How To Make a Helpful Book Review

Book reviews are fun to write, but if you want to make a helpful review for your fellow readers to read, here are some guidelines on how to give your book review a valuable content. Having guidelines will help you establish your own writing structure.  It is important to make a regular structure on how are you going to evaluate the books you have read, so it will be easier for you to write book reviews on the next hundreds of books you’ll read and evaluate. Here are some elements you might want to consider:

  1. Rating

You have to specify your rating. Set a range from 1 – 5, but what would be the specifications of these ratings? You must also set your own standard, for example:

5 – Excellent writing technique/style, excellent plot or story. Simply just one of the books you have deeply and exquisitely delved into.
4 – Good writing technique/style with a steady story. One of the good books you have enjoyed.
3 – Average. Was able to make you turn from page to page. Usually, 3 out of 5 books are the kind of books that are easy enough to read, but not that good enough to really get lost into.
2 – Gave you a hard time to finish the entire book. Either, you didn’t like the writing style or it has an unbearably slow or fast pace of the story, or you just didn’t like the story enough to get a little, even a bit hooked.
1 – You give this kind of rating to the books that are painful to read. You give 1 out of 5 stars to the books that you did not finish, even if you tried. 1 out of 5 stars simply means, it’s just not your kind of book.

  1. Summary

Your summary has to be very short, and be aware of giving out spoilers. Be careful not to give out the climax or the plot twist or, of course, the ending of the story. Just give the essentials, like the answer to the question: “What is this book all about?”

  1. Characters

You might want to add the descriptions of the main characters, or just one of your favorites. You will not resist the drive to give a short description of the character, especially when the author made you feel like this person is someone you just have known thoroughly, like you know more about this character than that new friend of yours you just met and you hang out with.

  1. Reaction

I cannot specify what kind of reaction would this be, but this is the most vital element of your review. What was your reaction to this book? Did you like the writing style? Do you agree to the author’s or character’s view? Is there something that you can absolutely relate to, and you just couldn’t agree more to the point of view of the character or the direction of the story? How was the author able to tackle some sensitive topics like miscarriage, marriage, depression, loneliness? Give your reaction or reactions or mixed and contradicting and complex emotions about the book, how does this book made you feel? This element will give way to your personal touch. There is no right or wrong reactions, it is your review and, your reactions no matter how absurd there are – are valid.

  1. Recommendation

To whom would you recommend this novel or book? Would you recommend this to someone who is into Magical Realism, or if the novel has similarities to the novels of a certain author, would you recommend it to those who also loved Haruki Murakami, for instance? Or would you recommend this book to your girlfriends who feel a little bit lost in life (assuming you just read Eat, Pray, Love), or would you recommend this book to your geek guy friends who loved Lord of the Rings Trilogy?

These elements only serve as a simple guide in writing book reviews. You can be complex,  you can make your own structure. But for starters, this will do. Hope this was helpful. And by the way, if you just read something beautiful, please feel free to drop the book title under comments. Now, bury your nose back to what you are reading and keep those pages turning!

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