How to Write a Book Review: A Step by Step Guide

Are you searching for how to write a book review? This post has provided the solution to this problem. 

Most people who read books want to review and provide a summary of the books they read but do not know how to get started. 

Stephen King, an American author world famous for his writings, said, “He once said that if you do not read a lot, you do not have the tools to write. “

This post has a step-by-step guide on how to write a book review.

After reading this post thoroughly from top to bottom, you can choose any book, critique it and then review it.

This post will teach and provide a simplified step-by-step guide on how to write a book review in five simple steps. 

What is the meaning of a Book Review?

book review is a technique in which the reader has to identify, understand and appreciate the role of the characters in the book. The reader must also understand the plot and the way it developed.

Step 1: Summary

An excellent way to start a book review is by summarising the story and its main plot points. 

While writing the summary, the reader must prioritise not giving away details or critical information or including any spoilers. 

Audiences take spoilers very seriously, so be careful to avoid them.

 Do not mention plot twists like deaths, characters, or other significant events that affect the story’s outcome.

It is essential to consider that details do not belong in summaries.

Writing a summary means; outlining the book’s story, its characters and significant conflict. So that readers have a good idea of what to expect. 

One word that stands out in writing a summary is conflict.

Let us analyse and understand this concept a little deeper. 

Conflict refers to the struggles and challenges that stand in the way of characters achieving theirs.

These challenges drive the story forward. As characters fight to overcome them, put conflict as a story like a tug of war between two opposing forces without conflict. 

 The summary must reflect the central conflict of the book you are reviewing.

Step 2: Overview

Reading a book requires a certain degree of emotional involvement.

The story is bound to make the reader feel something, whether fear, shock, happiness, hope, or perhaps disappointment. 

The reader will likely turn the page and leave with a feeling if that is the case. 

The writer accomplished their goal of producing emotions through a story. 

Keep those emotions in mind; while creating an overview. 

Express how the story made you feel and tie in your appreciation of the story itself. You answer the following questions and ask yourself, 

Does the story make sense?

Are the characters well defined? 

Is there a logic to their motivations? 

What moves the story forward? 

Is the ending worth the ending?

 Could there be more to it? 

After reading the book, it should have given you the answers to all the above questions. 

So, the overview should be a personal recollection and opinion of what happened and what might have happened.

While the summary is objective since it mentions what happens in the story, an overview is subjective. 

The overview is about what you felt and what you feel would have enhanced your enjoyment of the book. 

In question, the overview was likely to contain a lot of conditional sentences written in the first person.

Here is how to start an overview.

The story would have been more enjoyable for me and so forth. 

It would have made more sense for this character, too, et cetera, et cetera. 

I would have liked the end to be and so on.

Remember, an overview should be as brief as it can be while mentioning all the feelings and ideas that the story inspired in you for your overview, 

What to write in 

Do express the feelings that the story inspired in.

You do include your views about what would have made the story more enjoyable for you. Do use the first person. Do not write an overly long overview. Keep it brief 

Step 3: Strengths and weaknesses

Have you ever read a book and thought, wow, the red is poor or the opposite, you were amazed at the writer’s linguistic craft.

Every book has its strong and weak points. These may be the characterisation of plot logic themes or how it was written. 

You may notice much repetition, the inclusion of too many adverbs and an overabundance of fancy words, words which would not usually be heard or spoken in conversation, too much dialogue or lack of it and so forth. 

It is always better not to over-elaborate, often using arcane and obscure scholarly terms. 

This type of descriptive narrative can become boring very quickly, and there is little to no characterisation since the characters hardly ever talk. 

So, the objective while you write Strengths and weaknesses should be only to reflect the book’s strengths and weaknesses.

Use quotes from the book to describe points. 

Using the first person when writing about a book’s strengths and weaknesses is recommended. 

When describing the book, strong in weak points, be objective, use quotes to illustrate the text, and use the first person.

Do talk about weak points first, then the strong ones. Do not use too many quotes. Remember, quotes are someone else’s work. You want to highlight your work. 

Step 4: Closing summary 

A closing summary is the icing on the cake. Use it to tie all the previous points together. 

Do a recap on what you liked about the book and what you did not like.

Do not forget to write an overall opinion about the story, the book, or presentation quality. 

A good idea to wrap things up is to mention one or two other books with a similar story or in the same genre. 

Mentioning other works will add value to the book review and stimulate the audience to at least think about reading those other novels.

Keep closing summary one or two paragraphs should be more than enough. 

So for a closing summary, it is essential to link the full review together here. The review should mention other literary works with similar stories or themes for comparison purposes. 

Do not make the closing summary too long. The four steps on how to write a book review are:

summary 

overview

strengths and weaknesses 

closing summary.

Using the above four steps, anyone can write a much more robust and better book review, whether for a blog, a report, or even a book review for Amazon. 

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