June 3, 2024

How to write a book review in 2024 (with examples and tips)

Type Content Team

AI, writing, and AI-writing experts


If you've read a great (or not so great) book in 2024, writing a book review is an excellent way to share your thoughts with other readers.

Without book reviews, it can be hard for readers to know which books are worth their time. A good book review puts forth an argument and offers analysis in support.

Table of contents

What is a book review?

A book review is a form of literary criticism in which a book is analyzed based on content, style, and merit. It is a thorough evaluation of a book that includes a summary of the content as well as the reviewer's opinion.

Why write a book review?

A well-written book review can achieve several key objectives:

  • Informs readers about the book's content and style
  • Evaluates the book's strengths and weaknesses
  • Assesses how well the book achieves its goals
  • Compares the book to others by the same author or in the same genre
  • Provides a recommendation on whether the book is worth reading

While book reviews used to be found primarily in newspapers and magazines, the rise of online platforms and social media has made them more prevalent and accessible than ever. Anyone can share their opinion on a book with a few clicks. However, that doesn't mean all reviews are created equal. Writing a thoughtful, balanced review still takes time and effort.

You can streamline the process with Type, an AI-powered writing assistant. Upload your notes and let the AI help structure and flesh out your review.

Type's pop-up module titled "Generate draft." The user is writing a "book review about Daniel Kahneman's 'Thinking, Fast and Slow.'" They've attached one of Type's book review templates.
Use Type's writing AI to generate documents with custom style, voice, and format preferences.

How to write a good book review

An effective book review should give readers a clear sense of what the book is about and whether they might enjoy it. Key elements include:

Book Information

Provide the basic facts about the book.

Include the title, author, publication date, genre, and any other relevant details like if it's part of a series. If it's a new release, mention that as well.

Give context about the author.

Share a bit about the author's background and previous works. Is this their debut novel or are they an established writer? Do they have a particular style or recurring themes?

Hook readers with an engaging intro.

Open your review with an attention-grabbing line that sets the tone and gives readers a sense of your overall opinion. Bold statements, provocative questions, or intriguing anecdotes can all work well.

Book Summary and Analysis

Summarize the plot or main points.

Give a high-level overview of what the book is about. For fiction, briefly outline the plot, main characters, and setting. For non-fiction, summarize the main arguments or topics covered. Avoid major spoilers.

Evaluate the book's strengths and weaknesses.

Assess what the book does well and where it falls short. Consider elements like character development, world-building, pacing, research, and prose. Use examples to illustrate your points.

Reflect on the book's impact and implications.

Share how the book made you feel and what it made you think about. Did it change your perspective? Does it have broader social or cultural implications? Analyzing the book's impact adds depth to your review.

Recommendation and Wrap-Up

Compare to other books in its genre.

Help readers understand how this book fits into its genre or compares to other works by the same author. Is it similar to other popular books? Does it subvert genre tropes in interesting ways?

Give your recommendation.

Let readers know whether you think this book is worth their time. Who do you think would enjoy it most? Are there any caveats to your recommendation? Be specific and explain your reasoning.

End with a powerful conclusion.

Close your review by reinforcing your overall opinion and leaving readers with something to ponder. A thought-provoking question, call-to-action, or memorable line can all make for an effective ending.

A complete book review about "Thinking, Fast and Slow."
Start closer to "done" with our free book review example.

How to Write a Book Review in 5 Steps

1. Read the book and take notes

This may seem obvious, but it's important to read the entire book before attempting to review it. As you read, take notes on your reactions, questions, and opinions. Jot down page numbers of key passages you may want to quote.

Type can help you capture and organize your notes as you read. You can create a new document for each book, divide it into sections, and add your thoughts under each one. Later, you can easily search and reference your notes as you write your review.

2. Start with the hook and basic info

Open your review with an attention-grabbing hook that reflects your overall opinion and sets the tone for the rest of the piece. Then provide the key facts about the book that readers will want to know upfront.

Type offers engaging intro templates you can use to kick off your review. Simply input the book details and your main takeaway and let the AI generate some options for you to choose from and customize.

3. Summarize the book and share your analysis

Provide a brief summary of the book's plot, main characters, themes, and arguments. Share your analysis of what worked well and what didn't, using examples to support your points. Reflect on how the book made you feel and what it made you think about.

You can use Type to help ensure your analysis is clear and persuasive. The AI can detect weak arguments or unsupported claims and suggest ways to strengthen your points. It can also help you strike the right balance between summary and analysis.

4. Compare to other books and share your recommendation

Help readers understand how the book compares to others in its genre or by the same author. Then give your overall recommendation, clearly stating whether you think the book is worth reading and for whom. Explain your reasoning.

Type can help you find comparable titles to reference in your review. Just enter the book's details and let the AI suggest other relevant works to potentially mention. It's an easy way to add context to your review.

