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The only book review templates you'll ever need.
Whether you’re trying to become a book reviewer , writing a book report for school, or analyzing a book, it’s nice to follow a book review template to make sure that your thoughts are clearly presented.
A quality template provides guidance to keep your mind sharp and your thoughts organized so that you can write the best book review possible. On Reedsy Discovery , we read and share a lot of book reviews, which helps us develop quite a clear idea what makes up a good one. With that in mind, we’ve put together some trustworthy book review templates that you can download, along with a quick run-through of all the parts that make up an outstanding review — all in this post!
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Book review templates for every type of review
With the rapid growth of the book community on Instagram, Youtube, and even TikTok, the world of book commentary has evolved far beyond your classic review. There are now many ways you can structure a book review. Some popular formats include:
- Book reports — often done for school assignments;
- Commentary articles — think in-depth reviews in magazines and newspapers;
- Book blog reviews — short personal essays about the book; and
- Instagram reviews — one or two-paragraph reviews captioned under a nice photo.
But while the text in all these review styles can be organized in different ways, there are certain boxes that all good book reviews tick. So, instead of giving you various templates to use for different occasions, we’ve condensed it down to just two book review templates (one for fiction and one for nonfiction) that can guide your thoughts and help you nail just about any review.
⭐ Download our free fiction book review template
⭐ Download our free nonfiction book review template
All you need to do is answer the questions in the template regarding the book you’re reading and you’ve got the content of your review covered. Once that’s done, you can easily put this content into its appropriate format.
Now, if you’re curious about what constitutes a good book review template, we’ll explain it in the following section!
Elements of a book review template
Say you want to build your own book review template, or you want to customize our templates — here are the elements you’ll want to consider.
We’ve divided our breakdown of the elements into two categories: the essentials and the fun additions that’ll add some color to your book reviews.
What are the three main parts of a book review?
We covered this in detail (with the help of some stellar examples) in our post on how to write a book review , but basically, these are the three crucial elements you should know:
The summary covers the premise of the book and its main theme, so readers are able to understand what you’re referring to in the rest of your review. This means that, if a person hasn’t read the book, they can go through the summary to get a quick idea of what it’s about. (As such, there should be no spoilers!)
The analysis is where, if it’s a fiction book, you talk more about the book, its plot, theme, and characters. If it’s nonfiction, you have to consider whether the book effectively achieves what it set out to do.
The recommendation is where your personal opinion comes in the strongest, and you give a verdict as to who you think might enjoy this book.
You can choose to be brief or detailed, depending on the kind of review you’re writing, but you should always aim to cover these three points. If you’re needing some inspiration, check out these 17 book review examples as seen in magazines, blogs, and review communities like Reedsy Discovery for a little variation.
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Which additional details can you include?
Once you’ve nailed down the basics, you can jazz things up a little and add some personal flavor to your book review by considering some of these elements:
- A star-rating (the default is five stars but you can create your own scales);
- A bullet-point pros and cons list;
- Your favorite quotation from the book;
- Commentary on the format you read (i.e., ebook, print, or audiobook);
- Fun facts about the book or author;
- Other titles you think are similar.
This is where you can really be creative and tailor your review to suit your purpose and audience. A formal review written for a magazine, for instance, will likely benefit from contextual information about the author and the book, along with some comment on how that might have affected the reading (or even writing) process.
Meanwhile, if you’re reviewing a book on social media, you might find bullet points more effective at capturing the fleeting attention of Internet users. You can also make videos, take creative pictures, or even add your own illustrations for more personal touches. The floor is yours at this point, so go ahead and take the spotlight!
That said, we hope that our templates can provide you with a strong foundation for even your most adventurous reviews. And if you’re interested in writing editorial reviews for up-and-coming indie titles, register as a reviewer on Reedsy Discovery !
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Book Review Writing
Book Review Format
A Complete Book Review Format Guide For Students
Published on: May 29, 2019
Last updated on: Nov 16, 2023
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How to Write a Book Review - A Step By Step Guide
Book Review Examples to Help You Get Started
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Ever get stuck when trying to write a book review and wonder how to organize it? You're not alone! It's more than just talking about the story.
You need to figure out what the author is really saying and share your thoughts in a clear way.
But don't worry - we're here to help. This guide is all about making the formatting of your book review super easy. Whether you're just starting out or want to improve, we've got you covered. We'll break down the steps, give you examples, and share tips to make your review stand out.
So, let's make writing a book review less stressful!
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How to Format a Book Review?
The format of a book review allows students to provide an in-depth analysis of the book. However, it all depends on how you are writing your book review, but there are some general guidelines that you need to follow.
