Writing a book review can be a challenge. Whether it’s for school, further study or for your personal Goodreads — it can be difficult to collate your thoughts about a book.
So today I thought I’d share a list of prompts that I find helpful in my book reviewing process. But first…
What makes a “good” book review?
Book reviews are often written for different purposes. But ideally, they’re created so that you can help other readers decide if the book is a good fit for them. Afterall, that’s usually why we seek out reviews! To help us choose our next read, or book buy.
A good book review doesn’t necessarily have to be positive but it should be balanced. Ideally a good book review will be able to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of a book among other things. I’m guilty of gushing about books I’ve loved, but unfortunately they’re probably not the most helpful reviews for other people thinking about picking up the book.
Some book review tips!
- Take notes as you read!
- Highlight quotes
- Underline (use a pencil, or sticky notes if you don’t like marking your books)
- Write your own summary of the plot for your review
- Never include personal attacks/comments about the author. Keep it professional, and respectful.
Being an active reader, in terms of making notes will really help you in the long run. Otherwise you may find you forget a lot of the thoughts you had while reading when it comes time to review.
Not sure what to note? You can use the prompts below at any point in your review crafting process. But they’re often good to have in mind as you read.
Book Review Prompts
After you’ve read a book, it’s time to share your reading experience in a helpful way with others!
- How do the characters change throughout the book?
- What do you like/dislike about the book, and why?
- What other books are similar to this book? How does this book differ from them? (this can help you figure out what readers might enjoy the book, even if you didn’t)
- Is there any symbolism within the book? Is it effective? Why/why not?
- What is the ‘story point’? What is the take away message the author wants to leave readers with?
- Are there any sensitive topics in the book, where a trigger warning may be appreciated by readers?
- What conversations are happening about this book at the moment? (particularly relevant for controversial books, or those that are trending).
Where can I post my book review?
Now your review is written, it’s time to share it! If you’ve been thinking about getting into book reviewing (do your friends and family always ask for your recommendations?) there are plenty of places for you to consider sharing your reviews.
Goodreads – Most of you are probably on Goodreads, but if you’re not, it’s worth looking into it! It’s easy to create a profile, keep track of the books you’ve read (as well as those you want to read), and review!
#bookstagram – Instagram, and other social media platforms like tik tok (booktok) have a thriving community of readers waiting for you to join them.
Blogging – If you want to take your reviewing to the next level, consider starting your own blog. Once you’ve got some reviews live, you might even be able to pursue paid book reviewer positions.
Book reviews play an important role in helping readers select their next read. If you’re an avid reader, why not consider writing your own reviews?