How to Write a Book Review: A Really Easy Guide

Why do people write reviews?

Primarily, they’re a great way to help other readers decide if this book is for them. When I’m picking out something to read, I will almost always check some reviews first to gauge how likely I am to enjoy it.

Secondly, if you liked a book, leaving a review is an easy way to support and encourage the writer. They often get more exposure and sales as a result, increasing the chances they’ll write another book (which hopefully you’ll get to enjoy just as much!)

But what do you write in a review? There are so many book bloggers out there you can follow to see how they do it. They’re the experts. But if you want to post a quick review online and you’re not sure where to start, here are my top tips.

  1. The star rating. If all you have time to do is give the book a rating out of five stars, that’s still valuable.
  2. What the book’s about. If you’ve got time, tell other readers in a sentence or two who the main character is and what happens to them e.g. Harry thinks he’s a normal boy, until he learns he’s a wizard and heads off to Hogwarts School where he makes new friends and has magical adventures.
  3. What you thought of it. This is your review so tell us your opinion. Was it what you expected? Did you have a favourite character or quote? What was the overall impression you were left with at the end?
  4. For a really knock out review, end by saying who else you think might like it. Is this a book for teens who enjoyed The Hunger Games or better suited to middle aged women interested in travel and history?

Ingredients for a great book review

A couple of things to leave out:

  1. Spoilers. Don’t ruin the book for future readers by saying ‘I was devastated when X died in chapter twelve’!
  2. The words ‘in exchange for’. I’m sure you, being an upstanding citizen, are not taking payment to write five star reviews for anyone. But if Amazon thinks you might be receiving any kind of reimbursement, even in the form of free books, they’ll delete your review without warning. If you were sent a copy free of charge, currently acceptable wording around this is ‘I received a free copy but this is my honest review’.

Honestly, it can be as easy as that. A few minutes of your day is all it takes to share a review on Amazon, Goodreads, your blog or the author’s Facebook page, to name but a few options. And you’ve helped someone out there to find the next book they’re going to read!

Over to you now: what do you find most helpful when reading book reviews? Do you write them for every book you read? Let me know in the comments.


My novel, A Map of the Sky, is out now. See reviews, read the first chapter for free and order your own copy. Once you’ve read it, I’d be eternally grateful if you’d write a review!

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