July 10, 2017
How to Write A Simple Book Review in 8 Steps
Writing a book review can be hard. There are so many elements that go into a book, it can hard to figure out what to talk about. The plot? The theme? Characters? Writing style? If you struggle with writing a book review for Goodreads, your blog, or anywhere else, this post is for you.
I'm going to show you how to write a simple book review that you can use anywhere. Once you get more comfortable writing reviews, you can start adding your own flair to them and try mixing up how you do it. All the things I say here can be used as you need. Whether that's one tip or the whole post, my goal is to help you write a good review. I'll be mostly focusing on writing on for Goodreads, but these tips can be applied to other things, like blog posts, as well.
Step 1: Read the book
It's pretty impossible to write a book review without reading the book first. (Unless you've got some sort of book reading powers that can just zap the whole thing into your brain.)
Step 2: Decide how long you want your review
Some people write giant reviews of books. Others write a single sentence summing up their thoughts. Length is all up to you. However, if you're new to writing book reviews, I'd suggest starting with somewhere between one to three paragraphs.
My reviews vary, depending on the book. If it's a children's book, especially a very easy one, I'll probably only write about a paragraph. But for MG, YA, and other such books, I try for something a bit longer, between 2-4 paragraphs.
Step 3: Start thinking about what you want to say
It helps me to start brainstorming what I'm going to say in my review before I write it. In fact, I start thinking of what I might say as I'm reading the book. If you do that, however, make sure to keep an open mind, as previous thoughts can change as you go along.
Take a minute to think about what you liked and didn't like in the book. What caught your attention? What surprised you? How was the plot, the characters? Also think if you're going to include spoilers. (On Goodreads, you can choose to hide the entire review because of spoilers, a handy feature. On a blog, you'll have to come up with a different method.)
Step 4: Write an opening paragraph
I find it helpful, and fun, to write an opening paragraph for my reviews. This sort of introduces what I thought and my rating, if it includes a half star that Goodreads doesn't have.
This can be a fun exercise as well, as I try to make it interesting but not say too much about my thoughts, which I'll talk about later in the review. The trickiest part is coming up with a great opening sentence. If you're new to this, don't worry about that so much. Just work on writing a workable opening.
Step 5: Choose what to talk about
I read this tip from Paper Fury and found it extremely helpful. She advises picking three things to focus on in your review. Plot, characters, and worldbuilding are a good three to pick. You could also pick things like prose, theme, or descriptions. Pick what three you'd like to talk about for the book you're reviewing and stick to them. If you have something to say outside that, don't be afraid to add it.
Step 6: Write the review
There are two ways you could write your review. You could divide it into sections depending on what you're talking about (like one paragraph for plot, another for characters, and so on), or you can have things you like in one section, things you didn't in another. I tend to do the second, but the first is perfectly fine too. That's what I use for reviews on my blog.
If you decide to use the sectional approach, pick an order for your subjects to go in. Then you basically talk about what you did and didn't like about each subject.
Likes and Dislikes-
If you choose likes and dislikes, you can either divide them into separate paragraphs, or make bullet point lists of each. Both are excellent choices and I've done both. Bullet points are probably best for beginners, however. Once you've picked that, simply write what you did and didn't like about the book in each part.
Step 7: Close the review
Lastly, it's nice if you write a closing paragraph that sums up what you said in your review. Think of it a bit like a school paper. Opener that catches your attention, middle section with all the actual information, and closing paragraph that recaps everything. Your final part doesn't have to be fancy or anything, just say whether you did or didn't like the book.
Step 8: Publish your review
Congratulations, you've written a book review! Check it over for spelling and grammar mistakes, then press that lovely little publish button. Or, if you're on Goodreads, save review. And you're done.
• Remember K.I.S.S. Keep it simple silly (or stupid, depending on who you're talking to). If you're feeling overwhelmed, just write a few sentences and leave it at that.
• Don't worry if it's not great. You'll only improve with practice.
• Add a bit of you to it. Try to infuse some of your personality to your reviews. If you're funny, use that. If you prefer to be serious, go ahead. Give your reviews some sparkle.
• And remember, it's your review. Do it your way. Everyone views books differently, and it's okay if you liked something other people didn't, or vise versa.
Let's talk! Do you like writing book review? Do you have any tips or tricks? Tell me in the comments.