Perfect Book Review Guide

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Book review is not the same as writing a summary or a report of a book. It is about detecting strong and weak sides of the analyzed piece, and not just paraphrasing its plot.

Such assignment is a great chance to present discussion of the book to give others a chance to understand what to expect. Any time you get such an assignment, it is important to combine analytical skills and your own touch. A strong review shows how the author managed to achieve main goal of the book and how well he expressed arguments and reactions.

Writing a literary review is important for students of all academic levels, because it helps to learn analytical approaches and to render your own point of view in a professional and clear manner.

 Choose The Right Book

The first and probably the most important stage is choosing a right book.  If you don’t have clear instructions about what book to review, you can select a piece you like.

Start with choosing a genre. What do you like more: novels or horror stories? Book selection is a great way to express yourself and to enjoy the writing process.

Once the book is selected, you need to read it. You may feel tempted to read a brief description online but you will surely miss out important details and it will be obvious for your tutor that you didn’t read the whole piece.

If possible, read the book once again and take notes to analyze the plot, characters and used literary devices.

Why This Book?

Now you can write book review. On this stage you should discuss the book: what you liked about it and what not, what emotions you had and who your favorite characters were.

It is important not only to summarize the piece but to give it a rating. Remember, your opinion is very important and your tutor wants to hear what you have to say!

Even if you had a negative impression you need to share it with the audience. Reading the same book will make every person experience unique emotions and that is what makes a literary review so interesting and valuable!

Correct Book Review Draft

Book review format is quite similar to a format of any other written assignment. It should consist of the following parts:

  • Introduction;
  • Body paragraphs;
  • Conclusion.

Introductory section should consist of general information about the author and the book. It can be background data about the writer, awards and other interesting facts. Add a hook sentence to catch interest of the reader. Hook sentence may include an unknown fact, a quote or a rhetorical question. Finish your introduction with a thesis statement, which will be further supported in main paragraphs.

Body paragraphs occupy the biggest part of your review and their quantity depends on the number of arguments and ideas you are willing to discuss. Ideally there should be three to five paragraphs in your work (if else is not indicated by the teacher).  Don’t forget to use transition words to ensure a smooth shift between paragraphs and a logical connection.

In the conclusion you will need to restate your thesis and to mention your impression of the book.  Finally evaluate it and tell whether you recommend the book to readers or not.

If you are willing to make your review flawless, follow tips of our experts:

  • Provide a brief summary of the plot (without spoilers). Start with writing several sentences on the plot of the book. This will give your review a direction and will help the audience to adjust to your flow of thoughts. If possible, avoid spoilers. You don’t know whether others have read the book or not;
  • Include details. To give your review a character and style, it is important to add colors and vibrancy by inserting description of places and characters, spicy details and writing peculiarities of the author;
  • Remain focused. One of the biggest mistakes students make, when working on a literary review is trying to cover as many aspects as possible. However, it is better to choose a few issues and stick to them;
  • Insert direct quotes to support your point of view. When reading and analyzing the book, try to write down the most interesting and catchy quotes. Later you will use them to back up your own ideas and to support your point of view. Quotes become crucial in such assignment, because they give your opinion value and credibility;
  • Get familiar with a review sample. If you are not sure what to write about or how to get started, you can download examples of similar works and see what other students write about the book you have chosen. However, it doesn’t mean that you can copy parts of their papers. Just write down the most interesting elements and work on your own review avoiding plagiarism;
  • Discuss what you liked and disliked about the book. Apart from providing boring facts and academic analysis of used tools and instruments, it is important to dilute your review with personal opinion on the source text. Tell who your favorite character was, was the story catchy or not, did it make you cry or laugh, was there something you would like to change in the plot.

Once your review is ready don’t forget to read it several times to polish the structure and paragraphs, and to fix all the possible mistakes.

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