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Writing a Book Review: The Guide You Needed
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How to Write an Academic Book Review?

College students are often given an opportunity to express their opinions and show their writing skills. But when it comes to writing a book review, students also get a chance to explore some great works of literature.

To write a book review means to show your own critical perspective and opinion on the text. You need to make an argument and provide comments, not just a summary. Composing a review is like communicating with the author and the readers. You create a potential discussion and dialogues, allowing the readers to evaluate the literary work and see whether they would like to read it.

There are some common points that all reviews should contain. First of all, in your text, you need to present a short summary of the literary work and show its purpose and main arguments. Then, you should show your personal opinion on the contents. The final part of the text should contain some suggestions for the readers on whether they would or wouldn’t appreciate the work of literature.

Things to Consider Before Starting to Write a Book Review

If you want to write an academic book review that will pleasantly surprise your college professor and capture your fellow students’ interest, don’t be in a hurry. Before even starting writing a book review, think about the argument you are going to develop. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is the major idea and topic of the author’s creation?
  • What is the main argument?
  • What does the author do to support his or her argument?
  • Do you find the proof the author uses to support his or her argument convincing?
  • Did the work help you understand its main topic? Would you recommend it to the readers?

Answering these questions will allow you to focus on the major points of the writing and come up with some ideas for the review. It’s also beneficial to pay attention to the information about the author. His or her nationality, religion, interests, and personal history might help you understand the text better. You will see what made the author shape the text in that particular way.

Also, take the genre into consideration. It might fully coincide with its genre conventions or fall far from them, which will also influence your review.

Don’t Know How to Write Book Reviews?

Even though college students oftentimes have brilliant ideas and show great writing skills, they find it hard to structure the text and organize their thoughts. There are some simple steps to write a book review, so follow them and show your creativity without fuss.

  • In your introduction, mention the title and the name of the author. Also, write about the main topic of the literary work. You can add some relevant facts concerning the author, like the genre he or she usually writes in. Another thing you could mention in your introduction part is how the writing title reflects (or doesn’t reflect at all) the idea of the literary work.
  • The thesis is a crucial part of every essay introduction. Present the thesis of the book first, focusing on the particular angle, novelty, or originality of the book. Then, move to your own thesis and general opinion on the work.
  • The next segment of your essay should contain a narrow summary of the book plot. Don’t forget that the most significant part of the review is the analysis, so don’t spend too much time talking about the plot or main points of the book.
  • Evaluation and analysis create the main body of the text. Organize your thoughts into sentences and format them according to separate aspects of your argument. You can include some comparisons to other literary works if you feel like it will benefit or enrich your academic review. Try to avoid adding too many quotes. This paper is not about citing the book and re-telling the plot but about showing your attitude and opinion on it.
  • Don’t forget to make a strong conclusion. Mention your thesis again, express the final judgment on the book, and state whether you recommend or don’t recommend the literary work to the readers.

Helpful Tips on Academic Review Writing

When writing a book review, think thoroughly about your language. College students sometimes forget that every academic book review requires them to find the right words to show their writing skills.

Make sure that you have a definitive opinion, don’t jump from agreement to disagreement, and try to show a strong, balanced judgment. Don’t be afraid to express challenging opinions. Even though your point of view might not coincide with other people’s opinions, it doesn’t mean that your ideas are not valuable. Express your creative side as fully as you want to, but make sure to support your statements with appropriate quotes and evidence.

Pick the Book to Review

Students read a lot of books during their academic years, but sometimes it is hard to pick just one to write an academic book review. So, here are some book ideas for you and your essay writing:

  • “Arabia Felix” by Thorkild Hansen. A combination of fiction, history, and traveling, which will give you a lot of points to discuss.
  • “The Chalk Artist” by Allegra Goodman. This story is of current interest, as it doesn’t only portray love but also the modern world with its tension between the online fantasy life and the real world.
  • “The Changeling” by Victor LaValle. This story is enchanting, heartbreaking, and able to inspire you to face some challenging opinions.
  • “So Much Blue” by Percival Everett. This is a painter’s story, heartbreaking and funny, which will allow you to dig deep into the plot and discover many interesting points to discuss.
  • “The Last Kid Left” by Rosecrans Baldwin. This book is rather contradictory, as it combines a pleasant picture of summer, a shore town, beaches, tourists, and some truly dark events and moods.
  • “Stephen Florida” by Gabe Habash. It’s a story about a college wrestler and the inner fight he has to struggle with after getting an injury. The central character is very versatile, which gives you a lot of possibilities to develop different thoughts on this literary work.