Simple Steps To Write Book Reviews


Almost every time I go anywhere or buy anything, I’m asked to review my experience; books are no different. The fact is, both as a reader and a writer, I’m interested in what others have to say about the books they’ve read. Writing reviews is a great way to share how you felt about a story. But writing a book review can be tricky. You might consider giving feedback but then think, what should I say? How long does the review need to be? What if I wasn’t crazy about the story, setting, or characters? Or, I really don’t have time to write a review. What then?

Regardless if you liked a story or not, I think that if you give your honest opinion, backed up with a few specific examples of why you feel the way you do, then your review will help others find books that are a match for them. (Who doesn’t want that, right?) So I searched the internet for some book reviews that I considered useful and balanced, and then compiled a few tips that might make writing a review easier.

First, give a short, one or two sentence, summary of the story in your words.

Then, answer the following questions:

Did where the book was set make the story more or less enjoyable?

Was the setting described well enough that you could draw a picture of it from memory?

Would you want to have coffee or dinner with any of the characters? If so, why or why not?

Was there a moral to the story?

Was the book easy to read, or were there spots where the writing was odd or awkward?

Were there typos that distracted you?

Was the story interesting enough to keep you turning pages?

Did you skim while reading? If so, why?

Did the story grab you from page one? Or did it take a few chapters to get into it?

Did you feel satisfied when the story ended? Or frustrated?

Were all the questions you had while reading the book answered by the last page?

Even if the story wasn’t in your area of interest can you think of a type of reader who might enjoy this book?

Suggesting a type of reader for the story is a terrific way to end your review. If you are unsure who might like the read, try comparing the story to another book you’ve read or movie you’ve seen.

If there’s an opportunity to give the book a rating via a star system, think about how the story performed based on the questions above. Five stars being, it satisfied most of the questions, and one star, it came up short on most. Another way to approach the rating is to consider how the person you suggested the read for would rate the book.

Combine the answers to the above questions and, in no time, you will have an honest and balanced book review. Remember, all of us have limited time and want to read stories that speak to us. If you love books, take a few minutes to jot down your thoughts and write a review that the whole reading and writing community can benefit from. Believe me, it’s contagious.

E.L. Chappel author of Spirit Dance/Storm Makers, and coming soon, The Surge

Stories are subjective—What doesn’t speak to one, may call to another.

aka The Glamorous Wife

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