related to one another.

Within this shared context (or under this “umbrella”) you can then review comparable aspects of both books, pointing out where the authors agree and differ.

In other words, the more complicated your assignment is, the more your introduction must accomplish.

Finally, the introduction to a book review is always the place for you to establish your position as the reviewer (your thesis about the author’s thesis).

As you write, consider the following questions:

  • Is the book a memoir, a treatise, a collection of facts, an extended argument, etc.? Is the article a documentary, a write-up of primary research, a position paper, etc.?
  • Who is the author? What does the preface or foreword tell you about the author’s purpose, background, and credentials? What is the author’s approach to the topic (as a journalist? a historian? a researcher?)?
  • What is the main topic or problem addressed? How does the work relate to a discipline, to a profession, to a particular audience, or to other works on the topic?
  • What is your critical evaluation of the work (your thesis)? Why have you taken that position? What criteria are you basing your position on?

Provide an overview

In your introduction, you will also want to provide an overview. An overview supplies your reader with certain general information not appropriate for including in the introduction but necessary to understanding the body of the review.

Generally, an overview describes your book’s division into chapters, sections, or points of discussion. An overview may also include background information about the topic, about your stand, or about the criteria you will use for evaluation.

The overview and the introduction work together to provide a comprehensive beginning for (a “springboard” into) your review.

  • What are the author’s basic premises? What issues are raised, or what themes emerge? What situation (i.e., racism on college campuses) provides a basis for the author’s assertions?
  • How informed is my reader? What background information is relevant to the entire book and should be placed here rather than in a body paragraph?

Write the body

The body is the center of your paper, where you draw out your main arguments. Below are some guidelines to help you write it.

Organize using a logical plan

Organize the body of your review according to a logical plan. Here are two options:

  • First, summarize, in a series of paragraphs, those major points from the book that you plan to discuss; incorporating each major point into a topic sentence for a paragraph is an effective organizational strategy. Second, discuss and evaluate these points in a following group of paragraphs. (There are two dangers lurking in this pattern–you may allot too many paragraphs to summary and too few to evaluation, or you may re-summarize too many points from the book in your evaluation section.)
  • Alternatively, you can summarize and evaluate the major points you have chosen from the book in a point-by-point schema. That means you will discuss and evaluate point one within the same paragraph (or in several if the point is significant and warrants extended discussion) before you summarize and evaluate point two, point three, etc., moving in a logical sequence from point to point to point. Here again, it is effective to use the topic sentence of each paragraph to identify the point from the book that you plan to summarize or evaluate.

Questions to keep in mind as you write

With either organizational pattern, consider the following questions:

  • What are the author’s most important points? How do these relate to one another? (Make relationships clear by using transitions: “In contrast,” an equally strong argument,” “moreover,” “a final conclusion,” etc.).
  • What types of evidence or information does the author present to support his or her points? Is this evidence convincing, controversial, factual, one-sided, etc.? (Consider the use of primary historical material, case studies, narratives, recent scientific findings, statistics.)
  • Where does the author do a good job of conveying factual material as well as personal perspective? Where does the author fail to do so? If solutions to a problem are offered, are they believable, misguided, or promising?
  • Which parts of the work (particular arguments, descriptions, chapters, etc.) are most effective and which parts are least effective? Why?
  • Where (if at all) does the author convey personal prejudice, support illogical relationships, or present evidence out of its appropriate context?

Keep your opinions distinct and cite your sources

Remember, as you discuss the author’s major points, be sure to distinguish consistently between the author’s opinions and your own.

Keep the summary portions of your discussion concise, remembering that your task as a reviewer is to re-see the author’s work, not to re-tell it.

And, importantly, if you refer to ideas from other books and articles or from lecture and course materials, always document your sources, or else you might wander into the realm of plagiarism.

Include only that material which has relevance for your review and use direct quotations sparingly. The Writing Center has other handouts to help you paraphrase text and introduce quotations.

