How to Write a Book Review

May 23, 2023
David Sunnyside

book review images

Image credit: Allan Schofield, courtesy of Shutterstock

A book review is an opinion about a written work. It examines the writing style, the author's purpose and the themes of a book, and gives an appraisal of its success or failure. Book reviews also provide bibliographic information, such as the title, author, publisher and publication date.

Book reviews often begin with an anecdote, a quotation or some other attention-grabbing element to hook readers in. A summary of the main theme and key observations of the book is then introduced, along with the reviewer's thesis statement. The review should include a short paragraph giving the book's context - its genre, field of study or area of interest - to show how this influences the author's arguments.

Book reviewers should try to balance the positive and negative qualities of the book. If all the review is glowing or critical, it won't feel objective. If you mention the book includes lyrical prose, for example, it's good to follow this with a passage of text that demonstrates this. You might also consider including a spoiler warning if you think it's necessary for your audience.

David Sunnyside
Co-founder of Urban Splatter • Digital Marketer • Engineer • Meditator
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