Book Review Template ✍️

Hi, friends! Today I thought I’d share my personal template for book reviews! My hope is that making this available helps both enterprising readers looking to dip their toes into reviewing, as well as seasoned reviewers looking to glean some new ideas as well. As a book blogger with a couple years under the belt myself I always find it useful to compare and contrast review templates with other bloggers to discover new ideas. Experimenting with formatting tweaks and stylistic changes can do wonders to improve entertainment and readability 🌞

We’ll start with a walkthrough guide on a blog post I’ve recently done, and follow up with the raw template (which includes prompts and reminders). Hope you find this useful!

Walkthrough

Book review screenshot one - cover photo, title, and opening quote

1. Title with the basics

Include the book name and ‘review.’ Keep it simple and to the point! On other more casual post titles I may add an emoji for flair, but for reviews I target a more streamlined look.

2. Open with an eye-catching cover photo

To create my cover photo, I find a matching free-use licensed background photo from Unsplash then use Gimp to tweak it. Then I add in the book cover from Goodreads with a basic dropshadow. Make sure to credit the background photo source, and add alt text for the image!

Not only are there some excellent photos available on Unsplash in a variety of subjects, but it has easy licensing!

3. Pull quote opening line(s)

The first few lines of a book are meant to pull the reader in. I add them at the top of the review as a hook and to get the feel of the book. Make a note of whether they came from the first chapter, a prologue, or elsewhere. I also use this as the blog post’s excerpt in post settings.

Book review screenshot two, showing high level book information listed like author, publication information, links, as well as the full synopsis

4. Succinct book information

Add a brief list of important book information with links. I include author, publication date and publisher, genre, and Goodreads link. You might also include page count, format you read in, additional links, and any other relevant information.

5. Official Synopsis

I pull the synopsis directly from the book’s official Goodreads page with citation. This way I don’t have to waste words later in the review re-inventing the wheel, so to speak, which has probably already been arduously crafted by the author and publisher as is!

Book review screenshot three, with content warnings listed, the review itself (with bolded takeaways), and interspersed pullquotes from the book where relevant

6. Content Warnings

A visually-emphasized list of content warnings for the book is often appreciated by readers and not always readily available in the book itself or on other websites. Readers who want to avoid any spoilers that may be hinted in the content warnings can simply skip this section. I don’t go out of my way to hide it. I’ve seen some other blogs include it at the bottom of the review, but then I wouldn’t quite feel free to discuss some parts of the book if they happen to be relevant in the review.

7. The Meat of the Review

And finally we get to the main course – the review itself! In the raw template further below I include a list of what I like to cover – starting with the impressions, stepping into the characters and the world itself, and following into the writing technicalities.

Because reader attention can be so low on the internet, I bold the highlights and lowlights to draw the eye and make it easy to skim.

8. Interspersed Quotes

Strategically placed relevant quotes visually break up the wall of text and bring in more of the book’s voice. I try to collect a few of these while reading and place them every couple paragraphs in the review post.

Alternatively or additionally, many blogs include gifs or photos to break up the review.

Note – Look Mom, no Stars!

An additional note – you’ll notice I don’t include star ratings on my book review posts. I used to add ratings in my reviews but I ended up hemming and hawing over half stars, and I find it much easier to express the nuance of my experience in word form anyways. Instead, I’ve been very happy writing long-form with bolded highlights to draw the eye. But of course star ratings are very popular on book review blogs. 🌞


Raw Template

Below is the raw template I begin each book review with. Feel free to pick it up and play around with it on your own!


TODO photo here

Original background cover photo credit: ______

TODO first line quote

___, Chapter 1 opening

Author: AUTHOR
Publication Date: FULL
Publisher: PUBLISHER
Genre: GENRE
Find it on: Goodreads

Many thanks to the author, _____, and publisher, _______, for providing a digital ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis

INSERT EXERT HERE

CITE & LINK SOURCE

Review

Book Content Warnings: —-

  • <start with bulleted high level notes here then distill into topical paragraphs>
  • <include information about…
    • overall feeling, brief summary
    • unique or distinct attributes about the book
    • comparison to genre standards or similar books
    • characters
      • love or hate?, favorites, amt of connection/sympathy
      • diversity across the board, representation
      • dynamics
    • themes
    • scenery / environment / world building
    • magic system (if any) – thoughts on robustness, creativity, etc
    • animals/creatures (if any)
    • memorable scenes, anecdotes
    • the writing
      • pacing
      • writing style
      • length
      • surprising or unsurprising bits
      • conclusion/wrap up
    • lasting impressions

ADDITIONAL QUOTES TO INTERSPERSE

CITATION

15 OR LESS TAGS AND CATEGORIES TO SHOW UP IN WORDPRESS READER

Tags to consider: Book, Book Review, Book Blog, Goodreads, Amazon, New Releases, Favorite Books, Recommendations, ARC, ARC Review, NetGalley, {genre}, {author}, {title}, {series name}, {themes}, {character names / traits}, {publisher name}, …

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