Write the conclusion

You will want to use the conclusion to state your overall critical evaluation.

You have already discussed the major points the author makes, examined how the author supports arguments, and evaluated the quality or effectiveness of specific aspects of the book or article.

Now you must make an evaluation of the work as a whole, determining such things as whether or not the author achieves the stated or implied purpose and if the work makes a significant contribution to an existing body of knowledge.

Consider the following questions:

  • Is the work appropriately subjective or objective according to the author’s purpose?
  • How well does the work maintain its stated or implied focus? Does the author present extraneous material? Does the author exclude or ignore relevant information?
  • How well has the author achieved the overall purpose of the book or article? What contribution does the work make to an existing body of knowledge or to a specific group of readers? Can you justify the use of this work in a particular course?
  • What is the most important final comment you wish to make about the book or article? Do you have any suggestions for the direction of future research in the area? What has reading this work done for you or demonstrated to you?

what is required in a book review

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Purpose of a Book Review

Note: This information is geared toward researchers in the arts and humanities. For a detailed guide on writing book reviews in the social sciences, please check the USC Libraries guide to  Writing and Organizing Research in the Social Sciences , authored by Dr. Robert Labaree.

When writing an academic book review, start with a bibliographic citation of the book you are reviewing [e.g., author, title, publication information, length]. Adhere to a particular citation style, such as Chicago, MLA, or APA.  Put your name at the very end of the book review text.

The basic purpose of a book review is to convey and evaluate the following:

a.     what the book is about;

b.     the expertise of the author(s);

c.     how well the book covers its topic(s) and whether it breaks new ground;

d.     the author’s viewpoint, methodology, or perspective;

e.     the appropriateness of the evidence to the topical scope of the book;

f.      the intended audience;

g.     the arrangement of the book (chapters, illustrations) and the quality of the scholarly apparatus, such as notes and bibliographies.

Point "c. how well the book covers its topics and whether it breaks new ground" requires your engagement with the book, and can be approached in a variety of ways. The question of whether the book breaks new ground does not necessarily refer to some radical or overarching notion of originality in the author’s argument. A lot of contemporary scholarship in the arts or humanities is not about completely reorienting the discipline, nor is it usually about arguing a thesis that has never been argued before. If an author does that, that's wonderful, and you, as a book reviewer, must look at the validity of the methods that contextualize the author's new argument.

It is more likely that the author of a scholarly book will look at the existing evidence with a finer eye for detail, and use that detail to amplify and add to existing scholarship. The author may present new evidence or a new "reading" of the existing evidence, in order to refine scholarship and to contribute to current debate. Or the author may approach existing scholarship, events, and prevailing ideas from a more nuanced perspective, thus re-framing the debate within the discipline.

The task of the book reviewer is to “tease out” the book’s themes, explain them in the review, and apply a well-argued judgment on the appropriateness of the book’s argument(s) to the existing scholarship in the field.

For example, you are reviewing a book on the history of the development of public libraries in nineteenth century America. The book includes a chapter on the role of patronage by affluent women in endowing public libraries in the mid-to-late-1800s. In this chapter, the author argues that the role of women was overlooked in previous scholarship because most of them were widows who made their financial bequests to libraries in the names of their husbands. The author argues that the history of public library patronage, and moreover, of cultural patronage, should be re-read and possibly re-framed given the evidence presented in this chapter. As a book reviewer you will be expected to evaluate this argument and the underlying scholarship.

There are two common types of academic book reviews: short summary reviews, which are descriptive, and essay-length critical reviews. Both types are described further down.

[Parenthetically, writing an academic/scholarly book review may present an opportunity to get published.]

