Tips For Writing Critical Book Review Example

Reading time
13 minutes
Updated Apr 29, 2021
Tips For Writing Critical Book Review Example

Book reviews are important, and before you write a critical book review, you should have gone through it, and have in-depth knowledge about what it entails. What is required when writing a book review is to get your opinion about how you perceive the volume on paper, your experience, your analysis, and summarize it all. Often, people end up writing reports right from the introduction instead of book reviews, as they find it hard to distinguish between writing reports from book reviews. Furthermore, it should be noted that a review doesn’t necessarily have to be wrong, as you can end up giving good reviews when writing. The purpose of reviews is to provide the reader with an insight into the content so that such information can help the reader sharpen his or her mind on what to expect when reading. When you are writing a critical review, you need to have some patience from the beginning, for the introduction part and give your time. An example is the New York Reviewer of books, which, on average, receives 750 to 1000 books from different publishers. Reading from the introduction to the end takes plenty of time as expected, meaning you should have gone through it properly before writing.

What Critical Book Review Is All About?

A book review means that all articles, thesis, and all forms of written projects are analyzed and critically examined to give an audience an opinion. In newspapers or academic journals, you would find out how brief reviews are. The writing rarely exceeds 1000 words and is clearly expressed, so on this account, you have to be conscious of the word count when writing. When writing a review, you can agree or disagree with some aspects of the work and bring out your evidence to what you feel about the work. Before you write a critical book review, you should know that it is more about a commentary than a summary. When writing a critical book review, you should note that you are entering a discussion with the author of the work from the introduction part and with a different audience, so you have to bear that in mind when writing. Additionally, reviews might vary in style or subject but can share some standard features like:

The first thing a review should give out to the reader is the summary of the content. Thus, you create an overview of the topic and have points, arguments, and evaluation.

The second aspect a review offers is critically assessing the content when writing.

And lastly, a review should analyze the work the author has created to determine if an audience would appreciate such writing.

How Is a Critical Book Review Written?

One of the things to know before writing a critical book review is that you shouldn’t just summarize, but instead, you should evaluate the strength and weaknesses of the volume of the content. Some points to ask are:

  • What is the author trying to convey? Is the thesis clearly understood?
  • What are your ideas about the content, and if there should have been more words added or fewer words?
  • Is it confusing, or did the author well construct it? How best could it have been written?

Questions like how easy or difficult the contents are should also be mentioned.

Did the author use relevant resources? Would the readers be able to locate and view the right materials?

The general value should be mentioned, and also if such values would be of purpose to an expert when reading.

Things You Should Know Before Choosing a Book

If you enjoy reading and looking for an article to read, and you do not know how to choose a tome. Then, below we are going to help you make the right choice:

Questions you should ask yourself to help you decide on if you like a science fiction book, a mystery, or a non-fiction book should not be ignored.

Secondly, if you have two minds, you can select them randomly and read them! You would be amazed at how interesting it might turn out to be.

Thirdly, most volumes you see on the top of the charts, although it might be untrue, are either just there to sell or be campaigned.

Reading requires patience and working with the right resources, but if you read the beginning, you can always tell the book's genre, and if you like what the author wrote.

Looking at a Book Review And What It Should Contain

As students, or a novice blogger, or whatever the case may be, knowing how to write a review is a valuable skill to have. Even though you may not know everything presented to you, you must ask the relevant questions to understand better. As someone who knows how to write a book review, it is expected that the appropriate resources should contain the following:

The first thing it should contain is a summary of the work the author has created. It should also contain brief quotes as examples for the reader. Information is important; hence essential areas should be included. A review should also have an introduction and a conclusion that generally talks about everything in the content. It should contain at least a similar illustration to serve as a reference when writing further information or comparison.

Lastly, a review won’t be complete without having a star rating attached to it. This is important for the audience as a good rating might be more appealing to the readers; the same way a bad rating on paper might put some audience off.

Having In-depth Knowledge While Reading the Book

Before you decide to read, you have to know that there are four reading levels. The reading levels are;

  • Elementary reading
  • Analytical reading
  • Inspectional reading
  • Syntopical reading

Each reading level is specifically designed to make reading more accessible and comfortable for you to understand. That way, you can be able to differentiate when writing reviews. For instance, elementary reading is those kinds of reading, which were explained to elementary school students. Analytical reading requires you to read through the book and have a thorough understanding of the book.

