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Book Review Format


To write a book review you must first read the book carefully and then look at it critically. Observe upon what you gained by reading the book. Could the book have been written differently? Has the author missed some key points? This will naturally develop your reading level. And who knows, there could be a budding writer in you. Writing a book review will polish your writing skills, too.

So, it is a good idea to write, even if the librarian has not asked you to. Keep a record of all the books you have read. Later when you look at your list you will at once recall the things you read, which otherwise might not come to you.

A good review should include:


• A description of the content of the book and how it compares to similar books.
• A detailed account of your thoughts going into your ratings. (for example: I only gave the story a 3.5 rating because … )
• Suggestions on what you might have done to improve the book:
• alternate endings
• authoring from a different character perspective

A good review should not include:


• Spoilers: any story information or details that might detract from a readers enjoyment of the book.
• Profanity and/or derogatory comments; only constructive criticism please.
• Simple opinions: we would like to know why you liked or disliked the book.

A good review may include:


• Comments on the illustrations when available:
• What form were the illustrations (example: drawings, watercolors, etc.)
• Did you enjoy the illustrations and why?
• Were the illustrations appropriate and why?
• did the illustrations add to, or detract from, your overall enjoyment of the book.

For the school purpose, let your book review be simple. You could follow the pattern below:


1. Name of the book:

2. Author(s):

3. Publisher and price:

4. No. of pages in the book:

5. No. of days taken to read the book:

6. A short summary of the book (in 2 or 3 paragraphs):

7. Did you like the book? Why/why not?

Add your name below and also the date.

That’s all. Your book review is now ready for submission.


Writing a Book Review By Grace Fleming

There are several acceptable ways to write a book review, but if your teacher doesn’t provide you with specific instructions, you might feel a little lost when it comes to formatting your paper.
There is a format used by many teachers and college professors when it comes to reviewing history texts. It isn’t found in any style guide, but it does contain aspects of the Turabian style of writing.
Although it might seem a little strange to you, many history teachers like to see a full citation for the book you’re reviewing (Turabian style) at the head of the paper, right below the title. While it might seem odd to start with a citation, this format mirrors the appearance of book reviews that are published in scholarly journals.
Below the title and citation, write the body of the book review in essay form without subtitles.
As you write your book review, remember that your goal is to analyze the text by discussing the strengths and weaknesses—as opposed to summarizing the content. You should also note that it’s best to be as balanced as possible in your analysis. Include both strengths and weaknesses. On the other hand, if you think the book was either dreadfully written or ingenious, you should say so!

Here are some other important elements to include in your analysis:

1. Date/range of the book. Define the time period that the book covers. Explain if the book progresses chronologically or if it addresses events by topic. If the book addresses one particular subject, explain how that event fits into a broader time scale (like the Reconstruction era).

2. Point of view. Can you glean from the text if the author has a strong opinion about an event? Is the author objective, or does he express a liberal or conservative viewpoint?

3. Sources. Does the author use secondary sources or primary sources, or both? Review the bibliography of the text to see if there is a pattern or any interesting observation about the sources the writer uses. Are the sources all new or all old? That fact could provide interesting insight into the validity of a thesis.

4. Organization. Discuss whether the book makes sense the way it is written or if it could have been better organized. Authors put a lot of time into organizing a book and sometimes they just don’t get it right!

5. Author information. What do you know about the author? What other books has he/she written? Does the author teach at a university? What training or experience has contributed to the author’s command of the topic?
The last paragraph of your review should contain a summary of your review and a clear statement that conveys your overall opinion. It is common to make a statement such as:
• This book delivered on its promise because…

• This book was a disappointment because…

• This book contributed significantly to the argument that…
• The book [title] provides the reader with deep insight into…
The book review is an opportunity to give your true opinion about a book. Just remember to back up a strong statement like those above with evidence from the text.

Book Review Format:

The following format will be used for the Book Review you will be doing.

I. Introduction: .

A. Introduce your review appropriately. Identify the author, the title, the main topic or issue presented in the book, and the author’s purpose in writing the book.

B. Explain Relationships. Establish your position as the reviewer (your thesis about the author’s thesis). As you write, consider the following questions:

• What type of book is this? (Is the book a memoir, a treatise, a collection of facts, an extended argument, etc.? Is the article a documentary, a write-up of primary research, a position paper, etc.)?

• Who is the author? What does the preface or foreword tell you about the author’s purpose, background, and credentials? What is the author’s approach to the topic (as a journalist? a historian? a researcher?)?

• What is the main topic or problem addressed? How does the work relate to a discipline, to a profession, to a particular audience, or to other works on the topic? Who’s the audience for this book?

• What is your critical evaluation of the work (your thesis or stance)? Why have you taken that position? What criteria are you basing your position on?

C. Provide an Overview. What are the author’s basic premises for writing this book? What issues are raised, or what themes emerge? What situation(s) provide a basis for the author’s assertions? List any background information that is relevant to the entire book and should be placed here rather than in a body paragraph.

II. Evaluate the book. This is the heart of your book review. You should discuss a variety of issues here:

• How clearly is the book written?

• Did the author achieve his goal? How did he do this or fall short?

• What are the author’s most important points? List at least two examples of how the author proved or did not prove points he was trying to make.

• What possibilities does the book suggest for the reader?

• What did the book leave out?

• How the book compares to others on the subject?

• What personal experiences do you have relating to
the subject?

• What did you like best about the book? What did you like least about the book?

Make sure that you distinguish your personal views from that of the author.

III. Conclusion. :

Tie together any issues raised in the review and provide a concise comment on the book and whether or not you would recommend this book to someone else.
There is, of course, no set formula, but a general rule of thumb is that the first one-half to two-thirds of the review should summarize the author’s main ideas while the remainder of the report should evaluate the book.

Steps to Follow When Writing a Book Review:
(Note: You do not have to answer every question, these
are only suggestions to guide your writing.)

1.Write at least 3-4 sentences about the plot

• What was the story about?

• Who were the main characters?

• What did the main characters do in the story?

• Did the main characters run into any problems?

• Did the main characters have any adventures?

• Who was your favorite character? Why?

2. Your personal experiences

• Could you relate to any of the characters in the story?

• Have you ever done some of the things or felt some of the same things that the characters did?

3.Your opinion

• Did you like the book?

• What was your favorite part of the book?

• Do you have a least favorite part of the book?

• If you could change something in the book, what would it be?
(If you wish you could change theending, remembernot to tell the ending to the
story you read!)

4.Your recommendation

• Would you recommend this book to another person?

• What type of person would like this book?

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