How to Write a Book Review

Anyone who reads my  blog knows I enjoy sharing books with my readers.  I find it a hoot to find neat books or curriculum to share with you.   But how does one write a review?   

I know that over time I have figured out how I tend to like do a review.  But what makes the meat of a review?  What makes a good book review?  What makes a book review different from a book report?

Writing a book review is not just about summarizing.  Honestly.. anyone can summarize a book.  For instance: Harry Potter's series could be simply summarized as "Bullied kid makes good, Bad wizard beaten.".    Doesn't really tell you anything about the series but it was summarized.  :)

A book review is also not a book report but can contain some elements of a book report (as you often do tell something about the book) but unlike a book report in a book review you do NOT give away the ending or tell all you know about the plot of characters. 

A review delves into the book, giving some summary, but mostly is critiquing and offering your opinion about it, along with some quotes. 

There are two main types of book reviews: Descriptive and Critical Reviews. Descriptive reviews are predominately what I do on this blog, giving essential information about a book, but describing the basic story, telling you what I think about it, elements that are contained within and whether I think it completes it's purpose. If I know the author's thinking in creating that book I'll let you know that as well.  For some books I'll pull quotes out that caught my attention. 

Critical reviews describe and evaluate the book, based on literary and historical standards. It will compare a book with another, work with the author's intent (if stated) and tends to used with more academic books. The text will be used as part of the evaluation. 

Doing a book review, gives you the opportunity to analyze a book, to speak to it's strong points, as well as point out the weaker aspects.   It allows you to apply a personal touch, such as "I really appreciated the way the author did....." 

How you write your review can depend on your audience. Knowing what your audience is, can help you present a book more effectively.  For instance, if your audience is a bunch of moms looking for a good book to read with their littles, you would write your review differently than to a more academic crowd. 

Remember: a book review asks you to analyze a book.  You are thinking about what you are reading, if it meets its audience, it's strengths and weaknesses, and if it does what the author intended.  

You will need to let your audience know some basic facts about the book, like the author, size, publisher and what not.  Doing this pins down exactly what book you are reviewing, include the edition number if there is one.  If there are special features like maps, resource section, etc.

Things you might wish to include in your book review would be:
- did the book meet your expectations?  Explain.
- did a quote grab your attention - include it, add your thoughts if relevant
- what audience is this book intended for?
- did you learn anything new?  any important lessons?  Any cautions to add?
- graphics from the book (or based on it)
- who would like this book?
- talking about the author, awards etc.

When you review a book, make sure you review the book in front of you, not the book you wished the author had written.

If it's an awesome book, say so... but by the same token, if it's an average, say so , or if it's an awful book say so...but do so kindly, the author did their best and their efforts should be honoured.

Do you have any other thoughts about what should be added to a book review?  Add them in the comments below. THANKS!
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  1. Good information. I know I tend to be a little on the lazy side when I review books for my book blog. They are all descriptive reviews, and honestly they are reviews of books I like. Otherwise I wouldn't keep reading. LOL

    1. I know that feeling....wanting to read what I like, but if I dislike a book I stop reading and tell the company I'm reviewing and they can decide.

  2. I don't review books all that often. It really has to be a book I am interested in to review it.

    1. I love to read so this gives me good books to read, satisfy my book fetish.

  3. I like book reviews that clearly show me by what the reviewer shares if I'd like to read it or not without giving it all away. And honesty! I bought a book based on one person's review once and hated it--nothing at all like she said.

    1. Honesty is important, I find sometimes I have to read between the lines.

  4. I like reviewing books also! Rarely I dislike one, and those are maybe the hardest reviews to write. Nice advice, thanks.

    1. I have met the odd book that I didn't like, but most importantly do.

  5. I like the way you approached this and kind of broke it down to what you think about. Interesting.


Hi! thanks for stopping by. I love comments, it's good to talk with each other eh?