Writing a book review is an integral part of studies. Teachers can ask their students to complete this task either at home or in the classroom. In the latter case, they would give them a structure to stick to and useful tips. But if it is a part of homework, students might be confused about what to start with.
Besides, people might review books for their blogs. Or, they might share their opinions on profile sites.
The readers of this article will get to know how to review a book even if they have no experience. This information is valid for all genres: novels or nonfiction, poetry, or educational textbooks.
What is a Book Review?
The simplest book review definition is as follows. It is a text that lets people understand whether a book is worth reading. It gives them a brief digest of the plot and summarizes the main idea. The reader gets to know about where the action takes place and who the main protagonists are. Such reviews are known as descriptive.
The second book review format is critical. The author compares the objective strong and weak sides of the book. They try to evaluate the talent and professionalism of the writer. They check how the book fits the historical and cultural context.
Elements of a Book Review
When not sure about what to include in a book review, use this list:
- A hook
- Basic information
- Plot digest
- Your likes and dislikes
- Target audience
Finally, rate the book.
A professional essay writer wants to grab people’s attention with the first phrase. To convince the person to glance through the text, it should be catchy and informative.
A popular example of a book review introduction is a question. “Did you know that in that era, you would end up in jail for doing this and that?”. Another efficient approach is: “When I opened this book, I expected anything but…”.
In most books reviews examples, readers can find the following information:
- Title and author
- Year of publication
- Awards (if there are any)
- Is the book included in some series? Is it necessary to read the previous parts of the series to understand this one?
It is worth mentioning the role of the book in its author’s life. For instance, they left their previous job and dedicated themselves to writing.
After glancing through the summary, the reader should get to know the following information:
- When and where does the action take place?
- Who are the main protagonists?
- What are the main problems and conflicts?
- What is the mood of the book?
When describing the problems, the author should not mention their solutions. The readers should not know what happens at the end of the text.
A book review example normally contains no spoilers. If it is impossible to avoid them, the writer should try to make them vague. For instance, “The problem was solved thanks to old magic” but not “thanks to Michael’s bronze sword.”
Students with zero experience in book reviewing struggle to avoid spoilers. It might be wise to ask a professional essay helper to edit that part.
If the book was approved for printing, it means it is good enough. Editors and correctors have worked on it. Shops sell it, and people read it. So the criticism needs to be reasonable and constructive.
When writing a good book review, the author might single out such points:
- Pompous metaphors are the key shortcoming of this otherwise excellent text.
- The plot is fascinating and remarkably dynamic. Only the dialogues might seem a bit awkward sometimes.
When reviewing books that failed to strike a chord with them, critics might use the following phrases:
- By the 9th installment, this book series has grown a bit stale.
- The author lost me by the 10th chapter. I just could not make myself sympathize with the main hero anymore.
Newbies can find more examples in manuals on how to write a professional book review.
The last part of the book review structure should be positive. The author can rely on the phrases below as examples.
- I recommend this novel to everyone who takes an interest in AI.
- Teenagers and young adults will love it.
- This emotional and motivating book is a must-read for singles who dream of meeting their lifetime partner.
Even a mediocre book has its target audience, and the reviewer should detect it.
Process of Writing a Book Review
Below there are detailed steps to writing a book report. If a novice reviewer sticks to this scheme, it will save them time and effort. Dislikes might go before likes.
Start with Book Description
Wonder how to start a book report? Begin with facts. This approach helps the author to overcome writer’s block.
If a newbie struggles to compile this part, they might follow these steps:
- Take the official description of the book from a shop.
- Rewrite it with their own words.
- Add a few individual details.
The description should be neutral and impartial.
Mention What You Liked About the Book
In the second part of the review, the writer should focus on their emotions. “This text made me laugh/cry/rethink my values.” If the format of a book review is descriptive, it is enough to say which characters and scenes produce the biggest impression. The reviewer might praise the author for their eye for detail, creativity, or sense of humor.
Good book reviews of the critical type should accentuate the unique competitive edge of the text. They should explain why this book is innovative and different from the rest.
Mention what You Disliked About the Book
The book evaluation is a very delicate part. Many writers decide to pay for essay because they cannot find proper words for criticism. These are the most common weak points for fiction.
- Complicated language
- Poor imagination
- Unconvincing characters
- Lack of emotions
- A primitive and predictable plot
In non-fiction, the author might fail to back up their opinion with substantive facts.
Give your Recommendation
These are the main tips on how to write a book recommendation.
- Say whether it is worth reading or not.
- Describe its ideal target audience.
- Compare it with other books of the same style and genre.
If the reviewer does not recommend the book, they should formulate it very politely.
Tips for Writing a Book Review
When teachers ask their students to review a book, they tell them how long the text should be. Sometimes, the components that were listed above are not enough to reach the minimum limit. Some students might try to order essay in such a situation. Yet, it is very easy to extend the text.
When thinking of what to include in a book report, focus on the relevance of the problem. Does the author describe the current state of society? Do they try to predict future trends? Do they concentrate on the conflicts of selected individuals or the whole generation?
Good books reviews often feature information about other books by the same person. How experienced was the author when they published this book? Do other texts that they wrote resemble this one?
There are no universal recommendations on how to end a book review. The writer might explain whether the book justified their expectations or not. This is especially important for nonfiction. The reviewer can talk about the relevance of the title to the contents.
Otherwise, the author can analyze how well the book fits its genre. It might stick to the conventions of the genre or revolutionize them. It might blend several genres into one. The author might invent a new subgenre.
Those who wonder how to rate a book should choose a scale. For instance, they might give each text a minimum of 1, a maximum of 10 points. If the book gets 6 points, this means it is just above average but still worth reading.
Hopefully, these recommendations on how to do a book report came in handy! It makes sense to buy an essay only when the author lacks time. On all the other occasions, it is quite possible to write great book reviews on one’s own.