How to write a book review

How to write a book review

Have you heard of a book review? Do you know how to write a book review? In case you do not know, worry not. This article will break down all the components you need to learn about a book review.

A book is a volume of written work sewn together on one side, sealed with a cover, and arranged in pages. Books are classified into different genres depending on the type of information they pass.

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Types of books

  • Fantasy
  • Historical fiction
  • Adventure
  • Comic
  • Musical
  • Romance
  • Mystery
  • War
  • Thriller
  • Religion
  • Documentary

General tips on how to write a book

  • Choose a conducive writing space

For you to write a good book, you need a conducive environment. The area has to be spacious and also free from distractions. It can either be at home or office.

The area should be somewhere you can sit down to write for hours without disturbances. Writing an enticing book requires total concentration and focus on the task at hand.

  • Sharpen your idea

You already know what the book you want to write is about; now dig deeper into that title or topic. Break it down into several questions;

What are the captivating sub-topics?

Who is your target audience?

What moral lessons will your reader derive from your book?

These questions will assist you in dissecting your title effectively. Try to exhaust your topic thoroughly. It is recommended you write your questions down somewhere to avoid forgetfulness.

  • Sketch out your story

Decide how you will outline your book, either in chapters or scenes. Each chapter must be well-plotted out. Make sure that the themes, stylistic devices, and characterization are well-explained.

Do not overload the chapters. Distribute your content across all the chapters to make your readers glued to your work.

  • Research

This is the most crucial part. You will have to visit libraries, the internet, and archives to gather information on your subject. You have to be very keen not to miss any detail.

You have to be very intensive in research topics based on facts. Writing fiction books also require research because it will help you relate and know how to give character traits in your book.

  • Begin writing and adhere to the format

After outlining your points and researching them, start writing your book. You don’t need to make writing your full-time job, but you can devise a schedule to guide you whenever you are free. This will aid in avoiding procrastination.

  • Write the first draft

When writing your first draft, you will have anxiety, doubt, and a lack of morale. You can get to a point and be stuck. If you find yourself in that situation, refer to your outline.

Continue writing till the end. You are bound to make mistakes in your first writing, so do not be taken aback. Try as much as possible to keep within your context.

  • Proofread, revise and edit

For your book to meet the required expectation, you must go through it countless times to identify possible mistakes. You can also acquire the services of a professional editor to help you out.

The revision and editing must be intelligent so that your readers can have an easy time going through your work. Revise your sentence structure, and grammatical errors and identify any omissions in your writing.

  • Write the second draft

This is where you apply the edits and revisions you made. Check whether your book meets the required intention. Does it answer all your questions?

What is the tone of your book? How does it impact your readers? Your book should exhaust all the ideas you had.

  • Publish the book

After finishing writing the second draft, publish your book. You can publish it online with the rise of e-books or go the old way of taking it to a publishing house. Once it is successful, you should now relax and think about writing another book.

 A book review is the critical analysis of a book. It gives the book’s abstract, like the themes, characters, and setting, evaluates its essence, and commends the book to other readers. A book report is a non-partisan summary of the core ideas and conflicts in a book as brought forth by the author.

A book review enhances you to read the book thoroughly to precisely analyze the author’s quality of writing, ideas, and techniques.

Since book reviews are a kind of opinion-based work relevant to the author’s work, we should expect proper criticism by evaluating the strengths as well as the weaknesses of the authors. Book reviews are a good exercise, especially for people who would like to become editors, since there is a lot of criticism in the editing process.

Approaches to book review

  • Descriptive reviews

You should objectively criticize the book’s content regardless of the genre. Please give a brief and precise description of the book by illustrating its purpose and relevance to the audience.

  • Critical reviews

This approach seeks to appraise the book based on whether the book is academic or not. These reviews require you to scrutinize the literary forms used by the author and therefore do a proper assessment based on a scholarly approach.

Importance of book review

  1. Enhances more sales of the book since it gives your readers an idea of what the book is all about
  2. It brings greater visibility since points can be derived easily within the context
  3. It saves the reader time in getting to know the outstanding features of the book
  4. Shows the purpose of the book
  5. Evaluates the relevance of the book to the audience

How to write a good book review

Do you know how to write a book review essay? Here is a guide on how to capture the attention of your readers;

  1. Begin with a few sentences outlining what the book is about

You just give a highlight of what the book is all about. Do not be too wordy, which will make your readers predict so much. You can leave them in suspense by dropping a hook question.

