5 Book Review Ideas

Everyone writes book reviews differently. Even one person will write several variations of types of book reviews. There really isn’t a wrong or right way of going about writing one because everyone is different. Maybe you like lists. Maybe you like to articulate your points in a well-organized fashion. Maybe you’re all over the place and don’t know what the heck you’re doing. Maybe you just like to mix it up with styles now and then for some spice in your life.

That’s all fine.

Today, I just wanted to chat about the various ways to write a book review in hopes that it will help you if you feel stuck, not to tell you how you should or should not be writing them! (Although, I do include a few tips from personal experience if you feel like implementing those), Here we go!

the reactionary list

These are fun to read especially if I’ve already read the book being reviewed. Basically, it’s just a bullet point list of all of your reactions while reading. It’s not written after finishing the book, rather throughout the reading. Think of it as a Goodreads update. When something happens you just have to share it but can’t spoil anything so you just post “OMG THAT DID NOT JUST HAPPEN?!” but it’s a whole list of them. That is what I call the reactionary list 😉 Liselle from Lunch-Time Librarian did an awesome one for The Selection a while back!

However, if someone hasn’t read the book it might not make any sense to them xD

Tips:

  • Take notes! If you usually don’t do this while reading, I suggest you start no matter which review method you choose. It is SO helpful.
  • Write it down no matter what. Don’t over think your reactions while reading. As in don’t say to yourself “eh, I’m not going to put that in my review so I don’t need to write it down”. Always. Write. It. Down.

Rory Gilmore’s pros & cons

Have you ever read a book that maybe fell right in the middle of liking and disliking it? Or maybe you just couldn’t get your thoughts together enough to form a solid opinion? Or maybe you just really like pros vs cons lists? Then this one’s for you!

These types of reviews are perfect for all the reasons I said above. I usually use this when I really can’t decide what type of review to give and listing things out just makes more sense. Like I did for the newest X-Men movie. (yes, it’s not a book, but same idea 😉 )

Tips

  • Start with the cons first if it was a book you mostly liked. If it’s one you didn’t like all that much, do it the other way around. This may break some basic rules, but personally, I like to end on the note that I feel more strongly about.

sectionary

This is my main method of reviewing. I like to divide it up into sections based on the category I want to review. Nine times out of ten its Plot, Characters, Writing and Pacing, and then Final Thoughts. You can break it down however you want. In fact, I may be adding in World Building for my reviews of fantasy books. I do it this way more for myself than you guys (sorry, I’m selfish 😛  ). Doing it this way helps me keep my thoughts together because otherwise, my reviews might end up being one huge rant with no structure at all.

Tips

  • Have CLEAR headers for each section. I have graphics but you can also just title each section then make the font bigger than the rest, centered, or use Heading 2 (or something similar).
  • I like to bold or italicize main points of each section/paragraph. People like to skim, ya’ll. Highlighting the main points allows people to jump around if they want to just skim it quickly.

jiffy giffy

USE ALL THE GIFS. Gif reviews are a lot of fun! You can use gifs in ANY style of review, but sometimes a gif-heavy review is something more silly to do if you’re in a bit of a reviewing slump.

Tips

  • You can find gifs on Tumblr & other sources, or you can make your own using Giphy.
  • I wouldn’t recommend doing this for every review as I’ve seen many people say they actually don’t like gif heavy reviews  😕

the analyzer

This is for my pros out there. Some people like to go in-depth with their analysis or make it look way more professional than I do. There ain’t nothin wrong with that! Use this for those reviews where you have a lot to say and it has to be done in a much more eloquent way.

Tips

  • Always have paragraphs. Do not write one large paragraph. Please. I beg you.
  • As I said before, people skim. So it might be wise to include some bold sentences here and there to drive a point home. People will be able to jump to a paragraph and get what the gist of it is because of that bold sentence or phrase.

Extra tips

  • This more of a tip for your blog as a whole, but make sure your font size is between 12-16pt, especially if you write big paragraphs. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to leave a book review before reading because the font was too small.
  • If you already include the official synopsis somewhere on the page of your book review, try not to summarize it too much in your actual review. It becomes repetitive and sometimes feels like that’s all the review is – a summary.
  • Figure out who you are writing for and what point you want to get across when deciding which type of review to write. Are you writing for your readers? Are you writing for the author or another professional? Are you writing for yourself? None of them are wrong but it will help you with your structure and voice. 🙂

What type of book review do you usually write? Is there another type that isn’t on this list that you sometimes use or have seen before? Do you have any other tips for reviewing?