While reading, there are about four critical questions you need to ask of each book:

  • What information is this author trying to send across
  • A detailed explanation of such a tome
  • Is such information about the content accurate, and how?
  • How do you perceive the content?

If, after asking such questions and you find out they are challenging, then you are truly a demanding reader.

Is Reading the Book Important?

The purpose of reading is to help you; the reader achieves various milestones. For instance, university students who have a thesis to prepare for, as they know how things work in college, have to read from the introduction to the conclusion.

The various reasons why people read is not to give just a review but rather excel in any course work given in the University or college as it helps in:

  • Broaden your knowledge
  • Having an overview of other cultures

When you read, you not only become open-minded but smarter. The purpose is to build your self-esteem.

In summary, these four reasons serve as a guide to aid either student, the audience, to see the importance of reading. You can’t write a critical review without allowing yourself to understand what the author wrote.

Also, you should be aware that topics or an article take a lot of time to go through from the introduction to the conclusion; hence there is a need to be patient before writing.

Things to Look Forward to While Reading

A lot of time, people fail to have a purpose while reading. Some try to get the information about what the content is trying to convey, while others find it difficult. To be a good critic or a reviewer, here are some of the things you ought to look at as you read:

  • The first thing to do is to identify your purpose

Identifying your purpose is vital, especially if you are going to review the content. If you fail to identify your purpose, then it would be difficult for you to have enough opinion on what the author created.

  • Keep in mind what you are reading

You cannot be going through a publication without keeping in mind what you are reading. It is important that you know what you are reading, especially when you are going to give an assessment of what you have read.

  • Work with the material

It is important for someone who is going to assess the content to work with the material. To have an in-depth knowledge of what the author is passing across then it is required that you work with the material as you would be judging the said content.

  • Go through and make a summary

After you have gone through the article, topic, magazine, or whatever you are presented with, then you have to make a summary of the message the author is trying to pass across. To summarize a content is also an essential part of the process.

Have Notes Taken

If you want to give reviews, then notes have to be taken. Also, you start taking notes or valid points from the introduction till you conclude. The purpose of taking notes is not just to give reviews but rather to be able to either criticize or hail what the author wrote. Often, reviewers can spot some mistakes from the introduction; some are close to the conclusion. Sometimes, people do not know how to write a book review simply because they either fail to take notes or don’t have the time and patience to go through the work the author did and adequately evaluate the works done when writing. For instance, students in the University who are given a long thesis to defend have to settle down and pick out valid points else it would become hard to do a proper defense of their thesis. Thus, it would help if you had notes taken. By adopting this trait, you get to find out how easy it would be when writing a critical review. It doesn’t mean whether you are a university student or someone who enjoys reading.

What Is the Next Thing After You Have Read a Book?

This is when the notes or points you have gathered while reading comes to play. The notes you took serves as a guide when writing a proper review. As a university student or a reviewer, even if you are provided with a book report template, you still need to have additional resources such as notes down so that you would be able to analyze what the author is trying to convey and in other to give a review. As said earlier, the notes don’t just serve as a guide in writing reviews but aid you in assessing the main concept. Sometimes, when you start taking notes from the introduction, you can tell what genre, if it is going to be science fiction, or just an adventure, or whatever the case may be. Having an overview and understanding of the volume's concept would not have been achieved without you taking notes from the initial stage when writing.

Using an Acceptable Language

After you have understood and gone through the novel from the introduction to the end and have a good overview, and want to write a review, you must remain mindful of the kind of language you use. Reviews usually have acceptable languages for the audience to understand the signal you are sending across. Even when writing exams in the University, you still need to use formal language. Also, as a person who enjoys writing reviews, you can not use words that are too complex and vague in each paragraph for your audience.

Additionally, acceptable language can also be called the evaluation language. People, after getting the right resources, usually use a particular language. An example is, “There should have been more evidence to support the notion the author didn’t give enough information concerning”. A bad and unacceptable language that should not be used while writing reviews is; “A perplexing novel the author points were flabbergasting”. Once you use the right and acceptable language, then the viewers would assimilate your writing better.

