How To Write a Critical Book Review

How To Write a Critical Book Review

If you’re a voracious reader, you’re likely to consume a substantial amount of reading material. If that’s the case, why not put it to good use by informing the rest of the world what you’ve been reading and how you felt about it? Book reviews may help readers decide whether or not a book is worth reading, so if you’ve finished a book that you want to brag about or avoid like the plague, posting a review could be a great way to do it. Here are a few reasons why you might consider writing a book review.

Table of Contents

Why write a book review

  • You want to improve your reading comprehension skills.
  • You wish to raise the profile of an author.
  • You would like to improve your writing abilities.
  • You’ve finished a fantastic book and want to tell everyone about it.
  • You’ve just finished a bad book and want to tell others about it.

Choosing A book To review

The book that you choose to review is the most essential part of your article. How will you write a critical book review if there isn’t anything to be critical about? There are several things that you should consider when picking out the best books for reviewing.

For example, does it have staying power in our culture, or will it be forgotten in a few weeks? How well known is the book, and who wrote it? How big of an impact did they have on our culture or literature at large?

The next thing to consider when looking for books that you can review is your own personal preferences. If this isn’t something you’re interested in, then there’s no point in writing about something you’re not invested in.

Essential Book Information

First things first – the book’s author and title! Give your readers a quick rundown of who wrote it, which genre it falls under, and any other essential details such as its publication date, page count and whether there’s a sequel.

You should also give your readers some insight into the book itself, such as its themes, plot structure and any other details you think they might find interesting. Keep reading on for all that info.

Read The Book And Take Notes

The book you’re going to be reviewing should have a good amount of substance, so you must read the whole thing before putting your notes together.

As I’ve said already, try and get as much detail from the book as possible. How did the writer make you feel while reading it? How does their writing style differ from other authors out there? What makes this book stand out in its genre, and how well has it been received by readers over time, including good and bad reviews.

Your notes will help guide your book review, so make sure they are as vivid as possible!

Basic Plot Summary

Now that we have all the information we need, let’s put together our review, shall we? The basic plot summary is an essential part of your book review and is what you will be building the rest of it around. How long should this section be? Well, as a rule of thumb, I would say about half a page or so.

You don’t need to go into too much detail here because we already know that from our notes, but it’s a good idea to re-write the most important parts of it in your own words. How you do this will depend on how much detail is available from the book, so if it isn’t that much, then concentrate more on what the author thinks about it and why they feel like that.

Analysis And Evaluation

This is where things get interesting! You’re going to be looking at the book from several different angles and perspectives, so it’s important not to forget about any.

The Good: What You Liked About The Book

Now you will expand on the details of your book and talk about what made it such a good read. How does this compare with other books in its genre? How do you think readers would feel upon finishing it? How did the author make you feel while reading their work, positive or negative emotions included!

How would you rate this book? How many stars out of five do you think it deserves and why?

Let’s have a look at some examples:

“I really enjoyed reading this novel because the writer’s style was so descriptive that I felt as though I could see every scene playing out right in front of me. The plot had enough twists and turns to keep me interested throughout, but it was also well-structured so that I never got lost.”

“I don’t think this book is suitable for the average young adult reader because of its excessive use of profanity. The dialogue didn’t flow very well either, which made things feel a little disjointed at times. However, I did enjoy the fast pace of this book and found it to be a quick read.”

The Bad: What You Didn’t Like About The Book

This is where you’re going to talk about any negative aspects that hindered your enjoyment. How well have readers in general received this book? How does its writing style compare with other authors out there? How did the author make you feel while reading their work – was it a good or bad experience?

How would you rate this book? How many stars out of five do you think it deserves and why?

Let’s have a look at some examples:

“I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I thought that I would. I found the plot to be a little too slow, and it took me longer than usual to finish reading. The dialogue was also quite bland and didn’t really add anything extra to the story.”

“I did not like this book because of its dull writing style, which felt overly descriptive at times, slowing down the pace considerably. It certainly isn’t one of the best books I’ve read in its genre because there are others out there that have more interesting characters.”

How would you rate this book? How many stars out of five do you think it deserves and why?

Let’s have a look at some examples:

“I definitely wouldn’t recommend this book to anyone looking for something new to read because it’s been done time and time again. There were a few interesting moments here and there, but for the most part, I was bored.”

“I would recommend this book to readers who have enjoyed the author’s previous works as they will probably enjoy these characters too, although you might find some parts of it slightly predictable.”

Praise And Critique Of The Book

This is where you will talk about what the author did right and how they could have improved things. How would you sum up this book in one sentence? How would you rate this book? How many stars out of five do you think it deserves and why?

Book Review Do’s and Dont’s


  • Be honest – book reviews are designed to be an honest opinion about the work, so avoid trying to sugarcoat things!
  • Justify your opinion – How would you sum up this book in one sentence? How does your overall rating for this book compare with others within its genre? How many stars out of five do you think it deserves and why?”
  • Include examples from the text – Don’t just say that a book was bad, and include specific details about what made it so unenjoyable.
  • Be concise – Don’t write an essay; keep things short and succinct!


  • Don’t be cruel – You can review books without telling readers that they should not read them under any circumstances!
  • Avoid using a lot of quotes from the text – This is where most people get things wrong. Don’t just copy chunks from the novel as if they are your own.
  • Don’t include spoilers – If the plot or ending is a significant part of what makes a story enjoyable, don’t spoil those for readers.


Writing a book review is an art that requires time, patience and attention to detail. The key points in this article should help you get started writing your own reviews with confidence.

 The best reviews are those that show how the book’s content relates to your own life and experiences. They also need to be well-written, concise, informative and provide a balanced opinion of both strengths and weaknesses in the book. 

This is not easy, but it can help you become a better reader and give back to other readers by sharing what you have learned with them through your review. It’s essential for authors too – good reviews lead directly to increased sales, so don’t forget this when writing one! We hope these tips will help make reviewing books more enjoyable for your readers in the future. 

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