Short summary book reviews

For a short, descriptive review, include at least the following elements:

a.     the bibliographic citation for the book;

b.     the purpose of the book;

c.     a summary of main theme(s) or key points;

d.     if there is space, a brief description of the book’s relationship to other books on the same topic or to pertinent scholarship in the field.

e.     note the author's affiliation and authority, as well as the physical content of the book, such as visual materials (photographs, illustrations, graphs) and the presence of scholarly apparatus (table of contents, index, bibliography, footnotes, endnotes, credit for visual materials);

f.     your name and affiliation.

Critical or essay-length book reviews

For a critical, essay-length book review consider including the following elements, depending on their relevance to your assignment:

b.     an opening statement that ought to peak the reader’s interest in the book under review

c.     a section that points to the author’s main intentions;

d.     a section that discusses the author’s ideas and the book’s thesis within a scholarly perspective. This should be a critical assessment of the book within the larger scholarly discourse;

e.     if you found errors in the book, point the major ones and explain their significance. Explain whether they detract from the thesis and the arguments made in the book;

f.     state the book's place within a strand of scholarship and summarize its importance to the discipline;

g.    include information about the author's affiliation and authority, as well as the physical content of the book, such as visual materials (photographs, illustrations, graphs) and the presence of scholarly apparatus (table of contents, index, bibliography, footnotes, endnotes, credit for visual materials);

h.     indicate the intended readership of the book and whether the author succeeds in engaging the audience on the appropriate level;

i.     your name and affiliation.

Good examples of essay-length reviews may be found in the scholarly journals included in the JSTOR collection, in the New York Review of Books , and similar types of publications, and in cultural publications like the New Yorker magazine.

Remember to keep track of your sources, regardless of the stage of your research. The USC Libraries have an excellent guide to  citation styles  and to  citation management software . 

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We are seeing many developers around the world and across various industries working on exciting new ways to accelerate their applications using the power of the NPU, including: WhatsApp, Luminar Neo, LiquidText, Camo, djay Pro and more.

All-new Surface Pro

Over 10 years ago, Surface pioneered the 2-in-1 category. Since then, the tablet that can replace your laptop has advanced the expectations of a productivity device, delivering more power, more battery life and innovation people love. The all-new Surface Pro unlocks a new way to think about a laptop: Combining accelerated performance, all-day battery life and industry-leading AI capabilities in an ultra-flexible design that can replace your tablet, your laptop and can even power your multi-monitor set-up.

The all-new Surface Pro , powered by Snapdragon® X Elite and Snapdragon X Plus processors, delivers incredibly fast speeds, 90% faster than Surface Pro 9. It’s built for the ultimate multitasker, supporting up to three external 4K displays, with two USB 4 ports, and a stunning 13” display with new optional OLED with HDR technology, delivering new levels of peak brightness and immersive colors. Wi-Fi 7 offers the fastest wireless connection iv available and optional 5G v keeps you connected to the fastest cellular network, while you’re on the move.

The ultra-wide, quad-HD front-facing camera is our best Surface camera ever. AI-powered Windows Studio Effects like Automatic Framing, keep you in focus, even as you move around your space. The 10MP Ultra HD rear-facing autofocus camera supports 4K video so you can capture and edit all on one device.

Surface Pro is made with more recycled materials than Surface Pro 9, including 72% recycled content in the enclosure. vi Surface Pro is serviceable by design with more replaceable components than ever, including the motherboard, battery, cameras and more.

The all-new Surface Pro Flex Keyboard unlocks new levels of flexibility. It’s ready to be used attached to your Pro for the ultimate laptop set-up or detached for more flexibility and to support your creative workflows.

It is built with enhanced extra carbon fiber layers for stability and has a larger, customizable haptic touchpad. With integrated pen storage, your Slim Pen is secure, charged and ready to go.

Surface Slim Pen gets even better with the new Surface Pro, with all new AI experiences. The ink now flows naturally with Zero Force inking, ultra-precise shading, 4,096 points of pressure sensitivity and a built-in haptic engine for a more natural writing experience.

The all-new Surface Pro is the most flexible laptop, reimagined.

