Blog – Posted on Friday, Mar 29
It’s an exciting time to be a book reviewer. Once confined to print newspapers and journals, reviews now dot many corridors of the Internet — forever helping others discover their next great read. That said, every book reviewer will face a familiar panic: how can you do justice to a great book in just a thousand words?
As you know, the best way to learn how to do something is by immersing yourself in it. Luckily, the Internet (i.e. Goodreads and other review sites, in particular) has made book reviews more accessible than ever — which means that there are a lot of book reviews examples out there for you to view!
In this post, we compiled 17 prototypical book review examples in multiple genres to help you figure out how to write the perfect review. If you want to jump straight to the examples, you can skip the next section. Otherwise, let’s first check out what makes up a good review.
Are you interested in becoming a book reviewer? We recommend you check out Reedsy Discovery, where you can earn money for writing reviews — and are guaranteed people will read your reviews! To register as a book reviewer, sign up here.
What must a book review contain?
Like all works of art, no two book reviews will be identical. But fear not: there are a few guidelines for any aspiring book reviewer to follow. Most book reviews, for instance, are less than 1,500 words long, with the sweet spot hitting somewhere around the 1,000-word mark. (However, this may vary depending on the platform on which you’re writing, as we’ll see later.)
In addition, all reviews share some universal elements, as shown in our book review templates. These include:
- A review will offer a concise plot summary of the book.
- A book review will offer an evaluation of the work.
- A book review will offer a recommendation for the audience.
If these are the basic ingredients that make up a book review, it’s the tone and style with which the book reviewer writes that brings the extra panache. This will differ from platform to platform, of course. A book review on Goodreads, for instance, will be much more informal and personal than a book review on Kirkus Reviews, as it is catering to a different audience. However, at the end of the day, the goal of all book reviews is to give the audience the tools to determine whether or not they’d like to read the book themselves.
Keeping that in mind, let’s proceed to some book review examples to put all of this in action.
Book review examples for fiction books
Since story is king in the world of fiction, it probably won’t come as any surprise to learn that a book review for a novel will concentrate on how well the story was told.
That said, book reviews in all genres follow the same basic formula that we discussed earlier. In these examples, you’ll be able to see how book reviewers on different platforms expertly intertwine the plot summary and their personal opinions of the book to produce a clear, informative, and concise review.
Note: Some of the book review examples run very long. If a book review is truncated in this post, we’ve indicated by including a […] at the end, but you can always read the entire review if you click on the link provided.
Examples of literary fiction book reviews
Kirkus Reviews reviews Ralph Ellison’s The Invisible Man:
Lyndsey reviews George Orwell’s 1984 on Goodreads:
The New York Times reviews Lisa Halliday’s Asymmetry:
Emily W. Thompson reviews Michael Doane’s The Crossing on Reedsy Discovery:
The Book Smugglers review Anissa Gray’s The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls:
Examples of children’s and YA fiction book reviews
The Book Hookup reviews Angie Thomas’ The Hate U Give:
The New York Times reviews Melissa Albert’s The Hazel Wood:
James reviews Margaret Wise Brown’s Goodnight, Moon on Goodreads:
Publishers Weekly reviews Elizabeth Lilly’s Geraldine:
Examples of genre fiction book reviews
Karlyn P reviews Nora Roberts’ Dark Witch, a paranormal romance novel, on Goodreads:
Emily May reviews R.F. Kuang’s The Poppy Wars, an epic fantasy novel, on Goodreads:
Crime Fiction Lover reviews Jessica Barry’s Freefall, a crime novel:
Kirkus Reviews reviews Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One, a science-fiction novel:
Book review examples for non-fiction books
Nonfiction books are generally written to inform readers about a certain topic. As such, the focus of a nonfiction book review will be on the clarity and effectiveness of this communication. In carrying this out, a book review may analyze the author’s source materials and assess the thesis in order to determine whether or not the book meets expectations.
Again, we’ve included abbreviated versions of long reviews here, so feel free to click on the link to read the entire piece!
The Washington Post reviews David Grann’s Killers of the Flower Moon:
Stacked Books reviews Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers:
Quill and Quire reviews Rick Prashaw’s Soar, Adam, Soar:
Book Geeks reviews Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love:
Emily May reviews Michelle Obama’s Becoming on Goodreads:
Hopefully, this post has given you a better idea of how to write a book review. You might be wondering how to put all of this knowledge into action now! Many book reviewers start out by setting up a book blog. If you don’t have time to research the intricacies of HTML, check out Reedsy Discovery — where you can read indie books for free and review them without going through the hassle of creating a blog. To register as a book reviewer, go here.
And if you’d like to see even more book review examples, simply go to this directory of book review blogs and click on any one of them to see a wealth of good book reviews. Beyond that, it’s up to you to pick up a book and pen — and start reviewing!