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Writing a Book Review – FREE Template (PDF)

How to Write a Book Review [Video]

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Why not use our free template below to write a book review for homework or as a class project. Whether it’s a review of your favourite book or a book you’ve just finished reading, writing a book review certainly makes for a nice writing practice activity!

Direct download: https://purlandtraining.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/writing-a-book-review-template.pdf

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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 Great Book Review: 6 Templates and Ideas

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Whether you’ve loved or hated your recent reads, writing book reviews can be a fun and satisfying process. It’s a great way to unpack messages and information from a story, and it also helps you remember key elements of a book for much longer than you usually would. Plus, book reviews open up some interesting and exciting debates between readers with different opinions, and they also help others decide which books to read next .

Table of Contents

Where Can You Post Book Reviews?

Back in the old days, book reviews were reserved for leading publications and journals, but now, anyone can create their own book reviews, and they’re popping up almost everywhere.

Social Media

Bookworms have taken over social media, with hashtags like # bookstagram drawing in millions of readers from around the internet to share thoughts, ideas, inspiration, and of course, reviews.

Book blogs are also blowing up right now, and plenty of avid readers are making a solid income by writing and sharing their book reviews this way. You can either create your own from scratch or write guest posts and reviews for already established blogs.

Goodreads is the undisputed online home of books. It’s a great place to find inspiration for your next reads, browse other people’s book reviews, and of course, add your own reviews, too.

If you post a review of a popular book on Goodreads, it’s bound to be seen by a huge audience. Plus, it’s a great way to advertise your blog if you have one, as the Goodreads guidelines allow you to insert a link within the body of your review.

The world’s largest bookstore gets an incredible amount of traffic, so it’s one of the best places to get your reviews seen by the masses. But bear in mind that there are more rules and regulations for Amazon book reviews than on some of the other platforms listed here. Make sure you familiarize yourself with the guidelines first, or your submission could be rejected.

Booktube is a Youtube community dedicated to reviewing, discussing, and recommending books. If you’re comfortable in front of a camera, vlogging your book reviews on Booktube is an excellent alternative to the more traditional written book reviews above. It’s also a great way to get noticed by viewers around the world.

Some Booktube reviewers make their entire income from their channel, so if you’re passionate about reviewing and want to turn it into a living, this is a great avenue to explore.

Get Paid for Your Book Reviews

Some of the platforms I’ve listed above, like Booktube, Instagram, and blogging , allow you to get paid for your book reviews if you generate enough traffic, but getting to that level takes a lot of dedication, time, and patience.

Thankfully, there are plenty of websites that pay reviewers on a freelance basis. Here are three of the most popular:

Remember, each site has strict submission guidelines and requirements that you’ll need to check carefully before writing and submitting a review.

Kirkus Reviews

The Kirkus Reviews magazine, founded in 1933, is one of America’s oldest, most respected book reviewing companies.

They accept reviews around 350 words in length, and once you’re assigned the gig, you have a two-week submission deadline.

Kirkus is always on the lookout for new book reviewers, but you’ll need to prove you have experience and talent before they’ll accept your submissions. The best way to do this is to create a professional-looking portfolio that showcases your previous reviews, both paid and unpaid.

Booklist is a subgroup of the American Library Association. They feature all kinds of book reviews, both fiction and non-fiction, and publish them online and in print.

They pay their reviewers on a freelance, book-by-book basis. Their rates aren’t going to make you rich (around $12- $15 per review), but it’s a great way to gain some professional experience and build your book review portfolio without having to work for free.

Booklist has various publication outlets, such as their quarterly in-print magazine, a reader’s blog, and top book lists. Plus, they also accept pitches for book-related news and author interviews.

Online Book Club

This free-to-access community of bibliophiles has been going for over ten years, with a million active members and counting.

To join their professional freelance team, you’ll first have to submit an unpaid review to help them to determine if you’re worth hiring. If your review makes the cut, then your next submission is paid at a rate varying between $5 and $60, depending on the book’s length, the quality of the review, etc.

One of the major stipulations of Online Book Club is that your reviews are in-depth and honest. If you don’t like the book, never put a positive spin on it for the sake of it. ( The same goes for any book review platform you post on. )

It’s also worth noting that with Online Book Club, you’ll never pay for the books you review. So even if they reject your submission, you’ll still get a free book out of it.

How to Write a Book Review?

Book reviews can range from a simple tweet to a full-length essay or long-form blog post and anything in between.

As I mentioned above, some book review sites and platforms have strict guidelines and parameters to follow. But if you’re writing a book review for social media, your own blog, or any other purpose that lets you take the reins, then the following ideas will give you some help and inspiration to get started.

But before we dive in, let’s take a look at four key elements that a comprehensive book review should contain.

1. Information about the author and the name of the book

You might want to include any accolades that the author has received in the past and mention some of their previous notable works.

Also, consider the publication date; is the book a brand-new release, a few years old, or a classic from another century?