  1. Converse about what impressed you about the book

Place your centre of attention on the thoughts and feelings elicited by the book. These are some of the questions you can ask yourself;

  • What are the emotions that you got while reading?
  • Are the characters real?
  • How are the stylistic devices employed?
  • Was the book flawless?
  1. State what you dislike about the book

State anything in the book that did not impress you. For instance;

  • Did you find it hard to identify the main character, and why?
  • Was the choice of vocabulary good for you?
  • How were the characters brought out? Were they scary?
  1. Wrap up your analysis

Conclude your book review by giving some of your thoughts on the book. You can also recommend the book to other readers. How do you compare it to other books?

  1. Give your rating of the book

This is optional. You can rate the book over ten or twenty if you please. This will help in knowing the suitability of the book.

This is how to write a book review in high school. How to write a book review for school assignments requires you to consider the following questions:

  • What is the plot of the book?

Getting conversant with the plot of the story expounds your knowledge of the authors’ themes, characters, and stylistic devices. So, it fosters your understanding of the story, thereby writing an effective book review.

  • Is the plot captivating?

 How has the author built their characters to ensure a progressive flow of ideas? How gripping is the plot of the story? Does the flow of the author’s ideas help in grabbing the attention of the reader?

  • How are the stylistic devices or rather the writing techniques of the author?

Does the author succeed in spicing up the plot? If so, how has he applied their devices? Are they relevant, or can you note weaknesses between the lines? What are these writing techniques?

  • How are the characters built throughout the story?

Has the author brought life to the story through the characters? Are they believable?

  • How would you recommend the book to the rest of the readers?

This answers your likability of the book. Did the plot satisfy your needs? Were your expectations met? What could you tell others regarding the book?

  • What needs addition or removal to make it better?

Note the characters that could have developed better, the quotes that are wrongly in place, and underdeveloped themes.

The structure of a book review

  • Introduction

In this bit, ensure that it is short and precise. Lengthy introductions bore readers, so being brief and informative will save the put-off. Make a brief description of the book’s cover and title as well.

The book cover usually contains pictures, writings, and colourism with significant meaning. Try to expound on this at this writing stage. Also, give a quick definition of the title and how the title is relevant to the contest inside the book. You should also include the subtitles and the author’s name at this stage.

  • Thesis

At the thesis stage, you describe the plot of the story in the play or the novel. It is an introductory phase of the main points of your book review. Your readers should not feel your opinion regarding the book at this point.

  • Body

It would be best if you came up with a handful of paragraphs in the body of your book review. In this light, therefore, each paragraph should carry a different point regarding the book.

At the planning stage, you will have summarized the author’s work, so a wise choice of the quotation from the text from the author will come in handy. Make a good summary of the sources and, in your own words, bring out your opinion or instead summarize from your point of view.

It is in the body part that your reader will hope to find well-described, analyzed, and evaluated content. In each paragraph, ensure that the projected idea is discussed to exhaustion. You should feel the simplicity of the language used, the ease in reading and understanding the elaborate concepts or instead points expounded, and above all, feel the love interaction between them and the characters that develop the plot of the story.

  • Conclusion

Wrap up your book review by recommending the book to what type of readers like the youth, old, university students, or women. Give your final thoughts under this section. Do not add new points.

Tips on how to write a book review academic

  1. Write the introduction

The introduction is a very integral part of an academic book review. It states the subject or topic that you are addressing. You can bring it out by using a hook-up question or providing a historical background for your problem.

How have you summarized the major points or ideas? Has the summary taken care of the argument of the author? For example, Kirkus Reviews has made a book review on The Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison, and he has outlined simple and eloquent ideas in his work.

 In each paragraph, describe in the body part how Ralph has succeeded in bringing to life a man from Southern Negro. He prepared himself to become a humble man before the coming of the white man.

  1. Provide a summary of your argument

In your academic book review, summarize what the book is about. What central theme or idea do you want your readers to grasp? You can consider having a thesis statement to aid you.

How have you succeeded in engaging with broader themes? What are themes in a literary form of writing? Themes are the main ideas brought out by the author, and in most cases, they do so through characters and dialogues.

There could be specific settings that act as drivers of particular themes. For example, the review by Emily W. Thompson in The Crossing on Reedsy Discovery by Michael Doane successfully makes the protagonist the driver of such themes as resilience, love, and determination. The character relentlessly pursues to seek self-discovery as well as fight for love.

