Writing a Book Review

Book review writing is definitely one of the most problematic and challenging things a student may need to do in college or university. The most difficult part of book review writing is analyzing the book. You must have enough time to read the whole book, from the very first until the very last chapter. You must also analyze its ideas and be critical of its contents. You must make notes and use quotations from the book. All these things make book review writing increasingly complicated.

However, you can improve the quality of your academic results if you follow the basic rules of academic writing. To begin with, you will need to take your time while reading the book. Make sure that you have at least a couple of weeks to read the book, particularly if it is large and full of details. Do not use the title of the book as the title of your review. Your task is to capture readers' attention and make them interested. However, if your professor asks you to use the book's title, you will do it. In each and every aspect of book review writing, you will have to follow the instructions and recommendations provided by your professor.

You will be lucky if you have to review one of your favorite books. However, chances are high that you will have a task to review a book that you hate the most. In either case, you will need advanced skills and sophisticated academic competencies to produce a breathtaking book review. You will also need patience, as it may be quite difficult for you to read the entire book. The good thing that you can do it making notes. You will make them while you are still reading. This way, you will prepare yourself for writing a book review. Your notes will serve as a guide for you in book review writing.

Book Review Writing for College

To begin with, you will need to do research. It sounds weird since a book review is about the book itself, not anything else? However, the truth is that a perfect book review will always incorporate information from outside sources. You may want to consider what other critics have said about the book you are about to read and review. Besides, these opinions may give you a focus on the strongest and weakest sides of the story. This way, you will know what aspects to consider while you are reading the book. Your research will provide you with a general picture of the book you are expected to review in your paper.

Who Is Your Audience?

When it comes to book review writing in college, your task will be to follow the requirements and instructions provided by your tutor. However, you will also need to consider your target audience. For example, if you are writing your book review for your fellow students, can you be sure that they will understand the sophisticated terms and meanings shared by the author? In the meantime, if your faculty is the target audience for your book review, will you hesitate to include some complex ideas or challenging perspectives on the issues reviewed in your subject or discipline. Always consider your target audience, their specialization and communication skills.

A successful book review is that, which meets the expectations and needs of your audience. This is how you show respect for the target audience. This is also how you satisfy its craving for new knowledge and information. It is your key to successful academic writing!

Consider Other Details

Do not be in a hurry. You will definitely need some time to develop adequate skills and produce a memorable book review according to the needs and expectations of your readers. One of the key aspects of a well-developed book review is structure. A good book review is properly and conveniently structured. You begin with an introduction that mentions the book's title and author. Then you share some background information about the book, including its theme and purpose. Leave the most interesting information for later. Keep your readers interested. Begin each paragraph with a topic sentence. Make sure that you discuss only one idea per paragraph. Cover the most valuable aspects of the book. Include evidence from the book, direct quotations and references to the author to make your story more colorful. Try to present your review as if you want your readers to fall in love with this book. However, do not lose your critical eye. Outline the major weaknesses of the book. Be objective!


Your introduction is always the very first step in writing a book review. The purpose of your introduction is to familiarize the reader with the book you intend to review and create a basic picture of the book, its content, message, and impact on you. The introduction creates a background for your review. Your readers should understand what expects them as they keep reading your story. By the time you finish writing the introduction, your readers will have to understand the main idea behind the book. You will present a powerful thesis statement, which is usually the last sentence of the introduction. For example, if you are to review Ayn Rand's Fountainhead, you will talk about the granite character of the main protagonist and the most dangerous features of the human character.

You will also need to follow the instructions and requirements provided by your professor. You will need to pay particular attention to formatting and style. Remember that this is one of the critical aspects of successful book review writing. College tutors are quite picky. They want to see a book review that is perfectly formatted and structured. This is one of the key reasons why college students fail to produce an impressive book review. Then you will have to review the most distinctive features of the book, its writing style, and its plot. When working on a college book review, you will have to take a position. Remember that it is not the same as writing a book report, where you simply summarize the story. You are not simply a person who reports the plot of your book. Rather, you assume the role of an interpreter a person who critically analyzes and interprets the plot and meaning of the story so that it becomes interesting and understandable for the reader. You may want to provide an insight into the most meaningful concepts and theories. You may want to use these theories to explain the key concept and topic of the book. For instance, if you are to review a management or leadership book, you may want to discuss certain leadership theories and concepts to inform your conclusions.

Book Reading

You will never in the world produce a brilliant book review if you fail to read the entire book. The word "entire" is the most meaningful here. It literally means that you will have to read the book from the very first till the very last page. You will have to review the plot, its features, literary elements used by the writer, and other aspects of the story. You will share the results of your thorough and critical reading with your audience in the body of your book review. Once you are done with writing the book review introduction, you will proceed to construct the body of your paper. Here, you will be free to choose what topics and aspects of the book you want to cover, well unless these topics contradict the instructions and requirements for the book review provided by your professor. Do not forget to analyze the plot. Review the main characters and their actions. Why do they stand out? What makes them different? What literary elements does the writer use to create a unique story? Try to answer these questions using evidence from the book.

How to Choose a Book Review Topic

For many college students, finding a topic or identifying the key message of the book is one of the most problematic aspects of book review writing. Sometimes, it is simply difficult to prioritize among several thematic threads. Sometimes, students need to read the book more than once to find out what it is all about. This is why it is never too late to see what other critics have said about the book and choose the main theme and focus for the book review.

Do not Keep Emotions Inside

While working on your book review, you will suddenly feel that you are happy about the happy end of the story, or you are unhappy about the dullness of the scene and slow progress. Do not be afraid of your emotions. It is natural that you are feeling this way. Moreover, a good thing about book review writing is that you can express your emotions freely, thus making your book review livelier and more engaging for the reader. Here you may want to share your disappointment with the way the author describes the most critical scenes in the book. You may also express your delight with the way the author manages the tiniest details of the protagonist's character and his or her involvement in the plot. However, whenever you incorporate an emotional component into your book review, be ready to defend your position. You cannot simply say that you are unhappy. You must provide evidence to justify your position. You must be ready to explain why you are feeling this way.

Of course, if you are reviewing a non-fiction book, it may leave little room for emotions. Still, you may try to outline the most and least interesting topics. You may want to provide recommendations about using the contents of the book in organizational management and other fields of practice. If you are reviewing a leadership or management book, you may want to tell your reader why you think that book can or cannot benefit managers. You may want to analyze how the book can inform management decisions in different cultures and countries. Plenty of ideas can improve the quality of your writing. Just do what you need to do to produce a perfect paper.

The Key Message

You have outlined the most important themes and topics in your book. Now it is the right moment for you when you will discuss the literary devices used by the author to explain these topics and themes. You do not have to praise the author for his or her literary talent. On the contrary, you are to take a critical stance and try to evaluate the strong and weak literary sides of the book. For example, you may want to analyze how well the author used analogies and summaries to describe the plot and changes in the protagonist's character as the story progresses. Again, do not forget that you need to cite evidence from the book to support your position. Your readers should not have any doubts about the things you are sharing in your book review.


Finally, it is conclusion that wraps up your argument and provides the final remarks to make your paper complete. You will have to review the key points of your argument. You may also want to include suggestions for future reading or recommendations for your readers whether they should or should not read the book. Provide valuable information but leave the decision to your readers.

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