How to Write a Book Report
There are different ways of writing book reviews, but effective ones come from plot summaries, character analyses, and theme analyses. And by writing a book review, you develop a good sense of evaluating the different facets of a book, for example, how the author used description or dialogue. You may be an expert in writing any book review, including fiction, non-fiction, research papers, or essay writing. However, if you don’t follow a few essential elements, you may not convey well why the book you read was interesting in your book report.
Always add the following elements to your review:
- The kind of book report you are writing
- The book’s title
- The book’s author
- What time does the story take place (time)
- Where does the story take place (location)
- Give the names and a short explanation of every character you plan on discussing
- Add several quotations and examples to support your opinions about the book
- A hypothesis statement
- How the narrator views the book
- Give a synopsis of the book
- For non-fiction or fiction works, mention the main points or themes
- The first paragraph (introductory paragraph), body paragraphs, and final paragraph
- Author’s writing styles
- A crucial evaluation of the fiction or non-fiction book
Three Types of Book Report Formats
A Plot Summary
The plot summary is where you should bring out your opinion of the story and the reasons behind how you feel about the plot; you don’t want to just summarize the story. For example, if you find the plot unrealistic or mushy, you need to bring that out and explain it. How you review your plot will determine the success of your book report. Remember to quote many examples from the book to justify your views.
Use the following example to get an idea of how you can start your report.
You can start your report with a sentence like the one below:
- The novel I Married a Sea Captain, by Monica Hubbard, has an exciting plot that gives the reader a genuine idea of what it means to survive on Nantucket and be the wife of a whaling caption during the 19th century.
A Character Analysis
When writing a character analysis type of book report, you can use the various aspects of the characters. For example, you can talk about a character’s physical and personality attributes and how their behaviors influence the book’s plot.
Consider the following:
- Examine how a character dresses and how the reader perceives it
- The positive attributes of the character
- What mistake leads to a character’s downfall?
- You can also examine dialogue examples to find out how a character speaks and then explain the words they use and how those words affect the other characters.
- And last but not least, put down all these observations by demonstrating how the characters push the plot forward.
You can try beginning your review with a sentence like the one below:
- The novel Charlotte’s Web, by E.B White, portrays the character Templeton, the rat, as unimportant. However, the character’s unending chase for food pushes the plot forward in many ways.
One of the best ways to write a book review is by probing the themes or ideas that dominate the story. You have the freedom to pick the themes you care about, which makes writing the report easier. You can also add your ideas and perception to bring out the power of the theme. However, please don’t wander off the topic while discussing your ideas. Use that to figure out the story’s theme and how it’s expressed.
- In your book report, pick a specific theme and probe into it.
- Demonstrate that the theme is vital in the story using many quotations and examples from the book to the utmost.
- When you use an example or quotation from the book, ensure that you explain that example/quotation while showing a direct connection between the example and the theme.
- You can also have a few sentences on the influence of the theme on you and why it made the book intriguing or not enjoyable to read. And that’s after you’ve cultivated the theme and comprehensively evaluated its impact on the book.
You can start your report with a sentence similar to the one below:
- In the works of Mildred Taylor and Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry, the theme of racial bias pushes the conversation forward in the story.
When writing a plot summary, character analysis, or any other book report, ensure that you add primary details about the main characters. Your writing should be clear, readable, and as expressive as possible. That makes it easier for audiences of different education levels to understand your report. Don’t forget to use examples from the book to justify your claims. And finally, proofread your book report thoroughly to erase any errors.
Although uncoordinated from your schoolwork, book reviews play a significant role in helping you gain essential life skills. Through book reviews, you sharpen your skills in summarizing, making predictions and connections, and how to evaluate different perspectives in life.