How to write a solid book review

How did we ever select a good read before book review sites blossomed across the Internet? I would select the ones with cool covers and enticing titles. More often than not, I’d return home to discover the writing subpar and the storyline dull. I found the saying, “You can’t judge a book by its cover,” to be true.

Now, I primarily read on my iPad, downloading books from the library and online vendors. Before committing to read a 200-plus page book, I check the average number of stars that readers assigned it and surf through the reviews. It must have four stars or more and, if the reviews have less-than-flattering comments, I’ll surf to another potential read.

I recommend you help other readers by posting your book reviews, both good and bad. Here’s how:

  • Go to your favorite site that encourages reviews. The big ones are Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Goodreads. Find the book and scroll down to the review section. Sometimes it takes a lot of scrolling. Click on the review button. Most forms have three sections: the star ranking, the headline, and the review field. Ensure you complete all three.
  • Write a short headline. Try to sum up the story’s plot in a few words to make viewers want to read the review. For instance, my headline for Sour Lemon and Sweet Tea by Julane Fisher was “Sweet and Sour Twins.”
  • In the review field, describe the book’s plot in one sentence. Don’t copy the book description. Potential readers want your perspective.
  • Discuss why you liked the book so much. Did you identify with the main character? Were you blown away by the surprise ending?
  • Mention anything you disliked about the book. Did you discover unnecessary violence and foul words littering the page? Did the plot tank halfway?
  • Recommend the book to the appropriate reader, such as older teens or those in middle school.
  • Proof your review. Take heart if you find a spelling error after you click “Submit.” Most sites will offer you an opportunity to edit the review.

That’s it! Readers will appreciate your honesty, and authors will thank you, especially if you give them five-star reviews.

What was the last five-star book you read lately, and why did you like it so much?

3 thoughts on “How to write a solid book review”

  1. Great suggestions for reviewing!

    My last 5 star review is Becky Wade’s Stay with Me. Timely story that addressed opioid addition. Beautifully written.

    1. Have you read “Dopesick” by Beth Macy? It’s non-fiction, but written in an engaging style. It changed my perspective on opioid abusers.

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