What Makes a Great Book Review?
From a young age, whenever I would look for a new book whether it be at the school library or a bookstore, I was always drawn to a specific book based on its cover.
But as I've gotten older, I noticed my love of reading has become more select with certain genres or topic points. So much so, I began reading book reviews to see if the book I was interested in would be worth my time.
What I found while scrolling through the vast amounts of reviews were the same sentences over and over again. It seemed like each person would do a summary of the book with most reviews giving away spoilers. Many of them not specifically saying if they did or did not like the book and why.
This is when I decided to forget reading everyone's reviews and to write my own!
What to Include in Your Book Review?
For anyone who has written a book review before knows the content consists of an overall summary and not much else. Most often times this can be found on the back of the book which is why you should have your review stand out a bit more. Here's what you should include:
A Book Cover Photo
There are hundreds of books out there with the same title or book covers depicting similar images. Add a picture of the book cover to your review not only because a picture is worth a thousand words, but so people know exactly which book you are talking about.
Backstory to Discovering the Book
Introduce your story. How did you stumble across it? Does it have any meaning to you?
Now some may say this is like a recipe blog where they don't care about how a mom suddenly had an idea for a quick dinner and her children are now asking for it every night. Instead, you scroll through the text to get straight to the recipe.
I say the backstory is the most important part when introducing a new product or in this case, book review. Without the backstory there is no connect or relevance to why you should care and spend your precious time reading about this new book.
So, I say include that backstory. Tell them where you found it, why you were drawn to the story in the first place, and anything else you might like to add. One to two paragraphs should do.
A Quick Summary
You're probably wondering why I'm adding this in here after I just complained about how most summaries are the same. Well, yes, they are in fact mostly the same, but it's still important to add in your review so the people reading it know if this book is something they would be interested in reading.
Do they like vampires? Great it looks like this story is about a 300-year-old vampire who has decided to go to space to see how far away he can get from the sun.
Only make the summary two to four sentences long so you leave some mystery while adding your own twist.
Pros and Cons List
Here's where your book review will stand out. While reading the book, jot down a few thoughts or make some mental notes about what you liked or didn't like about the book.
Spilt these thoughts into a pros and cons list. These can include things such as the dialogue was hard to follow, the author did too much telling versus showing, the main character has unique traits, etc. Go into depth about each of these pros and cons.
Depending on the book, there should be 3-5 ideas for each section. Each idea or thought should then have at least 2 to 3 sentences describing it.
This gives the reader a better understanding of the book without giving to much of the book away.
It's time to wrap up your review in another 1 to 2 paragraphs. In this section you can do a quick overview of the items you listed in the pros and cons while adding in things you didn't have enough to write about in the pros and cons lists.
This can include things such as talking about whether the cover relates to the story, your overall rating out of 5 stars, if you would recommend this to somebody. Whatever you feel like you want to add that is only about a sentence long for each topic.
Do a quick sign off and link any other book reviews of yours you think your readers may like.
What do you think of this style of book review? Is there anything that should be added or taken away? Let me know in the comments below!
If you need some layout examples as described above, check out my latest book reviews!