How to Write a College Level Book Review

College-level book reviews require your full attention.

College-level writing requires some thought and effort. When a college instructor assigns a book review, don't fall into the trap of thinking it will be a breeze. A college instructor will likely want your review to address specific questions, or to make connections between the book and the course material. A college instructor does not always have time to teach students how to write a book review due to the pace of the course. With a little preparation, you can write a relevant review with little to no experience.

Create an outline of the book review. Write out the steps you will use on a sheet of paper. Include a lead or introduction, body and conclusion.

Craft a lead. Jot down possible ways to entice the reader to read the review. Use a quote or pose a question. Remember to use the author's name and the title.

Discuss the theme of the book. Provide the reader with background or describe a problem the book addresses.

Write a summary. Give an overview of the plot for a fiction book; give the thrust of the author's argument for a nonfiction book. Quote passages from the college textbook to support your summary.

React to the book. Write your response to the book, but avoid simplistic phrases such as, "I liked the book" or "I hated it." Be specific when you indicate whether you agree with the author's point of view.

Make the review relevant. Make connections between the book and other issues. Compare the book to the author's previous works or to other books in the same genre. Evaluate how the book relates to current events or contributes to an ongoing debate.

Add a conclusion. Restate the points of your response or take the opportunity to offer guidance to the reader.

  • To write a book review at the college level, understand the assignment first. Keep a copy of the instructions in front of you as you write to stay on track.
  • A college instructor reads a book closely before attempting to teach it and is usually more familiar with the book than most college students. When you write the summary, keep it brief. Invest more time in the response portion.

Renee Vians has been writing online since 2008. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism and language arts certification from the University of Nebraska-Kearney. Her articles have appeared on various websites.