How to write a Book Review from Scratch and Score an A

author By Mary Boies

If you have been tasked with writing a book review and you do not know what to do, you are in the right place.

Book Review Writing Guide

This comprehensive guide covers everything important there is to know about writing book reviews. By the time you are done reading it, you should be able to write a complete and amazing book review on virtually any book.

Book critique vs. Book Report vs. Book Review

A book critique is a very comprehensive and detailed look at a book or article. It is similar to a book review. However, unlike a book review, a book critique is based on analysis and persuasion. A proper book critique will take a position about a book and defend that position. It is virtually 100 percent opinion-based.

A proper book review is also a comprehensive analysis of a book. However, it is not heavily opinion-based. It simply breaks down and evaluates critical aspects of a book. A typical book review will include the opinion of the writer. However, it focuses more on the book than the writer thinks about it.

A book report differs significantly from a book critique and a book review. First, it is different in the sense that it simply summarizes the contents of a book. It doesn't take a position or evaluate the content inside.

What is a book review?

A book review is a literary criticism that comprehensively analyzes a book or a long-form article. A proper book review will analyze a book by looking at its key aspects, such as its author, plot, and writing techniques.

Book review assignments are common at the college level. This is because they are the perfect tool to use to gauge how well students understand a particular book, article, or essay. Now that you know why book review assignments are given make sure you use this knowledge to ace any book review assignment. And the only way to do this is to provide a clear, detailed, and concise look at the assigned book plus your assessment of its key aspects.

Aspects to Cover in a Book review (scope)

The main objective of writing a book review is to ensure that a reader can get an excellent overall impression of the book from a short review or an essay-length review. Therefore, the scope of your review should be simply to present all the important information about the book concisely.

A typical book review will include an introduction, a book summary, an analysis, and a conclusion. Here are the important things to cover in all four parts.

1. Introduction

Your book review introduction should begin with an interesting fact about the book. And for it to be complete, it should also include the book title, the main theme, and the name of the writer/author. In addition, important information about the author that provides context to the book should also be included in the introduction. Finally, your book review introduction should also include your thesis statement.

2. The book summary

No book review is complete without a book summary. You will probably find the most challenging time writing this part of the review because you have to fit a lot of information within a short paragraph. When covering the summary, you can be general or specific. The general approach involves providing an overall view of the book and its organization, while a specific approach entails noting or quoting the key parts of the book and talking about them.

3. The analysis

A book review without analysis is simply a book summary or report. You will not earn a high-grade writing a book review without an analysis. In the analysis section of your book review, give your take or opinion about the book and support it with evidence from the book. Your take should be on the book's theme, plot, or main ideas. You do not need to analyze everything in a book review, so do not worry so much. You also do not need to use too many quotations in your analysis for it to be completed.

4. Conclusion

Your conclusion should be like the conclusion paragraph of any other essay. First, it should start with a restatement of the thesis and the main points in the essay. Then, to complete the evaluation, it should also include a summary of the book's strengths and weaknesses. Finally, the last sentence should be a powerful closing statement to wrap the whole thing up.

Template for a book Review

In this section, we will share a template for a brief but comprehensive book review. It follows the same structure detailed in the section above.

I. Introduction paragraph

II. Body Paragraph 1 (Book summary)

III. Body Paragraph 2 (Analysis)

IV. Conclusion

Steps to take when writing a book review

Steps to write a book review

Writing a book review essay is not the easiest thing to do. However, by knowing the steps you need to take and taking them, you can quickly and easily write a good book review.

Below is a step-by-step guide to help you write an excellent book review.

Step 1: Note down important information about the book

Before you do anything else, note down all the important information about the book. For example, note down the title, think about it for a few minutes, and then write down what you think it means. Also, note down the name of the author and do light research to discover other information about them, especially information relating to the book. In addition to noting down critical information, read the book's preface. Doing everything detailed in this step will give you an excellent idea of what is in the book and what to expect.

Step 2: Read the book

There is no need to review a book if you have not read it. Well, maybe you can do so by solely depending on the book summaries online, but that can lead to missing out on some important points. You might write a good essay, but it will not be as good as it can be. When you go through a book, you get to understand it fully, plus what it exactly means. So, make sure you read the book you want to review. And when reading, proceed slowly to understand everything in the book. Note down everything important about the book, including the organization, the structure, the style, and the content.

Step 3: Think about what you have just read

After reading the book, take some time to think about what you have read. This is important to enable you to form opinions and impressions about the book. Think about what you thought the book meant, what you know it now means, and so on. Most importantly, ask yourself whether the book met the objective of the author.

Step 4: Identify your biggest impression about the book

After reading the book and thinking about it, you will undoubtedly have formed several impressions about it. First, you should identify the biggest impression you got from reading the book. Then, after doing this, use this impression to write a rough thesis statement. Your thesis statement should include your biggest impression, and whether the author achieved the objective they had set out to accomplish when writing the book.

