How To Write A Great Book Review

I love reading book reviews. Alongside blurbs, excerpts and personal interest in the subject matter or author, reviews give me an indicator of whether the book will be a good read for me.

If you’re an avid reader, you may have considered writing book reviews on a blog or a website like Goodreads. Don’t know where to start? Here are five tips on how to write a great book review.

You’ll need:

  • The book (of course!)
  • A brief plan
  • Access to a computer, laptop or an Android phone
  • Wifi connection

Read the book

I think that the best and most authentic reviews come from people who have read the book. I know it’s easier to read a synopsis and summary, especially if you have a busy schedule. However, reading the book gives you a genuine understanding and feel for the plot as well as characters. You go through all the highs and lows with the characters. I’ve laughed, cried and journeyed with various protagonists. It’s all about the experience. The other thing is, if you’re thinking about writing a review, then I presume that you love reading. Sooo, read. the. book.

Here’s a book that me made cry!

Process your thoughts

Let’s say you’ve finished reading Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. All you want to do is write a review.

Hold on a second.

Take a couple of hours or days to organise your thoughts. You might realise that your first reaction to a book might change over time.

Process everything about that fictional world and let it sink in. Start with the basics: what did you like/dislike about the book and why?

Make a quick plan

Some prefer to write straight away, and that’s okay. If you’re more of a planner, a brief plan which outlines the structure of your review will do. You know what you like and don’t like about the book. Now you need to find a focus point. Your review could focus on several areas ranging from characters and plot to language and theme. It depends on the novel and your reaction to these elements. Think about the aspects of the novel that stood out to you. The review can be as short or long as you want it to be. If your post has spoilers let the readers know about this. You could say something like, “This review has spoilers.”

Read other reviews too: it’s a great way to learn how to structure a review.

Have a look at I enjoy reading her reviews. She gives the blurb at the beginning of her reviews. They’re great and she focuses on various elements.

You might want to recommend the book and leave a link to amazon or other book retailers for your readers.

What if I didn’t like the book?

I know what it’s like to read a book and feel that something is missing. If a book didn’t work for you, say so. I try to make my opinion as constructive as possible. Furthermore, I do my best to find something that I liked about the book; I begin with a positive/s and, if applicable, move onto aspects of the book that didn’t work for me.

Have a look at my review for Miranda Dickenson’s Welcome to My World By Miranda Dickinson: A Christmas Book Review

Star rating

I used to offer star ratings. I don’t anymore because my opinion on what makes a book five or, for instance, three stars changes all the time. However, if you feel comfortable using star ratings, go for it.

Now that we’ve gone through the tips, lets recap. 

  • Read the novel for an authentic review
  • Organise your thoughts (likes/dislikes)
  • Make a quick plan for guidance
  • Give a balanced opinion if necessary
  • Offer a star rating

These are some tips I learned over time. If you have any methods feel free to comment below! How do you write your book review?


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