How to Write a Book Review

Book reviews are an essential part of academia. And as such, you must know how to write them from the time you enter high school. However, as easy as it seems, there is a method to the madness. You can’t write a book review as if you are a movie critic based on your personal opinion.

how to write a book review

An academic book review must have a structure with key components and a specific format. Keep reading to learn how to write a book review that will score an A.

What are the four stages of writing a book review?

To learn how to write a good book review, you must first understand the four stages of writing a book review.

Stage 1: Reading and Understanding the Book

This first stage is all about understanding what the book is about and forming an opinion. Ideally, it would be best to grasp the book’s plot after the initial reading.

Stage 2: Developing an Assessment

Come up with a method for rating the book. This can be done by using questions, methodology, or logic.

 Stage 3: Critical Reading

After the initial reading, you can use your chosen assessment approach to analyze the book’s content further.

Stage 4: Writing the Book Review

Proceed to write the book review based on the assessment approach and information gathered during the initial and critical reading.

Note:  After writing the review, read the whole book again to assess whether your book review is a worthy synopsis of the book. Make edits where necessary, then run your review through a spellchecker.

What should be in a book review?

Unlike a book report which focuses primarily on the author’s arguments and book plot, a book review dwells on the critical point of view of the book. Book review writing entails critically evaluating the book by analyzing its content, style, message, and merit.

The premise is to give the review reader an in-depth view of the book’s plot, similar to a movie synopsis. This means you should introduce the book, outline its contents, highlight parts of the book by sharing snippets of particular chapters or themes, and give a detailed evaluation.

The key components of a book review are;


This includes all the key information about the book, such as the title, the author’s name, the type of book (whether fiction or non-fiction), a synopsis of the main points of the plot, and, if applicable, subtitles. You can also include a description of the cover in this section.


In this section, give a summary of the book to enable the reader to understand what the book is all about. Discuss the main points briefly, and do not apply personal bias in this section. The summary should be about the book without personal thoughts or opinions.


This is essentially the review of the book. And you are allowed to run wild in this section. The points you make about the book will be based on the critical reading stage discussed above. This is where your point of view shines through, based on the book’s strengths and weaknesses.


The conclusion summarizes the point you are trying to make throughout the review. The conclusion should contain a summary of your take on the book and quotations from the book. Be sure to make a bold statement regarding the book and rate the book to give the reader an idea of your take on the book.

What are the three parts of a book review?

The main elements of a book review include;

Basic bibliographic information

Write about the essential information about the book, such as the title and subtitles, author’s name, publisher, and date of publication. Also include the number of pages.

Summary of the book’s theme

Summarize the book’s subject and primary themes. For non-fiction books, summarize the author’s argument. Include details about the main points, characters, and the book’s genre.


The analysis should examine the author’s writing quality and the plot’s construction. This assessment will help potential readers decide if they should read the book. Be sure to include a rating, such as a letter grade or star rating.

What are the five steps to writing a book review?

This is an in-depth discussion on how to write a critical review of a book, which is the body of the book review.

When writing the review, stick to the following steps;

Share your opinion

Tell the reader what you thought of the book. Base this on the writing, plot, and readability. This should give the reader an idea of whether the book is for them. Share how your reading experience was. For instance, whether you could read it in an hour, a day, or over several days.

Rate the book

This could be a star rating or a like or dislike. You can also give it a score. This should essentially tell the reader if the book is worth reading.

Justify your rating

Give examples of excerpts in the book justifying your enthusiasm or disdain for the book. This could be based on the characters of the book or the plot twists. You can also include descriptions of how reading the book made you feel. However, it would be best to avoid spoilers by barely scheming over the storyline.

Categorize the book

Doing this helps the reader determine whether the book is in a niche, they enjoy reading. State why the book is geared towards a particular type of reader.

Summarize your take

Finally, share why you came to the conclusion that you did regarding the book. This can be because of your ethos or the arguments or message of the book. Sum up how you feel and why.

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