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How to Write an Academic Book Review

How to Write an Academic Book Review

How to Write an Academic Book Review Effectively

Both academicians and postgraduates have to know how to write an academic book review since such a piece of writing is considered an effective way of getting published. Creating a book review is also a great means of mastering one’s writing skills and learning the specifics of the publishing process. Below, there are several helpful hints on how to succeed in producing such a paper.

What Is a Book Review Essay?

Before starting writing this kind of essay, it is necessary to answer the following question “What is a book review essay?” Thus, this is a piece of writing providing a critical analysis and assessment of a specific book. Depending on its purpose, it can be regarded as a paper of a creative or academic character. While studying, students are often assigned to create a book review essay. In this way, professors want to see whether students can do critical thinking and write coherent texts. Nevertheless, students are not the only ones who write book reviews. Such papers are also produced by literary critics since this is a part of their job. In addition, anyone who wants to express their viewpoint on a particular publication may create a review.

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As to the format of an academic book review, it depends on the instructions given by your professor, or you may arrange it on your own if no specific requirements are provided. Such a paper can be structured in different ways, but we do recommend you to follow a common organizational model that presupposes creating an introductory section, body, and conclusion.

Book Review vs. Book Report

It is essential to get the issue book review vs. book report resolved not to fail the task. Let us explain. You may work very hard to create a worthy piece of writing, and you expect your efforts to be rewarded with the highest grade. Unfortunately, what you get is an unsatisfactory grade that makes you feel shocked and desperate. Such an unpleasant situation is familiar to numerous students who cannot distinguish between a book review and a book report. Students often substitute the former with the latter what results in poor scores. The reason behind such a state of things is the lack of time what does not let students learn more about the core steps to writing a book review. By reading this article, you will learn to differentiate between the mentioned types of papers and find out what a book summary is. First, the structure of a book report is less strict than that of a book review. Unlike a critical book review, a book report does not require an in-depth analysis. These are the main factors that make professors grade students low when they submit reports instead of reviews. They believe that students decide to go the easier way by handing in reports. Unfortunately, professors do not take into account the fact that students may be unaware of the difference that lies between the mentioned papers. We do not want you to get into trouble, and, therefore, offer you not some basic tips for writing an academic book review but broad guidelines as to how such a paper, as well as a book report, has to be produced.

Being assigned to create a book report, you have to provide the key data about the author of the publication you are exploring and the details about its plot. Commonly, book reports include the biographical data about the author that help the one to identify the items on which a book is based. Such information also helps readers understand the author’s position on the matter discussed in a book. The summary of a book, together with the list of characters, should follow the biographical data. As it can be seen the requirements for preparing book reports are less stringent than those for book reviews.

When undertaking book review writing, you have to make an in-depth analysis of the assigned book. Remember that it does not go about retelling a story in your own words. The purpose of such a task is to let readers view the matter under consideration from a new perspective. Certainly, a book review may also include the sections highlighting the information about the author, plot, characters, etc., but those should be short since the mentioned data is not what such a paper is concentrated on. A book review has to tell readers about the author’s intentions, decipher the meaning of the symbols used in a story, and explain how the used literary devices help the author fulfill the purpose which the book serves. Additionally, a properly written book review has to state whether the topic is covered fully and whether the story matches the historical background. Such a paper should also touch on the limitations of a book explaining whether it can be worthy for the next generations. As it can be seen, a detailed analysis of a novel or story is what a book review is aimed at.

What Information Should Be Included in a Book Review Template

Do you want to use a good book review template? We can offer you the one so that you know what elements your book review has to contain. Here they are:

  • Hook
  • Important information about a book
  • Summary of a plot
  • Your critique and praise
  • Your suggestions
  • Your assessment

What Is a Hook?

This is the statement meant to interest readers and makes them read your review attentively till the end.

It can be of provocative character: This new piece makes the house look fashionable.

A hook can be also presented in a form of a question: Have you ever wondered how the “road” to the Moon would look like?


Important Information about a Book

Provide the basic data about a book that is useful for readers. Specify the author of a book, its title, and the publishing year (if a book was published more than 10 years ago). Additionally, state whether the book is one of the series and whether it is essential to read other publications of the same series to grasp the essence of the very book.

Summary of a Plot

To give your readers a basic understanding of what the reviewed book is about, you need to create a brief summary highlighting the core points of the plot. The climax and ending should be left out.

You should not include any spoilers in your summary. Still, if this is a must, you should not get into a panic since some websites have the option of hiding the sentences containing spoilers. Thus, it is up to your readers to decide whether to read spoilers or not.

Such web resources as Goodreads also contain summaries of books, which means including an outline may be useless. Consider all pros and cons to decide whether to add a synopsis to your review.

Your Critique and Praise

This is the longest and most significant part of your review. Here, you need to explain readers why the book is either worth or not worth being read.


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Saying that the book is interesting will not let readers understand whether it is worth their attention and time. You have to provide sound reasons proving that the book is either boring or engaging. For instance:

The expressions used by the author helped me imagine the described world, but some inconsistencies in the plot confused me a little bit.

The main character did not arouse any strong emotions.

The writing was somewhat harsh and the dialogues were strange, but the chief ideas were remarkable.