All-new Surface Laptop

When we first launched Surface Laptop, it redefined the classic PC category, pushing boundaries and elevating the user experience to new heights. We introduced premium materials, a vibrant array of colors, ultra-productive 3:2 aspect ratio touchscreens, and a fit and finish like nothing else. We delivered power and performance, and the best typing experience on the market to this day, in a light, sleek design. Beyond elegant design, the Surface Laptop showcased an incredible balance of premium features that delivered the best of Microsoft on a Surface device. This holistic approach revolutionized the industry, setting new standards for excellence and heralding a new era of innovation in laptop design.

The all-new Surface Laptop maintains these principles – purpose built to unlock a new AI era with Copilot experiences that transform the PC experience.

Redesigned from the inside out, this new Laptop has modern lines and a stunning PixelSense touchscreen display with razor-thin bezels.  With 120Hz refresh rate, HDR technology, Dolby Vision IQ™ vii and Adaptive color technology, this display delivers crisper whites, darker blacks and an extended color spectrum. There are two screen sizes, as our new 13.8” display provides larger viewing area than a traditional 14” laptop, in a more compact design and a 15” with an even larger working canvas. This ultra-light and stylish Laptop comes in four stunning colors viii : Platinum, Black, Dune and Sapphire.

Surface Laptop unleashes lightning-fast speed and AI accelerated power for the ultimate multitasking. It is 86% faster than Laptop 5, delivering incredible performance.  It can power up to three external 4K monitors. The 45 TOPS NPU unlocks new AI experiences and delivers industry-leading performance for seamless productivity with the longest battery life on any Surface – up to 22 hours on the Surface Laptop 15” ix and up to 20 on the Surface Laptop 13.8” x . With a large variety of ports and lightning-fast Wi-Fi 7, you will always be connected.

The new Surface Laptop has a Full HD Surface Studio Camera that supports AI-powered Windows Studio Effects like Automatic Framing, Portrait Blur, Creative Filters and Voice Focus – so you come across clearly and confidently. AI-enhanced sound with premium Omnisonic® Speakers and Dolby® Atmos® xi , and Studio Mics amplify your voice and presence.

Surface Laptop is known for its comfortable and quiet typing experience and now, every keystroke is perfected. With optimal key travel for accurate and swift typing and a large precision haptic touchpad that is smooth, responsive and customizable for your personal preference.

This is the fastest, most intelligent Surface Laptop ever.

Surface product principles

Accessibility, security and sustainability are core components in every product in the Surface lineup. The all-new Surface Pro and Surface Laptop make major strides across all three categories.

Surface products are built to empower everyone on the planet to achieve more. When we develop inclusive products, we create a more comfortable and empowering product experience for everyone, without excluding people in the process. Our journey involves continuous learning from the disability community, placing them at the heart of our design process to develop solutions that unlock their full potential.

Our accessible offerings are comprehensive, ranging from an ecosystem of adaptive accessories to adaptive features built into the fabric of our hardware and software. With the new Copilot+ PCs from Surface, we continued to prioritize adaptability, resulting in products that are inclusive by design.

Surface Pro Flex Keyboard

That’s why we designed the new Surface Pro Flex Keyboard with a bold keyset option, xii to reduce eye strain and assist people with low vision. We added a customizable, haptic touchpad, the most inclusive touchpad on the market today, to both our Surface Pro keyboard and our Surface Laptop, empowering customers with a wide range of hand movement and dexterity capabilities to easily adjust the touchpad to their preferences, resulting in a more delightful experience for all.

These hardware capabilities, alongside new experiences that utilize the power of the NPU, increase your productivity and creativity, allowing you to work, learn and play in the way that is most natural to you.