2. A summary of the plot

Writing about the plot takes skill and consideration; if your description is too thorough, you risk ruining the book for your audience with spoilers. But on the other hand, if you’re too vague on the details, your review can lack depth.

Consider your audience carefully, and if you feel like your book review contains even the slightest hint of spoilers, always add a warning at the beginning so people can decide for themselves whether to read on.

3. Your evaluation

This is the part where you get to describe what you feel about the book as a whole and give your opinion on the different elements within it. But, again, don’t be tempted to fall into the trap of positively evaluating books you didn’t actually like; no one wants to read a false review, so if you didn’t like it, explain why.

4. Your reader recommendation

Who might the book appeal to? Is it suitable for all audiences? In your opinion, is it a universal must-read, or should people avoid it?

Keep in mind that the purpose of most book reviews is to help the reader decide whether or not they would like to read it themselves. What works for you might not work for others, so consider this when writing your recommendations.

6 Book Review Templates and Ideas

1. the traditional approach.

Most traditional fiction reviews, like the ones found in newspapers and other popular publications, are based on the following format…

Introduction

The introduction is a paragraph or two which includes:

  • Key information that the reader needs to know. For example, the book’s title, the author’s name, the publication date, and any relevant background information about the author and their work.
  • A brief one-sentence summary of the plot. This sets the general scene of what the book is about.
  • Your overall opinion of the book. Again, keep it brief. (you can delve deeper into what you liked and disliked later in the review).

This is the main body of your book review, where you break down and analyze the work. Some of the key elements you might want to examine are listed below. Approach each element one at a time to help your analysis flow.

  • The characters
  • The setting
  • The structure of the story
  • The quality of the writing

What did you notice about each one, what did you enjoy, and what did you dislike? Why?

The conclusion is usually the shortest part of a traditional book review, which usually contains:

  • A summary of your thoughts about the book as a whole
  • Your reader recommendation

Remember that unless you’re writing a book review for a pre-existing publication, there are no rules that you need to follow. This traditional format can be adapted to suit your own style, the book you are reviewing, and your audience.

Also Read : BEST FICTION BOOK REVIEWS

2. Social Media Book Reviews

Book reviews posted on social media tend to have a more relaxed tone than a traditional book review. Again, there are no set rules, but here are a few guidelines and suggestions for posting reviews on platforms like Instagram and Facebook.

  • Include an eye-catching image

This is essential on Instagram, but whatever social media platform you’re posting on, including a great photo will draw people in to read your review.

In the Instagram world, photos of books taken directly from above are called ‘flat lays.’ You can keep it simple and just snap the front cover, or you can get creative and shoot your book flat lay against an interesting backdrop or include items related to the story.

  • Break up your review into short, bite-sized paragraphs

This rule applies to most web content, but it’s even more important on social media, where everyone competes for your reader’s attention.

Big blocks of text are much harder to follow and a sure-fire way to lose your reader’s attention before they even get started. Instead, stick to short paragraphs of one, two, or three sentences, and include spaces between each one.

  • Know your character limit

At just 280 characters, Twitter is by far the stingiest of the major social media platforms when it comes to the length of posts. That’s why most people choose platforms like Instagram or Facebook for book reviews. That being said, you can still use Twitter as a way of linking to them once they go live.

Instagram is considerably more generous with its 2,200-character limit, but if you have a lot to say about the book you’re reviewing, it can still be limiting.

If you want to post a more comprehensive review on social media, Facebook is your best bet; they have an upper limit of 63,206 characters.

Whichever platform you post on, remember to factor any hashtags into your character limit too.

  • Keep it succinct

Book reviews on social media perform better when sentences are concise. This helps to combat the character limit issue I mentioned above and gets your point across quickly, without the fluff.

Readers on platforms like Instagram and Facebook flit from post to post, so if you don’t say what you mean in as few words as possible, you’ll risk losing your audience altogether.

  • Don’t be afraid of emojis.

Love them or hate them, emojis convey mood and emotion where words can sometimes fail us. They also add an extra visual element to a post, help to break up blocks of text and keep the tone informal.

Of course, there’s no rule that you have to include emojis in your social media book reviews, but if you’re already comfortable using them elsewhere, consider incorporating them here too.

  • Add a star rating

Star ratings instantly tell your audience whether you loved the book or not before they read a single word of your post. It’s also another visual element to help draw your audience in to find out more.

  • Avoid spoilers

I’ve already touched on spoilers above, but it’s essential to avoid them on social media book reviews. That’s because unsuspecting users are scrolling from post to post on these platforms with no way of knowing what’s coming next. As a result, it’s very easy to read something you can’t unread.

  • Consider tagging the author and publisher.

But ONLY do this if you enjoyed the book and your review is favorable. It’s not good online etiquette to tag in the creators if you’re posting a scathing critique; it’s mean-spirited, and it could lead to a social media squabble, which the internet has enough of already.

3. Goodreads and Amazon Book Reviews

Both Goodreads and Amazon allow anyone to upload a review of any book, so they’re great places to get started if you’re new to the reviewing world. Plus, you can post more in-depth and lengthy reviews than you can on social media platforms.

