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Monday Apr 02, 2018

How to Write a Book Review — Anatomy of Good Reviews with Writing Tips

Students who love to read are becoming more and more of a trend. There are several reasons for this scenario, including simple access to the information and development of various areas in our lives. The youth's growing interest in various books and articles is a positive aspect of society. However, there is one important point you shouldn't miss. No matter how many books you read, it is useless if you cannot analyze them appropriately and extract the author's intention and the main message. That is why there is such an assignment as a book review.

You may be asked to write one after reading a certain work related to your field. With its help, students can develop their critical skills, learn how to find the major ideas of different writings, and come up with their own conclusions and exciting ideas that may inspire others.

Any academic writing requires strict compliance with generally accepted rules. So, it is best to get familiar with the theoretical part of the book review assignment. By equipping yourself with guidelines, you are halfway there. Hence, we will explore the following important aspects.

  • Assignment's purpose
  • Elements of a review
  • Structure and format

Also, in this article, you'll get some recommendations and tips to make working on this specific assignment simple.

Writing the Academic Book Review

The first rule is to know that you are writing a book review and not a report. What is the difference? The last one is more like a retelling the plot and mentioning some formalities such as writer's life, information about how the work has been published, etc. A good review is rather objective, and it provides a more profound overview of the book. It's not just about "I do or I don't like what I've read" — you have to analyze the plot, share your experiences and impressions, evaluate the work reviewed. Also, don't forget that there are two main types of this assignment.

  • Descriptive
    Your narration is focused mostly on the plot and summary of the publication.
  • Critical
    You evaluate the work in different perspectives, analyze its main ideas, and share your critical opinions if any.

This article is going to be about the second type because it requires more efforts, time, and research. Now, where to begin?

First and foremost, follow the required length — your word count shouldn't exceed 800 words. One of the purposes here is showing your ability to generalize the text, evaluate it, and clearly present some interesting arguments. Brevity is the soul of wit, right?

Then, a structure. That's what provides your writing with cohesion, smooth transitions between the ideas, and logical sequence. We all have the standard structure for the majority of academic assignments in our minds. But what is special about book reviews?


In the introduction, you have to deal with general information about the book you're analyzing. It includes full bibliographic data for the work (author's name, book title, year, ISBN, etc.), an author's background, any particularities about the publication, etc. This paragraph is usually short yet informative — try to make it concise.


Make sure not to retell the plot and turn your assignment into a summary. But, don't assume that your readers know everything either. Your task is to provide enough information about the plot but mostly focus on the main idea of the book and express the author's standpoint. The purpose is not to see if you can retell the text or not. Make this part the guiding light for the others. Your professors, as well as the readers who look through your review, should be able to understand the grounds of the book by reading your description. What did the author intend to convey? What are their means to achieve it through the text?


It is the longest and most informative part of your writing. Here, shed some light on your thoughts on the book and conduct a thorough analysis. Keep in mind that the best strategy here is to build your review against the author's thesis statement. Thus, you can reasonably decide whether the plot develops appropriately in the context of the book's argument. Here are the aspects of the book you can analyze to put the puzzle pieces together and see how good the final picture is in the end.

  • Style of writing
  • Originality (compared to the books of the same genre)
  • Means to reach the target audience
  • Structure and organization
  • Psychological analysis of the main character(s), etc.

Here, you're at liberty to describe any component you want. But don't forget that your writing has to be analytical and don't turn it into your personal blog. For that reason, provide every statement with evidence from the original text and make sure your examples are relevant.

You can also examine the reviewed work with "strengths and weaknesses" pattern — highlight strong points and imperfections, analyze them, and make a well-backed evaluation. That is the most common structure because you work on various parts of the text. Still, you are free to choose your own style of examining the composition; just don't forget about the literary analysis. For example, you can study how the book themes and characters are interconnected. Maybe, you see a certain phenomenon in each character, and that can turn the whole perception of the book inside out?


In the final part of your assignment, present your overall impression of the book and the results of your evaluation. You can mention its value, contribution to the world or field of study, touch on the main points once again and make the final judgment. To make your paper more original, describe its influence on your own experience or possible changing of your viewpoints.

That was a generally accepted structure of a review. But, it is always a good idea to ask your professor about any additional requirements for this assignment. Comply with the rules above, and creating a good review won't be an issue anymore.

Recommendations and Writing Tips

If you decided to write a review that will meet all the basic requirements, remember these simple rules.

  • Don't select a publication which doesn't interest you.
  • Adhere to the length standards.
  • Don't overdo it with citations.
  • Stick to the proper format.
  • Don't hold back on expressing your arguments.
  • Be clear and avoid vagueness.
  • Back up your statements with facts from the text.
  • Don't come up with new ideas in the Conclusion part.

Many students tend to neglect these standard requirements, and that leads to lowering their grades. We recommend you to consider that list and guarantee yourself a refined work.

Have Some Questions?

When writing a book review, you have to stay patient and attentive to every detail, and not every learner can cope with that. Also, on top of the review process, there is another challenge — the actual reading. Sometimes, the publication is too boring, too lengthy, or you just haven't got the time to deal with it, and the only solution you have is to ask for somebody's assistance. Looking for a service that will provide you with a great book review? Our writers deliver only 5-star rating assignments and can help you 24/7! Order your custom writing or request an experienced book review editor who will refine your paper. We won't let the academic issues lower your performance!

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