Useful Tips on Writing a Successful Book Review

If you keep on asking yourself, “how to start a book review?” you need to read this article. When you are done with all your evaluations and observations of the book under your backpage review, recheck all your notes and try to combine all your impressions into a single statement, which will express the main objective of your review thesis. You can check out our thesis statement handout as well. After that you should outline all the arguments that can provide support to the thesis.

Make sure that arguments develop the thesis statement in a logical order. The logic helps to put emphasis on the writer's argument while developing your own during the process of any book review in English. Remember that the emphasis depends on the type of the giver book review. When potential readers are interested in the very work, you will have to make the author and his/her work look more prominent. However, when you wish your review to be about your own opinion and perspective, you will have to organize your review in such way so that it would privilege your personal evaluation and observation over those described in the reviewed book. All you can books review, is to organize your review in the correct way.

Introduction Section

There are certain parts of a book review. That is why writers start with an attention grabbing quip or even funny anecdote that helps to deliver the main argument to the readers. You are free to introduce your book review in a different way and it will depend on the audience and the very argument. You can find the needed approach in the Writing Center's handout. You may include the following:

  • Author's name and the title of the book together with the main theme.
  • Short details about the author, who he is and what genre he uses. In addition, you are free to connect the title to the discussed subject in order to show the way title explains the matter of the subject.
  • The book context and your personal review. You need present you review in a form that will make sense to your potential readers and they will want to buy the book and read it to the last page. Perhaps, you wish to review the book that describes the revolution in Cuba in the context of Cold War between the USSR and the USA. While another writer will wish to take into consideration the book, which describes social movements in Latin America. Remember that the content choice informs your main argument and identifies the importance of book review.
  • The book thesis. When you need to review the fiction, the task may be difficult because such type of books do not often have enough arguments. However, you can identify the novelty, angle as well as originality of the book, which will help you to show what particular contribution the book can make.
  • Reviewer's thesis about the selected book.

Summary of Content

It should be short as soon as analysis becomes priority. While doing the evaluation, you will definitely back up all your assertions with specific evidences written in the book. That is why summary can be distributed in other parts of your review.

The length of your summary depends directly on the targeted audience. Beware, graduate students! When you write your book review for the colleagues, be ready for the exam, for instance, you will want to provide book summary more extensively. However, when the targeted audience has already read the reviewed book, you will need to explore points of a more subtle nature and put emphasis on your personal arguments. Check out our summary handout for more useful tips and possible book review template.

Evaluation and Analysis of the Book

Your evaluation and analysis should be divided into the paragraphs that represent the necessary aspects of your personal argument. Such structure may seem to be challenging, especially when your objective is to consider the whole book, but it can be helpful while differentiating the elements of criticism. You can also pair the assertions with supporting evidence in a logical and clear manner. There is no need to write everything in a chronological order while you discuss the book. Taking into account the argument you are trying to make, it is better to structure all you paragraphs by methods, themes, or by any other elements present in the book. In case it seems to be that including comparison of any other book can be useful, try to keep them short so that the review book remains in the under the spotlight. Do not use excessive citations and quotations. When you quote, please give a page number in parentheses. Take into account the fact that it is allowed to paraphrase author's words, which helps to avoid too many direct quotes in the paper.


Restate or sum up you thesis statement or present the last judgment about the reviewed book. There is no need to present new evidence in conclusion part. However, you are allowed to present some new ideas in case they can help extend the logic of your thesis statement. Remember that in conclusion you need to keep balance between the strong and weak points of the book so that you could connect your assessment. Are there tree negative paragraphs an only one favorable in your body part? What do they add to your book review? You can also check out the Writing Center's handout on writing conclusions.

Basic Considerations

  1. You need to review the book, which is in front of you, not the one you wanted the author to write. You are allowed to identify weaknesses, but try not to criticize the book because it is something you do not like.
  2. Remember that the author puts some efforts into writing the book in order to express his/her ideas. Your task is to answer the following question: what is the purpose of a book review? Please use precise language in order to control the general tone when reviewing the book.
  3. Support all your arguments with specific examples.
  4. Provide an argument about the book value. You can show your agreement or even disagreement about some points presented in the book. However, you should remember that every book author deserves equal and fair treatment.