How to write a book review

How to write a book review.

Writing a book review can be challenging particularly if it is the first time. A book review is a critical assessment of content in a book. It involves in-depth analyses of its strengths and weaknesses. The use of facts and opinions with supporting evidence is essential when criticizing or affirming a book. Although book reviews have different tones, subjects, and scope of work. They share a few common characteristics.

Summary of the book

All book reviews should start with a book summary, this will act as a map to guide the reader. Keep in mind that some of the target audience of the review have never read the book. Begin with the title, author, publication edition, context, price, theme, and other special features. Discuss the angle the author used to approach the subject whether it is analytical, descriptive, chronological or topical. Give more details about the author, his education and historical background. Ensure the summary is brief, catchy and informative so that the reader can get a clear picture of what the book is all about.

Critical assessment

Begin with identifying the genre of the book. Identify the purpose of the content. Assess whether the book was able to fulfill the purpose. Highlight the sections that you enjoyed and the ones you did not. Base your arguments from the content, use brief quotes and illustrations from the book. For example, if you are discussing a particular brave character, use several incidents where he or she depicted acts of boldness. Compare and contrast the information on the book with what you know and what you had read before about the subject. Describe whether the information was effective and what you learned from it.

Describe and analyze how the author structures and supports the main idea. Identify the loose ends that the author was not able to tackle effectively. Remember to review the book you read not the one you would have loved the author to write. If you are reviewing fiction.  Show whether the author was creative. Try to relate your experiences or those of your surroundings with those stated in the book.


The conclusion in a book review should be appealing and precise with the main points of the review and the overall opinion. Do not introduce new ideas to the conclusion. Balance the conclusion by including both the strengths and the weaknesses of the book. Also, point out similar books you had read that are related to the book you are reviewing and whether you would recommend other people to read the book.


Lee, A. D., Green, B. N., Johnson, C. D., & Nyquist, J. (2010). How to write a scholarly book review for publication in a peer-reviewed journal: a review of the literature. Journal of Chiropractic Education, 24(1), 57-69.

Hammett, H. B. (1973). How to write a book review: A guide for students. The Social Studies, 65(6), 263-265.

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