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How to Avoid Common Pitfalls When Writing a Book Review

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A book review is a review, analysis, and evaluation of an artistic, scientific or popular scientific work. The review is characterized by a small volume and brevity. To write a brief but engaging book review you should follow the steps described below. It might seem to be not the most complex academic task, but the truth is, its brevity requires you being fully concentrated on what you write. Also, ensure that you have the traits of a quality writer. Use a checklist to make sure you don’t miss out on elaborating on some valuable ideas.

Make a Good Start

For many students, the greatest difficulty is writing the beginning of a review. There isn’t any clear rule, everyone chooses what is close to him. Usually, in the introduction, the tone of the review is set. Here are some options for how you can start writing a book review:

  • A brief description of the story (a book on how …)
  • Genre disclosure
  • An intriguing quote from the book
  • Personal evaluation (did you like or dislike the book?)

Present the Key Idea of the Literary Work

In this part of the review, it is necessary to determine the main issues raised in the book, the range of problems and the main idea. Do not retell the general content of the book. The value of the review lies in the ability of the reviewer to assess competently how much the author was able to reveal the characters of the heroes. The review also conveys to the readers the main idea of the work, the peculiarities of its style and its topicality in the modern world.

Steps to Consider When Writing a Book Review

Conduct In-Depth Critical Analysis

Basically, attention should be paid to the title of the book, since it expresses the fundamental idea. Here you can give an estimate of how the time period and place of action are related to the theme of the book, and what mood is created. It is interesting to consider the line of the behavior of the main character: how his or her thoughts, feelings change, which problems he or she encounters, how he or she is different from secondary heroes.

Draw Engaging Conclusions

In conclusion, the reviewer assesses the relevance of the work, shares his personal impression of what he read, compares it with other works of the author and evaluates the originality of the idea.

Checklist for Students Writing a Book Review 

Students make mistakes when writing academic book reviews from scratch because they often forget to elaborate on some particular topic or issue in question. Use this checklist to get to know whether your review is ready.

  • Theme and problems: Roughly speaking, which problems and what topic is the story about?
  • Pathos and genre: That is the author’s attitude to his own story. The writer jokes, sneers, dramatizes, or maybe tries to frighten the reader? Based on this, we can talk about the genre.
  • Title: Usually, it has a symbolic meaning, and as you read it, you understand its depth (or its absence). The exception is entertaining, mass literature, for which the name is one of the sales tools. If it is so there is no harm in elaborating on it, as mass market demands influence book market strongly now.


Checklist for Students Writing a Book Review

  • Composition and composition techniques: On which parts you can divide the text, how they are located. Write about the structure, define its logic.
  • The author’s style, artistic techniques, and images: What is the individual signature of the author?
  • The character of the heroes, their development, and motivation: Heroes should not remain static. Evaluate how the author outlined the characters, whether they changed during the narrative. Was the writer able to create living, believable images?
  • Conflict: This point is closely connected with the composition, problematics and characters’ description. Often, the basis of the narrative is a clash of interests or a dramatic conflict. How interesting and believable is it?

In other words, to write a book review, you need to understand the writer’s world, how a novel or story is made. When you figure it out, you can formulate your opinion, discuss the merits and demerits of the book. All of the listed items are closely related, so analyze them, taking into account the connections. Last but not the least, ensure that you don’t miss out on the basic rules of writing.

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