How to Write a Persuasive Book Review

Bowker, the firm that manages International Standard Book Numbers (ISBNs) for books published and sold in the United States, reported on May 19, 2009, that approximately 275,232 books were published in America in 2008. Persuasive book reviews save readers time and money. They alert readers about books in their preferred genre (e.g., mystery, academic, romance) that are worth buying and reading. Typically, it takes about an hour to write a concise book review.

Share Story Accounts

Provide the book's title and ISBN number, the author's and publisher's name and the date that the book was published. Include the number of pages that are in the book, the genre that the book is written for and whether or not the book is a work of fiction or nonfiction.

Jot down notes about items (e.g., plot, characters, scenes involving conflict) that catch your attention while you read the book. Highlight lines of dialogue that substantiate your impression of a character. For example, if a character whom the author portrays as being resilient says during the climax of a physical battle, "I will never give up. I don't care how much you try to persuade me to," you could highlight this and use it in your review to illustrate that characteristic.

Write the review in the present tense, even if the story took place several years ago. The present tense helps readers feel as if the events that you mention in the story could happen now, perhaps even to them or to someone that they care about. This helps the book review reader to connect more fully with the story.

Mention the style and tone that the author uses to create the story. For example, some writers use a poetic tone when they write fiction or nonfiction books. If a fiction author has an authoritative tone similar to how academic texts are written, tell the reader. Let potential readers of the book know if the author uses complicated words, lots of slang or cultural jargon that mainstream readers might not understand.

Inform potential readers about the positive and negative qualities or personality traits that one or two major and minor characters possess. One to two sentences per character is sufficient. Style of dress, social skills, prejudices, fears, emotional issues and physical challenges that the character has or demonstrates are types of traits you can highlight to introduce readers to pivotal characters in the story.

Connect events that happen in the story to current events. For example, if you are writing a review of a romance novel about a woman who was struggling to leave an abusive relationship in order to realize true love, you could mention statistics that reveal the numbers or percentages of women who struggle to leave abusive relationships today. This helps the reader feel that the story, although not directly involving them, might impact her life.

Summarize your overall findings about the book. If the start of the book was slow and boring but then picked up and became a cliffhanger near the middle or end, tell readers. Share with the reader feelings that the story caused you to feel. Romance novels that cause you to feel terrified or depressed from the first to the last page will likely not be books romance fans will want to read. Offer comparisons to similar books. Finally, tell the reader whether you would recommend that others read the book or not.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer
  • Word-processing program