How to Write a Book Review Essay

By: Angelina Grin

12 min



How to Write a Book Review Essay

Many times, before deciding to go through a book, an important thing we look for on the internet is a review to see if our time will be wasted. Many professors and teachers like to assign review essays to their students as homework so that they can see their student’s opinions about the books recommended to them. On that note, knowing how to write a book review that understands the assignment and accurately provides reasonable details about the book being reviewed is a very important way.

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What is a Book Review Essay?

A custom book review describes, analyzes, and evaluates the goal and relevance of a book. Using a unique perspective, it assesses the book's content and shows how it relates to its intended audience and aim. When writing a review, you describe the topic, summarize the content, and then assess how well the content addresses the topic . Next, you discuss the goals of the text and provide an evaluation of whether those goals were met. The final part of the well written essay provides a summary of what you have learned from reading.

How to Prepare

There are a few things to think about before writing a book analysis essay. Following these guidelines will make reaching this goal easy and stress-free.

  • Go through the text and jot down ideas

To write a review, you first must have a general idea of the book that wants to be reviewed by you. It is essential that you thoroughly go through the content first so that you have a general understanding of what it is about and can generate ideas for what to write in the review.

  • Consider the genre or the subject matter

What should be included in the content of the book review is if the writing fits into the genre in which it claims to be. After reading the text, you should be able to tell if it fits into the subject matter or field of study it is said to be written in. This implies that you should have a basic understanding of the subject matter and genre.

  • Identify the main arguments and themes

When writing a book review, always remember that the theme describes the major idea. It summarizes the overall message of the text and supports its main points.

  • Take into account the writing style of the author

To determine whether a piece is appropriate for the genre in which it is written, consider the author's writing style. The text is written for a specific audience, so the writing style must be appealing to them. Consider whether the writing style is suitable for the intended audience when writing your paper.

  • Consider how the main points are developed by the author

You must examine how well the author develops the main themes and determine whether he or she did too much or not enough. Identifying the gaps in the story's timeline can help you determine whether or not the major topics were adequately covered.

  • If applicable, write about the format

You must assess how well the author develops the main themes and determine whether he or she did too much or not enough. One way to see if the major areas of the text were adequately covered is to look for gaps in the timeline.

  • Think about the literary devices

Another factor to consider is the author's use of literary elements. This is reflected in the story's setting, character, tone, and overall theme.

  • Consider how distinct the book is

Is there anything unique about this book that you won't find in other works of the same genre? Consider how the author attempts to differentiate himself or herself in the genre without alienating or missing his or her intended audience.

  • Determine the book’s success

Based on the summary, do you believe the author was successful in achieving the book's goal and capturing the audience's attention? You must decide whether this is a piece of writing you would recommend to others or whether it is not a good fit for you. The purpose of how to make a book review essay is to present an objective evaluation of a piece of writing.

Review Structure

A structure is put in place on how to do a book analysis essay to ensure that every aspect of the paper that needs to be covered is covered and none is left out.

The following is the structure to know what to put in a book review:

  • Introduction: This includes all pertinent information about the book, such as the title, author's name, and, if applicable, subtitles. You can also include a detailed description of the cover and title in this section.
  • Thesis: A brief description of the text is provided here to get a sense of what it is like. The main points are also briefly discussed, and they are all written objectively, with no personal thoughts or opinions added.
  • Body: This is the section where you state your own opinion based on the ideas you gained from our preparation guide. You can summarize three quotations from the text that appeals to your point of view in your own words. In this section, you also identify the work's strengths and weaknesses.
  • Conclusion: The conclusion summarizes the point you've been trying to make throughout the review essay. Here you will briefly summarize your points as well as the quotations from the text. After that, you conclude with a lovely statement. You can also finish it off by adding a star rating.

Overall, the structure of a review essay is the same as any other academic writing.

Review Outline

Use this outline before you begin to ensure that you are adequately prepared for your essay and understand what you should include in it. The following are some questions to consider in order to create an outline:

  • How well do I understand the story I just finished and the main idea?
  • Was the plot interesting enough, or did it become tedious at some point?
  • Did the author's writing style effectively convey the message to the audience?
  • Is it okay to recommend this book to others to read, or will it be a waste of their time?
  • What could be improved in this writing, or what was done so well that it deserves to be recognized?

You can relax and enjoy the process of writing your first draft by answering the questions in this book review essay format.

How to Start a Book Review Essay

"Write my book review!" What does it mean? The most difficult part of how to write a book review essay is getting started, but once you do, it's much easier to keep going. Ensure that you do not reveal too many details that will reveal the story's greatest highlights and climax.

The best way how to begin a book analysis is to describe it in a few memorable examples.

1984 by George Orwell

Example 1

" YOU. ARE. THE. DEAD. Oh my God. I got the chills so many times toward the end of this book. It completely blew my mind. It managed to surpass my high expectations AND be nothing at all like I expected. Or in Newspeak "Double Plus Good."

Let me preface this with an apology. If I sound stunningly inarticulate at times in this review, I can't help it. My mind is completely fried.