If you follow the proper guidelines, it will show that you have understood the main theme and ideas of the book.
Begin your book review with a captivating introduction.
Provide the essential details, such as the book's title, author, and any other relevant information. Use this section to create intrigue and give your readers a sense of what to expect in your review.
Overview of the Book
Offer a concise overview of the book's main theme.
Highlight the key elements of the plot without revealing spoilers. This section serves as a teaser, drawing readers into the world of the book and setting the stage for your analysis.
Analysis of Characters and Setting
Delve into the characters and setting to provide a deeper understanding.
Describe the main characters objectively, discussing their roles, traits, and significance to the story. Paint a vivid picture of the setting, helping readers visualize the environment in which the narrative unfolds.
Break down the plot by addressing crucial questions that delve into the heart of the story.
Explore the goals of each character, identifying the main conflicts that drive the narrative. Discuss whether these conflicts are resolved and how they contribute to the overall arc of the plot.
Examine the author's underlying message.
Discuss the themes and ideas conveyed throughout the book. Assess whether the author successfully communicates their intended message and how well it resonates with the reader
Provide your overall assessment of the book, combining insights from the previous steps.
Support your opinions with specific examples from the text, highlighting key moments or passages that impacted your understanding. This is the section where your unique perspective as a reader shines through.
Summarize the key points discussed in your review, emphasizing the most noteworthy aspects.
Offer a final thought or recommendation, guiding readers on whether the book is worth their time. Keep your conclusion concise and impactful, leaving a lasting impression that encourages further exploration or discussion.
By carefully following these steps, you can structure your book review in a way that engages readers, provides valuable insights, and captures the essence of the book.
Book Review Template
A book review is the first impression of the whole story and the narration of the book. A typical book review template includes an introduction, body, and conclusion. Here is a sample book review format:
Here is a perfect template for you to make the most interesting textbook review format. You can use this template to write a book review:
Book Review Format Examples
Writing a book review is a very common writing assignment. Teachers might ask you to write a review of a book you have read recently.
In order to illustrate what a book review is, we have provided you with interesting critical book review examples for your reference.
APA Book Review Format Example
For writing a book review in APA format, refer to the following book review APA format example. This will help you learn how to use APA writing guidelines and referencing style.
Book Review Format for Students
Here are some book review format examples that middle and high school students can use to learn about this type of writing.
Book Review Format for Grade 2
Book Review Format for Class 10
Book Review Format for College Students
Here is a Turabian book review format for college students to learn from.
Academic Book Review Format
Need more examples? Check out these book review examples to get a better idea of formatting!
Book Review Writing Tips
Here are some expert writing tips that you should keep in mind while writing a book format:
- Keep the introduction brief: Many people don't like to read long introductions for essays. This can lower your grade. Keep the introduction short so people will read it all.
- Prefer reviews of fictional books: It is not necessary to write book reviews about fiction books, but it can be more effective than writing nonfiction books.
- Don’t compare: Do not compare your chosen novel to other books you have read in the past. Comparing them will only confuse the reader.
- Opinion is important: When writing book reviews, it is often encouraged to include your own point of view. Add whether you recommend the book or not.
- Take help from templates: Using a book review template can help a student understand the required writing style.
- Criticize if you must: Usually, you don't need to give your opinion in academic papers below Ph.D. level. However, with book reviews, it's different. You can criticize the writing, story, or characters if there’s a need.
- Be positive while reviewing: When giving feedback, make sure to include a mix of positive and negative comments while remaining majorly positive.
- Appreciation won’t hurt: If you enjoyed reading the book, say so. This will encourage the potential readers and the author as well.
Now that you know how to format your book review well, you can start writing easily.
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25+ Book Review Templates and Ideas to Organize Your Thoughts
Danika spends most of her time talking about queer women books at the Lesbrary. Blog: The Lesbrary Twitter: @DanikaEllis
View All posts by Danika Ellis
When I was a kid I loved reading, but I hated book reports. It felt impossible to boil a book down to a few lines or even a page of writing. Besides, by the time I had to write the report, I had already forgotten a lot. It never ceases to be painful to try to pull my thoughts and opinions out of my head and put them on the page, especially in a coherent way.
As an adult, I continue to usually find writing book reviews painful . And yet, I maintain a book blog with reviews of all the (bi and lesbian) books I read. Why? For one thing, I want to raise the visibility of these books — or, in the case of a book I loathed, warn other readers of what to expect. It helps me to build community with other book lovers. It’s also a great way to force myself pay attention to how I’m feeling while I’m reading a book and what my thoughts are afterwards. I have learned to take notes as I go, so I have something to refer to by the time I write a review, and it has me notice what a book is doing well (and what it isn’t). The review at the end helps me to organize my thoughts. I also find that I remember more once I’ve written a review.
