How To Write A Compelling Book Review

Book reviews are wonderful ways of finding out which books are worth your time and which ones are not. I’m a person who sticks to the authors with which I am most comfortable. Yet, book reviews allow me the opportunity to find other authors to read. When writing book reviews, it is easy to state your opinion rather than presenting the author’s intent. The purpose of reviewing books is to present the work in such a way that engages your readers to read the reviewed work for themselves.

In this post, I want to explore seven steps necessary to take when writing a book review.

  1. Read the entire book with diligence. This point seems obvious but when you don’t read a book in its entirety, your review will most likely not give your audience an accurate portrayal. It is vitally important to read the book focused on the content and not merely “getting through it.” Read it with a purpose.
  2. Know the purpose of why the book was written. Most often times, the preface or introduction of the book will reveal to you why the book was written. However, this is not always the case. If not, find out the purpose of the book, for it will help you review it honestly.
  3. Mark the noteworthy ideas. Whenever I read a book, I always have two things in my hand: a highlighter and a pen. I will always highlight quotes that I agree with or quotes that make the author’s point valid. With my pen, I will write in the margins my own notes, which can even include disagreements. Nonetheless, when you write a book review, it is imperative to take notice of the noteworthy ideas and statements. This way is not the only way to read but the principle behind it is to make sure you can locate quotes and ideas necessary to write a compelling review.
  4. When writing, always review first. I know this seems redundant – aren’t you already writing a review? Well, yes you are but you are also writing your opinions about the book. I believe it does the author injustice if you open your review with your opinion of the book. Instead, I always open with my review of the book.
  5. Review and present each chapter. If we should read the entire book before reviewing it, then we should present each chapter in that book. When you write a review, it is much easier to skip over some chapters. But when you skip chapters, sometimes you can miss crucial elements of the author’s idea or the book’s purpose. Therefore, it is vital to analyze each chapter for the gold nuggets that present the author’s point. There is nothing wrong with grouping chapters together and reviewing them as a group, but don’t skip over one.
  6. Understand the difference between analyzing and reviewing. When you review a chapter, you are simply stating what the author is trying to convey to his readers. When analyzing, you are taking what the author has said and writing your agreements or disagreements.
  7. Make your analysis concise and forthcoming. My aim is to analyze the book with brevity. There is no reason to make your analysis lengthy or wordy. Also, you shouldn’t beat around the bush if you disagree with the author. They understand when they write a book that some will disagree with them. The focal point of book reviews is to review it and state what you love about the book and also what you think could make it better.


Book reviewing has become one of my favorite ways of writing. One reason is that it challenges me to read more books throughout the year. However, it also gives me a chance to recommend the books I read to others who love reading as much as I.

I hope these seven tips have been helpful for you in writing book reviews.

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