How to Write a Book Review in Only Four Quick Steps

Book reviews describe and evaluate the content, purpose, and techniques of fiction or non-fiction works. Here we share our exclusive tips on how to write a book review in only 4 steps.

👊 Step 1 – Destroy the Myths

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A book summary joke.

Not to look like a freshman and to write a book review that rocks, you’ll need to destroy the popular myths:

FalseTrue
Book reviews retell the plot in detailBook reviews require only a brief summary of the plot (key events)
You can’t express your personal opinion in a book reviewYour personal opinion is more than welcome (In my opinion, to my mind…)
You can’t criticize the author’s workFeel free to point out particular weaknesses, but be sure to give enough evidence to defend your position

👀 Step 2 – Read Smart

Joke about book notes.

Simply reading a book takes a lot of time, but it isn’t enough for writing a worthy book report. Read smart! Enjoy your reading, but pay attention to the following points to make book review writing easier:

  1. Genre
    • What is the art form – fiction or non-fiction; if fiction, then which particular form – novel, poem, short story etc?
    • Who are the ideal readers for this book?
    • What is the main purpose of this book? (To educate, inform, shock, or entertain readers)
    • What is the main message from the author?
  2. Plot

Briefly summarize the key events and search for some interesting devices

  • Backstory – the events that precede the main plot line;
  • Chekhov’s gun – a seemingly irrelevant object introduced early in the story but explained later
  • Flashback – an irregular sequence of events, such as taking readers to the future or to the past, breaking the logic of narration;
  • Framing – a story within a story, when one of the stories focuses solely on the narrator;
  • Plot twist – an unexpected twist or ending of the story;
  • Unreliable narrator – a story is told by someone who can’t fully be trusted.
  1. Style
    • Are there many difficult words in the text?
    • Are there any stylistic devices – metaphors, similes, allegories etc.?
    • Is it the 1st or 3rd person narration (I or he/she/they)?
    • Is the narrator reliable or biased?

🍓 Step 3 – Include the Best Ingredients

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The main ingredients of a book review are:

The main ingredients of a book.

📥 Step 4 – Use This Template

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Joke about book review.

Though these schemes and questions make the main principles of a good book review/report/analysis crystal clear, there’s an even easier way to do this task. It’s using the following book review template.
Simply complete the following sentences:

  1. …(book title and author) is an excellent resource to students/ a big disappointment/ a classic example of…
  2. The main message conveyed by the author was…
  3. The author is a proven specialist in the field… and a master of…
  4. The overall impression of the book was… even though particular parts were…
  5. The techniques that intensified the effects of the main ideas were…
  6. The author used the language means wisely, for example,…
  7. The language used in the book was (in)appropriate for the target audience because…
  8. My personal favorite part was…
  9. I would highly recommend this book to…
  10. I would consider rereading particular parts of this book for a better understanding of…

Now you have all you need for writing book reviews that rock. Read smart, combine the best ingredients, use the template and voila – your excellent book review is ready.

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