  • Love this! I try to have a mix of review types but I know I default to my normal. I so agree about font size and not to summarize too much!!

    • I default to my normal one all the time. 😀 That’s okay! And yes both of those will really turn me off from a review. Not everyone is the same, but I think majority of us have a hard time reading small font lol

  • Great post. I need to start mixing it up. I’ve only recently started using GIFs and, though they are a lot of fun, I don’t use them very often. I’m ashamed to admit that I didn’t realize you could make them yourself without being a super-techy person.

    • I don’t use gifs all that much either. A post here and there with maybe max 2-3 (like this post). And yes! You can make them so easily! Just pop in the youtube link and cut it 😀

  • Ugh, I really want to do reactionary list reviews, but I think I’ll save those for when my favorite series have new installments, since I always have something to say about those! 😂 I don’t use gifs in my reviews, and I don’t know if I’ll ever use them for reviews, but I do use them for other posts!

    • hahah I’ve never done a reactionary one before. I don’t think I take ENOUGH notes. Or if I do, it’s for a book I didn’t like so it would be kind a depressing review hahah Gifs are fun, I use them here and there. I try not to use TOO many though.

  • Well said! I like lists, but would never use them in my reviews. I am pretty set in my ways when it comes to reviews and have been writing my reviews in much the same style since I started reviewing, but hey that works for me. I do like seeing how other people review and how everyone has their own style or even multiple styles.

    I had to go over to that blog and read her reactionary review as I haven’t seen many of those. I have read The Selection so it was fun to read her review, but yeah i can imagine it might be harder to follow if you haven’t read the book.

    I’ve seen some pro and cons list around and I always like those. And yes sectionary is what I usually do too, usually for me it;s general start, story, characters, romance, world building or setting and then summary (summary of my review). And sometimes multiple paragraphs for one topic if necessary. For mystery books I often add a section about the mystery too.

    And I totally second your comment about always using paragraphs, I still cringe at some of my earlier reviews that don’t have paragraphs. My current problem is to not get the paragraphs get too long, lol.

    • Whatever works! I tend to do my sections about 8 times out of 10. The other ones I’ll do if I’m either too lazy to write a full sectioned review, or have too much fangirling to do hahah

      Yeah, if you haven’t read the book before, reactionary ones will probably just be a whole lot of “whats” and “huhs” lol

      That’s basically how I do it with my sectionary, but different sections. I have Plot, Characters, Writing&Pacing, and then Final Thoughts. Sometimes I throw world building and romance INTO one of those sections, rather than having their own.

      YES. PARAGRAPHS. I just physically cannot read one long one. My brain just starts saying “nope” and I stop lol I try to keep my paragraphs no more than 5-6 lines long. That’s about average-ish. Sometimes they go longer though if the topic covered in that P calls for it.

      Book reviews are so funny. We put work into them but they’re the least read sometimes >.<

  • I just write my reviews in whatever way feels best for each individual book. Sometimes it’s a pros/cons list, sometimes it’s kind of sectional, sometimes it’s just rambling lol. But I never have specific sections like you do. That just wouldn’t work for me because sometimes I might want to talk about plot and characters, but other times I might have nothing much to say about plot but want to talk about the romance and some other random things I liked that don’t even fit in a section.

    I’ve never written a reactionary review before! There have only been a few times when I’ve taken actual notes while reading, and usually it was because I was completely aggravated or confused. So even though I feel like those notes are entertaining, I think I’d feel bad posting them since they’re kinda mean :-/

    • That’s how I typically decide how to write a review. However my thoughts are organizing themselves is how I write it haha. I actually tend to not have much to say in Writing & Pacing section. If you look back at my reviews, it’ll be the shortest one haha. It will usually just be similar to the Plot. Plot is usually where I talk about world building, and Characters is where I usually talk about the romance. My brain just has an easier time that way otherwise, I’D ramble hahah

      Aw, hahah I take notes all the time otherwise I’ll forget things. Even with notes I tend to forget WHY I wrote down a certain note if it’s been a while >.< My memory sucks.