Examples of Fiction Books Which Has Book Reviews

It is a lovely time to be a reviewer, immensely as it helps people discover their next read. In all honesty, the best way to learn how to do a thing is by actually doing that said thing. Which is why if you need evidence, you could visit sites like Goodreads have made review easy to access. Some good examples of fiction books which have reviewed are;

  • Melissa Albert’s The Hazel Wood (The New York Times reviews)
  • Elizabeth Lilly’s Geraldine (Publishers weekly reviews)
  • Jessica Barry’s Freefall, a crime novel (Crime Fiction Lover reviews)
  • Angie Thomas’ The Hate U Give (The book hookup reviews)

These are just a few fiction titles with reviews to serve as a form of inspiration when writing. Book reviewers take their time before becoming exceptional. They take such pride in discussing some topics they have gone through in a social gathering. You can start by setting up a book blog. That way, it works well by serving as a little assistance for you to have an evaluation of such books and to write reviews.

Literary Fiction With Book Reviews And Examples

Again, there are tons of literary fiction books written by a different author, and a lot of them have book reviews, but to gain inspiration especially from them should you begin writing, there are a few listed below, which are;

  • Lord of flies by William Golding
  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  • The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
  • The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

As much as reviewers are usually advised to create a book blog, they must learn to be patient before writing. A reviewer must always exercise patience as most of these books typically take a lot of time to read and understand. For instance, a university student who is asked to perform a play for a social gathering must understand the fiction title given before anything else. Some of the enlisted literary fiction books mentioned above can all serve as inspiration or an overview of what literary fiction is all about. Reviews aren’t more than a thousand words, so you have to be specific with your points when writing once you start.

Children’s Fiction Book Reviews With Examples

Writing reviews doesn't come with age as even a little child can write reviews as long as they provide them the necessary resources. To inspire some young intending content reviewers below, there are some reviews carried out by children. They are;

  • Galaxy Zach: Journey to Juno: reviewed by a 6-year-old Young Mensan Connor C.
  • I capture the castle: reviewed by a 17-year old Lauren W
  • Frankenstein’s cat: reviewed by a 12-year old Zander H
  • About Marsupials: reviewed by a 6-year-old Connor

These children’s fiction novels mentioned above can bring a feel-good factor for the intending content reviewers when writing. Again, as stated before, it is important to exercise patience as the purpose is to give reviews and not to pass exams, hence the need for a thorough understanding of the novel from the introduction to the conclusion. Even if the child is given a report template to serve as a guide, they need to have some notes to aid the whole reviewing process.

Different Types Of Fiction Book Reviews with Examples

By now, you should know that there are two different book types or genres; fiction and nonfiction. Fiction books usually contain stories made up by the author. An example is children’s or romance books. Some other examples are;

  • Action and adventure
  • Drama
  • Fantasy
  • Science fiction
  • Fantasy
  • Thriller
  • Crime

Fiction books are by far the most commonly read works. This is because the story is usually fabricated and elaborated for people to enjoy. It is the most read because despite it containing cooked up stories, there might be some element of truth attached. Examples are;

  • The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway.
  • Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston.

The titles mentioned above can help those who want to become a book reviewer and inspire them. All that is required is to understand the introduction part and follow it up till the end.

Different Types Of Non-fiction Book Reviews With Examples

The non-fiction genres are more factual and are relatively less read. Examples are biographies and history books. Some other examples are;

  • Dictionaries
  • Diaries
  • Cookbooks
  • Encyclopedias
  • History
  • Philosophy
  • Sports and Leisure
  • Atlas

  • The Diary of Anne Frank is a non-fiction journal

Lastly, for some who want to be writing reviews, you must differentiate between fiction and non-fiction books.

In summary, being a reviewer takes a lot of time and practice. It entails reading from the introduction to the end, not just taking notes on each paragraph to get ideas of the message being communicated. To have an overview of the topic's intent, to be in a better position to give out the right judgment on topics read.

Henrique Bertulino
Head of Customer Success

Mens Sana in Сorpore Sano. Holistic organic lifestyle)