Class XI – How to Write a Book Review

How to Write a Book Review

Before you write a review, read the book. There’s no substitute for reading the book. Choose a book you’ll enjoy. Read with a pen and paper at your side. Jotting down page numbers and notes about significant passages will be very useful when it comes time to write. Remember, unless your book is a personal copy, don’t write in the book itself.

After reading the book, you are ready to start the writing process. In writing a book review, you’ll find writing easier if you prepare an outline keeping in view the following:

Format of a Book Review

Most teachers have their own requirements, and sometimes a specific format they expect you to follow, so be sure to check, but the following general elements of a book report or book review should be helpful.

Introductory Paragraph

1. Title of the Book
2. Author of the Book
3. Country
4. Language
5. Was the book a best seller?
6. Genre
7. Cost of the Book
8. Name of the Publisher
9. Edition and year of Copyright
10. No. of pages
11. About the Author
12. Summary
13. Plot
14. Setting
15. Writing style
16. Character Analysis
17. Your Impressions (Personal evaluation)
18. Ratings (*****)

How to write a book review?

Introductory Paragraph: Most book reports begin with the basic information about the book: the book’s title, author, genre, and publication information (publisher, number of pages, and year published). The opening paragraph is also your opportunity to build interest by mentioning any unusual facts or circumstances about the writing of the book or noteworthy credentials of the author. Was the book a bestseller? Is the author a well-known authority on the subject? Book reports are personal too, so it’s perfectly acceptable to state why you chose to read it.

1. Title of the Book: Write the name of the book you have chosen to read.

2. Author of the Book: Write the name of the author of the book you have chosen to read.

3. Was the book a best seller: A bestseller is a book that is included on a list of top-selling.

4. Genre: Genre of a book may fall under one of two categories: Fiction and Non-fiction.

·         Classic
·         Comic/Graphic Novel
·         Crime/Detective
·         Fable
·         Fairy tale
·         Fanfiction
·         Fantasy
·         Fiction narrative
·         Fiction in verse
·         Folklore
·         Historical fiction
·         Horror
·         Humor
·         Legend
·         Metafiction
·         Mystery
·         Mythology
·         Mythopoeia
·         Realistic fiction
·         Science fiction
·         Short story
·         Suspense/Thriller
·         Tall tale
·         Western


·         Biography/Autobiography
·         Essay
·         Narrative nonfiction
·         Speech
·         Textbook
·         Reference book

5. Cost of the Book: Actual cost of the book you have chosen to read.

6. Name of the Publisher: Write the name of the publisher of the book you have chosen to read.

7. Edition and year of Copyright: Write the Edition and year of Copyright of the book you have chosen to read.

8. No. of pages: Write the number of the pages of the book you have chosen to read.

9. About the Author: Write a brief history of the author and his/her literary work.

10. Summary: A summary is condensed version of a larger reading. To write a summary, use your own words to express briefly the main idea and relevant details of the piece you have read. Your purpose in writing the summary is to give the basic ideas of the original reading.


·         Do not rewrite the original piece.
·         Keep your summary short.
·         Use your own wording.
·         Refer to the central and main ideas of the original piece.
·         Read with who, what, when, where, why and how questions in mind.
·         Do not put in your opinion of the issue or topic discussed in the original piece. Often, instructors ask students to put their opinions in a paragraph separate from the summary.

11. Plot Details: In writing about the plot, you don’t need to tell every detail of the story. Instead, focus on the main sequence of events. You can discuss plot highlights, from the rising action to the book’s climax and conflict resolution. Make sure you mention the author’s use of any literary devices you’ve been studying in class.

12. Setting: In works of narrative (especially fictional), the literary element setting includes the historical moment in time and geographic location in which a story takes place, and helps initiate the main backdrop and mood for a story.

13. Writing style: Writing style is much like any other type of style in that it helps us express who we are. It is how the writer chooses to express himself or herself through writing. A little vague, right? Well, let’s look at personal style for comparison. Each person has their own personal fashion style, whether they mean to or not. The clothes and accessories that we choose to wear each day can define personal style. If someone throws on a T-shirt and jeans with some old flip flops, they are expressing a casual and laid back style. On the other hand, if someone chooses a button-down shirt and leather shoes, they are showing the world that they mean business. The same goes for writing.

So, should we start wearing leather shoes while we write? It could make it interesting, but no. That’s not the point. Just like clothes, writing can express a specific style. There are four main types of writing – expository, persuasive, descriptive, and narrative – and each one has a specific style.

Persuasive writing

Persuasive writing is usually found in article and essay form. It also relies on specific details and examples for support; however, persuasive writing does not rely heavily on facts. In a persuasive piece, the writer is often expressing an opinion and trying to persuade the audience to do something or to agree with the writer’s point of view. It must be clear and concise, but it can also be a bit more forceful and dramatic to help convince the reader. For example, sometimes writers will exaggerate their details to affect the reader in a more emotional way than in an expository essay.

Expository writing

Expository writing is a general category that includes all types of essays (with the exception of persuasive essays). The main purpose of expository writing is to explain a concept or idea while including details for support. Such writing is usually based on a subject and therefore requires facts, not opinions, for examples and supportive detail. This type of writing is generally used in textbooks or ‘how to’ articles and essays. As such, these essays and articles follow an organized and logical sequence. An expository style of writing is more formal and straightforward, so the casual language or slang that you would use with friends is not acceptable. Unlike jeans and a T-shirt, this writing is more dressed up.

Descriptive language

Fiction and poetry are filled with descriptive language, since the purpose is not to inform but to entertain. Someone may read this type of writing to enjoy the beauty of the language and writing itself. Therefore, this style tends to use more adjectives and adverbs, as well as figurative language and imagery, to create detail that allows the reader to envision the scenery and events in their minds.
Character Details: In this paragraph, describe the main characters and identify the major conflict or problem the main characters are trying to solve. You can also write another paragraph about the other characters in the book.

14. Character Details: Describe the main characters and identify the major conflict or problem the main characters are trying to solve. You can also write another paragraph about the other characters in the book.

15. Your impressions: You’ll like writing the final paragraph because it is here that you’ll be able to offer your own critique of the book. What are the book’s strengths and weaknesses? Did the book hold your interest? What did you learn from the book? If you read a work of fiction, how did the book affect you? If you read non-fiction, where you swayed by the author’s arguments? Try to be balanced in your opinions, and support your statements with examples from the book. Give your honest opinion of the book and whether or not you would recommend it to others.

16. Your rating: A classification or ranking of someone or something based on a comparative assessment of their quality, standard, or performance.

After reading the book and assessing its strengths and weaknesses, how many stars you would like to give out of five or ten.

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