Book Reviews: Superb Guide with Expert Tips

The Purpose of Book Review

A book review serves the purpose of helping others to decide if they should or want to read a particular book or not. This is done by reading and evaluating a given book, and summing it up in terms of how well it has been written and/or how well the author has handled the subject matter. A review can explore the positive or negative elements (or both) of a book.


How Long Should a Book Review Be?

A book review can be as long or short as the writer feels appropriate. Some reviews are no more than a paragraph or two while others span numerous pages. Generally, it depends on the targeted audience. If a tutor is the intended reader, check the length with them.

Content and Style

A book review’s content and style can vary too according to the intended audience. Who will be reading your review? If, for instance, a book is a factual one about deafness and how this affects learning in children, the content and style should be different for different readers. Where, say, you are addressing parents who are new to dealing with deafness in a child, it may seem appropriate to explain the condition and related issues in detail. If, on the other hand, you are targeting those who teach children affected by deafness, you might decide not to include so much detail on the assumption that teachers already understand the topic reasonably well.  

Content varies according to the type of book i.e. whether it is fact-based or fictional. If, for instance, you are reviewing a fictional work, you may well choose to analyze the theme, characters, setting, and plot of the book. In the case of a non-fictional book, you should probably cover the book’s content from the perspective of its accuracy, usefulness, and presentation.

Formatting a Book Review

You should format a book review as you would any paper or essay. This implies writing in essay-style with an introductory paragraph, some body paragraphs, and a concluding paragraph.

Book Review Structure

Book Review Writing Hints

Useful Advice on Writing an Attention Grabbing Book Review

Ask yourself, what is the purpose of a book review? Usually the main objective of a book review is to analyze some written work. Book review provides a short description of major text pints as well as analyzes strengths and weaknesses of the discussed book. You may find book review template online.

Oftentimes, readers can confuse boor reports with book reviews despite the fact that they are not identical. Most often, book reports are meant to describe the events discussed in a book. They focus on describing the plot, major idea and characters. In case you need to write a book report or a backpage review, there are plenty of credible sources online that can help you to understand how to do it. 

As for the book reviews, they are often assigned at colleges. However, you can find them in a number of professional written works, such as newspapers, magazines and journals. Typically, they can range from 500 to 750 words and even longer. Readers get a sneak peek about the selected book when they read a book review. It helps them understand whether they can enjoy it and whether they should buy it. All you can books review, make sure it is logical.

Prior to Reading

  • Prior to reading, take into account the aspects that should be incorporated in the giver book review. The following list of items may help you to find out how to start a book review:
  • Details about the Author: Who is the book author? Has he/she written anything else? Does the author have any rewards? What is the author’s writing style?
  • Genre of the Book: what sort of book is it: nonfiction or fiction, poetry, romance, historic, etc.? What is its targeted audience? What is the main aim of the book?  
  • Book Title: What is the title of a book? How can it be used in the book? Does it have a message? Is the title interesting? 
  • Book Preface, Introduction and Table of Contents: is there any revealing details provided in the book preface or introduction? Is the introduction provided by the “guest author”? Do the author or “guest author” provide any preconceptions or judgments? What is the book structure?   
  • Jacket of the Book; Its Cover and Printing: Jackets of the book are considered to be a mini review of any story book. Is there an interesting detail provided in the book jacket? Does it spark readers’ interest? Can you find any maps, pictures or graphs? Do the page cut, binding or typescript make a contribution to book interest?

When You Read

  • When you read a book, you need to determine the way of summary or background structuring. Start taking short notes on the main points of the selected book.   
  • Book Characters: Does the book have any characters? Who are the main characters? How they influence the main story? Do you have any associations with them?  
  • Book Themes, Style and Motifs: what motif or theme stands out in the book? In what way they contribute to the book? Are they useful? How can you characterize author’s writing style? Is it comprehensive to all readers or to particular audience?
  • Book Argument: How is the book argument presented? How does the author support his/her argument? Does the book support the main argument? 
  • Major Ideas: what is the major idea of the selected book? Does it make it a good book? Does it make a book different?  
  • Quotes from the Book: Do some quotes stand out? Can you show the talent of an author through the quotes? Can you demonstrate the book feel using a particular quote?

When You Feel Ready to Write Any Book Review in English

Start from a brief summary of the book. Do not provide too many details. A number of book reviews are limited to couple of book chapters or simply lead the audience to the main book action. When you review a nonfiction book, you need to provide the main idea avoiding too many details. Provide only necessary parts of a book review.

In the end of your book review, you should provide your personal opinion regarding the reviewed book. So, you need to take into account the following aspects, when you feel ready to start writing your book review:

  1. You need to Establish the Background and Think about the Target Audience: Mind the fact that the audience has not read the reviewed book. That is why it is necessary to introduce book chapters as well as principles in a careful manner. Think about the summary of major book points as well as protagonists that will catch readers’ attention. Does the text of the author reach the potential readers? Will all readers be willing to understand the content?   
  2. Main characters and principles:  It is recommended to pay attention to the most pressing points provided in the book. Remember that covering all ideas and characters is impossible. Do you agree or disagree with some characters and book principles? Have the book author researched or considered some other things? 
  3. Organize: The main objective of every book review is to provide critical evaluation of the chosen text. You need to leave enough space for evaluation by providing a short and concise summary. It is vital to keep balance between evaluation and summary. In case your task is to write a book review for your class, consult with your tutor. Oftentimes, the ratio between evaluation and summary is 50/50.   
  4. Evaluation: select one or a couple of points that will help you to discuss the book. What helped you? How can you compare this book with other works of the same author or with other works of the same genre and style? What are the main motifs, themes or terms introduced in the book? Are they introduced successfully? Did you like the book on an emotional level? 
  5. Book Publisher and Its Price: It is recommended to mention the book publisher as well as the book price in your review. It is also possible to provide the ISBN and year of publication. 


  1. Do not underestimate the importance of book review. When you came to the stage of final touches, make sure to verify the following aspects:
  2. Check the correct spelling of the name of the author, names of the characters, terminology and of course book publisher.
  3. Try to read your review from the point of view of the targeted audience. Is the summary sufficient? Does the main argument about the book make sense to you?
  4. Do you feel that quotes from the book should be included in your review? Will they help to support your own argument? Make sure that direct quotes are accurate.

Book Review Template to Read (You Just Don’t Understand by Deborah Tannen)

Download PDF Sample

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