How to Write a Book Review by eNotes

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7 Steps to Write a Book Review

When writing a book review, you want to identify, summarize, and evaluate the ideas and information the author has presented. The goal of a book review is to share your opinion of the work while supporting your judgement with evidence from the text.

Let’s take a look at 7 steps to help you write a reliable book review:

1) Read the book. There is no getting around this: It’s crucial to read the entire book before writing a book review. This is the only way you can immerse yourself in the full reading experience. Be attentive to your reading experience and take note of what captured or lost your attention. Strive to immerse yourself in the work.

2) Take notes. Once you’ve finished reading the book, go back and take brief, purposeful notes. Review the sections that captured or lost your attention. In reviewing your notes, try to decide what the major events of the book are and what their effect on you as a reader were? Here are some guidelines that can help lay the foundation for your review:

  • Explain how the book as a whole affected you.
  • Explain how the author achieved the effects he or she did.
  • Explain the relationship between form and content.
  • Explain the function of each character in the novel.
  • Explain the characters' relationships to one another.

3) Summarize the book. Before you start sharing your personal opinions on the book, write a short overview of the book. Dedicate two or three sentences in the introduction to provide a brief synopsis of the plot. You’ll want to inform readers of what the book is about without giving too much away. To accomplish this, here are some things to include in your summary:

  • What genre is it?
  • How is the book structured?
  • Who is the target audience?

4) Form an opinion. Be specific! Don’t just say if the book was good or bad, but explain why. Support your opinion with specific examples from the text and move from passing simple judgement to a subjective, well-reasoned evaluation. You want to find a balance between sharing your opinion without insulting other readers who may have enjoyed it. Ultimately, you’re striving to help potential readers determine whether or not this book is worth reading. Some tips to consider:

  • If you don't like the book, try and understand why others might like it, and vice versa.
  • Be specific in your choice of words to convey your opinion. Avoid using nondescriptive, judgmental words like “good,” “bad,” “positive,” or “negative.”

5) Contextualize the book. You can often obtain this information the book’s cover and introduction. If not, you may need to do a little research. Spend some time relating this book to similar works by the author or from the same genre to further your...

(The entire section is 712 words.)