This book is like the dystopian Lord of the Rings, with its richly developed culture and economics, not to mention a fully developed language called Newspeak, or rather more of the anti-language, whose purpose is to limit speech and understanding instead of enhancing and expanding it. The world-building is so fully fleshed out and spine-tinglingly terrifying that it's almost as if George traveled to such a place, escaped from it, and then just wrote it all down.

Example 2

1984 by George Orwell is a powerful piece of literature that portrays a vivid image of a nightmarish world that threatens to become the reality of the future. The story follows the life of a loyal party member, Winston, as he struggles with the misgivings of his conscience and his devotion to Big Brother.

Book review essay help:

  • If you cannot find any worthwhile books to review or if you are intimidated by the vocabulary, ask your friend to help you or read the story again. Rereading the text will help you grasp it better and identify key passages and chapters.
  • Write a draft without worrying about grammar or style. Your first goal is to get how to write a review essay down on paper. You can then go back and fix the style and language.

First Draft

It is best to write the first draft to know what to include in a paper before submitting a final draft because this will keep you in check and allow you to make corrections as needed.

  • Begin with the title, followed by the reference list using your professor's guidelines on how to format a review. Write about the title, author's name, page count, publisher, and date of publication.
  • The essential piece of advice on how to write a book review introduction is to make a strong first impression that captivates the interest of your readers. The Introduction should also talk about the main themes and also give a brief description of other projects by the author as well. Your opening statement should be intriguing while staying true to the main idea of ​​the review.
  • A summary of the text should come after that. The summary should be informative enough to enable the readers to have a general idea of ​​the reviewed book while not giving away too much information, such as how it finishes. Try to avoid plagiarizing by paraphrasing as much as possible when writing this summary.
  • Write what you think about the writing after you've critically examined it. Make a list that talks about what you think of the book, including how well it meets its objectives and whether it is appropriate for the target audience. Talk about the story's flaws, as well as its achievements, in this section. After a thorough examination of the content, you must discuss your thoughts.
  • Finish your analysis with a strong conclusion that examines the strengths and weaknesses of the text you mentioned earlier. If you will recommend this book to other readers, you should say so in the conclusion. After you are done with your concluding statement, assign a numerical rating based on your assessment.

Finalize Your Review

Here are some tips that will help you finalize your review:

  • Once you have completed your first draft, you'll need to refine your essay before tendering it for submission. To complete your review, you must:
  • Examine your work thoroughly for errors in grammar, spelling, and the information you provide about the book. You should also read through your work to see if you're still on track.
  • Get feedback from others because there may be mistakes that you're not aware of because you wrote them. Additionally, viewing the essay through a different lens can provide you with a new perspective that can help you earn more points. Inquire with the person if you met all of the requirements, we listed for you to complete the task.
  • Don't be too lazy to make corrections to your first draft; it won't be perfect, but that's okay. Make the necessary changes and ensure that the flow is flawless from beginning to end, capturing your audience's attention. Examine your work thoroughly for errors in grammar, spelling, and the information you provide about the book. You should also read through your work to see if you're still on track.

Reviewing a book does not require extensive academic language. The tone of a review should be easy to read and engaging. However, do not forget to maintain the academic standards of your writing.

P.S. If you need to know how to write an academic book review, you can find all this information on Studybay too.


What are the five steps to writing a book review?

The title and bibliographic information are written first. The introduction is the second step, which briefly touches on the main theme as well as a little about the author. The third step is to write an intriguing summary of the book. The fourth step is to write out your arguments and points of view, followed by a conclusion.

What makes a good book review?

When a review examines the book's objective and relevance to describe, analyze, and evaluate it, it is effective. If these conditions are not met, the review will be negative.

How many pages should a book review be?

A review can be anywhere between 600 and 2000 words long, depending on the professor's requirements. If this is your first time writing a review, stick to a longer length – it will give you more space to discuss the text in depth and show your expertise in the field.

Is a book review written in the first person?

It is best to avoid writing a review in the first person because it must be professional, especially if it is for academic purposes. You need to use respectful language and avoid being too repetitive with the book’s name.

Are book reviews written in the past tense?

This type of reviews is typically written in the present tense rather than the past tense unless the book is based on a historical event or a story that occurred in the past.

What should be included in the first paragraph of book reviews?

You can give details about the book in the first paragraph of a review, and you can even pull out a catchy phrase from the book to catch the readers' attention.

Does a review need a thesis?

Yes, a thesis statement is required because it is where the book's main idea is discussed. The thesis explains the book's themes, characters, originality, strengths, weaknesses and whether it was entertaining to read.

Do you need a bibliography for a book review?

When addressing the title, you must include the book's bibliographic information, so yes, a bibliography is required for this type of essays. The bibliography usually comes at the end of the review, but you can also add a works cited page just before it.

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Angelina Grin

Creative Writer and Blog Editor

Despite my relatively young age, I am a professional writer with more than 14 years of experience. I studied journalism at the university, worked for media and digital agencies, and organized several events for ed-tech companies. Yet for the last 6 years, I've worked mainly in marketing. Here, at Studybay, my objective is to make sure all our texts are clear, informative, and engaging.

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