Security and privacy are always top of mind for us, implementing chip-to-cloud security that begins with inherently secure Surface devices. These new Surface PCs are meticulously built to protect your data from day one. Starting with tracing the origin of even the smallest components on the motherboard through building the lines of code ensuring a secure boot. Every Copilot+ PC will be a Secured-Core PC with Microsoft Pluton Security enabled by default and Windows Hello Enhanced Sign-in enabled by default. We take our responsibility to keep your data safe seriously.

In 2020, Microsoft set a goal to become carbon negative by 2030 – and at Surface, we know we have a responsibility to the planet. With the new Surface Pro and Surface Laptop we are introducing our most significant sustainability advancements yet. We have reduced our carbon emissions by an average of 78% per enclosure through several sustainability interventions, including using 100% recycled aluminum alloy, 100% recycled rare-earth metal magnets and 100% carbon free electricity at manufacturing facilities. xiii

We are also committed to reducing plastic waste – with all-new paper-based packaging with more recyclable components – and extending the lifetime of your device with innovative repairability features.

This is just the beginning. We will continue delivering sustainability advancements across the device lifecycle as we work towards Microsoft’s 2030 commitments.

Pre-order today

The brand-new Surface Pro and Surface Laptop deliver incredible speeds, all-day battery life and all-new AI experiences, all starting at $999. You can pre-order today and learn more about our new products at They’ll be available at key retailers worldwide starting June 18. To learn more about Surface for your organization, visit the Surface for Business blog.

i   Based on Cinebench 2024 Multi-threaded conducted by Microsoft in April 2024 comparing pre-release build of Surface Laptop with Snapdragon X Elite running pre-release Windows 11 26100 and Apple MacBook Air 13″ with M3 running macOS 14 Sonoma.  

ii   Recall is optimized for select languages (English, Chinese (simplified), French, German, Japanese and Spanish.) Content-based and storage limitations apply. See .  

iii   Currently supports translation for video and audio subtitles into English from 40+ languages. See .  

iv   6GHz band not available in all regions.  

v   5G availability options with 5G coming later in 2024. 5G not available in all areas; compatibility and performance depends on carrier network, plan and other factors. See carrier for details and pricing.  

vi   Enclosure includes Bucket and Kickstand. 100% recycled aluminum alloy in Bucket and Kickstand. 100% recycled rare earth metals in magnets. Based on validation performed by Underwriter Laboratories, Inc. using Environmental Claim Validation Procedure, UL 2809-2, Second Edition, November 7, 2023.   

vii   Requires Dolby Vision® encoded content and video.  

viii   Colors available on selected models only. Available colors, sizes, finishes and processors may vary by store, market and configuration.  

ix   Local video playback: Testing conducted by Microsoft in April 2024 using preproduction software and preproduction Surface Laptop Snapdragon® X Elite C12 512GB, 16GB RAM devices. Testing consisted of full battery discharge during video playback of a .mov file through the Windows Media Player application in 1080p at 24 FPS. All settings were default except screen brightness set to 150 nits with Auto-brightness disabled. Wi-Fi was connected to a network. Tested with Windows 11. Battery life varies significantly with settings, usage and other factors.  

x   Local video playback: Testing conducted by Microsoft in April 2024 using preproduction software and preproduction Surface Laptop Snapdragon® X Plus C10 256GB, 16GB RAM devices. Testing consisted of full battery discharge during video playback of a .mov file through the Windows Media Player application in 1080p at 24 FPS. All settings were default except screen brightness set to 150 nits with Auto-brightness disabled. Wi-Fi was connected to a network. Tested with Windows 11. Battery life varies significantly with settings, usage and other factors.  

xi  Requires Dolby® Atmos® encoded content/audio.  

xii  Surface Pro Flex Keyboard with bold keyset available only in U.S. English.  

xiii  As compared to a baseline no-interventions scenario modeling the same products without any sustainability interventions in the production phase of the devices.  