There are endless ways to write reviews for sites like these, but if you’re looking for a bit of inspiration, here’s a good template that will help you to flesh out your ideas.

  • Star Rating

Sites like Goodreads and Amazon usually ask for a 1-5 star rating before writing your review. 3 is your baseline which translates to “pretty good.” It can be tempting to rush straight in for a 5 star if you loved a book, but where possible, try to reserve this rating for books that really blow you away.

  • A Brief Synopsis

Reviews on these sites appear directly under the book listing, so generally, there’s no need to mention the author, title, or publishing details. Instead, you can dive straight into a quick overview of the plot, using the official publisher’s summary to help you if needed.

Avoid revealing any significant details or spoilers, but include enough to outline the story and give context to the rest of your review.

Talking about how the book made you feel is a good place to start. Did you learn something you didn’t know before? Was it a page-turner or a hard slog? Were there any twists you did or didn’t see coming? Mentioning the existence of a plot twist is usually deemed ok, as long as you don’t reveal what it is.

Next, examine the book’s various elements, including the characters, setting, and plot, using examples. You might even want to include some direct quotes from the book, as long as they don’t give too much away.

Just like the traditional book review format, conclude it with a summary. Are you glad you read it? Who might enjoy this book, and who should avoid it?

4. Listicle Book Reviews

Listicles are articles and blog posts structured like a numbered list. An example from the book review world is “10 reasons why you need to read X by X”.

These types of reviews are particularly well suited to blog posts, as they’re an excellent way to encourage people to click on your link compared with a less attention-grabbing traditional format.

That being said, listicle book reviews tend only to work if your feedback is positive. Using this format to review a book you hated risks alienating your audience and coming across as harsh and judgemental. Less favorable reviews are better presented in a more traditional format that explores a book’s different aspects one by one.

5. An Essay Style Analysis

An essay-style review isn’t technically a review, as it delves much deeper into the work and examines it from multiple angles.

If you’re not limited to a word count and want to dissect an author’s work, then an in-depth essay-style analysis can be a great addition to your blog. Plus, they’re generally written for people who have already read the book, so there’s no need to worry about spoilers.

But when you’re writing more than 500 words about a book, it can be easy to ramble or go off on a tangent. Here’s an example format to keep you on track:

  • Include the author’s name, the title of the book, and the date of publication.
  • Is the book a standalone novel or part of a series?
  • What made you choose this book in the first place? Have you read any of the author’s previous work?
  • Describe the cover. Does it draw you in? Is it an appropriate representation of the book as a whole?

Set the Scene

  • Include an overview of the plot.
  • Did you have any expectations or preconceived ideas about the book before you read it?

Your Review

Discuss the following elements one at a time. Use quotes or direct examples when talking about each one.

  • Describe the geographical location, the period in time, and the environment.
  • Is the setting based on reality or imagination?
  • How does the setting help to add mood and tone to the story?
  • Give an overview of the main characters and their backgrounds.
  • Discuss the significant plot points in the story in chronological order.
  • What are the conflicts, the climaxes, and the resolutions?
  • How does the author use literary devices to bring meaning and life to book?
  • For example, discuss any elements of foreshadowing, metaphors, symbolism, irony, or imagery.
  • What are the overall themes and big ideas in the story? For example, love, death, friendship , war, and coming of age.
  • What, if any, are the morals within the story?
  • Are there any underlying or less prominent themes that the author is trying to portray?

Your Opinion

  • Which elements were successful, and which weren’t?
  • Were the characters believable? Did you want them to succeed?
  • In the case of plot twists, did you see them coming?
  • Are there any memorable scenes or quotes that particularly stood out to you? If so, why?
  • How did the book make you feel? Did it evoke any strong emotions?
  • Did the book meet your preconceived expectations?
  • Were you satisfied by the ending, or did you find it frustrating?
  • Summarise the plot and theme in a couple of sentences.
  • Give your overall opinion. Was the book a success, a failure, or something in between?
  • Include a reader recommendation, for example, “this book is a must-read for anyone with a love of dystopian science fiction.”
  • Include a star rating if you wish.

6. Create Your Own Book Review Template

If you plan on becoming a regular book reviewer, it’s a good idea to create your own unique template that you can use for every book you review, whether you’re posting on a blog, website, or social media account.

You can mix and match the various elements of the review styles above to suit your preferences and the types of books you’ll be reviewing.

Creating a template unique to you helps build your authority as an independent reviewer and makes writing future reviews a lot easier.

Writing book reviews is a great way to get even more out of your reading journey. Whether you loved or hated a title, reviewing it will help you remember and process the story, and you’ll also be helping others to decide whether or not it’s worth their time, too.

And who knows, you might fall in love with writing book reviews and decide to pursue it as an additional source of income or even a new career!

Whatever your book reviewing plans and goals are, I hope the templates, tips, and ideas above will help you get started.

Do you have any advice for writing a great book review? Let me know in the comments below!

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  16. PDF Sample Book Review

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