Once you’ve decided it’s worthwhile to write a review, though, how do you get started? It can be a daunting task. The good news is, book reviews can adapt to whatever you want them to be. A book review can be a tweet with a thumbs up or thumbs down emoji, maybe with a sentence or two of your thoughts; it can also be an in-depth essay on the themes of the book and its influence on literature. Most are going to fall somewhere between those two! Let go of the idea of trying to create the One True Book Review. Everyone is looking for something different, and there is space for GIF-filled squee fests about a book and thoughtful, meditative explorations of a work.
This post offers a variety of book reviews elements that you can mix and match to create a book review template that works for you. Before you get started, though, there are some questions worth addressing.
Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Book Review Template
Where will you be posting your book reviews.
An Instagram book review will likely look different from a blog book review. Consider which platform you will be using for your book review. You can adapt it for different platforms, or link to your original review, but it’s a good starting point. Instagram reviews tend to be a lot shorter than blog reviews, for instance.
Will you be using the same template every time?
Some book reviewers have a go-to book review template. Others have a different one for each genre, while another group doesn’t use a template at all and just reacts to whatever each book brings up.
Heading or no headings?
When choosing which book review elements to mix and match, you can also decide whether to include a header for each section (like Plot, Characterization, Writing, etc). Headers make reviews easier to browse, but they may not have the professional, essay-style look that you’re going for.
Why are you writing a review?
When selecting which elements to include in your review, consider what the purpose is. Do you want to better remember the plot by writing about it? You probably want to include a plot summary, then. Do you want to help readers decide whether they should read this book? A pros and cons list might be helpful. Are you trying to track something about your reading, like an attempt to read more books in translation or more books by authors of color? Are you trying to buy fewer books and read off your TBR shelf instead? These are all things you can note in a review, usually in a point-form basic information block at the beginning.
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Book Review Templates and Formats
This is a multi-paragraph review, usually with no headers. It’s the same format most newspapers and academics use for book reviews. Many essay-style reviews use informal categories in their writing, often discussing setting, writing, characters, and plot in their own paragraphs. They usually also discuss the big themes/messages of a story. Here are some questions to consider when writing an essay-style review:
What is the author trying to do? Don’t evaluate a romance novel based on a mystery novel’s criteria. First try to think about what the book was attempting to do, then try to evaluate if they achieved it. You can still note if you didn’t like it, but it’s good to know what it was aiming for first.
What are some of the themes of the story? What big message should the reader take away? Did you agree with what the book seemed to be saying? Why or why not?
How is this story relevant to the world? What is it saying about the time it was written in? About human nature? About society or current issues? Depending on the book, there may be more or less to dig into here.
What did this book make you think about? It may be that the themes in the book were just a launching off point. How did they inspire your own thinking? How did this book change you?
A Classic Book Review
This is probably the most common kind of book review template. It uses a few criteria, usually including Setting, Writing, Characters, and Plot (for a novel). The review then goes into some detail about each element, describing what the book did well, and where it fell short.
The advantage of this format is that it’s very straightforward and applies to almost any fiction read. It can also be adapted–you will likely have more to say about the plot in a mystery/thriller than a character study of a novel. A drawback, though, is that it can feel limiting. You might have thoughts that don’t neatly fit into these categories, or you could feel like you don’t have enough to say about some of the categories.
Pros and Cons
A common format for a Goodreads review is some variation of pros and cons. This might be “What I Liked/What I Didn’t Like” or “Reasons to Bump This Up Your TBR/Reasons to Bump This Down On Your TBR.” This is a very flexible system that can accommodate anything from a few bullet points each to paragraphs each. It gives a good at-a-glance impression of your thoughts (more cons than pros is a pretty good indication you didn’t like it). It also is broad enough that almost all your thoughts can likely be organized into those headings.
This is also a format that is easily mix and matched with the elements listed below. A brief review might give the title, author, genre, some brief selling points of the novel, and then a pros and cons list. Some reviews also include a “verdict” at the end. An example of this format:
The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O’Neill
🌟 Fantasy All-Ages Comic 💫 Adorable pet dragons ✨ A diverse cast
Pros: This book has beautiful artwork. It is a soothing read, and all the character are supportive of each other. This is a story about friendship and kindness.
Cons: Don’t expect a fast-moving plot or a lot of conflict. This is a very gentle read.
Another approach to the review is not, strictly speaking, a book review template at all. Instead, it’s something like “5 Reasons to Read TITLE by Author” or “The # Most Shocking Plot Twists in X Series.” An advantage of this format is that it can be very to-the-point: if you want to convince people to read a book, it makes sense to just write a list of reasons they should read the book. It may also be more likely to get clicked on–traditional book reviews often get less views than more general posts.
