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Book Review Writing Guide

A book review is not the same thing as a book report.  A review should provide the reader with just enough information to make the determination as to whether or not they want to read the book.  It should not only include the summary of the key elements, but also provide opinions, facts, and commentary that are useful to the reader.

The first step to writing a book review is to become familiar with the genre of the book that you are reviewing.  Knowing the exact category of the book, such as an autobiography, science fiction, an allegory, etc. can help you create a review that is trustworthy and factual.

Next, you should read the book.  This cannot be done passively, but rather you should be taking notes as you read and should be placing sticky notes at appropriate points for later reference.

As soon as you’re done reading, you can begin your book review by providing a brief description of the book.  This part includes stating whether or not the book is fiction, the subject of the book, the general scope, and the main statements of the author.  You should refrain from creating a description that is long winded as your readers will only need a basic idea of what the book is about when making a decision as to whether or not they care to read it.

You should also provide a bit of an opinion of your own backed up by examples from the book.  These opinions should be supported by facts, and should highlight the strengths and weaknesses you found throughout the work.

You may also want to make comparisons between this particular book and others the author has written, or other similar books within the genre.  You should make a clear assertion as to the book’s place within its precise category.

Finally, your book review should conclude with your personal views of the book.  Did you like the book? Would you read it again? Would you recommend it to others?  These elements provide value to the reader without giving away so much that there is no need to actually read the book.