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Writing a Fiction Book Review

Updated on March 27, 2012

Whether your writing a book review for school, or reviewing a book for amazon or another review site, or if your writing your review for publication the basic structure is the same.

Writing a good quality book review isn’t that hard as long as you follow a few steps. The Basic structure of the review should be Introduction, a summary of the book, your reaction to the book, and a conclusion summary.

Pre-Writing

The first things you’ll need to do are carefully read the book and take a few brief notes as you go. Your notes should include things like:

Characters- who are the main ones, who are the important ones, how do they relate to each other, how they impact the story

**also you’ll want to think about if you will focus on them in your review

Themes- main themes, how do they contribute to the story, is there a message the author is trying to get across

Style- how would you describe the authors style, is the book geared to all readers or a certain audience

Quotes- jot down any memorable quotes from the book

Once you’ve read the book and have your notes, before you get down to writing your review you may want to do a little background research on the author or the story to include in your introduction.

While I was researching this hub I came across very interesting information that I would include in a book review of To Kill a Mockingbird. It won a Pulitzer Prize, and was the only book author Harper Lee published; I would definitely include this information in the introduction section of my review. I also learned that the town of Macomb is actually Monroeville, AL and that many of the townspeople felt betrayed by the book, also it is widely thought that the character Dill is based on Truman Capote a childhood friend of Harper Lee; I may or may not include this information in my review depending on the tone of the review, if I did choose to include it but did not want to add It to the introduction it might be a nice tidbit to save for the conclusion summary.


Introduction

In this section you will introduce the book. Make sure to include the title, author and any pertinent publication information. If the book is part of a series you can mention it here and give a little background. Also this is where you will include any background research you did on the author or story. It doesn’t have to be a full bio or anything; it can be something simple like mentioning it is there debut novel, or that they have previously been nominated for a Pulitzer. Also in the introduction you can add a memorable quote from the book.

Summarize Book

In this section you will summarize the story line of the book, it is important not to give away the plot though so a general rule of thumb is not to give any details that happen past chapter 3. This will help to avoid spoilers. You should make sure the reader has a good idea of what the book is about, but other than that this section can be as long or short as you would like. But it should not be the largest part of the review.

React to the Book

This should be the largest part of your review. This is where you give your opinion of the book. Was it interesting, memorable, entertaining? Is it what you expected- better or worse? What were the major themes in the book or the author’s opinion; do you agree or disagree. What was your overall impression of the book? Make sure that you support your opinions and don’t just blindly through them out there.

Conclusion Summary

This is where you marry the book summary and your reaction to your book. Also add any final thoughts on the book and your recommendation to the reader.

One final thing to note is that even though I broke the book review into sections with separate headings, you should not. Your review should include each section, but you want it to naturally and seamlessly flow from section to section.

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