How To Write A Great Book Review

Reviews fall into the categories of Comment, Opinion, and Columns. When writing a review you are expressing your opinion. Remember to be fair. You can be witty, but you should never be nasty. Never rant because you feel strongly about something. Sometimes you can get away with arguing if you amuse and inform.  

The Mechanics

  1. Assess the book honestly. 
  2. Choose a genre you enjoy reading. 
  3. Include correct title, author, imprint, and ISBN number.
  4. Write about the plot of the book in present tense, for example, say ‘Debra wakes up…’ and not ‘Debra woke up…’.
  5. Give your opinion in first person, for example, say ‘I enjoyed’ and not ‘The reader will enjoy’.  
  6. Write in clear plain English. Never write in a literary style. It simply shows your inexperience.
  7. The length varies according to the publication’s specifications. Generally, 150-200 words is a good length.

Seven Elements of a Great Book Review

  1. Mention the genre.  
  2. Is it the author’s first book? If not, what else has he or she written? How does this one compare?
  3. Give a brief outline of the plot. Do not include the ending.
  4. Discuss the characters. The protagonist and the antagonist must be mentioned. Are they three dimensional? Are they believable?
  5. Do you think the book is well written? Describe why you think it is or isn’t. It could be engaging, delightful, or inspiring. It could be staid, boring, or contrived.
  6. Was it what you expected it to be?
  7. Would you recommend it? If yes, why? If no, why not?

If it’s bad…

If the book is horrible, a good way to deal with it is by using the ‘sandwich’ technique. Start by saying something good, fill in the middle with the negative information, and end with a positive comment.

Always remember the review is not about you. It’s about the book.

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Amanda Patterson by Amanda Patterson. Follow her on  Pinterest,  Facebook,  Google+,  Tumblr  and Twitter. 

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This article has 2 comments

  1. David Malone

    I’ve been thinking of starting a blog of book reviews, and this has some good points to consider. I’m aiming at around 500 words, which isn’t too overwhelming. Was wondering if you might have advice for non-fiction as well? Thanks!

  2. Kurobana

    Why give ISBN?
    Should book reviews only be for new books? I enjoy reviewing older books too, but I realize those reviews aren’t as useful to readers who want new book recommendations.
    150-200 words, huh? I sometimes go two pages. It’s hard to balance review (what the readers want – why should I read this or not read this) with analysis (what I want – intellectual exercise, thoughts, reflections, meditations, memories, and tangents… things that will help me remember what my experience of reading was years after the fact)
    I guess that’s why I don’t get many views. XD If you want to give me some advice or see what mine looks like, my book review site is

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