How To Write A Book Review That Matters

Book reviews are fodder for authors. It’s important for their books. And, as a reader, we can thank the author by leaving a review for their book on your blog, Goodreads, Amazon, or anywhere the book can be bought.

How To Write a Book Review that Matters

Everyone has their own writing style and there are many ways to write a book review. For me, I write about the three parts of a book that is the most important to me. I also add an intro and conclusion, if you will.

First Thoughts

To begin the review I talk about my initial thoughts on the book. Why I decided to read it, where I got it, and what I think about the overall summary and maybe the cover as well.


I typically summarize the overall plot of the novel and then talk about what I felt worked with it and what I felt didn’t work with it.


I talk about the main and secondary characters and explain my thoughts on the character development of them all. I also mention which was my favorite and which ones I related to the most and also ones that I didn’t like.

Writing Style

Every author writes differently. Some use more dialogue than description, some write poetically. Some have short chapters, some write in parts. I comment on the author’s style and whether I think it worked or not for the story. This also includes POV.


To end the review I more or less summarize everything I wrote in the previous parts and mention whether I would recommend the book or not.

In addition to all that, I add a picture of the book’s cover, the title, the author, when and where it was published, the genre, and how I got the book. At the end, I give it a star rating between one and five. I also add links to where you can buy the book.

To add a little personal touch, I also include my favorite quote from the book. The quote is generally a line that stuck out at me for whatever reason, whether it was a nice piece of description, something funny, something heartfelt, something true to life, etc.

I’ve seen other book reviews by people and some of them go much more in depth than mine. Others are short and sweet simply stating why they liked the book or why they didn’t like it. And others still ramble on about general overall thoughts on the book.

Writing a book review isn’t hard and depending on your style, it definitely takes a few minutes out of your day. Still, it’s a great way to thank an author for all their hard work and effort, whether you enjoyed the book or not.

Do you typically write book reviews? What’s your style like? Let me know in the comments below!

rachel poli sign off

Twitter | Bookstagram | Pinterest | GoodReads | Double Jump


128 thoughts on “How To Write A Book Review That Matters

  1. thanks!! I will definetely keep these points in mind!I also would like it if you check out my site too , my writing style is quite a bit different than yours. I have two sites and just to let you know i’m only a newbie in writing so don’t judge!! AND I HAVE NOT POSTED ANYTHING ON BUT SOON WILL!
    I absolutely adore your writing skills and I love your posts!!

    • Thanks, I’m glad you found this post helpful. And you have a nice site as well. I look forward to more content.
      Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  2. I’m really happy I found this post. I just started reviewing books again and, while I feel I usually get all of my thoughts out about it, sometimes it feels like a jumble. I’ve been looking through different bloggers and goodreads reviews to try and incorporate a format into my future reviews. Thanks so much for this!

    • No problem! My reviews tended to be rambles and general “I liked it because…” To me, plot, character, and the writing style are the most important aspects of a novel, for a reader. Good luck and thanks for stopping by and commenting. 🙂

  3. Great post, I think it’s a good idea to have a review process like this that allows reviewers to cover aspects of the book and gives readers a wider scope of what the reviewer considers. 🙂

      • Just a quick question Rachel, since you review books, have you ever had authors complain about your reviews or get angry/belligerent?

        I’ve heard from a few other reviewers who get awful messages from writers who receive honest but not glowing reviews. Just wanted to know if you had received anything like that?

        • I’ve seen that too. I find book bloggers for a publicist and I’ve noticed a lot of reviewers don’t want self-published books because they’ve had bad experiences in the past with self-published author.

          I’ve been taking review requests for 2-3 years now and the majority have been self-published. I’ve never come across a rude author. They’ve always been grateful no matter what the rating.

          • That’s good to know. It is sad that some authors ruin the experience and actually drive some reviewers away from reviewing. I’m glad you haven’t had that experience 🙂

            • It is. I mean, I understand to a certain extent. Every author wants 5-star reviews. However, you need to understand that not everyone likes the same thing. I think that’s partly why I’ve been lucky to not run into any problems like that. I stress so much that the review is simply my opinion. I still encourage my readers to buy the book and try it out for themselves because I’m sure their tastes differ from mine.

              But also, if you’re going to be an author and sell something of yours, you need to have thick skin and be able to take criticism, lol.

              • Oh yeah, I think that should be something every writer develops early – a thick skin (or plated armour!) lol.

                I run an online business so I know what it’s like being reviewed and even though I’ve been very lucky to have 4-5 star reviews, whenever I see a notification of a review I get that horrid feeling.

                I like the idea of still recommending to people that they should buy the book. That’s a great touch to as review 😀

                • I know what you mean. I even get that feeling when a new person comments on my blog. I see the yellow comment and wonder if this newcomer is going to say my post is wrong or it’s terrible or something. Thankfully, I’ve never had that problem, but we can’t please everyone.

Let me know your thoughts!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.