On the other hand, listicles can come off as gimmicky or click-bait. You’ll have to decide for yourself if the book matches this format, and whether you are writing this out of genuine enthusiasm or are just trying to bend a review to be more clickable.
Your Own Original Rating System
Lots of reviewers decide to make their own review format based on what matters to them. This is often accompanied by a ratings system. For instance, the BookTube channel Book Roast uses the CAWPILE system:
CAWPILE is an acronym for the criteria she rates: Characters, Atmosphere, Writing, Plot, Intrigue, Logic, Enjoyment. Each of those are rated 1–10, and the average given is the overall rating. By making your own ratings/review system, you can prioritize what matters to you.
My favorite rating system is Njeri’s from Onyx Pages , because it shows exactly what she’s looking for from books, and it helps her to think about and speak about the things she values:
A “Live Tweet” or Chronological Review
Another format possibility is live tweeting (or updating as you go on Goodreads, or whatever your platform of choice is). This has you document your initial thoughts as you read, and it’s usually informal and often silly. You can add what you’re loving, what you’re hating, and what questions you have as you go.
This is a fun format for when you’re reading a popular book for the first time. That way, other people can cackle at how unprepared you are as you read it. This requires you to remember to always have your phone on you as you read, to get your authentic thoughts as they happen, but it saves on having to write a more in-depth review. Alternately, some people include both a “first impressions” section and a more in-depth analysis section in their final review.
There are plenty of book review templates to choose from and elements to mix-and-match, but you can also respond in a completely original way. You could create a work of art in response to the book! Here are some options:
- Writing a song , a short story, or a poem
- Writing a letter to the author or the main character (you don’t have to send it to the author!)
- Writing an “interview” of a character from the book, talk show style
- Making a visual response, like a collage or painting
- Making a book diorama, like your elementary school days!
Mix-and-Match Elements of a Book Review
Most book reviews are made up of a few different parts, which can be combined in lots of different ways. Here is a selection to choose from! These might also give you ideas for your own elements. Don’t take on too much, though! It can easily become an overwhelming amount of information for readers.
Usually a book review starts with some basic information about the book. What you consider basic information, though, is up for interpretation! Consider what you and your audience will think is important. Here are some ideas:
- The title and author (pretty important)
- The book’s cover
- Format (audiobook, comic, poetry, etc)
- Genre (this can be broad, like SFF, or narrow, like Silkpunk or Dark Academia)
- Content warnings
- Source (where did you get the book? Was is borrowed from the library, bought, or were you sent an ARC?)
- Synopsis/plot summary (your own or the publisher’s)
- What kind of representation there is in the novel (including race, disability, LGBTQ characters, etc)
- Anything you’re tracking in your reading, including: authors of color, authors’ country, if a book is in translation, etc
Once you’ve established your basic information, you’re into the review itself! Some of these are small additions to a review, while others are a little more time-intensive.
Bullet point elements:
- Rating (star rating, thumbs up/down, recommend/wouldn’t recommend, or your own scale)
- Who would like it/Who wouldn’t like it
- Read-alikes (or movies and TV shows like the book)
- Describe the book using an emoji or emojis
- Describe the book using a gif or gifs
- Favorite line(s) from the book
- New vocabulary/the most beautiful words in the novel
- How it made you feel (in a sentence or two)
- One word or one sentence review
- Bullet points listing the selling points of a book
- BooksandLala’s Scary, Unsettling, and Intrigue ratings, for horror
- World-building, for fantasy and science fiction titles
- Art, for comics
- Narration, for audiobooks
- Romance, for…romance
- Heat level, for erotica
- Design a graphic (usually incorporating the cover, your star rating, and some other basic info)
- Take a selfie of yourself holding the book, with your expression as the review
- Make a mood board
- Design your own book cover
- Make fan art
Elements to incorporate into a review:
- Quick/initial thoughts (often while reading or immediately after reading), then a more in-depth review (common on Goodreads)
- A list of facts about the book or a character from the book
- Book club questions about the book
- Spoiler/non-spoiler sections
- Research: look up interviews with the author and critique of the book, incorporate it (cited!) into your review
- Links to other resources, such as interviews or other reviews — especially #OwnVoices reviews
- A story of your own, whether it’s your experience reading the book, or something it reminded you of
This is not a complete list! There are so many ways to write a book review, and it should reflect your own relationship with books, as well as your audience. If you’re looking for more ways to keep track of your reading, you’ll also like 50+ Beautiful Bujo Spread Ideas to Track Your Reading .
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