  1. Write about the author (s)

Who are the authors or editors of the book you are reviewing? What qualifications do they have? Have they written other books apart from the one you are examining?

Providing answers to these questions and some biographical information entices your readers. You can also show the relevance of their work in research.

What is the contribution of the author to the book? You should be in a position to write a review that will answer your reader the question about the author’s contribution to your work. How has the author motivated you to review their work?

  1. Synopsis of the content

A penetrating look at the research methods used and the broader range of content found in the book. You only give a summary of what the book entails. Your book review should focus on the outstanding aspects of the book.

How evident is your work? Your book review should contain appropriate and relevant examples from the text of the study you are writing about. This will build trust between you and the reader.

  1. The strengths and weaknesses of the book

What are the significant strengths and weaknesses of the author’s work? You are writing a book review mainly to critique the author’s work. What has the author omitted in the development of a particular character?

Has the author been biased on gender-sensitive issues? How have the problems such as racism, feminism, sexuality, and religion been brought out? Evaluating the literary piece’s weaknesses and strengths makes your review more interesting and entertaining.

  1. Write the conclusion

What is your general knowledge about the book you are reviewing? Suggest the extension of the book and, the complications that come up, how arguments emanate from the overturning of the events in the text.

Show in your book review how you have acquired enough knowledge from other sources regarding the book you are writing about. Lastly, suggest the target groups by the author.

This guide shows how to write a book review at university. They are also supposed to provide solutions to emerging issues.

Short book review for students

  • About Marsupials Review by Connor C., age 6, Boston Mensa
  • Frankenstein’s Cat Review by Zander H., age 12, Mid-America Mensa
  • I Capture the Castle Review by Lauren W., age 17, Mensa in Georgia
  • Galaxy Zach: Journey to Juno Review by Young Mensan Connor C., age 6, Boston Mensa
  • Flesh & Blood So Cheap Review by Umar B., age 8, Central New Jersy Mensa

These examples give a good insight on how to write book review examples. There are many, but the list above is a few to help you know how to go about a book review.

 How to organize your paragraphs?

To project your book review in a more exciting style in the body stage, you will need to support your claims using relevant examples from the book. To achieve this, you will have to make a good presentation of your facts more organized. There are many ways of organizing your ideas in the respective paragraphs.

The most common ways of organizing ideas in a piece of any literary work include: 

Thematic

This is a pattern of organizing work, especially in a qualitative essay. As the name suggests, this type of pattern mainly focuses on making an examination of themes within a particular topic through. While examining these themes, factors such as identifying keywords, a proper analysis of the audience expectations, and the existing patterns in the text are considered.

Each theme should settle on its paragraph. You should be evident in the introduction of your point so that the reader or your audience can be aware of when and where to expect new ideas.

Chronological

Chrono means time, while logic means order. Therefore, this is a pattern whereby the ideas are projected depending on the time of occurrence. Since stories are given following the time of happening, you could choose to write your review in the order of the time each event happened.

Avoid mixing up your work. For example, if you write a book review on J.K Rowling’s The Alchemist, you can’t introduce how the protagonist, Santiago, met the love of his life, Fatima. Well, you could mention it as an overview, but expounding on this main idea should come in your review at a time where it comes in the main text.

In other words, a chronological pattern infers that your review’s structure can easily mirror the book or the literary piece you’re working on instead of writing a review.

You can project a discussion of the topics following the author’s order while evaluating the topics that move from one chapter to the next.

Using this type of pattern in the organization of your work gives your reader confidence and assurance that your review is thoroughly written.

Sequential

It is also referred to as the process of writing. This pattern follows the order through which a text is organized. It is mainly used when writing instructions or giving directions. In literary work like novels, plays, and short stories, this method of organization is used to show how various aspects of life occurs in the society of the set-up of the work.

For instance, how the examination was done in that particular school where the character went schooling, how their inauguration was done when they became the leader of that state, and how his wife used to make cookies in the morning.

While sequential patterns of organization could sound more or less like the chronological pattern, they are not the same. The two differ where sequential is a step-by-step mode of writing that doesn’t occur at a specific time or place, unlike chronological order or sequence, as often referred to.

