Writing a book review is so much more than simply reading a book and giving your view on it. If you would like to start your own book blog (or even review books professionally!), here is an ultimate guide to writing a book review.
Start Small, Build Up
Even before you start writing a book review anew, you should consider your old writing. Re-read your old stuff and make notes. Is there any phrasing you particularly like? If your old writing is online, did you get a lot of comments? What did the readers say? Did they agree/disagree?
This prep work should help you determine your writing style: positive, critical, friendly, optimistic? It is up to you to decide. Establishing your own writer’s voice is worth every hour spent on it.
Read and Interpret the Book
The first thing to do is to read the book carefully and thoroughly. Try to have a critical approach to it and be as interactive as you can. Read the title and ask questions. Read the summary and do the same. Let the book answer your questions during your reading.
When making your interpretation, do not stray into the muddy waters. As interpretation is highly culture-dependent and individual, staying reserved on over-interpreting is a must.
The last thing you need is constructive (not destructive!) criticism. Finding a balance between how you would have said/expressed something and how the author has is a must in this line of work.
Give a Short Introduction
A short introduction is a must. Here, you should name the author of the book and give very brief information about the publication itself. The KISS rule (Keep it Short and Simple) should be applied here. Remember, this is only here to give context to the reader.
Write About the Book, Not the Author
The author should be named or introduced with a single sentence. That is all your audience needs to know. Many book review writers get lost in a sea of details about the author and how their voice can be heard in the book itself. Spare time and ink! Go straight to dealing with the book.
Give an Outline
A short outline of the plotline and characters is a must. Make sure you stick to the book and that you enter only the most valid information. Try to place the book rightfully where it belongs in the genre.
Try not to be too clever, though! “A girl lands in a surreal landscape, killing the first person she encounters. She then teams up with three strangers to kill again.” – A truthful but hardly reflective intro to the ‘Wizard of Oz.’
Provide Your Analysis
This part is solely yours. While some decide to have a chronological approach to the book, others strive for a more segmented approach. Whatever works better for you, but make sure to analyse and interpret. Think about how successful the story is at what it’s supposed to do, even if you didn’t personally like it.
Do Not Judge
Never judging a book is as necessary as it gets. Don’t be too critical and lack understanding of the character or story itself. The truth is, the places and characters are described the way they are for a certain reason. They all contribute to the story and have a say. A negative character is just that, a character. Watch them in relation to other characters, not your own sense of morality.
When writing a conclusion to your book review, it is important not to provide any new ideas. You are summarising everything you’ve just written.
So, in conclusion – you need to start small, find your voice and provide analysis and constructive criticism that is not overly ‘judgey’.
Have fun writing your own book reviews!
BIO: Jessica Fender believes that discipline and consistency are what stand behind a good writer. This writer and editor at GrabMyEssay sees writing as a form of communication and insists on clarity and conciseness. Jessica also loves reading and finds inspiration for writing in her favourite novels.