5. End with a bang and proofread

Close out your review with a memorable line that reinforces your overall opinion and gives readers something to ponder after they finish reading. Then carefully proofread your entire review for spelling, grammar, and clarity.

Type makes it easy to put the finishing touches on your review. The AI can help you craft a powerful conclusion and catch any writing errors you may have missed. A few final tweaks can make your review really shine.

Book review example

Start closer to "done" with Type's template library. Select our book review template when generating your document and include the book's details and your notes to customize the output. Take the pain out of writing reviews.

  1. Open up Type, click "New Document," and select the "Book review" template from the gallery.
  2. Under "knowledge sources," you can include a link to the book's page on Goodreads or the author's website. This will give the writing AI more context to work with.
  3. Hit "Generate," and watch as Type's writing AI creates a custom book review for you in seconds.
  4. Refine the review with our Rewrite brushes. You can adjust the tone, shorten the text, enhance readability, and more.
  5. Add your own personal touches with specific examples and insights from the book. If you need some ideas, brainstorm with Type Chat, a chatbot that lives right next to your document.
  6. When you're done, ask Type to review your work for any grammar or spelling mistakes. A polished, error-free review will help you come across as credible and professional.
  7. Export your completed book review from Type in either a PDF or DOC file. It’s ready for you to share, post, or print!
Pop-up menu from Type's writing template library. The "blog post" category contains templates and examples for a book review, opinion blog post, SEO blog post, and announcement blog post.
Check out our library for an easy-to-use book review template.

How to format a book review

Here's an example outline of the key parts to include in a book review:

1. Attention-Grabbing Title

  • Provocative question
  • Bold statement
  • Clever wordplay

2. Engaging Intro and Book Basics

  • Hook that conveys overall opinion
  • Title, author, publication info
  • Genre and style
  • Author background and previous works

3. Book Summary

  • Brief plot synopsis (fiction)
  • Overview of main points/arguments (non-fiction)
  • Key characters and settings
  • Major themes

4. Analysis and Evaluation

  • Strengths and weaknesses
  • Character development and relationships
  • Pacing and structure
  • Writing style and tone
  • Persuasiveness of arguments and evidence (non-fiction)

5. Personal Reflection

  • Emotional impact
  • Thought-provoking questions and ideas
  • Worldview or perspective changes

6. Genre Comparison

  • Similar books and authors
  • Uniqueness in genre
  • Trope usage

7. Recommendation

  • Who would enjoy this book
  • Caveats or disclaimers
  • Star rating or equivalent

8. Powerful Conclusion

  • Reinforce overall opinion
  • Thought-provoking question or call-to-action
  • Memorable final line

Of course, every review will be different based on the book and the reviewer's style. Use this as a starting point and adapt it to fit your needs. The key is to inform, analyze, and entertain.

Type's AI writing tool that allows a user to generate document.
Write smarter with AI models like GPT-4o and Claude.


How long should a book review be?

The ideal length for a book review can vary depending on the platform and audience. However, aim for at least 300-500 words to provide enough depth and analysis. This allows you to cover the key elements mentioned earlier, such as book information, summary, themes, writing style, personal opinion, and recommendation.

If you're writing for a blog or website, you have more flexibility with length. Longer reviews of 700-1000+ words can work well for in-depth looks at a book. But for most online reviews, 500 words is a good target for holding readers' attention while still delivering valuable insights.

How do you cite a book review in Modern Language Association (MLA) format?

To cite a book review in MLA format, follow this template:

Reviewer Last Name, First Name. "Title of Review." Title of Publication, vol. Volume Number, no. Issue Number, Publication Date, page numbers (if applicable). Database Name (if accessed online), URL or DOI.

For example:

Smith, John. "A Thrilling Adventure in Space." The New York Times, vol. 123, no. 4, 15 Apr. 2024, p. C5. ProQuest, doi:10.1234/5678.

Remember to italicize the title of the publication and include the access date if you viewed the review online. Consult the latest MLA handbook for more detailed guidelines and specific scenarios.

How do you cite a book review in APA format?

To cite a book review in APA format, use the following template:

Reviewer Last Name, First Initial. (Year, Month Day). Title of review [Review of the book Title of Book, by Author First Initial. Last Name]. Title of Publication, Volume Number(Issue Number), page numbers (if applicable). URL or DOI

For instance:

Doe, J. (2024, April 15). A fascinating exploration of the human mind [Review of the book The Mysteries of Consciousness, by A. B. Smith]. Psychology Today, 57(4), 42-45. https://doi.org/10.1037/0000123-000

Note that the title of the review is not italicized, while the title of the book being reviewed is italicized. If the review was accessed online, include the URL or DOI at the end of the citation. Always refer to the most recent APA style guide for the most accurate and up-to-date citation guidelines.

Keep reading

All posts →

Start writing with Type

Type is the AI-first document editor that helps anyone write high-impact content.

Start writing for free