Your Suggestions

At this point, you are to present your conclusion. Whom the book will be of deep interest to?

You may not like the descriptions of space travels since you consider it boring, but you think that those who are mad about space and the related aspects will enjoy the book.

You may also state that the book which is the 12 th in a series is no longer extremely exciting, but some new characters astonished you.

Your Assessment

On the majority of review websites, there is a rating system that helps users decide whether to read some publications or not.

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If the review of a book is published in your own blog which includes the mentioned system, you have to explain it to readers properly.

‌‌‌‌Detailed Book Review Guidelines

‌‌‌‌The book review guidelines given below will help you produce a top-notch work. Thus, let us see how to write a book review well:

 Pick a book and read it

Considering the book which you are going to review engaging is certainly great, but immersing into it with the purpose of its thorough analysis is different.

Before starting reading the book, think about the facts that are already known to you. Then, examine the table of contents and ponder over predicting some points.

Now, commence reading. Throughout the process, write down important information. Highlight all points which you may desire to include in your review not to lose them.

The following questions may facilitate the reading process:

  • Is the book captivating if to compare it with others of the same genre?
  • Did it match your expectations?
  • Are the arguments understandable?
  • What aspects will capture readers’ attention?

Produce a book review outline‌‌‌

A top-flight book review has to be based on a clear outline. It has to contain the points you intend to touch on in your paper.

If you want your piece of writing to be sound and look professional, create at least five sections such as an introductory part, body comprising three paragraphs, and a conclusion.

When examining your notes, mind the provided questions:

  • What theme is highlighted in a book? Is it discussed properly?
  • Is the plot captivating? Were there any points where you wanted to stop reading?
  • Are the writing techniques applied by the author powerful? Can the author’s message be read between the lines?
  • Are the characters portrayed clearly?
  • Should the book be recommended to others? How can you explain that it is great?
  • Are there any facets that should be improved?

⚝ Create an introduction

Indicate the title of the book, its author, and describe the emotions you experienced after reading it for the first time. In the last sentence, present a thesis statement that has to unveil a core point of your review.

⚝ Write the body section

This part should include about three aspects you want to discuss. You can talk about the writing style, characters, theme, etc. Remember to back up your claims with direct quotes (use at least one quote per paragraph).

 Create a conclusion

Summarize the ideas discussed in the body section and reiterate the thesis statement. In the final sentence, express your opinion about the meaning of the book. Maybe it helped you realize some things or learn more about something.

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What to Avoid in a Book Review?

You may have already heard about the mistakes which should be avoided when producing a book review. Still, we would like to list them once more to be sure you will not make them when working on your paper.

☰ Do not create a summary

A summary and a book review are two different pieces of writing. Your review may contain a short summary telling readers about the chief aspects of the plot and characters. Unimportant details have to be excluded.

☰ Do not avoid giving your assessment

It is considered an essential part of a book review. You should not be afraid of expressing your true feelings and emotions. Your statements have to be precise and based on strong arguments. Such words as “quite,” “enough,” should be avoided when writing your opinion.

☰ Do not be vague

You cannot concentrate on one point or character. Such a review will not be considered valuable. Your task is to view the book under analysis from different angles and discuss each of them properly. Ensure that your piece of writing is long enough to clearly represent the essence of the book.

☰ Do not neglect the writing style

Before starting working on your paper, consider analyzing the examples of book reviews to see how such pieces of writing are created. Then, determine the goal of your review. If t is one of the assignments given by your professor, apply a formal style of writing. In case you are going to publish your review in your personal web blog or want people to know your impression about the book, there is no need to stick to strict formal rules of writing. Certainly, jargon or slang has to be avoided, but using the first-person pronouns as well as such phrases as “To my mind,” “I believe,” etc. is allowed.

☰ Do not forget about powerful evidence

A book review as well as any other type of paper has to be based on compelling evidence and straightforward facts. Each of the statements you make or the ideas you express has to be backed up with a few persuasive arguments. The most efficient way of making your review solid is to give vivid examples, cite quotes, and make comparisons. Keep in mind that you cannot say, “I find this book appealing.” You have to provide a logical train of thought so that readers can understand your reaction properly.

☰ Do not plagiarize

We are not tired of emphasizing that plagiarism is a serious issue. You do have your personal viewpoint on the book, don’t you? It is clear that you may look though some articles or literary critiques to find some inspiration. Still, what matters is your own opinion. Do not think that your writing skills are so poor that you cannot say what you think about the read book. We are sure that you are capable of producing an original text.

We believe that the aforementioned tips will help you avoid major mistakes when composing your book reviews.

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We hope that by reading this article, you have got a complete picture of such a piece of writing as a book review. If you still have some doubts about being able to create it on your own, consider using the ‌‌book review writing service provided by EssaysWorld.net. Our team of professional experts can help you prepare any kind of reviews and reports. All you need to do to get assistance from us is provide detailed instructions, specify the deadline, word count, and the book that has to be reviewed. Be sure that you will receive a superior piece of writing at an attractive price. While we are working on your assignment, you may relax. Having some rest, it will be easier for you to learn new course material and work on new academic tasks.


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