For chronological patterns, the events have a specific time-bound and a setting. An example to clarify this is a review that you could write about a protagonist who engages in an economic activity like being a chef. Chronologically, he grew up, went to elementary school, and maybe at some point, they fell ill and got hospitalized, healed, and joined college, where they got the training and became a renowned chef.

In sequential order, what they do at the hotel includes making the cookies or baking the cakes. They don’t necessarily require that specific setting to make the cookies or the cakes, nor do they require a particular time to follow their recipe.

Evaluative

The main idea behind the writing of the book review is to examine the strengths and the weaknesses of the author’s piece of work. Books and most academic published reviews are critiqued daily, and this is what makes up an evaluative bit of organization pattern.

While applying this type of pattern in the organization of your paragraphs, ideas should be projected by the strength of the point. For instance, if it is a point on the author’s weakness in developing a specific character, maybe the role assigned to a character was fit for the protagonist rather than a minor character, make sure to have enough evidence and illustrations to back up your argument.

Begin with either point about the strengths or the weaknesses of the book. Since your book review must have a stance, ensure that the paragraphs of either the weaknesses or the strengths exceed their counter. The evaluative organization of work aims to build a scholar’s critical thinking.

Compare and contrast

In this type of organizational pattern, you should bring out the similarities and differences. You should be keen while using this method or pattern since there is a need to identify the aspects that are put into comparison and differentiation. It is also very crucial to maintain a two-way phase of discussion since the pattern should focus on both differences and similarities.

The readers expect to get your understanding and the author’s perspective through your assumed, well-written review. Compare, and contrast method is one of the most reliable methods of organization of the book reviews since deep scrutiny of the content is brought forth, expounding on the direct relationship of one party to the other.

You could choose to compare and contrast themes, characters, wring techniques, and any other aspect that builds the literary work. This method equips you and the reader with vast knowledge about the text, the author’s intentions, strengths, and weaknesses. While using this method, you should use the signal words such as different, both, unlike, similar, like, and neither.

Order of importance

This is a type of pattern of organization that requires you to follow a specific order of hierarchy of value. While writing your book review using this type of pattern, your first paragraph should begin with the most important or rather the strongest of the ideas.

Structure your work in a way that will convince your reader to keep on reading your work. The purpose of any written work is to entice the reader and motivate them to read more. Creating a good impression at the beginning of your work is a task accomplished by this organizational approach.

However, writing a book review with this pattern could be challenging since you cannot maintain a sequence and still make it to write the first paragraph the most important. This is because sequentially, maybe what happened in the first chapter is the least important. This pattern is best applied when giving a general overview of the review of a text.

Spatial

This type of organization aims to plan a text in the order of space or location. It is an easy organizational pattern since it uses descriptive language in writing a literary work. You can use this approach when describing a physical appearance or location of a character, setting, or a piece of certain information.

The spatial organization creates a vivid picture in the reader’s mind. This makes it easy to understand and master the content as intended by the author.

Cause and effect

This is the most common pattern used in the organization of ideas in the paragraphs of a text in most literary works. Causes could begin then the effects follow.

This pattern is meant to give reasons behind the happenings of particular issues or the effects of something. More often, this approach is used in writing expository and persuasive essays.

However, while writing a book review, using this pattern could pose a challenge to the reader and you. It is difficult to identify a text that has been written using cause and effect because, in a story’s plot, events occur for many reasons, and you can mistake that for the pattern. While using the cause-and-effect pattern in your paragraph organization, use the signal words like effect; as a result, consequently, caused, because, since, resulted, due to.

Problem and solution

This is a pattern of organizing paragraphs bearing a kind of dilemma or a problem and providing the solution for the dilemma. You should not confuse this pattern with the cause-and-effect pattern since they both conform to the same structure. The two have a sharp structural difference.

A text that projects a problem and provides a solution for it, that’s the problem and solution pattern. The cause-and-effect texts do not provide solutions to the problems but explain why they happened. While reviewing your work using this approach, the signal words include the fix, remedy, solution, and propose, just to mention a few.

Bottom line

A book review is an exercise that will require you to have a vast knowledge of the book you are about to review and how to go about it. This will enable you to come up with an eye-catching piece. Writing an exciting and entertaining piece will lure the reader to reading the entire work.

Proper choice of words enables you to have top-notch language command, and that’s the secret behind every literary work. Please get in touch with our professional writers if you still have a problem writing a book review. Our rates are affordable.

 

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