10 rules for reading from someone who does it for a living

Where to read, when to read and why you need a pencil in hand: The Post’s Michael Dirda offers some advice from his years as a critic.

what is required in a book review

How do you read a book? Like most people, I still decipher the meaning of words printed on sheets of paper bound together, but you may prefer to peer at pixels on a screen or listen through ear buds to a favorite narrator. They are all reading, in my book. Each of us, I think, seeks what the critic Roland Barthes called “the pleasure of the text,” though finding delight in what we read doesn’t necessarily mean a steady diet of romance novels and thrillers. Scholarly works, serious fiction, poetry, a writer’s distinctive prose style — all of these deliver their own kinds of textual pleasure.

As someone who has been lucky enough to earn his living in the rarefied world of book reviewing, I’ve gradually developed reading-related habits as part of my work. Some of them — listed below — may even be similar to yours. At the least, I hope a few of my customary routines and practices will be useful in your own reading life.

Be choosy, but not too choosy

I spend a lot of time, often way too much, dithering about what to read next. A book has to fit my mood or even the season. Spooky stories are for winter, comic novels for spring. What’s more, I like to mix it up, the old with the new, a literary biography this week, a science fiction classic the next. I can adjust my expectations up or down — you don’t read Thomas Mann’s “Doctor Faustus” in the same way you read Ian Fleming ’s “Dr. No.” — but the book must be, on some level, exciting. I try to avoid wasting time on anything that leaves me indifferent. As Jesus memorably told the Laodiceans: “Because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.”

Editions matter

In my youth, I could read paperbacks printed in tiny type on pages you could see through. No more. These days, I opt for hardcovers whenever possible, if only because they’re generally easier on aging eyes. For classics, I want a good scholarly edition; for translated works, I try to acquire the best English version. This just makes sense. As a reviewer, I often work with a galley or advance reading copy of a forthcoming title, but these are simply tools of the trade. I generally don’t keep them. I want the finished book.

Check the small stuff

Before turning to Chapter 1, I glance at a book’s cover art, check out the author’s dust jacket biography and photo, and read through the back page endorsements. Unlike many people, I pay close attention to copyright dates, introductions, dedications, acknowledgments and bibliographies. All these provide hints to the kind of book one is dealing with.

When to read

Mine is a simple system: I read from morning till bedtime, with breaks for my job, family, meetings with friends, exercise, household chores and periodic review of my life’s greatest blunders. On the days I don’t read, I write. As I say, it’s a simple system. Many people complain that they have no time for books, yet somehow they manage to spend three or more hours a day watching television or scrolling through social media on their phones. You pays your money and you takes your choice.

Where to read

Even though I know better, I still read more often than not while sprawled in an overstuffed armchair or on an old couch. You probably do something similar. Not only ergonomically bad, these soft options invite dozing. Realistically, the best place to read is at a table or desk with lots of good light. Other good locations include the public library, an outside table at a coffee shop away from background music and other customers, and the quiet car on the train to New York. In truth, though, don’t expect to find an ideal place to read. Trust me: You never will. Instead, as the Nike slogan says, Just Do It.

Don’t read in a vacuum

To read any book well often requires knowledge of its author, context, history. So I surround myself, when possible or appropriate, with collateral texts to help me better appreciate the writer’s artistry or arguments. These can be biographies, volumes of criticism, competing titles on the same subject or, most basically, other books by the same author. For example, if I’m reading E. Nesbit’s “Five Children and It,” I want to have the sequels, “The Phoenix and the Carpet” and “The Story of the Amulet,” close at hand for possible comparison. This is one justification for building a personal library. I also keep within easy reach a notebook, magnifying glass and Chambers 20th Century Dictionary. Other reference books are shelved near where I type these words.

Attention must be paid

As I read, I do all I can to live up to Henry James’s dictum: “Be one on whom nothing is lost.” This vigilance means that I seldom lose myself in the story, which is the devil’s bargain I made by becoming a professional reviewer. As it is, I track the clues in whodunits and the symbolic events or objects in literary fiction. I note oddities of style, repetitions, possible foreshadowings and anomalies that might be meaningful. I frequently flip back to previous pages to check details. In every way, then, I try to make my first reading as intensive and comprehensive as possible, knowing I may not pass this way again.

