How do you write a book review for school?

Having trouble figuring out the difference between a book review and a book report? we are here to help you out. If only students could learn the difference between a book report and a book review; it would save a lot of time when selecting books.

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Book Reports Versus Book Reviews: Whats the difference between a book report and a book review?

Goodreads proves that even people who read don't always know the difference between a book report and a book review. "Trying to figure out if Midnight Rising is a good book and all the reviewers use it as a platform to speculate about John Brown instead of telling me why they liked the book." ~@LizivonTeig

Sometimes it is easy to forget the difference between a book review and a book report. 

Folks, if you are in grad school please for the love of most of what is holy learn the difference between a book report and a book review. And if you don't know don't be shocked when you get a "D" for writing a report when the assignment called for a report.

One thing to remember is that "Only teachers read book reports!"

A book review is simply an essay that identifies and evaluates the ideas or themes objectively that an author has presented in a book. The objective of a book review is to list the pros and cons of a book to help readers identify if it is the right fit for them to acquire. A book report, on the other hand, is a summary of a book. A report also contains character and theme analysis. Lastly, a book report contains the details of the author. This article will help you understand the difference between book reviews and book reports and further explain how they are both done.
We first look at the book review.


What is the main purpose of a book review?

Writing a book review is an exciting undertaking for anyone who finds books interesting to read. Indeed, they are interesting to read but not to everyone, and that’s why writing book reviews can be a daunting and inhibiting task to complete. Readers will always be interested in your book review based on the books you have read, and that is because you liked the book or didn't like it. This will help other readers to know your honest thoughts and detailed opinions as far as the book is concerned, and this will help them decide which books are right for them. It should be a simple process where you get to assume your friends are asking you for an opinion concerning a specific book for them to decide whether or not they will read the book. At times, tutors assign students academic assignments requiring them to write papers and reports on book reviews on a specified author. To be able to write an excellent book review, a student must be acquainted with the nitty-grittys of writing a book review without which it will be difficult to meet the demands of the assignment.

However, if you have not grasped what it takes to write a good review that will earn you good marks, then help book review is the answer. We shall give you some general guidelines on what it takes to write a good book review. One thing you should know is that the difference between book review and book report writing process is not huge.

How do you write a book review?

The first step is to read the book slowly and to familiarize yourself with themes carefully. This will, therefore, help you identify the author's intention and purpose in writing the book. When scrutinizing the author's scope, identify the main points that the author establishes and how they are proven.

The next step is to establish the main points of the criticism and whether the author achieved the intent of writing. You can then write an outline that incorporates your opinion based on supporting evidence from the book whether the intent was achieved, and this usually is the thesis of the review, i.e., the main arguments based on an objective evaluation of the strength and weakness of the book.

After this, you can then write your review that should include a recommendation of the book to an audience if it merits.

How do you conclude a book review?

Before giving either a positive or negative recommendation of the book based on how appropriate it was for the intended audience, you should give a summary of the book, i.e., condensing the entire content of the book to provide an overview of what the book is all about. The author of the book should also be scrutinized in terms of qualifications, other works covered by the same author, and how the author's work compares to other books on the same subject.

What goes into writing a book report?

Writing a successful college-level book report for most people is quite a hard nut to crack. When faced with a book report, intelligent planning will save you hours of the book report writing process. As already mentioned, a book report involves summarizing a book, while a review allows you to give your opinion about the book, which is, whether you found it interesting or boring. Structuring a book report which has a clear, coherent, and logical structure is a dream for many college students when assigned such a task at a collegiate level, unlike in middle school when book reports were simple and didn’t require much effort to get started. Book report analyzing or critiquing skills will help college students to analyze complex pieces of literature and come up with solid arguments when structuring their final reports. 

The structure of a college book report

A book report has three key elements. This includes the introduction, body, and conclusion. The introduction of a book report should contain the main biography of the book, a summary, and a thesis statement. In other words, when writing a book report, you should first inform the reader about the title, its author, the publisher, and finally, the general idea of the book. The body should contain the main ideas of the book, mainly the characters and the themes found within the book. The conclusion should bring closure to the essay, highlighting the main ideas discussed in the body of the essay. You should note that the difference between book review and book report comes in the content within each; otherwise, the writing process is the same.

Composing a successful college-level book report

For you to be able to come up with a great book report, the following are the steps that go into the process:

1.    Read and understand the instructions from the prompt

You should carefully go through the instructions your lecturer provides so that you can understand the requirements. If you need clarification about anything, you can go ahead and ask to be on the safe side. The instructions may guide you on the length of the report, the writing format, and if citations should be inclusive.

2.    Choose a Book

At times you are given the option to choose the book you want to work on. If that’s the case, you should choose a book that you find interesting. This is because most students don’t like to read, having to work on a book you love will give you the motivation to complete the assignment. Whether you want to work on a fictional or non-fictional book is all up to you. You can go to the library and ask for assistance from the librarian if you are not sure about which book you want to work on. 

3.    Read the Book

Now that you have the book, the reading phase should begin. Always start reading early to avoid last-minute rushes, which will compromise the quality of your book report. You may miss out on a really good grade for omitting some important points unknowingly. Also, avoid skimming over a book. To fully understand a book, you should thoroughly read and re-read it; all this does give you all the information you need to come up with a winning report. Ensure that you pick a quiet and peaceful place to read so that you can have the full concentration to avoid any distractions.


As you are reading, take down short notes. Note down important things like the plot, the theme of the book, the setting, and characters, just to name a few. Depending on the book you are reading, note down all the important parts. The notes should show the different chapters, paragraphs, or pages where they are based so that it will be accessible for you to locate them again if it is necessary.

4.    Come Up with an Outline

The outline is very important because it is a map of the book report, and it shows you what to write where in your report. Your notes should guide you when developing an outline. Go through them and decide how you want to structure your report. Move through every chapter and paragraph to confirm that every point you write follows the order of the book. You can move a few points around until the outline is solid. You can even remove or add some points depending on the point you want to make or address. Go through the outline as many times as you need to. This step may take a bit of time, but it is worth it. It is easier to proofread and edit an outline than the finished report. If you are satisfied with the final draft, you can move on to the next step.

5.    Write the Book Report

This should not be very difficult once you have perfected your outline. Your writing process should be as already explained above. Start with an introduction that introduces the book, the author, the publisher, and the thesis of your paper. The proceed to the body and finally the conclusion. When writing the body, ensure that you include a should a summary of the book. Your paper should follow the outline that you already have. With the outline in place, it shouldn’t take you a lot of time to finish your report. After this, you may proceed to the final stage of your writing process.

6.    Editing and revising

Once you are through with the writing phase, go through the entire report and check that it is written correctly. Ensure that it adheres to the instructions provided. Check that there is a flow to the material and that all the grammar and tenses are written correctly. If there are any references, ensure that they are cited correctly. The editing step need not end there; ask a trusted friend to go through the report and tell you whether they get an idea of the book from what you have written. If there are any mistakes identified, correct them. If you are fully satisfied, you can go ahead and hand in your report.

After reading this comprehensive guide, you should be able to know the difference between book review and book report and how to structure each. If you still need help with writing any of the two, contact us today, and we will be ready to provide the help you need.


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