      • Well, I do take notes lol. But what I meant to say was that I don’t take them in a reactionary kinda way usually. Like, I just jot down things I like or dislike so I’ll remember, but not specific points in the book or anything like that.

        • Oh! That makes sense. I guess I usually do that too. If they’re on goodreads then they’re more reactionary, if they’re in my notebook, they’re more random little notes lol

  • When I first started writing book reviews, I spent way to much time regurgitating the synopsis in my review. It was horrible. Right now, I do the SECTIONARY the majority of the time. When I have a hard time figuring out how to review a book, I use the RORY GILMORE’S PROS & CONS way. BUT I have to say, that I’d like to attempt the THE REACTIONARY LIST, though it looks kinda difficult to keep up on. I don’t normally take notes either while reading. And I might try to use more gifs. And when I say more, I mean I never use them, so using them even just a few times would be “more” for me.

    Nice blog post!

    • haha I just use the goodreads synopsis before I go into my review. But yes, sectionary is the one I use majority of the time. Pros & cons is another one of my favorites. It’s basically a bullet point list, but with more detail lol. Super easy. & lol @ the more gifs thing. Yeah, I wouldn’t say I use them that often. usually just a few here and there. Especially if my post looks a little dull lol

  • Lovely post Molly! 😀 I personally like to mix things up and just do it according to my mood AND feelings toward the books! My favorite is the analyzer not to mention I’m a pro asdfghjk but I just like writing long texts and trying to make sense of everything haha my second favorite is sectionary. I usually do it when I have a lot to say but have a hard time putting them together coherently. Reactionary list is definitely not my thing but I love doing an occasional update on goodreads haha sometimes I do pros/cons when I don’t feel like writing long paragraphs or only have little to say about a book.

    • That’s sort of me as well! Sections are the easiest for me but certain books/moods call for a different type of review 🙂 I don’t usually do the analyzer type because, I don’t know, I just don’t feel like I can actually do that – unless the book REALLY stood out to me (mostly made me angry or something lol).

  • Oooh these are great! I like to use… well, a combination of all of them, really! Depends on my mood, the book, the weather, pretty much anything and everything 😉 But I totally agree about needing to do a gif review in a slump. Sometimes that is the ONLY way I can get thoughts across when I am having an extra hard time! These are awesome tips, thanks for sharing them!

    • That’s me as well. I use a little bit of all of them, but my main one is still sections. Gifs are definitely fun to use! I enjoy them most of the time 😀 & Thank you!

  • I’m like you and typically write in sections. It is easier to organize myself and my thoughts that way. I have written rambling messes before, and they just read very poorly. However, right under the character section I typically include a spoiler filled romance section. It is usually where I end up ranting (curse you love triangles). I have been tossing around the idea of a pro/con list, but have always been concerned it would look too skewed.

    • That’s definitely me. If I don’t have sections, it’s just a hot mess lol I sometimes include the romance into the character section as well. And it’s okay to rant sometimes! I’ve definitely written spoiler filled rants within my sections hahaha >.< Sometimes you just HAVE to.

  • This is such an awesome feature, Molly! I’m like 50% Sectionary and 50% Analyzer haha! I tend to write longer reviews for books I either hated or loved haha!

    • YES. My reviews for books I hated are usually so much longer. Us book bloggers can be such negative people hahaha If I loved a book, I tend to do pros and cons or like “5 reasons you should read this” because I’d sort of just ramble if I didn’t. It’d be a lot of “this was so gooooooood” hahah

  • I mostly bounce between multiple types and I’m not sure what type it is. I do listicles or sections (with reaction titles?), sometimes I do pros and cons, shorter reviews…I guess it depends on the mood I’m in while writing the review and how much I love the book I’m reviewing 🙂

    • Oh yes, the reaction title sections! I totally forgot about that kind. Oops. It depends on the mood I’m in as well so I feel you there haha

  • Great ideas! I need to implement a couple more of these for when I’m in a hurry to write a review or just don’t know exactly what to write. The pro/con list is great. Thanks!

    • Mixing up the style definitely helps when you’re unable to sit down and write a full paragraph version. I hope you try some out soon 🙂

  • I don’t know if I follow any of these exactly? But you have given me much to think about!