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How to Write a Book Review

Most students need to write a book review at some point in their educational career. To many students, the assignment is too open-ended. They wonder, “Where do I start?” “What is my teacher looking for?” “How do I get through this?” If you’ve been assigned to write a book review of fiction, this article will help you.

The first thing to do is to choose a book that you have an opinion about. Do you really love horses? Choose a horse book such as Black Beauty. Do you like adventure? You might choose a book like It’s a Jungle Out There!

Writing a book review is easier if you follow a specific format. Here is a flexible outline to use as a guideline:


I. Introduction: Introduce the book by giving the title and author. Tell what type of book it is: Is it a romantic novel? Mystery? Historical fiction? Describe the setting (the time period and place). In a sentence or two, tell what the book is about.

II. Main characters: Who is the story about? Name the main characters, along with a short description of each. What are their ages? What do they look like? What is their character like?

III. Conflict: What is the main character’s problem? What is he or she trying to overcome or achieve?

IV. Plot: How does the story begin? What are the most important events that happen? Pretend that you are giving a short summary to a friend or family member. Choose just the most important things that happen to the main character. Don’t give away the ending!

V. Conclusion: In your concluding paragraph, give your opinion of the book. What was your favorite part of the book, and why? Did the setting of the book suit the storyline? Were there any characters you identified with? Was the ending a surprise to you? How did this book affect you? Would you recommend this book to others? Who else might like this book?

In your book review, add some short quotes from the book. For example, you might give a quote from the book that describes or illustrates some quality of the main character. If there is a description of the setting that you particularly liked, you might add that.

This book review format is meant to be a general guideline – you can expand on any one topic, change the order of paragraphs, or add in more topics.

Here is an example of a book review of Beauty: A Retelling of Beauty and the Beast.

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