Be prepared to take notes

I can’t open a book without a pencil either in my hand or nestled conveniently in that space between my right ear and skull. For a long time, my weapon of choice was a No. 2 Ticonderoga pencil, but it now tends to be a Paper Mate disposable mechanical pencil. As a boy, I took to heart the lessons of Mortimer J. Adler’s essay “How to Mark a Book.” I place two or three vertical lines next to key passages, scribble notes to myself in the margins, sometimes make longer comments on the blank end papers. I never underline words or phrases — this seems too much like sophomoric highlighting, plus it just looks ugly. All these practices serve one end: to keep me actively engaged mentally with the words on the page. For the same reason, I scorn bookmarks: If you can’t remember where you stopped reading, you haven’t been paying close enough attention.

Make some noise

I don’t skim or speed read, though I envy people, like the late Harold Bloom, who can zip through a novel in 20 minutes. When I try to pick up my own reading pace, I end up constantly flogging myself not to slow down. Where’s the fun in that? Woody Allen once said that he’d taken a speed-reading course and had finished “War and Peace” in half an hour; he gathered that it was about Russia. As an exceptionally slow reader, I mentally murmur every word on the page, which allows me to savor the author’s style and to remember what he or she has said. Sometimes I also pause to copy a striking passage into my commonplace book. Here’s a fairly recent example from the poet John Ashbery: “I am aware of the pejorative associations of the word ‘escapist,’ but I insist that we need all the escapism we can get and even that isn’t going to be enough.”

Find a shelf

After finishing a book, I tend to keep it. While not a frequent rereader, I do like to refresh my acquaintance with old favorites, if only by opening one up occasionally to enjoy a page or a passage. When I look at my living room’s bookcases, while sleepily sipping coffee in the morning, I see not only my past laid out before me but also my future: Someday I will read David Cecil’s “Melbourne,” a biography of the Victorian prime minister that was said to be John F. Kennedy’s favorite book. Someday, I will get to — hangs head in shame — Willa Cather’s “The Professor’s House.” Other shelves remind me of the books I want to reread: Angela Carter’s “Nights at the Circus,” Dawn Powell’s “The Locusts Have No King,” Ralph Ellison’s “Invisible Man,” Frederick Exley’s “A Fan’s Notes.”

Long ago, one of my teachers in high school told me that he didn’t feel right unless he spent at least three hours a day reading. This seemed incredible to me then. Not anymore.

More from Book World

Love everything about books? Make sure to subscribe to our Book Club newsletter , where Ron Charles guides you through the literary news of the week.

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

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

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

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what is required in a book review

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  1. How to Write a Book Review: The Complete Guide

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    1. Start with a couple of sentences describing what the book is about. But without giving any spoilers or revealing plot twists! As a general rule, try to avoid writing in detail about anything that happens from about the middle of the book onwards. If the book is part of a series, it can be useful to mention this, and whether you think you'd ...

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    Adhere to a particular citation style, such as Chicago, MLA, or APA. Put your name at the very end of the book review text. The basic purpose of a book review is to convey and evaluate the following: a. what the book is about; b. the expertise of the author(s); c. how well the book covers its topic(s) and whether it breaks new ground; d.

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    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. Above all, a review makes an argument. The most important element of a review is that it is a commentary, not merely a summary.

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  28. Mullet Mad Jack ARTBOOK on Steam

    This DLC is a Digital Art Book of MULLET MAD JACK. Buy if you want to support the devs for making more RETRO ANIME GAMES! Art book provided as a PDF file in ENGLISH and PORTUGUESE Artbook PDF File Path : (Installation Path)\ArtBook\ Example: C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\MMJ\Artbook\