Step 5: Check the notes you made earlier

In this step, check the notes you made earlier. Do all the notes relate to your rough thesis statement? If they do, no problem. Suppose you feel some do not; strike them out. You will only remain with relevant notes that can easily go into your review when you do this.

Step 6: Create an outline

After reading and thinking about the book, create an outline. Use the outline template provided earlier in this guide to make your outline. Outline all the important things throughout your outline. For example, outline your hook statement, book information, author information, and your thesis statement in the introduction. In the first body paragraph, outline your book summary and the main theme.

After outlining the introduction and the first body paragraph, outline the second body paragraph. The second body paragraph is the analysis paragraph. So, outline it by stating your take on the book and its key strengths and weaknesses. Also, note down the evidence (quotes from the book) you will use to support your assertions.

The last thing you should outline is your conclusion. Outline your conclusion by restating your thesis, summarizing the main points in your work, and then writing the closing sentence.

Step 7: Write the first draft

After creating your outline, embark on writing the first draft of the book review. You should have no problems writing your first draft if you created a good outline. Simply convert the points to prose and make sure there is a good transition between the sentences and the paragraphs you create. This will help you to create a decent first draft. Finally, do not forget to include the evidence (quotes from the book) in your review. Without this, it will not really be complete.

Step 8: Edit your work

After writing your first draft, take a break. Take a break of about 12 hours before editing your work. This break will give you a fresh perspective when you start rereading it. In addition, it will allow you to catch more errors than you could have if you edited your work immediately after completing it.

Edit your work by proofreading it to remove grammar errors, punctuation errors, spelling errors, typos, and so on. After proofreading, check your work with a software editor such as to catch the errors or mistakes you missed. Correct only the errors that need to be corrected because sometimes software editors make unnecessary or erroneous suggestions.

After checking your work using a software editor, proofread it one more time to ensure everything is perfect, clear, and coherent. Check out some editing and proofreading checklists online as those can help you further spot errors and make a great book review that is error-free.

Step 9: Submit your work

You have now done everything possible to develop an excellent book review. All you need to do is to convert the file into the required file format (PDF, DOCX, or MS Word) and submit it before the deadline.

Mistakes to Avoid when Writing a Book Review

You now know everything you need to do to create the perfect book review. To ensure your essay is perfect, you should know the mistakes to avoid in your review.

Here are the common mistakes to avoid when writing a book review.

1. Making exaggerated claims

Many reviewers usually begin with an interesting fact or opening sentence to make their reviews enjoyable. Unfortunately, sometimes this fact or the opening sentence is exaggerated. Making an exaggerated claim, especially at the beginning of your review, will do you no good. It will make the reader doubt your judgment early on. They might even not bother reading the rest of your review after the first sentence. So, avoid making exaggerated claims, especially at the start of your review.

2. Not editing for clarity

You probably know you should thoroughly edit your work before submitting it to your instructor. Most reviewers do this. However, they do not edit their reviews for clarity. This is wrong. After thoroughly editing your work, you should edit it one more time to make sure it is as clear as can be. Even if there is a sentence that features creative use of words, you should not spare it if it does not make sense. Edit and rewrite every sentence that needs to be rewritten for clarity.

3. Using too many words in the plot

You should never spend too many words on the plot when writing a book review. Yes, you should summarize the plot or the book as a whole, but it should be concise. It should never seem to the reader that they are just reading a summary with no useful input from the writer. When writing a book review, your job is not simply to review the plot. It is to review the plot and then provide a criticism. You need to assess the book's themes, characters, language, structure, and organization. This is what the reader wants to see, so use most of your word count for criticism.

4. Unnecessary literary references

A book review rarely needs too many references. Nobody wants to see a reference to another book or source when reading a simple book review. Yet some people go ahead and even quote other authors in their book reviews. This often lowers the quality of the review and puts off the reader. So, avoid unnecessary literary references. Avoid any references especially quotes not from the book you are actually reviewing.

5. Judging a book by your intentions

You should never criticize a book by your standards. Do not imagine that the author should have done something differently based on what you think is right. Judge it by the author's intentions. Criticize the book's language, theme, characters, or plot directly, not based on what you think should have happened.

Tips For Writing a Good Book Review

Below are some tips for writing a good book review:

  1. Describe the plot in the first half of your review and analyze it in the second half. This creates a logical structure or organization that many readers like.
  2. Avoid giving unnecessary spoilers. Most readers read reviews to decide whether to read a book or not. So, avoid spoiling their experience with spoilers.
  3. Write clearly and logically. This will make it easier for readers to understand your work.
  4. Explain both the highs and lows of the book. Both the praises and the critiques should be explained to enable the reader to understand your take.
  5. Proofread thoroughly. This will make your work look excellent and flawless.

Final words

In this post, you learned everything important you needed to know about writing book reviews. The information you have learned should make it easy for you to write a book review on virtually any type of book.

Contact us now if you need help writing a book review from scratch or completing a book review you already started writing. We have writers who are available 24/7 throughout the year to write well-balanced and original book reviews. You are guaranteed 100% authentic and plagiarism-free book reviews that are professionally written.

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